How Fast can We Label? Really Fast and It Depends

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Jan 30, 2014

One question that frequently comes up when we begin consulting with a customer for a labeling project is some variation of, “what is the highest number of boxes you can label per hour?”

It’s a question that suggests there is a clear, simple answer. There is not. In actuality, the answer to the speed question is that it depends on both label factors and operational factors.

automatic labeling system

Dual Top and Bottom Printers and Label Applicators

Some label factors are:

  • Size
  • Placement location
  • Amount of printed information

Two operational factors are:

  • Does the line stop for label stock changes?
  • Where is the database and who controls it?

In general, smaller labels are faster than larger ones, placement on one side takes less time than a corner wrap that places a label on two sides, and printing more information on each label requires more time than printing only a little information or applying pre-printed labels.

In the same manner, if your operation has backup labeling equipment on the line that allows you to seamlessly switch over when one machine is out of labels, then your system will be able to label more boxes per hour than if you have to stop a line to replenish label stock.

Another operational factor has to do with your database. When our customers have asked us to supply a labeling system that captures gross weight information in-motion and then sends that information to a remote database that is supplied or maintained by an outside software company, things get complicated and labeling speed throughput is compromised.

For maximum speed and throughput, it is best to have a stand-alone system with the database, or a copy of the database, stored in the controller we supply. In that way, net weight calculations, label format selections, and printing responsibility is clear and fast.  Troubleshooting is also straightforward.

From there, our controller can communicate production information via your network. Database updates and label format changes can be efficiently managed and communicated to our controller.

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