Are you looking to expand and streamline your operations as you bring products to market? Whether you want to automate your labeling process, reduce labeling costs or improve the consistency of your operations, the right label applicator can help.
What are label applicators?
Label applicators are machines used to apply pressure-sensitive labels directly to product containers, bottles, packages or drums. Rolls of labels are loaded into the applicators, then applied to the products. There are two general categories of applicators, those that apply pre-printed labels and those that print information directly onto the labels and then apply them to products.
Typically, brands using professional product labels have them printed by a label manufacturer, who then coordinates the label printing to match an apply-only label application system.
Types of label applicators
There are three primary types of label applicators, all of which can be set up to support either an apply-only or a print-and-apply system:
- Integrated automated label applicators
- Stand-alone labelers
- Semi-automated applicators
Integrated, automated label applicators within product handling systems
Today, new label applicators have emerged to cost-effectively automate or streamline the labeling process. An integrated, automated label applicator is a turnkey solution that’s pre-built and fully integrated into a manufacturer’s product handling system. In these setups, products move along a conveyor, where a label applicator head then applies the labels. They can use either an in-line mode of operation, wherein products are automatically placed on the conveyor, or an off line mode of operation, wherein they’re manually placed on the conveyor for labeling.
A semi-automated label applicator is a machine that has an operator place a product into a fixture or jig assembly then apply the label using a foot pedal or sensor located within the machine.
Standalone label applicators
A standalone label applicator is simply a labeling assembly. It can be integrated with an existing or third party product handling system and may include a portable head mount or be installed directly onto a conveyor or another machine.
Furthermore, there are three different methods in which these applicators affix the label to the package:
The most common pressure-sensitive labeling application method, wipe-on labeling applies the label when the product passes the applicator’s dispense edge. The label is applied with the use of a brush or roller.
With this method, an electric fan creates a vacuum to hold the label accurately onto a grid. When the product passes under the grid, a pneumatic solenoid releases a controlled blast of compressed air, applying the label to the product.
Sharing similarities with the air-blow method, tamp-blow applicators hold the label on a grid with a vacuum and uses a pneumatic solenoid to dispense a blast of air to apply the label to the product. It differs from the air-blow method because it also utilizes a pneumatic tamp cylinder to move the grid closer to the product.
Key considerations when selecting a label applicator
When you invest in a label application system, you’ll want to ensure that it matches up properly with your product and operation. Some key considerations include:
- Product surface — The applicator must account for the product’s surface and material, whether its flat, concave, convex, textured, slick or otherwise.
- Label size and shape — Applicators must fit the width, length and shape of your labels.
- Label materials — Your equipment should be compatible with whichever label materials you select such as paper, film, foil and more.
- Application rate — Industrial label applicators need to meet your production rate requirements and should be scalable for an increase or decrease in production.
- Accuracy requirements — The applicator must fit your accuracy tolerances for label placement.
- Location of label — Applicators should be able to apply the label to the correct part of your product whatever its shape may be.
We’re a full-service labeling system distributor and installer
We’re experienced in a variety of labeling systems and are one of the largest authorized distributors of Label-Aire label application equipment.
Our professional sales staff will help you find the perfect solution for all of your label application needs. With factory-trained service technicians, we can work on installations, training, preventative maintenance, troubleshooting, parts and support for your application needs.
We’ll ensure you get the perfect application solution for your operation with a system that’s:
- Easy to use
- Sensible for your environment
- Able to meet your speed requirements