How much time have you put into your product or pallet labeling strategy? If your approach to printing and applying labels is not optimized, you risk wasting valuable time and resources.
Thankfully, a variety of efficient and accurate options are available for automating this process. In this guide, we’ll highlight today’s top printer applicator solutions and their various advantages.
What Is Print and Apply Labeling?
Print and apply is as simple as its name suggests. This strategy involves creating labels that are then applied directly to products, packages, or pallets. This process can range from semi-automatic labeling to fully automatic, high-speed applications. The labels applied can contain data in several formats, such as text, barcodes, QR codes, or graphics. Once applied, they convey important information about the items to which they’re affixed.
Common Types of Label Printer Applicator Systems
Several types of label printing promise to meet specific requirements for various products or packaging solutions. Strategic system selection calls for a thorough understanding not only of the available options, but also, of preferences regarding speed, accuracy, and synchronization. The following are among the most common label printer applicator approaches worth considering:
Tamp Blow Technique
This contactless solution creates a vacuum to suck and hold the label until it is ready to be applied. When an item is ready for labeling, the tamp moves and the vacuum turns off. This creates an overpressure capable of shooting the label into place. Tamp applicators allow for significant distances between pads and product locations.
While tamp blow processes are useful in a variety of contexts, they are typically preferred for situations in which it is difficult to synchronize printing and application. Additionally, these solutions are highly versatile, as they accommodate items of varying heights.
Wipe On Technique
Sometimes referred to as the merge technique, this approach involves applying the label directly to the product. Often, this means that the label is printed right as it is applied. As such, printing and application speeds must be synchronized. Otherwise, they may be wrinkled or otherwise damaged during the application process. Despite this caveat, many enterprises opt for the wipe on technique because it limits operational expenses such as compressed air.
Blow On Technique
Frequently used as an alternative to the merge technique, blow on solutions can deliver impressive accuracy while also accommodating many types of materials that may require labeling. This system relies on a burst of air to propel the label to its intended destination. Speed-matching should not be a concern, nor should the angle of the applicator relative to the items in question.
Benefits of Automated Printing & Applying
In a competitive industry in which every second saved is valuable, automated printing provides a major opportunity for streamlining operations — and thereby providing significant boosts to long-term profits. This is only the beginning, however. Automated systems also provide numerous other advantages, as outlined below:
- Improved efficiency. Above all else, automated printing solutions are efficient. Rather than take the time to place items before manually peeling and sticking labels, it’s possible to send all products or pallets through an automated process that works seamlessly. This, in turn, frees up employees to focus on other important tasks.
- Decreased downtime. Bottlenecks tend to accompany manual labeling processes. When a slow-down occurs in one area, it may create a domino effect that reduces efficiency elsewhere. As such, seemingly small problems can lead to significant downtime across an entire printing or labeling operation.
- Eliminate human error. Efficiency and uptime are important, but accuracy is just as crucial. Labeling machines limit the potential for human error, which is a common side effect of manual processes. Automated systems promote accurate positioning, which can be difficult to achieve at peak speed even for skilled, hardworking employees.
- Compact design. Despite producing big benefits, automated printing and applying systems often use minimal space. Their compact designs lend them much-needed flexibility, so they can be implemented in nearly any warehousing environment at a moment’s notice. Corner wrap applicators, in particular, can be integrated within surprisingly small spaces.
- Large label size capacity. Automated systems can handle a variety of different label sizes. This brings greater flexibility to the process, while still ensuring that labels of various dimensions can be affixed to items quickly and accurately.
- Durability. Automated printing and application systems hold up to heavy duty use. Their durable build allows them to remain functional long after they’ve been implemented. Over time, this results in an impressive return on investment. Their accurate functionality also means that the labels themselves are more durable, as they’re less likely to be damaged upon application.
- High-speed application. While many business leaders are aware of the potential benefits of automated printing, they often neglect to consider the possibility of automation for the label application process. With automation, both printing and applying labels can be efficient — and these processes can be coordinated to create a more streamlined, cost-effective operation.
The extent to which these advantages apply depends, to a degree, on the type of applicator selected. Some systems are better capable of limiting downtime, while others deliver greater accuracy or versatility. All, however, have the potential to reduce errors while speeding up otherwise time-consuming processes. These advantages can be amplified via skilled implementation from experts who understand which applicators are preferred in specific settings or scenarios.
Improve Product Identification With Peak Technologies Commercial Print & Apply Solutions
Are you ready to upgrade your labeling equipment or strategy? Our team at Peak Technologies can make this transition easier. We’ve partnered with a leading product identification labeling manufacturer to bring you the best print and apply systems or apply-only labeling solutions. From custom equipment to complete systems, we’re here to provide the tailored approach your business needs. Contact us today to learn more about our systems and solutions.