A label applicator machine is useful to apply pressure sensitive labels to a product container, bottles, packages, and drums. The way this works is a label roll is loaded in the applicator for application to the product. The labels can either be pre-printed; alternatively, it is also possible for the label applicator machine to print directly onto the labels prior to applying them to the product. A large number of manufacturers prefer to have their labels printed prior to the labeling process.
Types of label Applicator
There are mainly three types of label applicators to handle either task of applying only or both printing and applying.
- Integrated automated label: An integrated label applicator as the name suggests is fully integrated into the product handling system and has a high level of automation. These type of machines are cost effective and help streamline the labeling process. This type of machine will usually have the option of either manually placing the products on the conveyor for the purpose of labeling or letting the machine handle it automatically.
- Stand-alone: The way the semi-automated machines works is the operator places the product onto the fixture and then activates the machine to apply the label using a sensor of some kind.
- Semi-automated: This is a label applicator which can be integrated along with a third party product handling system. This can include a portable head mount and can also be installed directly onto a conveyor of another machine.
Some of the common features of this type of machine include:
- High-speed application rate.
- Different methods of label applications.
- High accuracy
- Easy to maintain and operate
A label applicator machine consists of four main components as listed here:
- Print Engine: The print engine is usually an integral part of the applicator but essentially a special module. This module will receive data from the computer and print it onto the label that is to be used in the label applicator. This is similar to the process of an inject printer and is very effective for all types of labels.
- Label Applicator: This component helps apply the label to the product and has several methods of doing so. The applicator will make use of either a pneumatic or electric cylinder that has specially designed label pad. It can use several processes to place the label on product surface like air blow, a burst of air, wipe the label on the surface. It can also place labels on multiple sides of a product.
- Label Roll handling: This section dictates how the label is delivered to the print engine and also ensures proper handling of the waste label that remains after the process of label application. It requires to insert the correct amount of pressure since too much pressure will cause the line to break and require re-threading.
- Computer Power: Computing power is also an important component of this machine and has the ability to store a large amount of data, besides which they also control data from external sources. These external sources can be a scanner, weighing scale, etc.
A label applicator machine is vital to many industries. Here are some tips on how to select one:
- List the type of product surfaces of the product and select the appropriate machine. For example, the surface can be flat, concave, textured, convex, etc. hence the machine should be able to handle the size and shape.
- Consider the type of label roll that is meant to be used like paper, film, foil, etc.
- The production rate requirement should also be considered while selecting the appropriate machine.
- For those who require the label to be accurately placed every time, ensure the label placement machine fits the tolerance level.
- Not every machine has the ability to apply a label to every section of the product. At times there may be special requirements to place labels on multiple locations of a product and others may be hard to reach places, thus it is important to select the right applicator for your job.