Machine Label Application
by lauren | Aug 26th, 2010 | Leave a comment

Whether you are a small business with a few products or a large company moving millions of units, the issue of machine application for your custom labels can become a crucial part of your manufacturing and packaging operation.  When a product is entering the marketplace, the quantities are generally low, making applying the labels by hand the most cost effective option.  While this can sometimes be time consuming, it quickly becomes unbearable if you are regularly packaging and shipping product in quantities over 1,000.  The easiest fix is machine applying the labels to the product or packaging.

If you are thinking about incorporating machine label application into your manufacturing, there are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • How much time will be saved by using machine application for your labels?
  • Is hand label application currently accounting for more than 20% of your time and utilizing more than two employees?
  • Will you purchase label application equipment or will you hire a packinghouse with machine applicaticator abilities?
  • Is your product packaged in a warehouse that has label application capabilities?
  • Does your warehouse/packinghouse have the space for a machine labeling equipment?
  • Will your packaging require a customized application system due to the unique shape or contours of the packaging?

Examining your answers to the questions above will help you to determine if having your labels machine applied as opposed to hand-applied will make sense for your business.  Chances are, if you are thinking about machine application for your labels, then you probably need to do it.

Once you have determine that machine label application will be a smart move, there are some important label printing factors you must know:

  • What is the required spacing for the labels?  Typically, most machine applicators require 1/8″ space between each label.  This gives enough time for the label to be applied to one product, and then the next product to move down the line for application.  If there is no space between the labels, or if the spacing is incorrect for your applicator, it could result in disaster.
  • What unwind is need for the applicator?  The unwind (see chart above) referrers to the direction the label comes off the roll.  Does the copy need to come from the left or right?  Does the bottom or the top of the copy come first?  Knowing the correct unwind will ensure the labels are placed in the correct position and direction.  There is nothing worse than an upside down label!  Most printers use the same unwind chart, so providing the unwind number is the easiest way to communicate the correct direction.

Machine application for your custom labels can save time and increase productivity.  For many new or growing businesses, machine application will become a reality at some point, so it is important to start considering your plan for creating a label that can be easily machine applied.

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