Label Applicator Machine can often be your first piece of in-line machinery.
You have a new product that has been boutique or produced in small batches and now you have people wanting to order in larger volumes locally and/or overseas.
The most common steps in manufacturing a product ready for retail or market include Filling, Capping, Sealing, Labeling and Packing.
While all these can be done by hand, one of the most fiddly and often frustrating tasks is applying self-adhesive labels by hand. Sometimes the shape of the product and the aggressive nature of the label adhesive can make this task daunting. When by hand it is a good idea to check with your label supplier to see if they can supply more forgiving adhesive that might let you get away with partially peeling of a misplaced label so you can reapply it more accurately.
All the above mentioned manufacturing steps they can usually be semi-automated. As a very rough guide the cost to properly semi-automate (bench-top hand operated equipment) is about one quarter the cost to low-level automate (in-line equipment with conveyors). The possible production throughput will also be about one quarter and will require at least one person per packaging step to obtain the maximum throughput.
Depending on the expected growth of your production, semi-automation may be enough. If growth is more rapid or the numbers of production are high, skipping the semi-automation step can move your product to a more professional level of packaging consistency, production times and lower labour costs per unit.
Advantages of going through the Semi-Automation phase first include:
- A slower and easier way to understand the workings and variables of each manufacturing step.
- When moving to in-line automation you will be left with equipment that can act as temporary back-up in the case of in-line equipment problems
- You have equipment that can usually be set-up for small runs faster and without interrupting larger jobs on your in-line equipment.
Disadvantages of going through the Semi-Automation phase first include:
- Extra overall capital required to get to the in-line phase of packaging.
- Longer time to implement an in-line automated production
As the Self Adhesive Labeling is the process that most impacts the look of your product – in the growth phase of a product it is perhaps one of the most important areas to focus on and get right. First impressions are everything when competing to present your product. Wrinkled labels, misplaced labels, labels with bubbles and crooked labels are very hard to avoid when not using a Label Applicator.
There are Modular in line Labeling Machines like the LabelOn range specifically built to give new and existing manufacturers versatility to cater for current and future Jobs with minimal change parts and, in most cases, no change parts at all. Further the LabelOn range of Self Adhesive Labelers, when set to a particular job feel as if the machine was designed specifically for that job.
The typical accuracy a Label Applicator will provide is a position that does not shift more than 1.5mm about a mean central position. In other words, take the ideal position of the label and imagine it can shift up to 1.5mm in any direction when looking at finished product passing through that Sticker Labeling Machine. Note the shift of the label about an ideal position will be partially caused by variations in the bottles or product shapes passing through the Sticker Labeling Machine.
If you consider a plastic bottle that is 100 mm tall – the bottle manufacturer is likely to specify a height variation of perhaps 0.5% or more. Labels themselves are unlikely to have significant variation in size though occasionally there can be variation sin label spacing, thickness and even curl caused by the labels being tightly wound into a roll.
Fortunately there is Self Adhesive Labeling equipment out there which is accurate enough to give you a confident reference point so you can focus on resolving accuracy problems systematically without chasing your tail fiddling with machine settings.