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Choosing a labeling machine for your filling line

When you have a filling line or are still in the process of designing one, adding a labeling machine to it might not be the first thing that comes to your mind. However, if you are exerting a lot of time and effort manually labeling your products, then you will greatly benefit from investing in a labeling machine. After all, a labeling machine can easily be connected to filling lines and requires only minimal space and power.

What are the benefits of adding a labeling machine to my filling line?

The benefits of a labeling machine far outweigh its cost.

Accurate label placement

Given the number of competing products in the market, it may be difficult for your product to stand out on retail shelves. The good news is that attractive product labels can positively influence a buyer’s purchasing decision. However, for a label to be attractive, having great-looking artwork and informative text on it is not enough. The label must also be properly placed onto the container since crooked and wrinkled labels may send a message that the manufacturer doesn’t care about their products. Customers may then conclude that those items are defective or of poor quality, so they will opt for better-looking products. 

If you apply labels by hand, you may end up with crooked labels that are visually unappealing. You may also encounter issues, such as bubbling or wrinkling of labels, which can make the information printed on the label difficult to read or affect the label’s adherence. In contrast, a labeling machine properly and accurately applies labels onto containers every time, even as throughput increases.

Increased labeling speed

Manual labeling can take up so much time. But if you invest in a labeling machine, you can boost your labeling speed by as much as 500%. This allows you to get your products to customers much faster.

Cost savings

When your order volume increases and you manually label products, you will need to hire more personnel to keep up with the demand, resulting in higher labor costs. On the other hand, when you have a labeling machine, its superior application speed enables you to meet your production quota without having to hire more people. This lets you save on costs related to salaries, benefits, overtime pay, break times, and sick/vacation days. 

What’s more, since a labeling machine greatly minimizes labeling errors, you can also save on costs related to wastage.

What should you consider when purchasing a labeling machine?

Before you add a labeling machine to your filling line, consider the following:

Compatibility with filling line

To ensure compatibility with your filling line, you must check if your production area has enough space for the labeling machine. 

Next, you should consider where the labeling process will take place in your production line. Will you be labeling the containers before or after they’ve been filled? Your answer will affect your choice of labeling machine whether you’re adding one to a pre-existing filling line or are designing a new line. This is due to compatibility issues — you need to make sure that mechanical and software integrations are possible among your different equipment.

Container size and shape

The type of labeler you pick will greatly depend on the size and shape of the containers you use for your products.

Container Compatible labeling machine
Unstable round containers (e.g., vials with rounded bottoms) Horizontal wrap labelers – products are placed on a horizontal roller, which then runs them through a wrap station
Stable bottles (e.g., slightly tapered bottles and stable square or rectangular bottles) Vertical wrap labelers – containers are wrapped with labels while they are in an upright position
Oval, flat, round, or rectangular containers Front and back or side panel labelers – place labels on one or two sides of a container, or in some cases with some modification, three sides
Boxes or jars with wide round lids (e.g., cupcake boxes, margarine tubs, salad containers) Top labeler – places a label on the top of a product that passes through the machine
Top and bottom labelers – place labels on the top and bottom of containers
Custom-shaped container Custom labeling machine – has custom configurations specifically designed to label a particular container shape

There are also flexible labeling machines like the CTM Labeling System 3600a-PA Series that can apply labels to the top, bottom, or sides of the packaging.

Label type

The labeling machine you choose will also depend on the type of label you will use. Popular labeling options include:  

  • Pressure-sensitive label – a self-adhesive label that is applied with pressure so it would adhere to the packaging
  • Shrink sleeve label – a flexible, pre-printed film that is slipped over the packaging and applied with heat so that it would conform to the shape of the packaging

If you are unsure which of the two label types to use for your product, read our previous blog: Shrink Sleeve vs. Traditional Labeling: Which is better?

Label application speed

Your desired throughput rate will determine if you need a semi-automatic or an automatic labeling machine. Semi-automatic labeling machines are typically more affordable and physically smaller but have a slower throughput than automatic ones. 

To help you decide which of these machine types will better suit your company’s needs, read our previous blog: Semi-automatic vs. automatic label applicator: Which one should you pick?

Functionality

In terms of functionality, there are two types of labeling machines:

  • Label applicator – automatically applies pre-printed labels onto containers
  • Print and apply label applicator – prints the design directly onto labels, which are then applied onto containers

If you require critical information to be placed in the exact spot every time, then a print and apply label applicator will be the better choice. This is because having the printer and applicator in one machine allows for greater accuracy. Moreover, since the print engines of print and apply label applicators are designed for assembly lines, they’re quicker and more reliable than stand-alone printers.

Manufacturer

While there are plenty of labeling machines in the market, stick to labeling machines made by reputable manufacturers, such as Herma, CTM Labeling Systems, and Auto Labe. They guarantee excellent after-sales service, which is important since you’ll want your labeling machines to last a long time.

What should you do next?

If you are still having difficulty deciding on which labeling machine to add to your filling line, then seek the expertise of Pro-Motion Industries. Our team of labeling specialists can help you pick the machine that meets both your budget and requirements. 

But if budget, floor space, or technical constraints prevent you from integrating a labeling machine into your filling line, then you can simply outsource your labeling needs to us. By doing so, you can leverage our labeling expertise and top-notch equipment. Contact us at 856-809-0040 today.

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