Cosmetics, pharmaceutical, medical, automotive, aerospace, electronics, food and beverage, waste treatment, agriculture and shipping industries are just a few that utilize labels in everyday operations. To accommodate these needs, several product configurations are available. Hand held devices are used in low production or personal applications such as office organization whereas bench or table top models are larger and often provide more adjustability for retail and commercial purposes.
Industrial label machines are heavy-duty and floor mounted systems that can provide continuous or batch labels that are applied accurately even with high production rates. Labeling machines of any size can provide vertical or horizontal wrap around labels as well as front, top, back or bottom application of labels.
Labelers allow for customized or mass production of these identification tags, which may serve as just that or provide other information such as content, nutritional value, care instruction, warnings, shipping and handling, barcodes, prices, logos or even simply décor.
All labeling processes begin with an analysis of the application. Once the size, materials and dimensions are determined, the information can be transferred to a label printer. While common household printers may be used, specialized printers are widely available and capable of printing on much more than paper.
Metals, glass, fibers, plastic and virtually all other materials can be dyed, engraved or embossed as needed to create a label. Rigid labels are printed onto metals or plastics while flexible labels are printed on paper that may or may not have adhesive backing. Label dispensers are then used to expel the materials from the printer and remove this backing or otherwise ready the signage for application.
Label applicators then use one of three methods to apply the labels. Touch or tamping physically taps the pressure sensitive materials onto the product. Air blowing uses a powerful surge of air while wipe labels are wrapped on. While manual application is permissible in many applications, it does not offer the speed and accuracy of automated systems.
Before printing, dispensing, applying or even designing, it is important to consider the size and material construct of the label needed as machine capabilities will vary significantly. The composition of the substrate to which the tag will be applied is also important as it must be compatible with the adhesive glue or other fastening device used.
Glass, plastics, metals, foils, papers, bottles and other containers list just a few of the possible surfaces to which labels are commonly applied. While branding is most often a choice, several other labels are required by national or international regulatory committees in order to ensure safe practices and full disclosure.