All About (Label) Applicators

What is a Label Applicator?

We have talked a great deal about labeling machines, product packaging and label materials before. Now let us take a step further and talk about an important process in the pipeline of printing labels i.e label applicators

In today’s blog we will break down the meaning of label applicators for our readers and talk about the types of label applicators.

The process of putting up a label, when printed, to the final product is conducted by a label applicator. Label applicators are basically machines that put up the label either automatically or through operator’s support on a bottle, drum, box, containers, etc.

Label applicators run parallel with the term pressure sensitive. The labeling system that a manufacturer possesses will include a labeling machine and an applicator machine which requires putting up the labels on the product.

The idea behind a label applicator is to automatically apply labels to the product and save on time and waste. Label applicators take any roll labels, beer bottle labels, bottle labels, sensitive labels, packaging labels among others and dispense them, eventually applying them to a product.

Applications for Label Applicators

There are two kinds of applications to label applicator machines.

Apply-only Application: This is the application, where the label manufacturer has preprints the labels and applies them to the final product.

Labels can be printed either traditionally or using laser technology i.e using a digitally color label printer. A separate label applicator is used to permanently stick labels on the products. It is also widely known as Semi Automatic Labeling Applicator.

Apply and print Application: In this application, the labels are printed and directly applied to the products. An inline printer with a conveyor belt is one of the features which is best suited for such applications.

Pressure sensitive labels are used to make sure the full color printer disperses the labels and put them up on the product automatically. Another name for this kind is Automatic Labeling Applicator.

Now that we have established the two types of label applications that label applicators use, let’s take a look at the different types of applicators that use these applications or methods.

Hand-held Label Applicators

These are the manual applicators used to increase the accuracy of applying labels. These label applicators provide absolute flexibility and mobility. In these label applicators, the production line is generally smaller in terms of volume, as complete accuracy is required so does the time increase to apply the labels.

Bottle Label Applicators

To stick labels on to a cylindrical object, a bottle labeling equipment is used. Bottle label applicators generally are semi automatic or manual label applicators.

They smoothly dispense the labels to a wine bottle, beer bottle, drums, these are widely used at craft breweries as they have a high demand for printing and sticking labels on their bottles.

Tamp Label Applicators

These kind of label applicators use a separate device called a tamp which uses a vacuum pad and an air cylinder to apply the label on to a product surface.

Mylar bags labeling equipment uses tamp devices to put up labels on mylar bags. As the labels are automatically dispersed throughout the process, high speed application is required to print labels on the product surface.

The labels are shot with a blast of air from the cylinder to a tamp pad and the vacuum holds the pad so that the labels stick on to it.

Roll-on Applicators

In this semi automatic application, the pressure sensitive labels are directly printed on the products which are kept on a conveyor belt. The products are placed on a rubber or a foam loaded bar. The labels are placed on the product with high speed and accuracy thereafter.

Wipe-on/Brush-on Applicators

These applicators are pretty similar to roll-on applicators. Instead of a conveyor belt, a brush or a wiper is used to apply the label on the product surface. These applicators are most widely used for surfaces with irregular shapes such as beer labeling equipment.

For any label printing process, be it die cut or laser, a label applicator is used. As you have certain specifications required for a die cut printing process, you will have to take care of a few things while opting for a label applicator as well.

Things to Consider When Searching for a Label Applicator

Label materials – The manufacturer needs to understand the label material that is being used. Whether the label can hold pressure sensitive adhesives or if the labels can last long enough on the product surface. The labels could be a paper, a film or a foil, but it needs to be supported by the label applicator.

Product surface – The applicator has to be used for a compatible product surface. When you’re opting for an applicator, we recommend you to make sure the applicator supports the product surfaces which are flat, slick, textured, concave or convex.

Application rate – The label applicator needs to have a high speed so as to pair with the accuracy of putting up labels. If the applicator provides automatic application then the application rate is bound to be more than the ones which requires manual or hand-held applicators.

Accuracy – To have the right label at the right place on the surface needs complete accuracy. Label applicators must meet your needs of accuracy and tolerance level, to make sure the machine can handle a required job at the utmost accuracy.

Location – The accuracy and the precision is important and so is the location. If the label applicator provides the right accuracy paired with a good application rate, the location of putting up the labels falls right in place. The location is set by the user and the label applicator puts up the label in top, bottom, corner or on different sides as requested by the user.

The label applicators are an important part of the funnel in a label printing process. It saves a lot of time and waste and eventually the cost of the manufacturer.

To understand more about the print job applications or any other queries regarding a label printer please feel free to contact us, our representatives will be more than happy to help.

To read more about the digital label printer we have to offer, check out our website here: https://www.arrsys.com/all-products/digital-label-printers/