Consistency and Flexibility with Machine and Hand Applied Labels
Labels on packaged products serve important purposes like identifying contents, providing instructions, and appealing to consumers on crowded store shelves. To meet variable labeling needs across diverse packaging types, both machine and hand-applied label solutions are essential. Knowing when to use each method enables overall packaging efficiency.
Machine Applied Labels Drive Speed and Uniformity
For major branding, ingredients, barcodes, and other prime label content, packaging lines integrate high-speed label applicators. Labeling machines feed from label rolls, cut each label to specified dimensions, and accurately fix them to the packaging at rates up to 1000 units per minute. Precision placement results in a consistent look across production runs.
Machine-applied labels work well on flat or moderately curved surfaces where the packaging material passes underneath a label applicator. Round containers often utilize a wraparound label with overlapping ends to fully cover the circumference. Adjustable labelers handle various container sizes.
Hand Application Handles Small Batches, Complex Shapes
Alternatively, hand-applied labels allow flexibility for small batches, specialty products, or unusual package shapes. Human operators peel each label and carefully fix them in position. This meticulous process leads to higher individual effort but caters to specific labeling needs.
For example, small startup companies may use hand-applied labels when first introducing products. Limited production volumes would not justify dedicated labeling equipment. Unique packaging, like bags, pouches, or irregular objects, also benefits from manual label placement. Operators can manipulate labels to fit complex contours based on visual inspection.
Additionally, hand application aids versioned or variable data labels. When each item requires a different QR code, serial number, or personalized message, printing and applying labels by hand avoids waste and complexity in label programming.
Balancing Line Speed with Customization
Ultimately, brands choose labeling methods that balance throughput goals against customization ability. Hand-applied labels provide finite flexibility, while automated equipment enables growth and consistency.
As manufacturing scales, processes typically transition from handwork to specialized machinery. However, manual labeling retains importance for small batches, specialty products, and trial packaging. A combination of machine speed for volume runs and hand assembly for niche products delivers an optimized, adaptable labeling operation. With expertise across automatic and manual techniques, label suppliers can provide trusted guidance on the best approaches to meet labeling challenges.