No product should ship out from your business without having the appropriate labels. This is a necessary part of compliance and also ensures that your customers are aware of what they are purchasing. There are two options when it comes to your method of applying labels to your products:
Applying labels by hand
Using an Automatic Label Applicator
Each option has advantages and disadvantages. So, what’s the best choice for your business?
Hand Application of Labels
Manually applying the label to each product
No Additional Machinery Cost
Cost is a crucial factor to maintain any business operation. If you choose to manually apply the labels, then you skip the expense of purchasing a label applicator machine.
Applying labels onto products is relatively simple and any person can perform the task. The lack of a learning curve ensures that minimum time is taken to train the employee.
Poor Application of Labels
The biggest disadvantage of applying labels by hand is that it can be done poorly. When an untrained or hurried person applies labels without finesse, it can lead to problems such as crooked application or bubbling/tunneling. Labels that are crooked or have bubbles can reflect badly upon your product and brand, and they can also make your product look cheap or unfinished. Labels with bubbles or tunnels are much more prone to adhesion issues. Once the adhesive is exposed to moisture, it can be broken down easily, causing the label to fall off.
Coupled with poor application of labels by hand, inconsistent label adhesion can lead to problems with the product as well. If a corner is left unstuck, it creates an environment where dirt or moisture can seep under the label. This may ruin the adhesive and cause the label to get damaged or fall off.
With any hand-applied label there is a significant chance of wasted product due to general human error. Whether the label was picked up with unclean hands, dropped or accidentally folded, you can expect more waste when applying labels by hand. If you’re applying to a fragile surface, it can also mean that when a label is incorrectly stuck it wastes product packaging or your product itself. This wasted product must be disposed of, repackaged, and sometimes built again from scratch, which costs your production team time and money.
More Man-power, costs and time
Hand application of labels is perfect for very-small-scale manufacturing of products because of the costs associated with an applicator. However, applying the labels by hand takes more people and time as your business productivity grows, and in turn, becomes a large operation cost.
Automatic Label Applicator
A machine completely takes over the process of the label application.
Correct Application of Labels
While hand application of labels can result in problems like crooked labels or having bubbles, this is not an issue with a label applicator. A label applicator is extremely precise when it’s set up and maintained properly. Depending on your operation, it may only need to be set up once and then left alone except for cleaning and maintenance.
Frees up Resources
Once a label applicator is set with the products and the labels, it can perform with minimal supervision. Any extra resources you had tied up with the hand application process are free to work elsewhere.
A common problem with hand application of labels is that it leads to errors and further wastage of labels. Since errors like this rarely occur with a label applicator when it’s been set up properly, you can expect the less wasted product.
Cost of the Machine
Although just how high the cost depends on the applicator you choose, the machine will cost money up-front to purchase, install, and set up correctly.
Installation of the Machine
Installing the machine should be done by a professional. It can take a few hours and may affect your business operations if the applicator is set up during production hours.
Requires large number of products
An automatic label applicator best functions when you have a larger number of products that need to be labeled, so it can run consistently.
Should you buy a label applicator or hand apply?
The answer to this question largely depends on:
The scale of your operation: If you have a very small amount of products and hand-labelling is not slowing you down, then hand application seems like a logical choice for you.
Available liquid funds: Automatic label applicators come in many forms, from inexpensive to pricey. However, they all will cost you some money at the beginning. Try to compare the label applicator’s price to the cost of employees, the cost of waste, and the potential repercussions of poor label application.
If you require assistance in selecting the right label applicator, you may want to discuss your options with local professionals.
Jet Marking Systems was established in 2005 as a subsidiary of Jet Label & Packaging. Since then, JMS has set out to ensure their customers always have a trustworthy, flexible support team to automate and streamline processes and to minimize downtime of their on-site marking systems.
JMS has a factory- and industry-trained team with a pool of dynamic and dedicated technicians that cover all of Western Canada. We have carefully selected and partnered with first class technology and manufacturers of coding, labelling, case sealing, tracking & traceability, RFID and conveyor systems to offer you the very best options for your industry.
Call us today at 1-866-440-5135 or contact us on our website for more information: https://jet-marking.com/contact/