A Pocket Guide to Label Printing Automation

Label printing automation is a labeling automation technology used in production applications to streamline and simplify the printing of labels for various purposes. Adapted by various industries, label printing automation systems are used in product manufacturing, retail, logistics, food and beverage, cosmetics, healthcare, pharmaceutical, and more. Label printing automation aims to improve labeling efficiency, accuracy, consistency, throughput, and demand to meet increased volume requirements at reduced costs. 

As the name suggests, label printing automation technologies use automated systems composed of hardware and software to perform various printing tasks in production environments, such as product labeling, packaging, shipping, and more. Automation of label printing leverages a combination of hardware and software solutions to make label printing faster, more accurate, and more efficient. 

To better understand the technology, here is a pocket guide to the key components and essentials of label printing automation systems:

Industrial Printers

The primary component of labeling automation is the industrial-grade label printer, a printer engine. These printers are programmable and designed to handle high-volume printing and provide various printing methods, such as laser, thermal transfer, direct thermal, and inkjet. Printers are an essential component of automated label applicators.

Label Applicators

Automated label applicators are high-precision, industrial robotic machines that automatically incorporate printing and rapidly apply pressure-sensitive labels to various products. Modular in design, with computing power, label applicators consist of three primary components: the print engine, an applicator, and media to handle labels and ribbons. Label applicators are generally small and feature network connectivity for Industry 4.0 integration with remote control for optimal performance. applying decorative, traceability, or anti-counterfeiting self-adhesive labels on any product. Label applicators are utilized for content labeling, shipping labeling,  graphic images, and labeling to comply with specific standards such as those of GS1 and Universal Product Code U.P.C. 

Automated Transport Systems

Labeling transport systems convey the products to the labeling station to apply labels. Transport systems are versatile components that are often integrated with production lines. Labels can be printed and applied in real time as products move along the assembly line. For example, they can either forward labeled products to the next machine or remove them for packaging. 

Labeling Applications

Labeling applications include several designs. Wipe-on label applicators can continuously label products as they pass under or through a dispensing mechanism. Other labeling applications include side labeling of products on one or two sides, “around-the-corner,” wrap-around labeling that can be positioned with a specific feature, top and bottom labeling, and tamper-evident labeling of products.

Labeling Software

Label printing automation technology requires specialized labeling software for design and print job applications. Design software allows users to create custom labels with text, graphics, barcodes, and other elements. Other features include templates and database integration that allow for the generation of labels with variable data like expiration dates, product codes or serial numbers. Print job software can manage and schedule print jobs that fully optimize system resources to minimize downtime. It may also feature remote monitoring and control capabilities for simultaneous label printing across multiple locations.

Database Integration

Another feature of labeling automation technology is linking the label design software to a database. Doing so enables the retrieval of data for label content, such as product information, barcodes, QR codes, or pricing data, which makes it possible to create labels with accurate, up-to-date information.

Sensor Inspection

Additional features of label automation technology may incorporate sensors and cameras to verify label quality, alignment, placement, and data validation. Sensor inspection also ensures compliance with industry standards and meeting quality standards before being applied to products or packaging.

Contact the Automation Experts at EAM, Inc.

Label printing automation is a beneficial and versatile technology that simplifies creating and printing labels in production environments. By integrating data sources, designing dynamic labels, automating the printing process, and providing quality control mechanisms, the technology increases efficiency and reduces the likelihood of labeling errors. 

EAM, Inc. is a leader in the design of custom automated manufacturing machinery and industrial-engineered automation systems. Our label printing automation technology is widely used in industries where labeling plays a critical role, not only to enhance and increase productivity for companies but to help them maintain a high level of quality and accuracy in their labeling processes. Contact us today for more information on how we can assist your company with label printing automation.