A labeling machine, as the name implies, is a device that applies or covers labels (in rolls or large quantities) to the surface of products or containers (bottles, bags, boxes, etc.) Some labeling machines are not only used to dispense or apply labels, but also to print them. There is a wide range of labeling machines on the market, ranging from high–production units that allow for complete automation of the print and apply process to manual devices that provide for simple label dispensing.
Some labeling machines are designed to apply labels to specific items or products, while others are designed for use with a wide range of packages, containers, and products. There are numerous models currently on the market, made by a variety of manufactures. With so many different types available, it is possible to find the right labeling machine for practically any application.
This article mainly introduces the types of labeling machines.
Due to the different types of labeling objects and the different shapes of the label materials, the labeling requirements are also different. Therefore, in order to meet the labeling needs under different conditions, there are different types and varieties of labeling machines.
This article describes the types of labeling machines from the following dimensions:
1. According to the degree of automation
According to the degree of automation: labeling machine is divided into manual labeling machine, semi-automatic labeling machine and automatic labeling machine. If you’ve done any research into labeling equipment, you’ll find that suppliers offer different equipment types according to price, container abilities, speeds, configurations, and more. Before you buy anything, it’s helpful to learn your options to help you make a more informed purchase decision. Below is a brief overview of the most common types of labeling equipment ranging from low to high volume labeling.
Manual labeling machine
This economic manual labeler machine can easily label round bottles or jars, either glass or plastic. It can also be used as a manual can labeling machine. Our manual bottle labeling machine can get through your days of labeling aligning the label onto your round products. A waste take-up creates a clean and efficient workspace that does not slip around on a table.
Semi-automatic labeling machine
Semi-automatic labeling machines, also known as semi-automatic units, are electronically controlled systems that are suitable for labeling a wide range of products and packaging with different types of self-adhesive labels. They are the best solution for labeling small production quantities and batch numbers.
Unlike with fully automatic labeling machines, the labeling process on semi-automatic labeling systems is initiated by an operator. The product is inserted into the machine by hand in just a few steps and labeling is initiated manually. The product is then removed again by hand.
Automatic labeling machine
Automatic labeling machines can be integrated into just about any packaging line, allowing bottles to be quickly and accurately labeled while traveling down a power conveyor. Finally, custom labeling machines can also be manufactured for unique or unusual labeling projects. Accessories are also available to work with the labeling machine, including coders to print right on the label or even on bottles or other containers.
2. According to the labeling function
According to the labeling function: labeling machine is divided into flat labeling machine, side labeling machine, corner labelling machine and wrap-around labeling machine.
Flat labeling machine
Flat labeling machine is suitable for labeling a wide range of products. One machine can basically achieve all the requirements of flat product labeling, especially for low-volume, variety, and changeable specifications labeling which can largely improve the labeling production efficiency and reduce equipment investment costs.
VKPAK offers semi-automatic flat labeling machines and automatic flat labeling machines; the selection is mainly based on efficiency, precision and bubble requirements.
Side labeling machine
Sided labeling (one side or two side or more) is often used to mark food packaging, cosmetics and household products, glass and plastic bottles or cartons, etc. with variable data such as MHD, batch no. or ingredients. It doesn’t matter whether flat folding boxes, square cartons or oval formats, as are often used for bottles: For sales at the point of sale, the visual impact and therefore the perfect, wrinkle-free fit of the labels is of great importance. Our labeling solutions have the necessary flexibility and are used all over the world across industries.
Our two-side sticker labeling machines are suitable for high-speed production lines, as well as multiple applications across a wide range of industries. The machines can apply pressure-sensitive labels to two sides of your products at once, enhancing efficiency and providing multiple labeling options for full flexibility.
Corner labeling machine
It is mainly used for tamper-evident labeling of poker, electronic product packaging boxes, and medicine packaging boxes.
Corner labeling machine meets the industry needs for high-quality information identification of product packaging; it is effective to solve the security issues online in all sectors of the logistics supply chain. Labeling speed is 30 – 60 pieces per minute, labeling accuracy is ±1 mm. The automatic corner labeling machine can be combined with the flat labeling machine to form continuous labeling.
Wrap-around labeling machine
Wrapping the label around the circumference of the container maximizes printable space. When packaging beverages, this process allows you to place all necessary brand information on a single label and easily meet UPC specifications.
Wraparound labeling for an all-around seamless product, Products from a wide variety of industries have one thing in common: More and more legal requirements for labeling make it necessary to use the available space on the products as efficiently as possible.
For cylindrical containers, wrap-around labeling is therefore ideal, in which the product is completely or partially wrapped with the label along the circumference – which is why it is also referred to as wrap-around labels.
3. According to the type of label
According to the type of label: labeling machine is divided into wet glue labeling machine, self-adhesive(pressure sensitive) labeling machine, hot melt glue labeling machine and shrink sleeve labeling machine. We are not discussing the material of the label here, our main basis is the way in which the label is applied to the product.
Wet glue labeling machine
Wet glue labelling machines apply labels using a glue which is liquid at room temperature. These machines usually apply labels from a stack to rigid containers, such as beer or spirit bottles at very high speeds.
The machines are particularly suitable for wet environments, such as liquid filling of beverages where they continue to be the predominant application method. Often the labels are highly decorative and can be embossed and cut into complex shapes, or are applied to difficult container shapes. Often more than one label is applied to one container, requiring several applicators.
Self-adhesive(pressure sensitive) labeling machine
Due to their popularity, they have replaced many traditional forms of wet glue application. The advantages are that there is no liquid glue or heat required in the process and the label can be made from materials other than paper. The labels can be pre-cut into complex shapes on the reel by means of a die-cutter and stored on the reel until required, with minimal risk of damage. This method of application enables labels to be applied at medium/high speed to soft packages, as well as rigid containers and where the product could be damaged by water or heat.
Customized labels are fed from rolls into the labeling machine. The labels then work down the machine onto an applicator grid towards the vacuum applicator grid. At this stage, automatic pressure sensitive labelers use light or moderate pressure to apply labels to the product. This pressure activates the adhesive causing the label to stick to the product.
Hot melt glue labeling machine
Hot melt label applicators are a variant of the Wet Glue Labeller, where different types of adhesive are heated to a liquid state prior to application. The adhesive may vary due to the product, packaging material or external conditions in the packaging area. This type of applicator is, for example, used for wraparound labels that cover most of a container body and wall surface. Wrap-around labels are applied with a hot-melt adhesive in a labelling machine where before the label dispenser, containers have glue or adhesive applied to them by glue dispensing nozzles, while the rotary plates on which the containers are held in position, are temporarily stationary.
This operation allows for highly precise gluing. The containers can then be rotated counter to the direction of rotation of the labeller carousel carrying the plates, so that a precise removal of the wrap-around label from the dispenser is effected. This means that glue cannot accumulate on other labels in the box to impair the labelling operation.
Shrink sleeve labeling machine
A machine which places a tube of plain or decorated thermoplastic material over the neck or body of a rigid container before heat-shrinking it to fit the contours of the bottle/container. Sleeves are used to cover the entire body of the rigid container to provide a complete body label as well as tamper evidence protection. Typical applications include contoured containers for soft drinks, cosmetics and toiletries.
Shrink labeling is a two-step process. First, a heat shrinkable plastic sleeve is dropped over a bottle as it moves by on a conveyor. Second, the sleeved bottle is conveyed through a heat tunnel that shrinks the label to a snug wrinkle free fit. A shrink tunnel must subject the bottle to the correct amount of heat for the right length of time.
4. According to the running direction of the container
According to the running direction of the container: labeling machine is divided into vertical labeling machine and horizontal labeling machine. The discussion here focuses on the labelling of round containers. The criteria for selecting a machine are: will the container run properly on the conveyor belt? For containers that can stand up and run properly, use a vertical labelling machine (e.g. food jars, cosmetic bottles, pesticide bottles, etc.), for containers that cannot run properly, use a horizontal labelling machine (e.g. pharmaceutical vials, ampoules, syringes, syringes, pens, etc.)
Vertical Labeling Machine: Bottles pass upright through a vertical wrap machine. This option works well for bottles that have a slight taper or square/rectangular design. Partial and full labels can be applied.
Horizontal Labeling Machine: Bottles pass through this type of machine while lying on their sides. Horizontal wrap machines work well for unstable, round containers, including bottles or vials with rounded bottoms.
5. According to the running direction of the equipment
According to the running direction of the equipment: labeling machine is divided into inline labeling machine and rotary labeling machine.
The main difference between an inline labeler and a rotary labeler is the bottle handling. The bottles stay on the conveyor during label application with an inline labeler, but with a rotary labeler, the bottles are transferred on a turret during label application. On the turret, each bottle is positively held between a bottle plate at the bottom and a centering bell at the top. Each bottle plate can rotate 360⁰ in any direction to achieve optimal bottle position to apply the label.
The turret size will vary in diameter depending on speed requirement and how many labeling stations will be integrated to the machine. The circular design allows to integrate several labeling station in a relatively small footprint, when compared to an inline labeler. One important difference between an inline labeler and a rotary labeler is the bottle change parts. Typically, an inline labeler will have mechanical adjustments like sliding rails and height adjustment depending on the size of containers. A rotary labeler will have dedicated bottle change parts, such as infeed and outfeed starwheels and guiding rails.
Inline labeling machine
An in-line labelling machine is an equipment that is highly automated and useful for high volume projects. This type of machine is likely to be more expensive however provides more efficient and effective packaging and labelling. It is a highly automated machine and thus helps reduce labour costs.
Rotary labeling machine
Mainly used in wine and drinks, food, cosmetic, and chemical industries. Products: bottles, glasses, vials, tanks and cans of cylindrical, square, rectangular shapes, flasks and shaped containers.
Labelling is a multifaceted project. Including label, glue, capacity, the shape of the product to be labeled, product size, etc. have an impact on the labeling equipment, so from different perspectives to divide the labeling machine will have many categories, this article is only from the 5 common dimensions to illustrate the type of labeling machine.
If you are looking for labelling equipment, please contact VKPAK and our engineers will recommend the most suitable labelling equipment for your product. We not only offer quality equipment, we listen, we adapt to your needs. We offer advice, we look for the best approach to your project. We recommend the most cost effective equipment without sacrificing quality. It is our responsibility to ensure that all our customers receive every attention to detail to make the installation successful, cost-efficient and profitable.