Accurate and precise labeling is crucial for manufacturing and logistics. Good labeling ensures a smooth, seamless production process, while faulty and inefficient labeling can cost your business both time and money. Typically, labels can carry a wide array of information, including text, serials, barcodes, 2D codes, QR codes, graphics, and personalization.
The best print and apply system manufacturers utilize the latest technologies and provide you with the most efficient and cost-effective labeling options. In this article, we will be discussing how you can find the perfect print and apply system that suits your business the most. You need to look at certain things/characteristics while choosing a print and apply system. This includes:
The print and apply system can have normal to high-speed activity depending on the kind of product it is used on and its production line. For instance, some automation companies may have a speed of 10-20 labels per hour, while larger distribution centers might be labeling packages in just a few seconds. Irrespective of the labeling system you use, durability is a major concern. In case of failure of the system, what are the steps the manufacturer will take to fix the problem? What will be the downtime? How robust is your production line in case of failure? These are the questions you must ask yourself before getting a new labeling system. Some manufacturers also offer a backup printer-applicator with zero downtime that ensures that your production process is not affected by the machine failure.
As such, you must look for a print and apply system that has an impeccable record of durable and robust systems with less maintenance time. Just like any other product, you will get what you paid for. So, instead of getting swayed away by a cheap system that might not be durable, you should invest in a durable labeling system. Ensure that those labeling systems are made of good building materials like aluminum and stainless steel. Besides that, check if the moving parts are covered to protect operators or workers. A good system must have secured connections to protect itself from any damage or abuse.
Just like every other product, your print and apply system will need some maintenance from time to time. Machines wear out after regular and heavy use. This is why all its rollers, drive belts, and other moving parts should be heavy-duty to withstand constant pressure and friction. You can do light maintenance and clean independently without getting professional help. However, you must ensure that the print and apply manufacturer can provide you with maintenance parts easily, quickly, and at a good price. Avoid using inferior aftermarket parts on your applicator because it might damage your system. Also, make sure that the manufacturer offers technical services in case of major issues. You should also consider if service tech is offered for on-site visits.
Checking the warranty offered by the system is not enough; you must also take a look at the online reviews of customers who used that system. Keep in mind to look for a reliable system with a proven track record of happy customers.
- Ease of Use
Getting a complicated machine that requires specialized training to use might not be the best idea. This is because you have to invest a lot in training your operators and workers. Instead, buy something that provides simple, easy-to-use guides to help operators navigate through them. Even though print and apply systems might look simple, they require a lot of coordination because you need to systematically dispense, apply, and print labels. For this, it is best to have a system that provides a controller handle that works in the background rather than relying on an expert to operate complicated systems.
Therefore, you should look for a system with a large touchscreen, simple instructions, and drop-down menus that allow all employees to learn quickly and easily. Many systems are highly automated and require minimal effort input from operators to run. Besides that, some systems are also equipped with self-help troubleshooting information and animations that allow operators to figure out the problem without calling the service center every time a problem arises. This significantly reduces the downtime and saves money.
This factor might be the most important for some of you. However, it is important to realize that you need to look at systems that provide you with the best features, durability, and flexibility within a reasonable price range. If you set your budget too low, you might land into an inferior quality print-supply system that might be initially cheaper but can give you trouble later due to functional irregularities. And as such, it is highly recommended to invest in a system that might not be cheap but has high-quality reviews from customers who have used it. Some systems may be quite wasteful due to air leaks around the filter. Therefore, you must choose a system that reduces downtime and parts replacement. Check for manufacturers that do not require frequent maintenance visits. If the system’s structure is solid, it does not require constant attention or periodic maintenance visits. Additionally, some manufacturers might provide guarantees or a fixed number of scheduled maintenance visits for a certain amount of time.
As a business, you are obviously concerned about the safety and well-being of your employees. Print and apply systems have moving parts that may hurt operators if they are not properly covered. You need to find a system that works securely and avoids any employee injuries. It should meet all the standard safety requirements and must be equipped with an emergency stop function integrated into the systems in case of any unforeseen circumstances.
The above factors are not an all-comprehensive list of things you should consider while getting a print-supply system; instead, they are the most important and general ones. You need to think of the specific needs of your business operations to choose the best system that uniquely suits you.