Sometimes, cases include a lot of variable data, depending on the industry or application. There can be addresses, nutritional information, bar codes, lot numbers, product identification, etc. Case labelers are a great strategy to not only save money, but they can also help to reduce the space it takes to produce custom printed cases. Instead, blank cases can be selected for different products and then labeled with variable information on an on-demand basis.
Weighing in on Critical Attributes
Before running out and installing case labelers in your operation, there are some important attributes to think about first. You may want to ask yourself the following questions, which can then help you decide on the type of machine to purchase:
- What type of application do I need it for? Does an existing machine fill all the needs for that application or should I seek out a manufacturer who can modify and create a customized case labeler?
- Does the available equipment offer both direct thermal and thermal transfer printing as well as other options, such as serial labeling in a continuous processing operation used for high-speed lines?
- Can the machine accommodate different size labels, fonts, and case sizes easily?
- What type of box or case do I most often use and need a label for as well as where will the label need to go on the case? How will it handle any potential automated print and apply application problems I may have with my particular case needs?
- Does this type of equipment last for years to come despite having to work within a harsh and demanding environment related to temperature and/or operating hours? Will maintenance be an ongoing expense? Or, do any of the machines come with enclosures that reduce risks and hazards?
- Is it easy to use for all operators or will it require rigorous training? Does it provide a multilingual capability as well as easy-to-read screen?
- Do the case labelers adapt to any changes in the environment, such as the addition of RFID or barcode features, in relation to requirements and individual needs or will a new machine need to be purchased each time there is a major shift in the technology?
A lot of questions need to be answered before a case labeling machine is selected for your application and product. In review, the main attributes to consider are:
- Application usage and amount of variable data;
- Processes for case labeling;
- Flexibility to accommodate various label and case sizes as well as location and number of data on the case;
- Durability and reliability of machine to withstand demanding environments as well as the type of expected maintenance costs;
- Ease of use and multilingual functionality; and
- Ability to adapt to changes in case labeling process or in the company’s strategy and product line.