Whether you are in the business of manufacturing fertiliser or selling cutting-edge medical devices, there is one component of the production process which you may well take for granted: the label. Packaging and labelling are two areas of the production that can be efficiently streamlined to save businesses time and money, whatever industry they happen to be in. Thanks to the latest developments in printing hardware, computer and materials technology, optimising the whole label printing and labelling process is getting a whole lot easier.
With its use widespread across so many types of industry, knowing not only what type of label should be used, but also how it should be applied, is crucial to maximising the efficiency of a given piece of label printing hardware within a production chain.
For instance, clear and concise label design is of great importance in the medical, chemical and food processing industries, where labelling is not just about attracting the attention of the consumer — it is also there to perform vital informative functions that could cause great harm if they were not properly adhered to. Taking this into consideration, companies within these industries tend to choose digital label printers, which have printing mechanisms that not only ensure a quality of label graphic and text that will not fade with time, but also a clarity of printing that is unrivalled — something obviously of great importance to users.
Traditionally, businesses within the medical manufacturing industry would buy in generic pre-printed labels for all their products. However, when it comes to reducing waste and cutting down on cost, the greater control over inventory and on-demand printing brought about by incorporating a digital label printer into the production line are significant. Recent improvements in printing technology allow such smaller-scale pieces of hardware to print custom labels per product; printing also extends to specialist materials, like Tyvek® pouches, which are often required for medical devices.
Alternatively, for businesses working in the industries like cosmetics or DIY tools supply, the packaging and labelling of a product still has to convey some important information, but also needs to be equally good at attracting a potential customer's eye. For industries like these, where labels need to be produced in huge volumes — often on automated production lines — specialist industrial label printers are available which print at very high speeds. These colour label printers are often thermal printers rather than inkjet label printers, as thermal printing works on many different kinds of label material and can be easily adjusted to barcode printing — again, something that needs to be achieved in bulk no matter what the product is.
Although some industry specific adaptations will need to be made, as we have seen above, when it comes to digital label printing there are a few standard points to consider if you are looking to streamline a commercial operation:
- Do you produce goods in small batches or continuously at a steady rate? If your production of goods occurs in small batches, often on-demand, and with each batch requiring very different labels, then the ability to design and print an entirely new set of labels in less than a day is extremely useful. Inkjet colour label printers are recommended for this type of job as recent technological advances now allow them to print flawless images at very high rates. Their custom design and printing capabilities drastically cut down on wasted labels, especially when printing in small numbers. Such label printers are often used in microbreweries and craft breweries where batch ordering is the norm and labels change drastically per beverage.
- Do you need to produce many different types, colours, shapes and sizes of label for many different products all on the same line? Industrial digital label printers specialise in printing different labels extremely quickly, often churning out customised labels of various sizes and colours without pausing and exceeding printing rates achieved by “one-label” printing. Designed for factories, large industrial colour label printers use thermal transfer printing to give consistently clear images for even the most data-intensive labels. Their Ethernet and WiFi capabilities making them incredibly easy to integrate into existing computing systems and the factory floor. Such printers are commonly found on the production lines of major cosmetics and dietary supplements manufacturers, where their versatility is most needed; smaller businesses should consider a colour inkjet label printer that can achieve similar results for far smaller batches of product.
- Is your inventory commonly overstocked with barcode labels? With barcodes now being close to ubiquitous throughout industry, whether in UPC/EAN or QR form, a digital barcode printer can produce custom barcodes per product at very high printing rates. Barcode printers use thermal transfer ribbon to ensure a clear image that does not fade easily with time and wear. When combined with accessories like label rewinders, cutters and dispensers, an efficient barcode production line can be created, which makes application of barcode to product easy for the operator.
- Can my business afford it? As with any hardware investment, buying a label printer should not be taken lightly. However, with many printer manufacturers offering leases, some with introductory interest free deals, the efficiency benefits from customised label printing will cut costs of buying in labels, cut down on wasted labels on your inventory and improve production line efficiency. If implemented, utilised and integrated properly, the efficiency savings brought about by in-house label printing can more than make up for the initial investment costs.
Quicklabel are specialist manufacturers of digital label printers for use in industry as they offer a high customisability of label production with clear and clean finishes and extremely fast printing rates. This company also provides a range of services and additional support, including training and advice on system integration, which is extremely helpful when setting up the process of designing and printing your own custom labels. For more information, visit http://www.quicklabel.co.uk/products-services/label-printers/color/index.html.