Labelling Machines have alleviated the dependence on manpower and have bought a radical shift in the packaging industry. From small electronic PCBs to cardboard boxes of different sizes, these machines not only help boost productivity but also reduce costs in the long run. But, how does a labeling machine actually work? Well, there are several types of labeling equipment designed to meet specific industrial requirements, but the basic principle remains the same – items separated by a fixed distance are fed on the conveyor at a constant speed, and various mechanical wheels and reels are leveraged to attach a self-adhesive printed label on them.
Let’s get into more details.
First of all, there are various types of labeling machines employing different mechanisms. The prominent distinction between the different types of labeling machines depends on the type of label. There are primarily five types of labeling machines:
- chip label labeling machine
- hot adhesive machine
- roll label machine
- pressure-sensitive labeling machine
- and a shrinking cylinder labeling machine.
They are also broadly classified into automatic labeling machines and semi-automatic labeling machines depending on the degree of automation.
The design differs but all of them use mechanical fixtures to separate the items a fixed distance and push them periodically towards the direction of the conveyor at a constant speed. Many labeling machines nowadays incorporate sensors to detect and position the product, sends the signal to the machine control system, the signal is processed by the PLC, and actuators are operated at the appropriate time to apply the label. The actuators usually comprise of a drive wheel, a labeling wheel, and a reel.
The drive wheel periodically drags the label strip movement when it is pressed against the article by the labeler wheel, When this happens, the label strip is pulled out of the spool. An open-loop displacement mechanism is employed on the reel to maintain the tension on the label strip movement as they are connected to each other. Since the label can slip slightly accidentally, a mark is integrated and read by a sensor to ensure each label is attached correctly.
The conveyor is stopped from time to time for the label tape to be attached to the item. The labeling wheel moves at the same speed as that of the item on the belt. When the conveyer reaches the specific position, the drive wheel accelerates to match the belt speed and ultimately place the label, after which it decelerates. During the deceleration phase, the drive wheel plays an important role in adjusting the article position to correct any errors on the label placement.
The automatic labeling machines auto-adjust the positions of the article, test the product, labeling, and affixes them time to time automatically requiring minimal manual supervision. Such an Automatic Industrial labeling machine has a higher upfront cost but leads to savings over time from decreased labor costs with an added performance speed of up to 6,000 labels per hour. These industrial labeling machines are widely used in the beverage, medical, food, daily chemical, and pharmaceutical industries.