If you’ve ever been responsible for labeling a product, you know all too well the many decisions and choices that have to be made.
- What type of labeling machine do I need?
- Will my current labeling machine work?
- What kind of labels do I need?
- What label manufacture should I use?
- Who has the best price?
These questions could go on and on, especially if you have no idea where to start. With a seemingly endless number of labeling machines to choose from, picking the right labeler and label for your product can be overwhelming.
Then, the search may become downright frustrating when you realize that most manufacturers have a minimum order requirement.
Sometimes you may start to question your methods regardless of if you have experience or not. You wonder, how do I know what label application I need to use? Am I getting the right kind of label? What will I do with all these labels if I make the wrong choice?
To help guide you through some of these frustrations, try answering the following questions to begin your search:
Identify your need
- What is being labeled? Is it a bag, a carton, a clamshell, a pouch, or a bottle? A machine appropriate for labeling jars and bottles may not be appropriate for a flexible package.
- What is the product made of? An application surface that is smooth and clean may not require the same labeler as a rigid or rough surface.
- Where on the product do you want the label? Some labeling machines are made for wrap-around labels on bottles while others do simultaneous top and bottom or two panel labels.
Look at the production line
- Consider where the labeling process will take place in your production line. This will help determine the type of labeler and application needed, and knowing the labeling machine and application you will be using will help determine label sizes that are possible.
- The production line and the product’s packaging almost always determine what type of labeling machine is used.
The Product Environment
- Ascertain all the different environments your product will be exposed to. What is the room temperature of the packaging environment, transportation, or final destination?
- Knowing whether a product will be indoors, outdoors, in a freezer, or used in an oven will help your label manufacturer narrow down what label and adhesive will work. Based on the product and the labeler, you can then go to your label manufacturer.
The questions above should begin to narrow down your options. Share as much information with your supplier as you can to help ensure you are getting the best label for the job. Both graphic requirements and total volume might dismiss some more options.
A good labeling company will take the time to learn about your specific equipment and environment as well as packaging and product in order to determine the best type of labeler for your specific application.
Adapted from materials provided by EPI Labelers
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