Labels have many uses in the packaging industry, and almost every company will need to use them at some point. When it comes to applying labels, you have many options. Once you’ve chosen the perfect label, it’s time to choose the perfect way to apply it.

Selecting the right way to apply a label is important for the success of your packaging line. The application of the label affects the speed of your packaging line, and therefore, controls how much you can output in a given time period. You’ll also want to consider the quality of your label application because you want them to stay on properly and to look perfect when the package reaches your customer.

Let’s look at 5 ways to apply a label, so you can see the benefits and challenges of each option. Once you know what application methods are available, you can make a well-informed decision about which is best for your company.

Manual Label Application

One option for applying labels is to do everything by hand. This involves employees peeling the labels off the backing and then placing them on the cartons. Manual label application is good for smaller businesses who deal with low volume and low-speed applications. With manual label application, you’re limited by the speed and capabilities of your workers. If you plan to increase your output quickly, you’ll want to consider switching to a semi-automatic or fully automatic label application method.

Peel and Present Label Application

The peel and present label application method is considered semi-automatic. The machine you purchase will peel the label off the backing, and it will rewind the backing to keep it out of the way. The peeled label is then presented for an employee to grab and place on the package. This type of label application can help speed up the process without needing to invest in a full labeling system. It takes some of the stress off your employees and allows them to work quicker on the packaging line.

Roll-On Label Application

During the roll-on label application, a machine will place the label on the package as it moves through the system. The machine handles peeling the label off the backing and placing it on the carton. This is considered the most popular option for automatic label applications. The roll-on method is highly efficient for high volume and high-speed applications.

Tamp-On Label Application

Some label applications require exact placement. To achieve this, you’ll want to tamp on the label with an automatic machine. Tamp-on machines feature a tamp head, which carries the label to the package while holding it in the perfect position. The tamp head should be sized to fit your label, so make sure you know what label dimensions you’re using before you purchase a tamp-on machine. The tamp-on method is available for different shaped packages, depending on your application.

Blow-On Label Application

This method of label application is the least common, but it’s still an option. As a package moves down the conveyor belt, an automatic machine will use air to blow the label onto the surface of the package. The machine does not make contact with the surface of the package while doing this, only the label will interact with the package surface.

Other Considerations

When choosing a label application that involves a semi-automatic or automatic machine, you can choose what’s known as a print and apply system. This is a machine that prints the label and then applies the label, or with peel and present, it will print and peel the label for you. So before making your final decision on how to apply your labels, you’ll want to consider the option to print them with the same machine. You can always have them pre-printed by some other method and just get the application machine.

Now that you know the 5 ways to apply a label, you can pick the one that’s right for your specific application. The way you apply a label impacts the entire packaging operation, so it’s critical to choose the right option. You can always speak with a packaging professional to get a custom solution for your label application. If you're looking to buy some new labels, view our inventory today to find exactly what you need.