What is a Labeling Machine – Here’s Everything about Label Applicator Machine

A labeling machine is a unique appliance designed to engrave product data and other necessary information on products or their respective packaging. They come with varying levels of automation ranging from manual to fully automated.

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Basic Functions of Labeling Machines

Labelling Machine
Labelling Machine

Showcasing product information on your product’s packaging not only relays essential information to your consumers but also helps with regulatory compliance. You can utilize these machines to fulfill a number of roles as far as labeling is concerned.

  • Label Application: Primarily, a labeling system helps you inscribe essential information such as product description and ingredients used onto your products or their respective containers. You can also include your branding information and given certifications.
  • Adhering Labels: In addition to applying your labels, these machines also ensure that your labels stick to your packaging or product. They accomplish this by applying techniques such as heat and glue application.
  • Label Positioning: To give your products an impressive aesthetic, your labels must be consistently and perfectly positioned. These machines ensure that all your labels are applied at the set positions thus giving you a consistent visual appeal.
  • Quality Control: Contemporary labeling equipment comes with sensors, whose roles include detecting labeling errors or inconsistencies. This ensures your goods are properly labeled before being disbursed.

Types of Labeling Machines

Technology has eased the manufacturing and packaging processes tremendously. A key component of the automated packaging process is the labeling unit, which comes with distinct variations. Here are the most heavily exploited labeling machine types;

Manual Labeling Machines

Manual labeling machines are simply hand-operated devices that stick labels onto products using a rolling mechanism. As such, they are specialized for small-scale labeling applications such as home-based product labeling. The upside of these systems is that they attract comparatively lower prices and they include;

  • Manual bottle labelers
  • Hand-held label applicators
  • Manual labeling guns
  • Manual labeling dispensers
Manual Labelling Machine
Manual Labelling Machine

How Does a Manual Labeling Machine Work

Although different manual labeling machines may employ different working principles, they all follow similar steps. These steps include;

Step 1: Preparation

First, feed your pre-printed label rolls into the manual labeling machine and adjust their placement and spacing. Then proceed to position your labeler’s labeling head appropriately. Ensure the labeling head is placed right where you want your label applied before activating the machine.

Step 2: Label Application

Having prepared your label rolls and powered on your machine, proceed to position your packaging container or product on the labeling platform. Note this could be a rotating carousel or a flat platform.

Step 3: Label Dispensing

Proceed to activate the label feed. Distinct manual labeling machines come with distinct activation mechanisms. The most prominent manual labelers feature either a button or a foot pedal. The machine, once activated will proceed to implant the label on the container positioned within the labeling area.

Step 4: Product Removal

Once the label has been applied, extract the labeled product before repeating the aforementioned steps with the next product. After you have labeled all your products, Switch off the machine.

Semi-Automatic Labeling Machines

Semi-automated labelers reduce the amount of human input needed during the labeling process. This is because they have a heightened level of automation that elevates their labeling speeds and efficiency. They are primarily specialized to help you apply labels at a moderate scale. They include;

  • Top labelers.
  • Wrap-around labelers.
  • Flat labeling machines.
  • Top and bottom labelers.

How Does a Semi-Automatic Labeling Machine Work

Step 1: Power Up Your Labeling Machine

Begin by activating your semi-automatic labeler. You will need to press a power button or simply turn on a switch. However, ensure that you first read the machine’s manual before powering it up.

Step 2: Load Up Your Machine

Subsequently, feed your rolled-up labels into the machine. Ensure that the information printed on the labels is accurate and consistent. To feed the rolls, simply guide them through the provided opening. Make certain, they are well-spaced.

Step 3: Adjust the Labeling Head

Semi-automated labeling machines come with levers or knobs, which you can use to position your labeling head or heads appropriately. Make certain that the head falls perfectly in the path of the spot you want to apply your label.

Step 4: Product Placement

If your semi-automatic labeling machine has a conveyor system, simply place your products on it. However, if it doesn’t, you will be required to manually load the products onto the labeling platform.

Step 5: Label Dispensation

After you have strategically positioned your product, activate the labeling head using a manual trigger. This will initiate the label application process since the machine is semi-automated. The fed labels will be automatically implanted in your products.

Step 6: Product Removal

Once the selected product or container is adequately labeled, your machine will dispel it using a conveyor belt. Subsequently, the next products or containers will be onboarded, positioned, and labeled by your machine automatically.

Semi Autommatic Labelling Machine
Semi-Automatic Labelling Machine

Automatic Labeling Machines

These are the staple of large-scale labeling operations. They are engineered to exploit automated components rather than human intervention, which can be faulty and expensive. Automatic labelers are quite costly however, their long-term benefits promise to offset the high upfront costs incurred. They include;

  • Shrink sleeve labelers
  • High-speed labelers
  • Print and apply labelers
  • Wrap-around labelers
Automatic Labelling Machine
Automatic Labelling Machine

How Does an Automatic Labeling Machine Function

Step 1: Machine Powering

To begin with, power on your automatic labeling machine. For automatic systems, this is simple and it only needs you to turn on a button. Some machines come with programmable interfaces, where you can power the system and preprogram it to undertake certain functions.

Step 2: Label Loading

Although certain automatic labelers are capable of loading up the rolled labels automatically, most require you to feed the rolls manually. After you have loaded up the rolls, adjust the tension.

Step 3: Product Loading

After you have loaded up the label rolls, proceed to onboard the products you intend to label. Automatic labelers come with advanced conveyor systems or hoppers where you can load your goods or containers.

Step 4: Parameter Setting

Having loaded the containers onto your automatic machine, head to the control system. Using the provided interface set essential parameters such as the labeling spot and the labeling speed. Before setting these parameters, go through the provided manual to avoid messing up your machine.

Step 5: Container Detection

Once you have loaded up the conveyor system, it will automatically deliver your containers to the labeling unit. This unit comes with high-quality sensors such as ultrasonic sensors, which will smell out the approaching containers.

Step 6: Printing Integration

Advanced automatic labeling machines come equipped with a printing unit that imprints essential information onto your labeling material. These printing units utilize modern technologies and can engrave complex serial numbers and logos onto your labels or containers.

Step 6: Label Application

The detected containers are then strategically positioned to allow precise labeling by the application head. Upon detection, the labeling head automatically cuts a label and implants it on the designated spot on your product or container. Most automatic labeling systems utilize the motorized or air-powered feeding mechanism.

Step 7: Product Ejection

Finally, the labeled containers are rolled out from the automatic labeling system by a conveyor system. Certain automatic labelers have sensors that inspect the applied labels and their positioning. Once they detect an issue, they send an alarm to the control system.

Vertical Labeling Machines

Vertical labelers are specialized labeling systems that come with a conveyor belt that transports and positions your products upright for labeling. They are mainly utilized to label goods packaged in cans, bottles, and vials. They are available in different automation levels including fully automated and manual.

Vertical Labelling Machine
Vertical Labelling Machine

Horizontal Labeling Machines

Horizontal labeling machines are specialized to handle products packaged in containers or boxes that are stable or flat. The product or packaging being labeled by this labeler must be lying flat rather than upright. With a horizontal labeler, you can imprint your labels on the sides or even at the bottom or top.

Horizontal Labelling Machine
Horizontal Labelling Machine

Multifunction Labeling Machines

As their name suggests, multifunctional labelers are endowed with additional components, which enable them to fulfill several labeling or packaging functions. Additionally, you can exploit them to apply distinct types of labels using varying labeling techniques. You can also link them to your existing production or packaging line for continuous production.

Multifunctional Labelling Machine
Multifunctional Labelling Machine

Round Container Labelers

Round container labelers are engineered to provide you with a tailor-made solution to all your cylindrical packaging labeling problems. These labeling machines will aid you apply wrap-around labels as well as spot labels on your round-shaped products or containers. They support varying degrees of automation and include;

  • Tamp-evident labelers
  • Wrap-around labeling systems
  • Spot labelers
Round Container Labeler
Round Container Labeler

Flat Surface Labeling Machines

Flat-surface labelers are specialized machines that engrave labels onto your flat-surface containers or products. For instance, you can deploy them to label products packaged in rectangular or square boxes as well as cartons. You can choose an automated or manually operated flat surface labeling machine depending on your production demands.

Flat Surface Labeling Machine
Flat Surface Labeling Machine

Irregular Container Labeling Machines

Irregular container labelers are uniquely engineered to accurately and consistently label your products packaged in containers that do not conform to regular shapes. They are primarily utilized in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and food industries, which mainly rely on irregularly shaped containers. You can opt for the following semi-automated or fully automated irregular container labeler;

  • Vision-guided labeler
  • Robotic labeling machine
  • Tamp-down labeler
  • Mold-based labeling system
Irregular Container Labelling Machine
Irregular Container Labelling Machine

Inline Labeling Machines

Inline labeling machines are typically enjoined to other essential components that make up a comprehensive production line. These components include packaging and sealing systems. This integration hastens your production and packaging processes by minimizing wastage. They include integrated wrap-around labelers and top labeling machines.

Inline Labelling Machine
Inline Labelling Machine

Rotary Labeling Machines

At the heart of rotary labeling machines lies a rotating base, which moves your products continuously and in circles, as they get labeled. This non-stop movement enables you to label bulk products continuously, with minimal disruptions. Rotary labelers are predominantly automated, however, there are semi-automated labelers.

Rotary Labelling Machine
Rotary Labelling Machine

Wet Glue Labeling Machines

Wet glue labeling systems are designed to label your goods by deploying your labels or stickers onto their packaging using water-based adhesives. They ensure that your label is well stuck on your containers thus minimizing the chances of your labels falling out. In addition to the strong adhesion benefit, these labelers also accommodate distinct labeling materials.

Wet Glue Labelling Machine
Wet Glue Labelling Machine

Pressure Sensitive Labeling Machines

These machines are named after the labeling technique they utilize to stick labels onto your products. They simply attach labels to your packaging by pressing labels with a sticky surface onto them. These labelers only rely on pressure and do not necessitate heating or watering.

Pressure-sensitive labelers often utilize pre-printed labels. Once the labels are dispensed into the labeler in the form of rolls, the machine cuts them before applying them to a pre-determined spot.

Pressure Sensitive Labelling Machine
Pressure Sensitive Labelling Machine

Hot Melt Glue Labeling Machines

These machines utilize a distinct type of adhesive to stick your labels onto your products. They rely on a heat-sensitive adhesive, which is applied on the adjacent side of your labels to guarantee strong adhesion. They come with advanced heating features, which activate the heat-sensitive adhesive.

Hot Melt Glue Labelling Machine
Hot Melt Glue Labelling Machine

Shrink Sleeve Labeling Machines

Shrink sleeve labelers apply unique but stylish labels to your products with the aid of heat. These labels are heated at controlled temperatures allowing them to take up the shape of your containers. Shrink sleeve labeling machines leave you with a well-packaged and labeled product guaranteed to capture the attention of targeted consumers.

Shrink Sleeve Labelling Machine
Shrink Sleeve Labelling Machine

Side Labeling Machines

Side labeling systems are labelers characterized by precision in applying labels to designated sides of your products. They rely on pneumatic and servo-driven applicators to ensure that your labels are accurately positioned. Side labelers support the labeling of distinct packaging options including boxes, trays, pouches, and bottles.

Side Labelling Machine
Side Labelling Machine

Corner Labeling Machines

Corner labeling units are renowned for the precise spot in which they apply your labels. They apply essential information such as product expiry date onto predetermined spots on the corners of your packaging. For instance, they may stick your label on a specified corner of your box packaging.

Corner Labelling Machine
Corner Labelling Machine

Wrap-around Labeling Machines

Wrap-around labelers are special machines that stick your labels around the diameter of your packaging containers. They are often deployed to label goods packaged in cylindrical packages such as tubes, bottles, and cans. They allow you to achieve 360-degree branding while applying tamper-proof labels.

Wrap Around Labelling Machine
Wrap Around Labelling Machine

Top and Bottom Labelers

Top and bottom machines are designed to help you display essential information imprinted onto labels at the top or bottom of your packaging. Typically, they imprint a barcode at the bottom and essential information such as product name or brand name at the top. They are broadly exploited in the food and beverage industries due to their simplicity.

Top and Bottom Labeler
Top and Bottom Labeler

Front-Back Labeling Machines

These labeling machines feature two labeling heads, one at the top and the other at the bottom. Your labels are stuck onto your product’s packaging simultaneously at the top and the bottom. You can also utilize front and back labeling machines to engrave labels onto the opposing sides of your products.

Front and Back Labeling Machine
Front and Back Labeling Machine

Basically, these are some of the most common types of labeling machines.

Essential Components of Labeling Machines

Labeling machines are principally designed to automate the labeling process and they achieve this with the aid of varying components. However, the components featured in your labeler may differ depending on its sophistication level. Underneath, we unravel these essential components and their respective roles.

Label Dispenser

The label dispenser is the cornerstone of your labeler. It is a comprehensive system tasked with rolling out your labels onto your products. It features numerous interconnected components that work in tandem to facilitate the labeling process. These components include:

  • Reel Holder: The reel holder is the apparatus responsible for preserving the pre-printed rolls of your labels. This component holds your label rolls safely and in a position that allows the unwind mechanism to disburse them.
  • The Unwind Mechanism: The unwind mechanism is the component responsible for dissecting your rolled labels and applying each on a specified product.
  • The Dispensing Unit: The dispensing unit is tasked with sticking your labels onto the respective products. To ensure that the labels are well applied, this unit utilizes pressure, heat, or certain adhesives.

Printing Unit

The printing unit is another essential component of your labeler. It is tasked with engraving the necessary information and images onto your labels. This unit is made up of numerous components, namely;

  • The printing head: This component relays the information you want printed on your labels onto the label material.
  • A printer ribbon: The printer ribbon is tasked with supplying printing ink to the label material.
  • Control system: The control system dictates the functioning of the other components. For instance, it regulates how fast the printing process occurs.

The printing unit deployed in your labeling machine may be customized to utilize distinct printing technologies. The type of technology exploited hugely impacts the resolution of the information on your labels.

  • Inkjet: This printing technology is renowned for producing labels with high-resolution text and images. Data is imprinted onto your labels once ink droplets are sprinkled following a pattern. This technology is however relatively costlier but it achieves vibrant colors.
  • Thermal Transfer: This technology is reliant on a pre-heated ribbon, which melts the chosen ink that is used to engrave your branding information onto the labels.
  • Laser Printing: Laser printing technology ensures that your products’ information is sharply printed in high resolution onto your labels. It exploits a laser beam, which blends toner particles resulting in high-quality labels.

Labeling Head

The labeling head is the special component that actually places your labels onto your specified products or packaging. A typical application head is made up of three sub-components, namely;

  • Label Applicator: This component is essentially tasked with transferring your labels from the dispensing unit onto your products.
  • Pressure Pad: The pressure pad presses the labels onto your packaging thereby ensuring they are securely attached.
  • Sensor: The sensor senses the presence of your goods and communicates with the control system, which subsequently dictates the next steps.

The labeling head comes in varying forms. The most prominent types are:

  • Blow-on Labeling Head: This form of labeling head sticks your labels onto your products by pressing the adhesive using a burst of air. It is often utilized in packaging applications relying on delicate containers like glass jars.
  • Corner-Wrap Application Head: This labeling head is commonly employed in labeling machines designed to apply your labels around box corners.
  • Tamp-Applying Labeling Head: This type of application head is deployed in labelers tasked with labeling flat-surface containers. It exploits a pad to generate the necessary pressure required to stick your labels.
  • Wrap-Around Application Heads: This labeling head is engineered uniquely to facilitate the application of labels that wrap around your containers.


In a labeling machine, the sensor is a crucial component that ideally acts as your machine’s electronic eye. It detects the product packaging being presented for labeling before relaying this presence to the control system.

The control system consequently dictates the movement of the conveyor system and labeling head to facilitate precise labeling. Your labeling machine’s sensor can also troubleshoot common problems such as missing labels or mispositioned labels.

Conveyor System

The conveyor system is simply a mobile pathway that moves your products from other areas of the production line onto the labeling unit. Once it delivers your products or packaging containers to the labeling station, it positions them perfectly on the labeling head. This is often done with the aid of sensors.

Control System

The control system is essentially the controller that commands the various components of your labeling machine while coordinating their respective functions. It is linked to varying sensors, which feed it with essential information regarding the functioning of the other components. The control system also provides you with an interface, from where you can program your machine’s labeling speed.

Labelling Machine Parts
Labelling Machine Parts

Labeling Machine Advantages

Before labeling machines came into existence, you can imagine the adversities industries and individuals went through to engrave product descriptions. The inception of these machines helped streamline the packaging and labeling process. With one of these units, you are guaranteed to benefit in a number of ways:

  • Improved Brand Image: A labeling machine ensures that all your products feature aesthetically appealing labels applied uniformly and consistently. This raises your customers’ confidence in your brand whilst reassuring them of your professionalism.
  • Faster Labeling: Labeling machines, particularly fully automated labelers can affix thousands of labels onto your products within significantly fewer hours. Compared to manual labeling, the throughput of these machines is unrivaled and it can help you meet your market demand effortlessly.
  • Consistent Labels: Having products with labels located at different positions can lower your customers’ confidence in your products. Using a labeling machine eradicates these inconsistencies by ensuring that all your products demonstrate a consistent and precise label spot.
  • Improved Productivity: The improved throughput of labeling machines often translates into a higher production rate. This can be quite beneficial as it guarantees you improved sales, which translates into higher profit margins.
  • Improved Quality Control: Labeling machines incorporate sensors to detect mispositioned labels or even missing labels. This helps you to proactively rectify these issues before your products get to the market.
  • Regulatory Compliance: In certain regions, your products are required to exhibit accurate and consistent labeling, which is almost impossible to accomplish with manual labeling. Utilizing a labeler ensures that your goods are perfectly labeled and that their labels relay consistently accurate information.
  • Improved Traceability: A labeling machine can engrave barcodes onto your products thereby creating a trail that allows you to retrieve them seamlessly. All you need to do is track the code’s movement throughout the supply chain.
  • Better Precision: Using an automated labeler helps minimize the chances of featuring erroneous information on your labels. It also eliminates the likelihood of having products with mismatched labels.
  • Lower Operational Costs: Labeling vast amounts of products by hand is not only time-consuming but it is also expensive. Replacing the human hands with machines guarantees you precise label placement and lower labor costs.
  • Elevated Safety: Modern-day labeling machines are equipped with advanced safety features such as tamper-evident labeling. This keeps your products and sensitive packaging containers safe and in tip-top condition.
  • Organized Working Area: Manual labeling can be messy and disorganized due to the constant cutting of labeling materials. Utilizing a labeling machine instead keeps your working station clean and minimizes the risk of product contamination.

Choosing the Best Labeling Machine

Labels may be dismissed as trivial components, but they play an essential role in growing your brand. This is why it is extremely important to have well-printed labels promoting your brand. To accomplish this, you will need a befitting labeling machine, and factoring in the underlying considerations should help you with this.

  • Know Your Product’s Features: Labeling machines are typically designed to handle varying types of products and containers. It is therefore important, that you consider your product’s shape, design, and texture. For instance, settle for a wrap-rounded labeler rather than a flat labeler when dealing with cylindrical goods or packaging.
  • Label Requirements: Establish the type of label you want applied to your products and the kind of printing required. Do not forget to consider your desired label’s material, shape, and size.
  • Production Volume: Take into consideration the number of products you want labeled on an hourly basis. If you intend to achieve a higher throughput, consider procuring an automatic label-filling machine with multiple labeling heads.
  • Existing Setup: Would you like to have your labeling machine linked to your existing production or packaging line? If so, ensure that you settle on a labeler that best complements your production line’s automation level and capacity.
  • Label Application Speed: Before procuring a labeling machine, determine what your labeling priorities are. Do you desire a machine with a lightning-fast labeling speed or do you desire one that will label your products accurately but relatively slowly?
  • Machine Features: Despite fulfilling similar roles, most labeling machines come with distinct features. Features you may want to have a look at include printing capabilities, troubleshooting features, and safety features.
  • Budget: When procuring a labeling machine, you cannot ignore or downplay budgetary constraints. Try to find out the initial investment cost and the expected operational costs. Go for a labeler that won’t strain you financially and one that offers a balance between cost and performance.

Common Issues with Labeling Machines

Modern-day labeling machines are nearly flawless. However, your labeler may be prone to a few challenges including:

  • Misaligned Labels: This mainly occurs as a result of inaccurately positioned labeling heads or products. To overcome this, simply check your labeling head’s position or calibrate.
  • Wrinkled Labels: If the rollers on your labeler are faulty or worn out, your labels may have wrinkles or bubbles. This may also be a consequence of inappropriate pressure settings. To resolve this, adjust the application speed or troubleshoot your roller.
  • Label Jam: Label jam occurs whenever your labeling materials get stuck on your labeling machine. To overcome this phenomenon, make sure your labeler’s feed path is devoid of debris. Also, check your label rolls before feeding them into the labeler.

Maintenance Practices for Labeling Machines

According your labeler proper maintenance is the key to optimizing its productivity. The underlying tips should help you keep your labeling machine in tip-top condition.

  • Gently but thoroughly clean the main components of your labeling machine. These include the roller, labeling head, and printhead.
  • Frequently apply the recommended lubricant to keep the moving parts of your labeler functioning optimally.
  • After regular use, inspect your labeler and substitute any exhausted component.
  • Frequently check your machine’s settings using the control system and readjust them if necessary.
  • Always consult the given user manual if unsure of any maintenance practice or routine.

Common Applications of Labeling Machines

Labeling machines’ versatility and immense rewards have seen their use transcend multiple industries. Some of these industries include:

  • Soda labeling
  • Can labeling
  • Beer labeling
  • Wine labeling
  • Mineral water labeling
  • Medication labeling
  • Labeling vials
  • Cosmetics labeling
  • Toiletries labeling
  • Detergents labeling
  • Car parts labeling
  • Electronics labeling
  • Garments labeling
  • Fertilizer labeling
  • Stationary labeling

At LOM we offer a wide range of labeling machines depending on our client’s unique requirements and specifications. For all your labeling machines, contact us now

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