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Are You Still Applying Labels by Hand? COVID-19 is Accelerating the Elimination of Manual Labeling.

YOGI NAYAK, VERTICAL MARKETING MANAGER AT VIDEOJET TECHNOLOGIES

Are You Still Applying Labels by Hand? COVID-19 is Accelerating the Elimination of Manual Labeling.

BY: YOGI NAYAK, VERTICAL MARKETING MANAGER AT VIDEOJET TECHNOLOGIES / DATE: 11/02/2021 / TOPICS: MANUFACTURING, PRINT AUTOMATION

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced companies to rethink their package labeling processes. Manufacturing organizations that have traditionally relied on the use of desktop-based label printers with a manual label application process (application by hand) are facing increasing challenges regarding labor shortages driven by the pandemic.

 

As many as 77% of surveyed manufacturers say that they will have ongoing difficulties in attracting and retaining workers in 2021 and beyond, according to a recent study from Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute. In addition, the report highlights that manufacturing organizations are struggling to find the right talent – with surveyed organizations saying that finding the right talent is now 36% harder than it was in 2018. In addition to labor challenges, the pandemic has driven an explosive growth in e-commerce. Customers want their products quickly and organizations in turn are struggling to meet expectations on delivery and quality metrics.

 

The above conditions have accelerated what was already a growing trend in label application – automation. Manufacturers are increasingly reducing manual labor in their packaging lines using in-line automated print and apply labelers, allowing them to channel their resources to the most critical and value-added areas of their operations, while also creating a labeling process that is quicker, more efficient, and virtually error-free.

 

What is in-line print and apply automation?

 

In-line print and apply technology essentially takes a label designed in CODESOFT, prints the design on a label, and then simultaneously applies the label onto the product. Top of the range in-line print and apply labelers have an integrated controller with an easy-to-use software interface, with the print engine seamlessly built into the system. In addition, best practice print and apply labelers are designed to help ensure simplicity with minimal moving parts. For example, a well-designed and straightforward label media path and direct apply technology that wipes the label onto the product instead of punching the label onto the product with a tamp.

 

Two common questions from companies considering in-line label print and apply solutions

 

  1. How hard is the integration of in-line print and apply technologies with existing production lines? This question can be addressed by ensuring that the selected in-line print and apply technology is designed to integrate seamlessly into existing software and hardware platforms. For instance, TEKLYNX SENTINEL print automation software can integrate seamlessly with Videojet in-line printers, allowing for effortless integration from an existing software / UX perspective and long-term reliability and flexibility.

    Label design and print management software from TEKLYNX also offers native embedded printer drivers for over 3000’s printer models, including the Videojet 9550.

    From a hardware perspective, Videojet technicians and sales associates perform detailed site surveys to help ensure optimum integration of the in-line print and apply system into the production line set up, with minimal disruption.
  2.  

  3. How much does this cost? Cost is always a key consideration for businesses seeking to decrease expenses and maximize their bottom line. However, it is important for manufacturers to also consider the potential savings from automation - especially regarding hidden costs of lost production due to unscheduled downtime, increased labor costs (especially exacerbated by the pandemic), and decreased efficiency caused by repeated “touches” often necessary in manual processes. Considering the many variables that go into the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), automation of labeling through the installation of in-line print and apply system is much more cost-effective than manual labeling.

 

Top three benefits of in-line labeling automation

 

  1. Faster speeds and increased throughput – In-line print and apply automation can improve throughput and process speed incrementally as compared to manual application of labels on packages. For instance, the 9550 LPA (Label Print & Apply) printer with Direct Apply technology from Videojet Technologies places the label onto the product without the need for a tamp or air blast applicator, achieving throughput of up to 150 packs per minute for typical 4” x 6” GS1 barcode labels. Faster processing speeds can help manufacturers achieve their delivery obligations and meet their customers’ growing expectations.
  2. Reduced scope and cost of manual labeling errors – More than half of coding errors are caused by operator error – Videojet’s surveys suggest a range of 50 to 70%. We have seen that automation can play a key role in both prevention of and response to manual labeling and coding errors, enabling manufacturers to remain compliant in an increasingly regulated packaging and labeling environment.
  3. Allows operators to focus on other value-adding tasks – As companies face labor shortages driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, operations teams are focused on high value tasks with limited time to focus on end-of-line labeling systems that require frequent intervention.  Automated in-line print and apply labeling can help maximize line uptime, increase productivity, and remove the risk of mislabeling packages. This helps deliver smooth production flow at high speeds, thereby enabling employees to focus on other key activities.

 

While labeling is a crucial activity, it does not have to use up valuable employee time. Investment in in-line print and apply automation can lead to significant benefits for all stakeholders involved – manufacturers, employees, customers, and regulators, even more so in these challenging times.

 

To learn more about in-line automated printing request a consult from TEKLYNX.

About Videojet

 

Videojet is a world-leading coding and marking brand that provides cutting-edge technologies and systems that keep production lines moving. With a wide variety of coding technologies, specialized inks and fluids, advanced software, and a dedicated global service team, we can help you to print on virtually every package type and substrate. To address a variety of tracking and traceability needs, Videojet offers a range of quality equipment for coding cases, cartons, and shipping containers. This includes high and low resolution ink-based box printers and case coding systems – in addition to automatic print and apply labeling systems. Learn more about Videojet.  

 

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