Why Print-and-Apply is Often the Better Way to Print Labels

When it comes to labeling products and shipments, many companies rely on manual processes or outsourcing. Generally, they end up choosing one of two approaches:

1. Print barcode labels on industrial or desktop printers, and then manually apply them to boxes or packaging.

2. Purchase pre-printed labels in advance, and then manually adhere them to items or goods.

Unfortunately, these two approaches are inefficient, costly, and prone to error. Both require manual labor and more time and effort to label each box or item; moreover, all it takes is one mistake to lead to a missing or misidentified product or a lost shipment.

If you have an outside company pre-print your labels, that tends to add more cost as well. You can’t print labels on demand, and you also can’t print labels with unique information such as serial numbers unless everything is sequenced and printed in advance. On top of all this, you have to manage your label inventory and stay ahead of demand, so you can order your next batches of labels before you run out.

The drawbacks of these two approaches are why it’s often a better option to switch to an automated print-and-apply system. Instead of printing your own labels manually or relying on pre-printed labels from an outside vendor, print-and-apply systems run independently, automatically applying your labels to products, cartons, cases, pallets, and totes.

For example, with print-and-apply solutions that we design and deploy for our customers, we combine Zebra Technologies barcode and RFID printers with our high-speed in-line label applicators and PortalTrack software to print and apply labels and tags on demand—without manual labor or pre-printing.

You can simply place one of our print-and-apply systems next to a conveyor or wherever you need high-speed, automatic labeling, and labels are applied automatically according to your configuration. It all happens as products, cartons, cases, pallets, or totes pass by the system during your processes.

Our solutions are fitted with Zebra’s industry-leading print engines, which provide unmatched performance and reliability, even in the most demanding and volume-intensive labeling applications. Our applicators can also be configured for thermal transfer, direct thermal, or RFID printing and encoding, so we can support virtually any labeling and tracking media.

Printing is blazingly fast, with speeds up to 16 to 24 inches per second depending on the Zebra print engine you choose and your needs. Labels are placed accurately, down to 1/32-inch accuracy, and printing is at high quality, with up to 609 dpi.

Built-in PLC controls and a visual display provide easy and advanced process controls, and there’s even a user-friendly remote-mount operator interface. The display provides system and supplies status, and there’s even on-screen troubleshooting and diagnostic tools in case you encounter an unexpected issue.

In terms of applicators, we provide a wide variety of options, including wipe, tamp, corner wrap, dual-panel, roll applicators, and more.

But, most importantly, by automating the entire process of configuring, printing, and applying your labels or RFID tags for virtually any job, you can use our system to save thousands of hours per year in manual labeling and potentially thousands of dollars per year in related pre-printing and outsourcing costs.

MSM Solutions sells and services automatic print and apply labels and barcode printer systems in Memphis, Nashville. And with MSM’s Portal Track Software you’ll be able to integrate all your hardware, including print and apply and label applicators, into a single solution.

To learn more about print-and-apply label applicator systems and find out if they’re a good fit for your labeling or RFID application, contact us or call 1-800-832-3170. We’d be happy to help.

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