Automating your labware labeling process can bring numerous benefits including improved speed, precision label placement and the ability to re-allocate employees to tasks more relevant to your goals.
The decision to integrate automation into your processes can be difficult, it typically involves capital investment, assessment of real estate and considerations about current workflows.
In an effort to help you choose the best automated applicator for your facility, we’ve put together this list of our top five microwell plate, tube and vial label applicators. Let’s get to it!
1. cab Axon 1
Recently released by cab—the Axon 1 utilizes thermal transfer print technology to apply a durable barcode directly to your tubes and vials.
Tubes are inserted vertically, allowing for easy integration into your processes—manual or automated. Specialized rollers ensure your labels are placed securely and precisely.
Additionally, this applicator features print resolutions up to 600 dpi, meaning you can expect high scannability even on the smallest of 2D barcodes. With a tube diameter range of 10-35mm, a broad range of tube and vial sizes can be accommodated, with caps on or off.
There are also a couple optional features, including bulk intake or a robotic arm, to further decrease operator involvement at an economical price point.
2. cab Axon 2
The Axon 2 is another tube and vial applicator offered by cab. Released in 2019, this applicator has already grown very popular due to its efficiency and budget friendly price point.
The Axon 2 allows the operator to place the tube or vial into the applicator horizontally, and with the touch of a button (or the press of a foot pedal) quickly and accurately place a label directly onto a tube. The specialized rollers ensure your label is applied securely to reduce the likelihood of a lost sample.
Similar to the Axon 1, the Axon 2 offers durable thermal transfer print technology and print resolution up to 600 dpi to accommodate smaller 2D barcodes. It’s also capable of labeling a fairly broad range of tube sizes—between 10 and 20 mm in diameter and up to 120 mm in length.
3. cab S3200 Plate Applicator
Utilizing the peel and present model of cab’s SQUIX printer as a base—the S3200 features an additional applicator pad and arm which rotates to the appropriate height, placing your label securely and accurately onto your microwell plate.
The S3200 features all of the same print capabilities and familiar interface as the SQUIX printer, providing a user-friendly experience, durable thermal transfer print technology and resolution up to 600 dpi.
Both a tamp pad and a blow pad can be utilized with the S3200 to apply labels while your plate is at rest, though a blow pad can accommodate labels in motion making it a great choice if you need to integrate with existing automation.
An approximate calculation by cab states this system can place up to 20 labels per minute—but speed varies between operators and integrated automation.
4. cab Hermes Q
It’s possible you’re already familiar with the Hermes Q—an industrial printer offered by cab well known for its trustworthy performance.
Numerous application options are available for the Hermes Q, two of which are especially useful in the lab.
Depending on which applicator you choose, labels can be applied to microwell plates or cylindrical labware—such as tubes, vials, beakers etc…
The microwell plate applicator offers two application options to suit different needs. While the tube and vial option utilizes a unique silicon applicator to accommodate a wide range of cylindrical labware sizes, both applicators improve efficiencies, ensure precise label placement, provide high print quality and can be easily integrated into existing workflows.
5. Analytik Jena CyBio QuadPrint
Analytik Jena’s CyBio QuadPrint is a plate labeling workcell intended for high volume applications.
Capable of walk-away operation, the QuadPrint allows your team to quickly and efficiently label plates while focusing on other tasks around your facility—even if variable data is required.
Labels are placed precisely and scanned to verify usability for improved downstream workflows. Plate templates can be stored within the system for an easy transition between various plate dimensions.
As a larger workcell automation system, this equipment is extremely capable and best suited for facilities where real estate is available and processing volumes are high.
As we prefaced in the beginning, choosing the right automation solution for your application can be a difficult process. We hope this list gives you a better idea of which applicators are worth considering in your lab.
If you have any questions about any of the applicators on this list, please feel free to reach out to our team of experts.