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cab Axon 2 Automatic Barcode Printer-Applicator Review (Benefits, Features, & Cost)

cab Axon 2 Automatic Barcode Printer-Applicator Review (Benefits, Features, & Cost)

Label Printers, Labware Marking, Labware Automation | 5 November 2019

Posted by John Masica

cab Axon 2 Automatic Barcode Printer-Applicator Review (Benefits, Features, & Cost)

For several years we’ve partnered with cab, who provides our customers with a range of label printing solutions. We trust their printers to serve our customers, especially in healthcare environments where durable, high resolution print technology is necessary to secure the integrity of valuable samples.

cab’s most recent release is the Axon 2, a print solution that ventures out of their usual territory into print and apply automation. The Axon 2 is an automatic tube and vial labeler featuring a German engineered cab print engine.

We are incredibly excited to help them roll out this new tool as it provides our customers with another dependable automated tube and vial labeling solution.

Let’s jump into the review so you can get a better idea of what it can do, what it can’t do, who it’s for and what it will cost.

Axon 2

What is the cab Axon 2?

As we mentioned previously, the cab Axon 2 is a tube and vial labeler. It’s the first printer applicator designed specifically for tubes and vials to be released by cab and features their globally recognized print technology.

Both direct thermal and thermal transfer print technology options are available, however our focus in this review will remain on the thermal transfer model.

We typically recommend thermal transfer print technology to our laboratory labeling customers because of its durability. Thermal transfer images are able to withstand abrasion, extreme temperatures and harsh chemicals, ensuring sample integrity throughout all sorts of lab practices.

Additionally, we should mention that this equipment isn’t fully automatic, meaning it requires some operator involvement. The operator must place each tube or vial into the applicator arms prior to tapping the “apply” icon on the touch screen.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s move on to the specs:

Basic Specs of the Axon 2

AXON2 open

­­

Print method

Thermal transfer

Print resolution

Standard: 300 dpi, Upgraded: 600 dpi

Print speed

3.9 in/sec

Print width

4.16 in

Download the spec sheet for more details

Features and Benefits

The cab Axon 2 offers several unique features and benefits when it comes to tube and vial label applicators, let’s look into the ones that stand out the most:

Compact Design

The Axon 2 fits easily on a desktop or lab bench, saving valuable space in your facility.

User friendly interface

The cab Axon 2 features a user friendly color touch-screen interface. This interface provides the user with an intuitive and easy to understand experience—we figured it out ourselves before our demo even started!

Easy Integration

The Axon 2 is able to integrate directly into a LIMS system, or data may be transferred from a PC.

Capable of High DPI

High DPI is very valuable in the lab because small tubes and vials require small barcodes and those barcodes need to scan. The option to upgrade to a 600 dpi resolution model ensures readable barcodes, even at small scale.

Adjusts to Accommodate Varying Tube and Vial Sizes

Varying tube and vial sizes can be accommodated by the Axon 2 fairly easily. While the applicator arms auto-adjust to differing lengths some preparation is required for changing diameters. To prepare the Axon 2 for a new tube diameter the operator must access the settings menu and enter the tube diameter.

Application is Consistent and Careful

Labels are consistently applied to the tubes in a centered orientation and rolled into place by a rubber roller. The rubber roller is gentle on the surface of the tube, while providing enough pressure to ensure the label is securely placed.

A range of rollers is available to accommodate a range of label sizes or custom rollers can be requested.

Options to Reduce Manual Interaction

Although the equipment requires the user to manually place the tube in the applicator arms, a couple of features can be added to reduce to the need for hands on interaction. A tray can be added to catch tubes as they are released from the applicator arms and a foot pedal can be added to trigger labeling in place of tapping the screen.

Affordable

Traditionally, labware labeling automation equipment is a large investment, cab recognized this and saw an opportunity. Their engineering team got to work and what they were able to come up with is the most affordable tube and vial labeler currently on the market!

Limitations

Limited Tube and Vial Sizes

Though the cab Axon 2 can label varying tube and vial sizes without additional parts, it can only accommodate a small range of sizes. The applicator arms can only hold tubes up to 4 inches in length, and tube diameters between 10mm and 17mm.

Centered Application is the Only Option

Though many labs prefer centered label application, it isn’t always the preferred orientation. Unfortunately, the cab Axon 2 can only accommodate centered label orientation at this point in time.

Intended for Lower Throughput Volumes

The Axon 2 is best suited to lower volume applications. Though reduced labor additions can speed up throughput, the requirement for an operator limits throughput speeds and opportunities to reallocate staff to more value added tasks.

Application

The Axon 2 is primarily intended for laboratory applications, though compound storage facilities and blood collection facilities may find it useful as well.

Additionally, though the Axon 2 is most suitable for low volume applications, we feel it may still be useful to larger volume facilities. Even at high throughput facilities, small batches of odd sized tubes might find their way into the workflow. A tool like the Axon 2 allows operators to save time by applying labels to those tubes automatically.

How Much Does the cab Axon 2 Cost?

In comparison to other tube and vial applicators the Axon 2 is incredibly affordable, starting at less than $10,000. This is primarily because in comparison to other tube and vial label applicators it’s quite simple and is intended for lower volume applications.

That being said, any optional features will add to the overall cost. The main drivers in cost will be dpi capability and additional parts.

As mentioned, the Axon 2 is available with two print resolution options, 300 dpi and 600 dpi. Due to a specialized print head being required to print 600 dpi, the latter option will cost more than the former.

Additionally, the tray and any rollers necessary for label application add to the overall cost. The reason these parts come separately is because not all labs receive value from the same set of tools, so by selling them separately cab allows your facility to pick and choose the features most valuable to your lab.

If your lab is looking for a budget friendly label automation option and can work with the stripped down features of this equipment then it’s likely to be a good match. This tube and vial labeler might also be a good match for larger labs that have smaller volumes of odd sized tubes they need labeled every now and again.

Our Final Verdict on the cab Axon 2

So far we give the Axon 2 a big two thumbs up. We are very excited to assist cab in announcing their first label applicator and add it to our tube and vial label automation options.

Prior to the release of the Axon 2, we already featured two existing automated tube and vial labeler applicators—the TubePro and the Flex TubePro.

In comparison to our existing options, the Axon 2 is significantly more real estate and budget friendly, however it’s not as suitable for higher volume applications.

In labs where high throughput volumes are expected a heavy duty solution like the TubePro or the Flex TubePro are more likely to be able to withstand the high demand.

Feature

cab Axon 2

Tube Pro

Flex Tube Pro

Print
Resolution

300 or 600 dpi

600 dpi

600 dpi

Print Speed

> 2 sec per tube or vial

3-5 sec per tube or vial

>.5 sec per tube or vial

Print Technology

Thermal Transfer

Thermal Transfer

Thermal Transfer

Intended Volume

Low

Low-Medium

High

Operator Involvement

High

High

Low

Even though when compared to our TubePro and Flex TubePro the Axon 2 isn’t quite as powerful or complex, it serves an important role in cab’s, and our product line—a role we’ve had trouble filling.

Prior to the release of the Axon 2 many labs viewed label automation as out of reach, now an affordable option is available to help lower volume labs—or even larger labs, increase the accuracy and efficiency of their labeling solution.

Our team of printer and automation experts wholly support the Axon 2 and are excited to see what else cab can do as they venture into the world of label application automation.

To Learn More About Computype’s Tube and Vial Labeling Solutions Reach Out!

Contact Our Sales Team Today

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John Masica

Based in St. Paul, MN, USA, John Masica is Computype’s Technical Support Specialist. Specializing in label printer maintenance and engineering, John is the go-to person for all things label printing. Through his 24 years here at Computype, he has learned many tips and tricks to make your label printing easier and more efficient.

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