Cab’s Axon 2 is an automatic tube and vial label applicator featuring a German-engineered cab print engine. In the short time it’s been around; it has earned an excellent reputation for being reliable and affordable.

For several years we’ve partnered with cab, which 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 Axon 2 applicator overview

The cab Axon 2 is the first printer applicator explicitly designed for tubes and vials released by cab, featuring their globally recognized print technology.

Let’s jump into the review to better understand what it can do, what it can’t do, who it’s for, and what it will cost.


Customization Specifics
Print method Thermal transfer
Print resolution 300 or 600 dpi
Print speed 3.9 in/sec
Print width 4.16 in

The Axon 2 is available in direct thermal and thermal transfer print technology options. However, we’ll focus on the thermal transfer model in our review. We typically recommend thermal transfer print technology to our laboratory labeling customers because of its durability.

Thermal transfer images can also withstand abrasion, extreme temperatures, and harsh chemicals, ensuring sample integrity throughout all lab practices.

It’s also worth noting that this equipment isn’t fully automatic. The operator must place each tube or vial into the applicator arms before tapping the “apply” icon on the touch screen.

Top features of the Axon 2 applicator

The cab Axon 2 offers several unique features and benefits compared to other tube and vial labelers. Let’s look into the ones that stand out the most.

Compact design

The Axon 2 is essentially the same size as the SQUIX printer. This model fits easily on a desktop or lab bench, saving valuable space in your facility. Additionally, the secure cover keeps out debris and protects your media and film.

User-friendly interface

The cab Axon 2 features a user-friendly, color touch-screen interface, resembling a modern smart phone. This interface provides the user with an intuitive and easy-to-understand experience.

600 DPI available

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

Accepts varying tube and vial sizes

Varying tube and vial sizes can be easily accommodated by the Axon 2. While the applicator arms auto-adjust to different tube 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.

Consistent label application

Labels are applied to the tubes in a centered orientation and rolled into place by a rubber roller with consistent pressure and pace. The rubber roller is gentle on the surface of the tube while providing enough pressure to ensure secure label placement.
A range of rollers are available to accommodate a range of label sizes, or custom rollers can be requested.

Optional accessories for greater automation

Although the equipment requires the user to manually place the tube in the applicator arms, optional features are available to reduce the need for hands-on interaction. Consider adding a tray to catch tubes or a foot pedal to trigger labeling instead of tapping the screen.

Which applications are best suited for the Axon 2?

The Axon 2 is primarily for laboratory use, though compound storage and blood collection facilities may also find it helpful. Additionally, though the Axon 2 is most suitable for low-volume applications, we feel it may still benefit higher-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 automatically by applying labels to those tubes.

Does the Axon 2 have any limitations?

The Axon 2 can only accommodate centered label application. Though many labs prefer this, it isn’t always the preferred orientation. Additionally, 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.

Even so, we must admit this is one of our favorite recent innovations in laboratory label application. 

How much does the Axon 2 cost?

Compared to other tube and vial applicators, the Axon 2 is incredibly affordable, starting at less than $10,000. The low price point is possible primarily due to its more straightforward construction and lower volume applications.

The main drivers in cost will be dpi capability and additional parts.

As mentioned, the Axon 2 has two print resolution options, 300 dpi, and 600 dpi. Due to requiring a specialized print head 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. No two labs require the same set of tools. cab prefers to sell these parts separately to allow you to pick and choose only the tools that will add value to your process.

If your lab is looking for a simple, compact, and budget-friendly label automation option, The Axon 2 will likely be a good fit. This tube and vial labeler might also be a good match for larger labs with smaller volumes of odd-sized tubes that need labeling every now and again.

Our final verdict on the cab Axon 2 label applicator

Our print experts give the Axon 2 a big two thumbs-up. Before the Axon 2, we already featured two existing automated tube and vial label applicators—the TubePro and the Flex TubePro. Compared to our existing options, the Axon 2 is significantly more benchtop and budget-friendly.

It’s a great fit for labs where processing is demanding enough that automation would be beneficial but may feel out of reach.

In labs requiring high throughput volumes, multiple semi-automated applicators, a more extensive work cell, or an applicator that can integrate easily into a work cell may be a better fit. While the Axon 2 may not be the biggest or most powerful tube and vial applicator on the market, it serves an essential role in cab’s and our product line—a position we’ve had trouble filling.

Before the Axon 2, many labs viewed label automation as out of reach. Now, an affordable option is available to help labs increase accuracy and efficiency in their labeling solution.

Request a free consultation with an automation expert to discuss your needs today.


About author Chelsea Payeur

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