Pre-printed, Print on Demand, or Partially Pre-printed Tire Labels: What They All Mean and Which is Right for You

Pre-printed, Print on Demand, or Partially Pre-printed Tire Labels: What They All Mean and Which is Right for You

Tire, Tire Labeling | 10 December 2018

Posted by Simon Boddy

Pre-printed, Print on Demand, or Partially Pre-printed Tire Labels: What They All Mean and Which is Right for You

By now, you have probably realized that tire bead labels and tire tread labels are necessary for the success of tracking and identifying your tires throughout both your manufacturing workflow and supply chain. But what is the method behind this madness? How are you supposed to obtain and manage all of these labels without interrupting or hindering production at the rates you have been accomplishing?

Well, there are three different ways to achieve quality labels: pre-printed, blank labels for print on demand, or partially pre-printed. In this article we will provide a comprehensive breakdown of the ins and outs of each of these methods to enable you to choose the best for your business, process, and goals.

1. Print On Demand Labels

a.) Application

Print Labels on demand with the Epson C7500

If you choose to print on demand in your plant, you will receive blank label stock from your label supplier for you to print in-house. This can be the most beneficial method in a variety of environments.

If you are not printing in bulk and every label needs to have a different label format, print on demand may be the most cost effective solution for you. Tread labels, for example, can be printed on demand with the Epson C7500. This is a high quality, versatile inkjet printer that allows for each label to be printed with a different format. This is a typical option for a manufacturing plant with a large number of SKUs or very specialized and variable label data.

b.) Costs Associated with This Method

In comparison, this method could prove costlier to your business for a couple reasons. The first reason being equipment; in order to accomplish print on demand, you will obviously need to purchase the means to do so. This includes at the very least a printer and the consumables that accompany it.

In addition to that, printing on demand will likely be more timely. The constant format switches and in-house printing will add time to your process.

Finally, you will also likely still have a label supplier sending you blank label stock that you will print on, so that will add to the final cost of this method.

c.) Drawbacks

The drawbacks to this method are simply time and space. The printer and process as a whole will likely take up some valuable real estate in your plant, as well as take extra effort to run. That being said, if your application requires constant changeovers and variable detail, this is probably the method for you.

Another drawback is having to manage the formats and sequences in-house. For example, if you are printing your own bead barcode labels, you will have to manage the barcode ranges or implement a system to avoid duplicates in the process.

A big movement currently happening in the tire industry is the shift towards automation. Print and apply label applicators eliminate the manual labor involved in labeling your tires and ensures consistent accuracy and identification throughout the entire process. 

If you're interested in a print on demand tread labeling strategy, check out the Top 15 Tread Label Printers of 2019

2. Partially Pre-Printed Labels

a.) Application

Partially Pre-printed Tire Tread Label

With this method, you will receive partially pre-printed labels from your suppliers with all information that will be consistent and already done for you. For example, tread labels might have all the same branding along with a standard template for legislative requirements, but the tire-specific information will need to be added to the label as the tires come through.

b.) Costs Associated with This Method

Similar to print on demand, this option requires costs in various areas. First, you will receive partially pre-printed labels which saves some time and resources on your end. After that, you will still need the equipment and consumables in order to accomplish the rest of the printing in your facility.

Furthermore, it is important that the pre-printed labels can be integrated with your current systems at your facility. For example, with Computype’s print and apply label automation system, Chromaffix, specialty labels are required to ensure the entire system can work together efficiently and consistently.

c.) Drawbacks

As with any option, this one has its drawbacks. While this requires a decent amount of work on both your label suppliers end and yours, this will likely be a longer process than if you were to choose print on demand or fully pre-printed labels. However, the amount of time it takes allows for you to have a label that completely suits the needs of every tire.

Additionally, since equipment is still needed in your facility, it will take up some space and time that may be inconvenient to your business.

3. Pre-Printed

a.) Application

Tire Bead Label

Having your tire labels delivered to you completely pre-printed allows for this task to be completely eliminated from your to-do list in your facility. This is typically the best option if you have batch orders that all require the same information input onto the label format.

Oftentimes tire manufacturers with high throughput rates choose this method to expedite the processes in their facility. Examples of labels that can be fully pre-printed are tire bead labels. It is not unusual that a label supplier will offer sequence management services for your tire manufacturing facility, so you will receive already printed bead barcode labels with a guarantee that there are no duplicates. This way the integrity of your barcodes, and hence, your product, is never compromised.

b.) Costs Associated with This Method

For this method, the main cost will be that of your label supplier and how much they charge for your specific service. Typically, tread labels range from $50-$60 per 1,000 labels and bead labels range from $10-$15 per 1,000 labels. 

c.) Drawbacks

The main drawback of this method is the lack of direct control that you will have over the manufacturing of the labels, as well as the lack of customization you will be allowed to request per batch. Otherwise, this is a great method if you decide you want to completely outsource the task of labeling and have an expert take care of it.

Another drawback of this method is that it is simply less of a feasible option as it relates to tread labels specifically. With tread labels, there are various legislation requirements—if legislation dictates that your tread labels include safety information for each specific tire, for example, the option to receive fully pre-printed tread labels is simply not practical.


While all of these methods are perfectly functional in various tire manufacturing facilities, it is important that you find the best fit for you. Your process and workflows will highly dictate what labeling options are feasible. We hope that in this article you are able to classify the specifications that best match your business and feel like you are better fit to move forward with this decision. If you have any questions about how to acquire quality tire labels don't hesitate to schedule your free consultation with a member of our tire identification team. 

The 2020 Ultimate Guide to Tire Label Automation

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Simon Boddy

Simon Boddy is Computype’s Global Product Manager within our Industrial Business Unit. Based in our UK facility, he has worked closely with many global tire manufacturers to improve their processes and ensure accurate bead and tread labeling. Most recently, Simon played a large role in launching Computype’s new automated tread labeling system, Chromaffix.

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