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What is an Automatic Label Applicator? A Comprehensive Breakdown

Tyre Label Automation, Tube & Vial Label Automation | 2 March 2018

Posted by Nate Brown

What is an automatic label applicator? A comprehensive breakdown

Here at Computype, one of the most frequent questions prospective customers ask us is, "What exactly IS a label applicator and what does it do?"

The simplicity of our answer may surprise you. In their basic form, label applicators do exactly that: they automatically apply labels to your tyres, vials, circuit boards, or whatever other assets you need labeled.



They can greatly reduce, or even replace the manual task of labelling. However, determining what kind of applicator makes sense for you given your goals, processes, and business may not be so simple.

In order to help gauge what kind of label applicator system is best for you, here are some points to consider:


Assuming you're using barcodes or labels already and are looking to explore options for improving the process, we should first consider what your method is today.

 Whether you have a dedicated resource for applying labels, or it's the task of many people throughout a process, it's important to understand how you're accomplishing this task now, and what kinds of challenges you're having.

Knowing how your current process works will help in determining feasibility in shifting to an automated process.


As you can imagine, the need to apply a few hundred labels per day vs. the need to apply a few thousand or even hundreds of thousands will lead to a much different kind of applicator solution. 

There are basic, inexpensive label applicators that can sit solitarily on a benchtop and require little planning or commissioning; these are great if the volume aligns.

On the other end of the spectrum are systems that can be integrated into larger workflows and apply thousands of labels per day. Chromaffix Automated Tread Labeling SystemComputype recently launched Chromaffix, a tread label applicator that integrates straight into tyre manufacturing lines. An automation system like this is capable of applying a label every 2 seconds to keep pace with the high throughput needs of tyre manufacturing.

Similarly, the shape of the asset we're applying the label to can make a big difference as some systems are specialised for application to cylindrical or flat objects. A good starting point when researching label automation is to determine your label volume.




More specifically, why are you considering automating the labelling process? A few reasons our customers are typically looking to do this include the following: Plate Label Stack

  • Reduce manual labour

  • Improve label placement accuracy

  • Reduce errors associated with labelling

  • Integrate the labelling process with existing lines or workflows

Understanding your goals will help in determining what kind of label applicator makes the most sense for you.


Some label applicator systems will automatically print labels, and then apply them. Other systems are designed to apply an already printed label or die cut part. If your labelling strategy requires variable data (date, lot code, product-specific information, etc.), we'll need to consider a system that, at a minimum, prints information on demand before automatic application. If your labelling strategy requires the use of colour – let's say to include your logo- we'll need to be sure we take that into consideration as well as not all label applicators have the ability to print in colour.


Based on everything we've discussed above, it should come as no surprise that the investment in an automatic label applicator system can vary based on things like throughput needs and connectivity requirements.

Typically, automated labelling systems can range anywhere from $20,000 - $200,000. When considering business justification for a label applicator system, it's helpful to think through opportunity costs; what is the expense if a labelling mistake occurs, or if an asset doesn't get labeled at all?

In applications where precision and accuracy of the label are of the upmost importance, the business justification is often easier. Check out our basic justification formula for some ideas to help determine if label automation can be attained within your budget.

Simply put, automatic label applicators can greatly reduce or even fully replace the manual task of labelling. Determining which kind of system is right for you will depend on multiple factors associated with your goals, process, industry, and label volume. To continue your research, have a read through our whitepaper 'Is automatic label automation right for you? 4 key questions you must ask'.

Here at Computype, we've been helping customers improve their labelling processes with label automation for over 40 years. Our Global Services Team and Equipment Engineers are experts in helping you determine which applicator makes the most for your business, budget, and future goals.

Is Print-And-Apply Label Automation Right For You? 4 Key Questions You Must Ask Download My Guide

Nate Brown

Based in St. Paul, MN, Nate Brown is Computype's Vice President. Having been at Computype for 17 years in engineering and executive roles, he has gained much expertise in the labelling industry. Additionally, Nate spends a lot of hands-on time with our customers, including travelling to their locations to ensure our solutions are commissioned, installed, and integrated to improve processes.