Tube and Vial Label Automation

Automatically apply labels to tubes and vials in your laboratory with these applicators

Today, tube and vial label automation is more accessible than ever. From basic print and apply automation, to custom designed, bulk-fed label automation systems, finding an applicator to fit both your needs and your budget is simple. Here we will discuss the different levels of tube label automation and the applicators available at each level.  

Tube Label Application Methods


Labeling by Hand

Applying labels to your tubes by hand is a tedious, time-consuming task that inevitably leads to imprecise label placement or even mislabeled tubes. And yet, many laboratories today still don’t realize that there are simple solutions within their budget. Label automation doesn’t necessarily come with the same price tag that it used to, there are several newer innovations that have made automatic applicators accessible to every lab.

Automated Labelers

Applying labels automatically can look very different from lab to lab. Some applicators still require an operator to place the tube, while others are bulk-fed may not require any operator involvement for hours at a time. Some may be better suited for robotic handling and conveyor systems, while some can fit comfortably on a benchtop. Determining how you can acieve the most value with automation requires auditing your current needs and future goals with an automation specialist.

Source Pre-Labeled Tubes

Finally, you have the option to skip the labeling process altogether and source pre-labeled tubes from a supplier. Computype’s Pre-Barcoded Labware service allows you to receive your tubes and vials with labels pre-applied, or even marked permanently with direct mark or ceramic applied barcodes and labels. By eliminating labeling from your laboratory altogether you can maximize the time spent achieving your research goals.

Semi-Automatic Tube Label Applicators

Manually operated desktop label applicators

Both of these applicators require an operator to present the tubes for application. This is the lowest level of automation available—best suited for low to moderate volume applications or as a supplement to a larger strategy. Automatically applying labels can be extremely beneficial even in cases of lower volume due to the faster application speed and the improved accuracy. 

cab Axon 2

This Axon 2 is the first automated applicator produced by cab. This model is reliable, affordable, and overall an ideal first step for laboratories considering automation. This applicator is an advancement from the SQUIX printer, combining its impressive printing power with the Axon’s unique label application, for a true print and apply solution.

Axon 2 Key Specs:

Horizontal Tube Orientation

Label Width up to 110 mm

Tube Size Limits: 7-22 mm diameter | 25-120 mm length

PR100 Tube Pro

The Tube Pro is a low- to moderate-throughput volume tube and vial label applicator. The operator places the tube in the applicator nest and application is triggered as the light curtain senses the operator removing their hand from the system. Though the Tube Pro does feature print and apply automation, it can also accommodate pre-printed labels.

Tube Pro Key Specs:

Horizontal Tube Orientation

Label Width up to 100 mm

Tube Size Limits: 6-15 mm diameter | 12-90 mm length

Automatic Tube Labeling Systems

Next level applicators to support downstream automation or robotic handling

This next level of automation includes two applicator machines designed to support additional workflow automation in your laboratory. These applicators are slightly more robust than the previous level, and tend to support higher printing volumes. Additionally, although both of these applicators can integrate into existing automation, you can also choose to operate them manually.

cab Axon 1

Building on the success and accessibility of the Axon 2, the cab Axon 1 automated printer-applicator can function as a manually operated applicator, or integrate with large-scale automated handling. This model accommodates uniquely shaped (such as conical) and capped tubes much better than the Axon 2, due to the vertical orientation.

Axon 1 Key Specs and Highlights:

Vertical Tube Orientation

Unique Tubes Supported

Designed for Automated Handling


cab Hermes Q

The Hermes Q tube and vial labeling system features the high print quality and industrial-strength cab is known for, paired with a unique applicator capable of labeling cylindrical containers big and small. This robust print and apply system is intended for high-volume, high-demand situations.

Axon 1 Key Specs and Highlights:

Horizontal Container Orientation

Larger Tubes and Bottles Supported

Conveyor Automation Supported


Consult with an Automation Specialist

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