Automatic labeling: wipe-on vs. tamp-blow labelers

In the age of industrial automation, efficient automatic labeling in manufacturing and logistics processes is a must. You can choose between label dispensers and print-apply-systems to apply almost all kinds of variable data labels to any product and packaging. They can be installed at multiple stages of the production line, where different surfaces and environments pose various challenges. In order to achieve perfect labeling results for your applications, our labeling systems possess innovative technologies.

In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the dispenser unit. Did you know that our machines can apply labels without contact? Read on to learn how the ‘tamp-blow’ method compares to the ‘wipe-on’ method and which one might be better for you!

Label dispenser Alpha HSM from Weber Marking Systems
Label dispenser Alpha HSM: extremely flexible within limited spaces
Print-apply-labeler Legi-Air 6000 from Weber Marking Systems
Print-apply labeling system Legi-Air 6000: high performance with up to 2,400 labels per hour

Tamp-blow label applicator

Tamp label applicators are the most commonly used version of our label dispensers. The tamp-blow method is a contactless labeling technique, in which a vacuum is created in the tamp. It sucks and holds the printed label (with the adhesive side down) under the tamp pad until it is ready to be applied onto the product.

As soon as the product is ready to be labelled, the tamp moves down. The vacuum in the tamp is switched off and an overpressure is created instead. The overpressure ‘shoots’ the label in exact position onto the product without the tamp touching it. If the product’s surface and the label’s adhesive are matched correctly, no additional action (such as pressing on) is required for the label to stick properly.

You can watch the tamp-blow process in the following slow motion video:

Advantages of tamp-blow labelers from Weber Marking Systems:

  • The printing and applying of labels does not need to be synchronized with the movement of the products in the line. The printed label ‘waits’ until the start of the labeling process.
  • Due to the label being blown off very quickly, it is possible to label fast-moving products without a problem.
  • It is possible to label a product that moves faster than the printer is able to print (see point 1 and 2).
  • With a rotary tamp, the printed label can be rotated to the required position before being blown off.
  • The product does not need to be precisely aligned for the labeling process.
  • It is possible to label products of different heights, because the tamp movement compensates the distance. A targeted air blast can bridge the remaining distance.
Did you know?
It is very important that the size, quantity and arrangement of the holes in the tamp pad are precisely adapted to your labeling machine. The vacuum must always be strong enough to hold the label in position. This requires the label to cover the suction holes correctly. It is also necessary to direct the subsequent overpressure to the correct blow-off holes in the correct order. As you can tell, the inside of a tamp can be quite complex. We are increasingly using 3D printed parts in our systems, as they can be adapted much more flexibly to the client’s requirements.

Wipe-on label applicator

With the wipe-on method, the label is applied directly onto the product. The label can be printed in the process (while being applied):

The speed of printing and applying needs to be synchronized to avoid wrinkled labels. The product must not move faster than the printing speed. If the product stops, the printer also has to stop printing temporarily.

Since an additional roll or brush can be added to the dispenser to press the label onto the product, wipe-on labelers are especially suitable for bubble-free labeling on difficult surfaces. Furthermore, operational costs for compressed air can be saved.

Experts for your perfect labeling solution

The composition of labels, adhesives and applicators is anything but trivial. Our experts at Weber Marking Systems have decades of experience in industrial labeling. We will be happy to share our best knowledge and solutions with you. Contact us now for a FREE consultation!

Learn more about our labeling systems

 

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