Auto Applying Labels for Large Drums? Yes, it’s possible!

How one company saved on large drum label application

A chemical company wanted to automate the hand applying of large drum labels for all their product offerings. They began working with a label applicator manufacturer to engineer a custom-built device that would apply a roll label up to 25” wide.  Not only was this proving to be a difficult task, but the capital expenditure for this custom applicator was also significantly more expensive than a standard build. In addition to the capital costs, providing relatively short run labels with a 25” width was also proving to be and expensive proposition. Additionally, large roll handling was going to be an issue at the application site.

Let’s look at this from a different perspective

A new proposal was brought forward to divide the large 25” label into 2 smaller labels. This made label handling much easier. Since much of the label content was common along several product lines, creating one common label for all the products and one product specific label would be the best solution. These labels would be a common size and format so shorter label orders could be run in a cost-effective manner.

The other significant advantage to this concept was the fact that the company could purchase two standard application heads without re-engineering the current equipment. By purchasing two standard label applicators, they could apply two labels simultaneously on the production line. This saved the company significant startup capital, and the new label specification could be produced in a timely fashion at a reasonable cost.

Seeking the input from additional suppliers really paid off

By gathering input from other stakeholders and suppliers in the process, the company was able to solve a problem utilizing standard, available equipment saving them time and money.

Here are three first steps to take if you are considering moving from hand applied to auto applied labels:

  • Talk to whoever will be applying labels to understand what works best for them
  • Share the specification of their machine with your label supplier
  • Talk to your label supplier about the different labelling options

The result was they no longer tie up personnel to hand apply labels. They can now cost effectively apply labels semi-automatically that are easy to handle at a cost that is significantly less per label than the original process.

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