Definition & Cost of Labelling Machines

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Definition & Cost of Labelling Machines

Updated: Nov 6, 2018


Contents:

1) What is a Labelling Machine?

2) Why Do I Need a Labelling Machine?

3) Cost of Labelling Machines

4) Return on Investment (ROI)

......a) Case study #1 – Wraparound Labelling

......b) Case study #2 – Lid (Top) Labelling

......c) Case study #3 – Front & Back Labelling

5) Types of Labelling Machine

6) What Type of Labels Do I Need?

7) Other Types of Labelling Machines

8) How Can We Help?


What is a Labelling Machine?

For this article, the definition of ‘labelling machine’ is an automatic in-line self-adhesive label application unit that applies pre-printed labels (supplied on a reel) to various products.


Labelling machines of this definition can also be referred to as: labelling systems, labeller, label applicator, in-line labeller, self-adhesive labelling machine, roll-fed labelling machine, and more.


Other types of labelling machines are available which will be covered later on in the article.


Tip: Labelling is sometime spelled with a single ‘l’, labeling, if the language preference is American English rather than British English.



Why Do I Need a Labelling Machine?

The main benefit of a purchasing a labelling machine is to increase efficiency and the speed of applying labels to a products without increasing labour costs, when compared to manual hand-labelling.


Another benefit is the increase in accuracy when compared to applying a label by hand. Most labelling machines should be capable of applying a label within a tolerance of ±1mm in each axis, depending on the application type and component quality.


Labelling machines can also be placed in a production line with other equipment such as automatic filling machines, capping units, etc.


Cost of Labelling Machines:

The cost of labelling machines ranges significantly between suppliers, country of manufacture, and types of application. Entry level units such as Middle-Eastern/Far-Eastern-made semi-automatic wraparound machines can be purchased for under £5,000 but on the other end of the spectrum a British pharmaceutical grade rotary vial labelling system can retail for £350,000.


In-line labelling machines tend to be on the low-mid range of this margin and generally retail at £5,000 - £120,000, depending on specific application requirements.


Other costs to consider when looking at purchasing equipment is the general maintenance and tooling. Some machines require significantly more maintenance than others, but we manufacture our systems to require as little maintenance as possible. Some machines may also need a compressed air supply which is another initial outlay to consider if not already in place.


Some companies choose to not perform labelling in house but would rather outsource the production to a third-party. This is known as contract packing which is a very useful service for smaller businesses who don’t want the outlay of a machine but need to increase efficiency and throughput.

Return on Investment (ROI):

It would generally be expected that an in-line labelling system would see a full return on investment within 12 months of purchase. As the life-expectancy of a unit is typically 10+ years, the ROI should be well worth the initial outlay.


It is difficult to predict specific ROI for the purchase of a labelling machine, as each company is in a different financial situation, but we have created three production scenarios to give an indication for operational labour cost savings:


Case study #1 – Wraparound Labelling

  • One operator @ £7.83 per hour (national living wage) x 8 hours (one shift) = £62.64 per day

  • One operator can manually label 1000 wraparound products in one shift.

  • In this scenario, each unit has cost 6p in operator labour.

  • High-accuracy wraparound labelling system = £21,000

  • One operator can machine apply 19,200 wraparound products in one shift.

  • In this scenario, each unit has cost 0.3p in operator labour.

  • A company proceeding with hand labelling that needs to produce 19,200 products per day would require 19 operators, at a daily operator labour cost of £1,190.16.

  • At this rate, the company machine applying with one operator would see a labour cost saving of £1,127.52 per day.

  • This labour cost saving would pay for the initial machine investment within 19 working days.


Case study #2 – Lid (Top) Labelling

  • One operator @ £7.83 per hour (national living wage) x 8 hours (one shift) = £62.64 per day

  • One operator can manually label 2,400 lids in one shift.

  • In this scenario, each unit has cost 2.5p in operator labour.

  • Automatic lid labelling system = £10,000

  • One operator can machine apply 25,000 lid labels in one shift.

  • In this scenario, each unit has cost 0.25p in operator labour.

  • A company proceeding with hand labelling that needs to produce 25,000 lids per day would require 11 operators, at a daily operator labour cost of £689.04.

  • At this rate, the company machine applying with one operator would see a labour cost saving of £626.40 per day.

  • This labour cost saving would pay for the initial machine investment within 16 working days.


Case study #3 – Front & Back Labelling

  • One operator @ £7.83 per hour (national living wage) x 8 hours (one shift) = £62.64 per day

  • One operator can manually apply 900 front and back labels to product in one shift.

  • In this scenario, each unit has cost 7p in operator labour.

  • High-speed, high-accuracy labelling system = £45,000

  • One operator can machine apply 40,000 front & back labels in one shift.

  • In this scenario, each unit has cost 0.16p in operator labour.

  • A company proceeding with hand labelling that needs to produce 40,000 products per day would require 45 operators, at a daily operator labour cost of £2,818.80.

  • At this rate, the company machine applying with one operator would see a labour cost saving of £2,756.16 per day.

  • This labour cost saving would pay for the initial machine investment within 17 working days.


Types of Labelling Machines:

  • Wraparound - Applies a single label around the circumference of a round product

  • Front & Back - Uses two label heads to apply labels to the front and rear faces of a single product

  • Top & Base - Uses two label heads to apply labels to the top and bottom faces of a single product

  • Tamper-Evident - Applies a single or two labels to the end(s) of a carton to seal the product

  • C-Wrap - Applies a single label across the top, down the side, and underneath a single product in a 'C' shape

  • Tube Labelling - Applies a single label around the circumference of an empty flexible tube


What Type of Labels Do I Need?

This is dependent on the manufacturer’s specifications and the type of labelling machine you are looking to purchase. The majority of our equipment uses outside wound pre-printed self-adhesive labels onto a maximum size reel of either Ø300mm or Ø400mm (depending on the model), with Ø76mm internal core sizes. The labels can be right hand or left hand edge leading depending on the hand of the machine.



Other Types of Labelling Machines:

Other types of labelling machines include: semi-automatic (also known as desktop units), and wet-glue labelling systems (magazine fed/rotary).


There are also alternatives to labelling, such as screen-printing or shrink-sleeving, each with its own benefits and disadvantages.


How Can We Help?

You can view our full range of machinery or our contract packing services, and if you need any help finding a solution please contact our team and we will be happy to help.



Disclaimer: Premier Labellers do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability, and accuracy of this information. Any action you take on the information from this website is strictly at your own risk, and we will not be liable for any losses or damages in connection with the use of our website. No contractual relationship can be formed from the information in this article.

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