Today's print-and-apply label systems are faster and less expensive in terms of price & performance than ever before. Some of these systems can print and apply one or more labels with unique identification information at rates of more than 100 cases per minute. Reliability is higher and downtime lower with today's label printer applicator machines. These newer print-and-apply systems offer greater flexibility than in the past in terms of network communications with wired and wireless Ethernet. The speed of the processors has improved along with the speed of communication, which means more real time status information is available for the machine and line. Information for labels can be downloaded directly to the system from a production supervisor's office. Newer systems offer improved methods of applying labels that ensure greater consistency in placement and permanence.
Print and Apply Label Applicators are typically selected over the other technologies when the clarity of the printing must be of the highest quality. An example of this high quality label printing is where a 2D (two-dimensional) barcode is required or when a high density GS1-128 bar code must be printed. The dark print on a white background offers the highest contrast and consequently the more reliable scan of 2D and high density barcodes. Many times, printer applicators are selected because retailer customers charge back on barcode miss-reads and or fine vendors that do not meet a specific bar code quality. There are also some retailers that simply specify labels over other technologies.
Print and apply label applicators do not require as precise of material handling as industrial inkjet printers and laser printing solutions, which can lower the initial capital costs when using this technology.
Print-and-apply label systems are typically lower in price than inkjet printing systems with a cost range on average from $13,000 to $35,000. Units with higher speeds, multiple applicators, and/or wash-down enclosures typically are at the higher end of the price range. Printer applicators typically have a higher operating cost than inkjet printers or laser printers because of the cost of labels.