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Avoid Labeling Mistakes by Removing Plant Air
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The process of applying labels in the packaging industry is a critical aspect of production that demands precision and speed. Transitioning to all-electric label applicators can significantly enhance this process by eliminating the reliance on plant air, resulting in cost reductions and fewer instances of misapplied or missing labels. Advantages associated with implementing all-electric label applicators in manufacturing operations are listed below.

Gain precision and accuracy through applicator control

The closed-loop speed control and setting capabilities of servo motors in all-electric labelers ensure consistent and repeatable label placement. Achieving this level of consistency is considerably more challenging for pneumatic labelers that rely on plant air. When a pneumatic labeler connects to the plant’s main air line, air pressure availability for optimal tamp movement cannot always be guaranteed. This is because air pressure availability depends on how many other pieces of equipment are connected to or using the main air line in that moment. If the air pressure is insufficiently distributed and falls below the required level, the actuator may not fully engage or may take longer to engage leading to inaccurate label placement on the moving target. In some instances, the label may not adhere to the product at all.

Compared to pneumatic systems, all-electric motors remain unaffected by other equipment in the facility and need only a standard 110v plug, providing flexibility in positioning, redundancy and backup equipment. Moreover, the electric motor can regulate the tamp’s application force, as it operates with a sensor on the tamp pad that detects the product and communicates its location to the tamp. If the product is not in the expected position, the tamp adjusts accordingly to apply the label.

In a pneumatic system, the tamp is fully discharged with a burst of air. If the product is positioned too far away, the tamp will miss it. Conversely, if the product is too close, the tamp will hit it with excessive force, leading to label misplacement or possible damage to the product or the tamp arm.

Maintain precision and accuracy through label control

Controlling the label on the tamp pad is a significant challenge with print and apply label applications. In applications that utilize pneumatic air, a vacuum is required to secure the label on the tamp pad. This vacuum is created by consistently directing air across small holes in the tamp pad, holding the label in place. However, inconsistent plant air pressure may hinder the formation of the vacuum across these holes, resulting in the label falling off before it reaches the product. Furthermore, dirty plant air containing oil, water, dust or other contaminants can lead to clogged holes, diminishing vacuum efficiency and causing the label to detach prematurely. For the vacuum to be effective, all holes on the tamp pad must be covered by the label.

In contrast, an all-electric system circumvents the need for plant air by employing an independent vacuum fan, located on the back of the tamp pad, to control suction. This approach eliminates potential interference from other equipment, reduces contamination risks and removes the requirement to cover all the holes. This system utilizes a single focus vacuum fan to draw air through each hole individually, ensuring the label is securely held in place during transit. Because the fan pulls air through each hole, only half the holes need to be covered by the label, offering users the flexibility to run various label sizes on the same applicator. Even when a smaller label size is used, the label will maintain its vacuum and not detach before reaching the product.Top of Form

Protect your liner and protect your uptime

After the label is removed from its liner, the liner needs to be wound back onto a roll. The rewind is important to provide tension on the backing so that as it pulls across the peel blade, there is enough pull to peel the label off so that it can be applied onto the product. All-electric labelers control the re-wind of the label rolls more carefully, using brushless DC motors that are automatically tensioned with a Kevlar belt and no clutch. This solves the customer problems of needing a consistent label feed and being able to handle a long label take up without run on. These things add up to increased lead time. Pneumatic systems employ a clutch that requires adjustments as well as replacement for the brush motors that wear out. The gear boxes can also require replacement. If these wear parts are not maintained, they can result in label jams and liner breaks (from over tensioning) causing downtime. Additionally, the liner can drift, causing the print to drift on the label and poor or no scanning/ readability on the barcode or label.

Conclusion

All-electric label applicators revolutionize the packaging industry by eliminating the reliance on plant air, providing precise applicator control for consistent and accurate label placement and ensuring secure label control for various label sizes. These advanced systems protect the liner, enhance uptime and reduce maintenance costs, resulting in increased productivity and efficiency. Embracing the power of all-electric label applicators empowers manufacturers to streamline operations, reduce errors and deliver products with consistent and reliable product identification. Contact us today to learn more.




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