Download the full whitepaper, “Pallet Labeling: The Final Step In Your Production Tracking Process”
The final step in your production process can often easily be overlooked. After rigorously completing all the upstream processing, packaging and coding processes, the final palletized product seems to be a small step before crossing the finish line. However, labeling at the pallet level is a crucial process for identifying palletized products being shipped to retailers.
Imagine this: You’re completing a custom job for products specific to one regional retail chain. To differentiate the pallets for the custom job from your standard products, you plan on printing the identifying batch information on the license plate label and applying it to the outside of the shrink-wrapped pallet. When the time comes, your shipment is sent to the retailer only to discover that the products sent are not the custom printed containers they ordered. Now not only is your relationship with this retailer tarnished, but you are on the hook for reprinting all of their products at your own cost.
This scenario might sound familiar if you’re still in the business of manually applying labels. Some level of human error is always a risk and it can be a costly one. Ensuring a consistent, accurate label on every pallet that leaves your facility doesn’t have to be a trying task. It is possible to guarantee proper label placement while also avoiding common safety issues often occurring from the entanglement of the labeler in the pallet shrink wrap.
Our pallet labeling experts at Diagraph have complied a helpful guide for assessing automated pallet labelers for your production line. This guide steps through the main questions you should ask when evaluating your pallet labeling automation process and reviews the top areas of consideration you should work through before you make any kind of investment.
Download the full whitepaper, “Pallet Labeling: The Final Step In Your Production Tracking Process”, here to learn more.
Many factors determine the profitability and performance of a manufacturing operation. For example, every experienced manager knows the importance of understanding and controlling the cost of raw materials, labor costs, capacity utilization and quality assurance to maximize bottom line results.
As manufacturers hone the efficiency of their operations, however, they also know the importance of looking beyond the obvious variables to evaluate and improve the performance of less apparent workflows. These processes may seem secondary to core production activities on the surface but they will have an outsized impact on results if they can’t keep pace with operations. One of the less apparent workflows that efficiency‐minded managers should focus on occurs right at the end of operations: pallet labeling.
High‐volume manufacturing operations that ship products to a variety of distribution channels simply can’t afford a slowdown in production caused by breakdowns, errors or low capacity in labeling systems as pallets are prepared for distribution.
The answer for most manufacturers to supporting increased productivity is an automated print‐and‐apply labeling machine that eliminates the productivity limitations of manual processes and streamlines labeling workflows. The production rates of automated print‐and‐apply labeling machines vary depending on the labeling method used and the number of application points, but a standard tamp system should be able to label 120 products per minute.
Automated print‐and‐apply labeling machines also deliver quality control benefits because human error is largely eliminated from the equation. Instead of inconsistent label placement that can slow shipments or even result in a customer rejecting a pallet, an automated labeling system helps ensure every pallet is labeled in compliance with customer requirements and expectations.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO AUTOMATE PALLET LABELING?
While some labeling machines rely on pneumatic systems to apply labels, maintaining highly consistent PSI in compressed air systems is challenging for manufacturing plants. These challenges can lead to inconsistent performance and difficulty troubleshooting problems.
The better alternative is the Diagraph PA7100 all‐electric print‐and‐apply machine which offers reliability and performance that can’t be matched by traditional pneumatic‐based labelers.
The Diagraph PA7100 all‐electric labeling machine relies on industry‐leading technology to reliably print and apply labels in a variety of applications including the top, sides, bottom or corners of pallets. These solutions are fully customizable to apply self‐adhesive labels at varying heights, distances and speeds. The all‐electric design eliminates the potential inconsistencies of pneumatic alternatives—producing consistent results no matter how many units move through production.
A key to the performance of Diagraph’s all‐electric print‐and‐apply labeling machines is the usage of industry‐leading Zebra OEM thermal print engines. Zebra is a leader when it comes to 4‐ and 6‐inch thermal labels, using all‐metal construction for long‐lasting durability and delivering print speeds that allow our print‐and‐apply labeling machines to keep pace with high‐volume production lines.
For 130 years, Diagraph has been helping manufacturers make the perfect mark, pairing technology and service to deliver complete solutions. To learn more about our automated all‐electric print‐and‐apply labeling machines for pallet labeling, contact your Diagraph representative.
There is a debate in the packaging technology industry on which is a superior labeling power source for automated labeling equipment — pneumatic air or electric? Pneumatic labeling systems are built around timing-based commands that drive label movements depending on the reliability of the pneumatic air supply, while all-electric labeling systems are built around real time data-based commands that allow for total control of the labeling process.
The difference between the two approaches is night and day — like the difference between VHS and high-resolution digital streaming technology. The more manufacturers understand the advantages of all-electric labeling, the more pneumatic systems will go the way of VHS tapes and rotary phones.
Every labeling system, regardless of core technology, can incorporate sensors for feedback. Recall the times you have seen a product strike a pneumatic labeler’s actuator arm while moving down the packaging line. This happens all too often with pneumatic labelers because the control of the label feed and actuator arm is not reacting to real-time feedback from sensors. Instead it is following pre-programmed timing commands and relying on the programmed settings for the pneumatic air supply (regardless of the actual pressure in real-time).
Free from the timing control constraints found in pneumatic air powered machines, Diagraph’s all-electric labeling systems can interpret feedback from smart sensors in real-time to allow for total control of the label throughout transit. Combining strategically placed sensors with brushless DC servo motors allows Diagraph’s labeling systems to operate with extreme precision, guaranteeing one-to-one label-to-product matching time after time. The all-electric, servo-driven actuator maintains speed consistency, while “smart” sensors confirm that a label is present for application, and even provide the ability to control impact on the product being labeled. The system doesn’t have to rely on inconsistent air pressure to manage this process.
Another advantage of the all-electric method over the pneumatic air method centers around the tamp pad. Pneumatic driven label applicators utilize venturi vacuum technology to control the transit of the label from the tamp pad to the product. Nearly the entire surface of a pneumatic machine’s tamp pad needs to be covered by the label to maintain proper suction. Unlike pneumatic machines, Diagraph’s all-electric label applicators utilize an electric fan to create vacuum, allowing Diagraph labelers to accommodate multiple label sizes utilizing a single tamp pad. This saves time during label size changeovers as well as money.
With 130 years in the marking and coding industry, Diagraph has a rich history of providing highly durable and reliable labeling and inkjet solutions. Diagraph was the first to offer all-electric labeling solutions to handle all modes of label application including tamp, swing and tamp-blow. The result is a robust lineup of automated labeling solutions that offer benefits only found in all-electric systems that don’t compromise on labels sizes or performance.
Click here for a comparison of all-electric and pneumatic labeling systems.
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is transforming manufacturing and a whole host of other industries. IIoT connects industrial devices that can monitor, collect, exchange, and analyze data, and leverage that data and connectivity to help you make smarter, faster and more effective business decisions.
Chances are, you’re already automating parts of your business -- but IIoT takes automation to a whole new level. Two major IIoT trends to watch for in 2020, according to Mobidev, are wireless connectivity and predictive analytics. If you aren’t leveraging IIoT as part of your marking and coding process, it’s a wasted opportunity.
Centralized printer management software connects wirelessly to your printing and coding equipment, creating a central database so that operators can review printing status and start jobs remotely using their mobile devices – among other capabilities. Centralized printer management software can also track prints and analyze operational history, to deliver valuable insights about your processes.
The robust interconnectedness of IIoT technology such as a centralized printer management system, can innovate the product identification process in a number of ways. For example, imagine being able to run your production processes without having to constantly keep an eye on your coding and labeling equipment.
Some other benefits of centralized printer management software include:
Here’s a checklist of common complexities and pains that manufacturers experience with production. If any of these experiences sound familiar, you could benefit from deploying printer management software in your facility:
Improving manufacturing processes is an ongoing challenge, and IIoT can help. For your marking and coding process, centralized printer management software offers many benefits and seamlessly automates a complex operation.
Take the next step to automating your coding and labeling operations. Try NEXTConnect™ printer management software for free for 90 days. Contact a Diagraph representative today at firstname.lastname@example.org for a trial license.
RFID: Diagraph University
1/28/05 WELCOME TO DIAGRAPH® UNIVERSITY:
RFID TRAINING CENTER AND APPLICATION TEST LAB- LEARN HOW RFID CAN CHANGE BUSINESS PROCESSES FOR YORU COMPANY
Diagraph, An ITW Company, announces the introduction of DIAGRAPH UNIVERSITY: RFID Training Center and Application Test Lab.
Finding new ways to help customers—that’s the idea behind “Diagraph U.” Diagraph University: RFID Training Center and Application Test Lab is a workshop that offers informative, educational seminars for beginner to advanced, plus the ability to test YOUR product and application in our RFID Testing Lab. Whatever your current level of RFID knowledge, Diagraph is ready to conduct a 1-2 day workshop, just for your company, at our St. Louis Training Center and Application Test Lab.
The Curriculum includes the following:
• History & Benefits of RFID
• How RFID Can Change Business Processes
• Theory of Operation
• RFID Label Options
• Specifications & Compliance Standards
• Hardware & Software Availability
• Component Technical Capabilities
• Implementation Solutions
• Equipment for Your Application
• Lab Testing for Your Application
There is no pre-determined class schedule at Diagraph University. Instead, workshops are scheduled to accommodate each company that wants to participate. Our preference is for each workshop to be focused on just one company. This way, we can personalize the course content and make certain that it is always 100% relevant to every student.
The workshops are intended to take 1-2 days, but will vary slightly in length, depending on the entry level knowledge the participants bring to the seminar. From beginner to advanced, all interested parties in learning more about RFID and how to implement an RFID solution are encouraged to attend. At Diagraph we are much More then just another radio frequency identification tag company, we trully are onf of the nations top rfid solutions providers. Come to our class and see for your self.
To help offset the costs of meals and lodging, Diagraph charges a reasonable tuition for each RFID workshop participant.
For more information about Diagraph University, to request a Curriculum, or to schedule a workshop for your company, please use the contact method that is most convenient for you:
• Phone 800-722-1125
Diagraph, an innovator in product identification technology for over 100 years, manufactures and distributes marking, coding and labeling systems and supplies. Diagraph offers a complete line of RFID and bar code printing systems; small character ink jet, large character ink jet and high-resolution ink jet systems; label printer-applicators and label applicators; thermal transfer label printers; stock and custom labels; labeling consumables; and traditional marking and stenciling equipment and supplies. Diagraph is a global supplier, with sales and service offices located across the United States and throughout the world.
DIAGRAPH is a registered trademark of Illinois Tool Works Inc.
Diagraph RFID Quick Links: Diagraph RFID Solutions Diagraph Partner Company RFID Solutions Providers RFID versus Barcode
Errors can create downtime and missed deadlines. In today's environment, extended downtime is not something a company can afford to have happen. It is vital to understand why errors are occurring and to keep those coding errors to an absolute minimum. If an error is made at the start of the process but not detected until the end, the cost of rework and rescheduling reduces profits.
Mistakes can and do happen. Below are some of the main reasons coding errors occur so frequently.
Of course, it is a good practice to audit coding errors and analyze their causes. This can pinpoint clear actions for improvements such as individual or group training requirements or identify which equipment needs updating or replacing if it has become unreliable.
Eliminating 100% of coding errors is not possible due to the human factor. However, with the wide choice of user interfaces on the market, it makes sense to incorporate as many beneficial features as possible which suit your requirements and workforce. This approach helps reduce operator errors and keeps your downtime to an absolute minimum.
Remember, no one piece of equipment is going to solve your coding errors. You will always need good staff training, teamwork and processes. However, a good user interface that guides employees through initial set up can ensure errors are kept to a minimum. This will go a long way to keeping costs low, reducing downtime and most importantly, keeping your customers happy.
Getting shipments and inventory into retail distribution and onto store shelves efficiently is a key to profitability for any manufacturer, especially when you ship high volumes of products to big‐box retailers. Since all big‐box operators have rigid requirements for shipments coming into their distribution centers and stores, it’s critical to ensure pallets and cartons are labeled precisely. Get it right and inventory will almost always sail through without a hitch. Make a mistake however, and you’ll likely see delays, rejected deliveries, extra charges and costly rework to get your products on store shelves.
The first step to preparing shipments to big‐box stores is understanding their labeling requirements. While many retailers use certain common elements and regulatory requirements may apply to labeling standards within certain product categories, no single set of pallet labeling standards applies to all industries. Each big‐box retailer establishes detailed requirements for their receiving operations.
The first thing shipping teams should do is obtain the labeling guidelines for each big‐box retailer — never assume that what’s acceptable for one will work for another. Each big‐box store will have specific requirements for everything from what goes on each label to how many labels are required to exactly where labels should be applied. For example, Walmart’s supply chain packaging guide, which runs several hundred pages, includes multiple pages of instructions and requirements just for pallet labeling.
DEPLOY A LABELING SOLUTION
Once you understand the requirements, your next step is to deploy a labeling solution that will keep you in compliance while keeping pace with shipments moving through your packaging and shipping workflows. For high‐volume operations, an automated print‐and‐apply labeling machine is an ideal solution that can be customized to your business.
With an automated print‐and‐apply labeling solution, you’ll eliminate potential slowdowns and errors associated with manual systems. Plus, you’ll take workers out of production areas where labels are applied, minimizing the potential for costly injuries and accidents.
Keep in mind that all print‐and‐apply solutions aren’t created equal. You need a solution that can keep pace with your operations while delivering the flexibility required to address the varying requirements of different big‐box distribution centers and — perhaps most importantly — ensure reliable performance day after day, shift after shift.
ALL‐ELECTRIC PRINT & APPLY LABELING MACHINE
At Diagraph, a key component of our all‐electric PA7100 print‐and‐apply labeling machine is the Zebra ZE500 Series OEM thermal printer engine. We know from experience that we can count on Zebra printer engines to deliver industry‐leading print performance and durability for 4‐ and 6‐inch carton and pallet labels in your print‐and‐apply solutions. They feature durable, all‐metal construction for long‐lasting durability and deliver print speeds that can match the throughput of high‐volume production lines. Plus, they’re easy to set up, manage and maintain onsite or remotely to help schedule maintenance and prevent unexpected interruptions.
With an all‐electric Diagraph PA7100 print‐and‐apply labeling machine using a Zebra OEM print engine, you’ll have a pallet and case labeling system that can help you maximize performance, compliance and profitability. To learn more, contact your Diagraph representative.