Tube and vial labeling made easier with automated label application.

A Cost-Effective Solution For Tube and Vial Labeling

How can you cut costs on tube and vial labeling? The biggest step you can take is moving from manual labeling to automation. While the upfront price certainly needs to be considered, the benefits can be cost-effective, even at low volumes. 

Here’s what you should consider when upgrading your labeling system to high-speed vial and tube labelers: from decreased liability and reductions in costs and downtime to increased throughput.

When Does It Make Sense to Automate Label Application?

A printer for manual labeling is relatively cheap because it only has to print. However, you still need a worker to apply every single label, resulting in high labor costs and low output. An automated hand-loaded machine can easily double labeling speed, while a fully automatic labeling machine can go much (much) faster. Automatic labeling machines are not limited by the number of containers, so maximum speed will depend on your use case. While speed and labor costs are the main reasons companies make the switch, there are often several other factors at play.

Minimizing Human Error with High-Speed Label Applicators

Automated labeling removes human error from the process. With manual labeling, even if the right label is applied to a container, folds and bubbles can make information difficult to read or prevent scanners from registering barcode labels. Consistency is key to ensuring safety and accuracy for products and lab specimens. 

Putting Employee Time To Best Use

Switching to automated labeling frees up skilled workers. This lets you get more value from them by assigning them to specialized tasks. It also reduces the need for new staff, which is critical in today’s competitive hiring environment.

Reducing Labeling Application Errors

Label errors can be costly due to wasted labels and product issues. Eliminating error with an automatic tube labeler can reap significant savings in cases where you may be subject to liability issues on mislabeled or unlabeled containers.

Minimizing Liability and Downtime

Do you deal with hazardous products or do you need to have a labeling station in a hazardous area? Making the switch to automated labeling reduces your company’s liability by keeping workers away from highly reactive or biohazardous materials.

Additionally, centralizing support for your labeling system using an automated solution reduces total downtime. You’ll also see less frequent stoppage, since automated labelers are built with high quality industrial equipment.

While you may not need the full capacity of an automated solution, it opens up the possibility of expanding your business. Automated labelers are also flexible, with the ability to handle multiple custom labels and container sizes. 

If you have a variety of products, you may be able to replace several manual systems with a single machine. This flexibility allows you to change your labeling setup without additional equipment, and it’s easy to add new products or source materials from different vendors.

How Do Consumable Costs Compare Between Manual and Automated Systems?

When making a direct comparison, the cost of consumables would seem to be the same between hand and automated labeling. However, the flexibility of automated machines and the labels they use gives you options that can cut costs. Even if you use the same labels, your price per label will usually be lower when you have the ability to buy bulk reels. Ordering bulk pressure sensitive labels also gives you more material choices (including face stocks and coatings), so you can buy products that perfectly fit your application.

If you currently buy pre-labeled containers, you can realize significant savings by bringing production in-house. In-house production of your unique labels lets your business avoid retail markup, and affords you the opportunity to quickly recoup setup costs. It also gives you more flexibility, since you can add labels as they’re needed, instead of worrying about lead times for orders. This is especially useful if you use one container for a variety of products. It also gives you the option to order products from a variety of vendors, instead of depending on one source for your vials, test tubes, and labels.

The print engines used in CTM’s labeling machines are built to handle thousands of prints in industrial environments. Items like ink ribbon and thermal components are built to require less frequent replacement, resulting in a lower cost per label and less downtime.

Plus, automatic systems are easy to repair, as compared to stand-alone label printers that are usually disposable. By using components that are easy to source or replicate, you can cut both downtime and repair costs.

What Does an Automated Tube Labeling System Look Like?

If you’re making the jump to automation, you’ll probably want a machine like our Tabletop Vial Wrap labeler. This is a semi-automatic system that has a hand-loaded hopper (handy for vials that need a post-production quality control check, also known as “DUPRO.”) Its position in your production system allows the earliest check of completed product runs, making it the best point of quality control to identify and eliminate manufacturing problems. It’s also great for low volume labeling, like you’d see in a laboratory. 

Once the machine is set up, it’s easy to apply labels to large batches of tubes and vials, preparing them for use. This vial labeler uses a star wheel to carry vials from the hopper to the labelling mechanism, and you can change vial or tube sizes by changing wheels (which means that one machine can cover a variety of product containers).

The Tabletop Vial Wrap labeler, like other machines at CTM Labeling Systems, supports print engines from top brands like Zebra and Sato. Print engines come in both four inch and six inch wide models to print a variety of label sizes. Additionally, engines provide options for 203, 305, and 609 DPI (dots per inch). A printer with 203 DPI will print labels fast, but a higher DPI can print information on a smaller space. This is ideal to print dates, batch numbers, barcodes, and more. When you need to print vial labels, CTM can find the printer that will work best for you. 

Increase Productivity with Automated Labeling

CTM Labeling Systems makes a range of machines for automated tube and vial labeling, from hand-loading systems to high-speed production units. To see what our equipment can do for your business, contact us to discuss your unique situation. We look forward to creating a labeling system that meets your production needs and aids in cutting operating costs.