Tamp-Blow vs. Wipe-On Label Application: Which One Is Better For Your Business
Do you need a wipe-on or tamp-blow label applicator for your products? Not sure which one? The application method you choose depends on a number of factors!
What kind of containers do you use? Do you have compressed air in your facility? How fast do you need labels to be applied? How accurately do they need to be applied during your labeling process?
Here’s what you need to know about these technologies in order to choose a label application method that fits your business needs.
Tamp-Blow Label Applicator: Air-Assisted Precision
This application type has a tamp that uses a vacuum to hold the label in place after being dispensed from the liner. Next, the tamp pad carries the label to the container, then uses compressed air to blow the label down with a jet of air). When calibrated correctly, there is enough pressure to bond the label to the packaging.
A rotary tamp can turn the label before application, providing more flexibility when creating label reels. For example, a tall label can be printed sideways on the reel. When the applicator removes the label, the tamp spins 90 degrees to get the label in the correct position for the container, which simplifies the conveyor system on the labeling machine (since it has to do less to align the containers).
Tamp-blow label application is similar to an air-blow application. However, tamp applicators use a pneumatic or servo tamp assembly that allows for greater distance between the machine and the location on the surface of the product where you want to affix your label as compared to an air-blow application method.
Advantages of Tamp-Blow
- There is no direct contact between the tamp and the package, keeping both surfaces clean.
- The tamp can be ready with a label while the package moves into place on a production line. Product movement and labeling don’t have to be synchronized.
- Label placement is extremely accurate, making it a great choice for placing small label sizes.
- The air gap between the tamp and the package, along with appropriate sensors, allows products of different heights to pass through the machine.
- Using high-pressure air for an application lets the label make contact with recessed areas, like tub lids.
Disadvantages of Tamp-Blow
- The tamp and label must be perfectly matched for the vacuum and overpressure to successfully lift and place the label. If the label isn’t positioned over the tamp holes correctly, further setup is necessary.
- The tamp-blow applicator needs a compressed air source.
- Air contaminated by water or dirt can cause problems with the machine. You may need to take additional steps to remove contamination from compressed air, depending on your filtration system and your factory environment.
Wipe-On Label Applicator: Simple and Effective
Also called a “merge” applicator, this is the most popular labeler for applying pressure-sensitive labels to packaging. In wipe-on applications, the label is peeled from the liner and onto the container’s surface. As it does so, a wiper or brush applies the label onto the container.
Most bottle labeling machines use a variation on this design called a “wrap around” labeler, which uses a wrap belt station to roll the label and the bottle at the same time during application. Tapered containers can be labeled this way with some adjustments to the label shape to prevent flagging and slanting.
Sensors built into the labeling machine can check the package’s position so that it only dispenses a single label when the container is in place. For print-and-apply labelers, adding a loose loop allows the labeling rate to fluctuate. A few labels are stored between the printer and the labeling roller, creating a buffer that can handle changes in labeling speed.
Advantages of Wipe-On
- A lower level of complexity means lower purchase price and less setup and maintenance.
- A wipe-on labeler can apply labels to a round container.
- The pressure from wiping is higher than the tamp-blow method. This helps labels bond with difficult surfaces.
- These applicators only need electricity to run, helping lower costs associated with powering the device.
- It’s easy to set up the machine to apply labels of varying sizes.
Disadvantages of Wipe-On
- The movement of the package and the label roller must be in sync to apply the label properly. If the package moves too fast or too slow, it can result in wrinkles.
- The labeling machine must be adjusted before accepting a different size package.
- The machine must make direct contact with the product surface during application.
As a whole, merge (wipe-on) applicators can work just as fast (or faster) than tamp applicators. However, in order to determine the best fit, the product properties and its presentation on the production line must be considered.
Examples of Wipe-On and Tamp-Blow Label Applicators
If you’re looking for a machine that can handle a variety of containers, check out the 3600a-PA Series Dual Action Tamp (DAT) Printer Applicator. It can apply labels on two adjacent sides of a container using a single tamp/blow assembly.
When applying two labels at once, there’s the 360a Top Bottom Split Conveyor. Applicators above and below the conveyor belt apply labels to the top and bottom of the containers as they’re carried down the assembly line. Depending on the configuration, it can work at speeds up to 120 feet per minute.
CTM Labeling Can Help You Find the Solution to Your Labeling Needs
Are you looking for a labeling solution that works with your production system? CTM Labeling Systems offers a variety of machines and configuration options to fit any situation. Contact us to find the right labeling equipment for your business.