A Zebra fixed industrial scanner is used in a print-and-apply labeling system on a packing line
By Matt Van Bogart | June 10, 2024

Industrial Automation Insider: Check Out the Novel Ways that Traditional Print-and-Apply Labeling Systems are Being Used on Production and Packing Lines

From multiple substrate applications to automated compliance checks, the team at Cobalt Systems has come up with some interesting techniques to affix and validate labels on almost anything using common technology.

We did it! We found a way to apply labels consistently and accurately on small, soft, curved surfaces using an automated “print-and-apply” system – and without using the traditional air-blast labeling technique. Well, technically the team at Cobalt Systems figured out how to make this happen in partnership with the Zebra manufacturing team. But we’re very grateful they did.

If you’re familiar with print-and-apply systems, you know that so much can go wrong when you try to air-blast a label on anything other than a box or similar flat surface. That’s why the labeling of curved items is still a very manual process in many production and packing facilities. But as Ben Parkyn from Cobalt Systems explained in this Industrial Automation Insider podcast episode, there’s a way you can use foam to gently (yet quickly) press the label on curved items – and the semi-automated print-and-apply process it facilitates now works brilliantly on the thousands of Zebra Z-Band antimicrobial wristbands we produce each month.

Tune in now to find out…

  • how the print-and-apply technique works. 

  • how we’re using industrial scanners to ensure this print-and-apply system is working as it’s supposed to and that we’re compliant with strict labeling requirements set forth by customers and partners.

  • why and how you should pair automated compliance and quality validation technology (i.e., machine vision and industrial scanners) with your print-and-apply systems on production and packing lines. 

  • what questions you should be asking when you start researching technology and solution partner options for your print-and-apply system. (It’s rare that you just need a “simple” print-and-apply setup. Even a seemingly straightforward application requires careful consideration when it comes to the materials involved, the environment, the data needed within the label, label placement, and compliance verification.)

  • the common misperceptions Ben and his team hear when it comes to print-and-apply or industrial automation technologies such as machine vision and fixed industrial scanning. (If you want to get the best return on investment for these types of technologies, make sure you hear what he has to say in this part of our conversation.)  

  • other “untraditional” uses for print-and-apply, fixed industrial scanning, and machine vision systems that may become pretty common in the coming months in manufacturing, warehousing and sorting centers as focus shifts to improving compliance, throughput, and accuracy rates.

If you want to listen offline later, you can also download the MP3 here:

Prefer to read the transcript? Download it here.

You’ll also want to take a look at our new semi-automated print-and-apply and verification workflow that’s helping us get more Z-Band wristbands to customers each day:

Podcast, Podcast, Success Story, Interview, Manufacturing, Retail, Transportation and Logistics, Warehouse and Distribution, Automation, Partner Insight, Digitizing Workflows, Machine Vision, New Ways of Working, Scanning Solutions, Software Tools, Printing Solutions,
Matt Van Bogart
Matt Van Bogart

Matt Van Bogart is a 20+ year veteran of the industrial imaging and machine vision market. He is currently responsible for machine vision-focused strategic business development at Zebra and previously drove the global channel strategy for industrial automation at the company.

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