A critical step in the packaging automation process is print apply labeling. Applying the right shipping label to the right carton may seem like a simple process, but when it comes to automated packaging, print apply labeling can be quite complex, requiring comprehensive design, integrated software, and precisely aligned conveyors and control systems. Print apply labeling also requires a check and balance process that ensures 100% accuracy like that used by Invata Intralogistics.
In previous blogs from this series, we married the inventory items associated with an order to cartons identified by the bar code license plate number assigned to the cartons. Now it’s time to apply shipping labels.
Cartons coming from inventory insertion have their license plate numbers scanned and tracked as they travel down the conveyor to the shipping label printer/applicators. During this travel time, Invata’s FastTrak® software formats shipping labels for the cartons based on the order information associated with each carton’s particular license plate ID.
Labels can be applied to the sides or the open top flap of the shipping carton. To apply the labels, cartons are aligned to the side of the conveyor closest to the print apply machine(s). As shown in the video above, when the carton is in front of the printer/applicator the label is applied to the side or top flap of the carton by a precisely timed label tamp.
As the carton continues down the conveyor, a verification scanner reads the label information as well as the carton license plate number to ensure both correspond to the associated order information. As always, if this process isn’t executed perfectly or doesn’t equate to a perfect match between carton, contents, and order information, the carton will be later routed to exception’s processing.