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Labeling Machine

Labeling Machine

Labeling machine: what is it?

The labeling machine is a machine that performs the function of physically attaching the label to the bottle. The task of a labeller is to make the labels adhere with the utmost care and precision, even at speeds up to 100,000 bottles per hour (bph). The labeller plays a very important role in the bottling phase: the label, in addition to giving a visual and brand recognition to the producer, also provides information, such as production data, origin and alcohol content (where applicable).

Labeling machine: how does it work?

Typically, the labeller comes after the filling process is finished. The bottle enters and is positioned at the base of the plates that support it. From inlet to outlet, the heads above the bottles are lowered to keep them still and in place. In this way, one or more labels can adhere perfectly to the body or neck of the bottle. The labeling machine varies according to the type of placement and method, the adhesive glue and the production speed. In terms of manufacturing, depending on the speed it will have to sustain and the space it will occupy, a labeller can be built in a linear or rotary way. When production does not require hundreds or thousands of bottles / hour and you want to keep the overall dimensions contained, the linear labeller is the best choice. On the other hand, a rotary labeller allows a very high production speed, up to and over 100,000 bph. The most commonly used types of labeling machines are:
  • Self-adhesive
  • Hot labeling machines for roll-fed labels
  • Hot-melt labeling machine for pre-cut labels 
  • Cold glue
  • Sleeving machines

Self-adhesive labeling machine

The self-adhesive labeling machine is the most common type, as it is a very versatile technology that can be used for different types of containers. The machine’s operation is based on the properties of the labels: the machine uses a reel on which the labels are attached with a special adhesive that easily separates from the paper support, as well as from the reel itself. The reel is then mounted on a special dispensing unit, which in turn is on the machine, this once mounted, performs the task of releasing the labels at the precise point where the bottle passes at that moment. The technology enables medium-high speed production without the need for special format conversions and maintenance operations. In fact, with this machine it is possible to label containers of any size and material, even of irregular shape. Furthermore, by installing several groups with different reels, it is possible to apply several different labels to the same container.

Hot glue for roll-fed labels

This labeling machine is widely used for the packaging of cylindrical PET bottles. The operation is based on the structural properties of the roll: it is a continuous film of plastic material on which the label is printed directly. After installing the label on the reel, the ribbon passes through an automatic cutting mechanism, which separates the ribbon into various precisely sized labels, applies a layer of hot glue to the back of the labels and wraps it around the bottle. These machines have the advantage of being very productive, but at the same time they require more cleaning, maintenance and change times. The machine, due to its operation on a reel, is not suitable for labeling bottles with non-cylindrical geometries. This type of machine offers a widely used solution due to their effectiveness and low cost. Roll-Fed labellers are ideal for high-speed production lines. Billions of bottles, cans and other containers carry this type of label. These polypropylene (PP) labels can be applied to cylindrical or rectangular containers and can be applied with a 360 ° coverage.

Advantages of this type of labeling machine:

  • It can apply wrap-around labels on cylindrical and shaped containers, made of PET, glass or metal, with reduced maintenance and very fast format change.
  • A labeller that works with OPP wrap-around labels offers the most cost-effective solution in terms of efficiency, with high volumes and speed of production. The design specifications of the series are in line with the modern requirements of "green packaging", allowing to label ultralight containers using the thinnest labels available on the market.
  • Very high production standards (speeds up to one hundred thousand applications per hour); high performance with a wide range of materials (OPP, PET, PVC, OPS, paper).
  • The transfer of the label from the cutting drum to the bottle is guided by an aluminum drum that holds the labels through a vacuum system, without grippers. This makes the labeling process less problematic.
  • It can be equipped with the automatic reel joining system that allows continuous work.

Hot glue labeling machines for pre-cut labels

This is made specifically for the application of pre-cut labels made of paper or plastic, produced in different models with speeds from hundreds to tens of thousands of bph. This labeller, like the Roll-fed, uses hot glue to apply labels to bottles. The main difference is that on this type, the labels are pre-cut and placed in a special "storage".

Hot glue: how does it work?

As mentioned, the labeller has a storage where the pre-cut labels are placed. Next to the machine one or more containers are positioned from which the glue is taken to be dispensed. The glue is kept at a constant temperature in order to facilitate perfect adhesion between the label and the bottle. It’s main features are: constant control of the quantity of glue dispensed and of the temperature, the glue groups are independent, the first group is used for dispensing on the container and the second group is used for the application of the overlapping of the labels. The heating of the latter is due to the independent electrical resistance that allows the material to reach the temperature uniformly and quickly. The glue is distributed on the steel roller, its speed is synchronized with the speed of the labeller itself. It comes with a tank for collecting excess glue quantities. Characteristics:
  • only for pre-cut wrapping
  • labels Fixed label magazine
  • specific for cylindrical and shaped containers with straight vertical surfaces
  • possibility of mixed labeling machine with the same production speed from 130 to 1200 bpm

Cold glue labeling machines

This labeling machine uses pre-cut labels to be inserted in special dispensers equipped of warehouses. The cold glue used is taken directly from the tank and placed on the label, which is then applied to the container. It is an economical machine designed for low to medium production volumes and is typically used for containers such as rectangular or square boxes, whether they are made of metal, cardboard, PET or PVC.

Sleeve labeller: a new technology

Sleeve, shrink or heat shrink labels represent a new type of label that has recently become very popular in the beverage and food industry. By narrowing the label around the product and adapting it to its shape, it can use the entire surface of the product for marketing purposes or provide more information. This allows you to create eye-catching packaging and increase product awareness.


With sleeve labels, the packaging business expands further, designed to create more creative and special designs. In fact, for example, the label can be affixed to the entire package or only to a portion of the package, such as the cap, to create a protective and anti-tampering layer. In addition, labels can reduce the thickness of the containers, eliminating the need for colored containers and taking advantage of new promotional opportunities. Sleeve labels also have the advantage of being able to be used on any type of container, be it plastic, glass or metal. These special labels do not contain any adhesive glue, but shrink around the product by steam, generally around 100 ° C.


Since the material used is PVC (polyvinyl chloride), during the disposal phase it is a difficult product to separate from the plastic material of the container. For this, the sleeve labels are removed earlier, greatly reducing the ease of recycling. Other disadvantages are that the design of these labels requires the use of specific and technical software able to create and shape the label in a specific way, without leaving layout defects or graphic defects, due to the positioning on the container. Furthermore, the positioning of the label, based on the shape and size of the product, can be cumbersome but generally requires the need to carry out various tests, paying attention to the details and curves of the label. Another point to consider is that shrink-wrapped labels are more expensive to print and adopt than simple adhesive reel labels. Obviously, this cost is then recharged on the product, which can also be perceived by the customer, sometimes discouraging the purchase of the product which can be more expensive than others with traditional labels. In conclusion, although sleeve labels are somewhat captivating to the eye, they have some important negative points that have limited their use to date.

Anatomy of a sleeve

There are two types: the Stretch Sleeves, or enveloping, cylindrical in shape that cover only a portion of the container, and the Shrink Sleeves. More generally, sleeve labels are nothing more than a tubular plastic film made of heat-shrinkable material that are fully compatible with all primary packaging (sometimes even secondary, such as crates of water or drinks). The thickness can range from 40 to 50 microns, up to 70, but in industries such as food and beverages, cleaning and detergents, they also drop to 30-35 in line with the cheapest wrap-around labels.

Stretch Sleeve (elasticized).

The system uses pre-cut cylindrical tubular stretch film labels to divide the labels. These are only detached from the lower tab and applied to the container, which should preferably be cylindrical. Elastic labels also allow bulk packaging, or to pack multiple pieces to group products, even if made with different materials. These are the same plastic materials used for the containers, so the packaging can be disposed of and recycled without having to separate the materials.

Shrink Sleeve (shrink sleeve)

It is the shrink sleeve labels that offer the best possibilities today. The container can be decorated in its entirety at 360 °, even on excessively complex shapes. Printing takes place in 10 colors, the large amount of effects that can be obtained to diversify or simulate, for example, materials or finishes is truly infinite. Do not forget the possibility of covering the most diverse materials such as plastic and glass, empty or full according to the needs of the filling line. And finally, flexibility and the timing essential for the consumer goods market. A label like this costs 25% more than a traditional adhesive label, but can offer a return on investment of over 150%. The thickness of the film - in PVC, PET-G, PP, PLA, OPS and PE - protects the container from abrasions or perforations and the contents from light, thanks to treatments and inks that make the sleeves a real barrier.

Why and how to purchase a used labeling machine

More and more companies are considering purchasing a used labeling machine. Below you can find a list of our best tips and recommendations to help people like you, who deal with bottling. Buying a used labeling machine can save you a lot of money. Financially speaking, new machines start to lose value immediately after purchase. With a used labeling machine you can save from several thousand of Dollars. Already for this reason alone, it is certainly worth buying a used labeling machine. On our website, you can find out about all the aesthetic and mechanical characteristics of the product you are interested in and we guarantee that you will spend much less on the purchase, compared to new labeling machine. By purchasing a used labeling machine, you can save between 35% to 60% off of the price you would pay for a new machine, so whether you want to buy a used machine to start a new operation or to change an existing one, it is worth taking a look at the used bottling market first. The choice to change models or update existing ones can depend on many factors. The reasons can be numerous. Maybe you have to start producing more than in the past. Or one of the machines has become inefficient, starts causing problemsstops or slowdowns. Smuch so that it is difficult to reach the daily production volume needed.   

Pre-purchase research on used labeling machine

First of all there are many advantages of buying a used labeling machine. However, there are important things to pay attention to during the purchasing process. While searching for – and eventually purchasing – used bottling machines and especially used complete bottling lines, it is necessary to take some important preparatory steps. First of all, during the research it is essential to have clear ideas about your real needs. You need to have a specific idea of the machine and your requirements, looking for it in the appropriate section of the website. 
For example you need to know: 
  • What type of container you want to use 
  • If it has a particular shape, molds 
  • The type of the bottle neck
  • The type of final packaging 
Finally it is important to know the history of the used labeling machine, if possible the working hours, if the machine has been overhauled and maintained regularly and if the maintenance has been carried out by specialized technicians. These are all factors that help in understanding which bottling machine to buy.    

Why purchase through Used Bottling Lines™ 

We differ from other vendors of used labeling machine in that we will not abandon you after the purchase is finalized and we will accompany you through all stages of the purchasing process up until the start of production. This completely revolutionizes the relationship that is createdwith the buyer by ensuring that there is no doubt about the operation of the bottling machinery thereby establishes a relationship of trust that is very rarely found online in this type of sector.  Our goal is to work with our customers on a continuous and not on a one-off basis. In case you need to sell or buy other used bottling machines or need other services we are happy to help you reach your goal. Moreoverif you are lucky enough to find what is right for youyou can have it immediately. You don’t have to wait months for the manufacturing, the transport, the assembly and everything that follows. On our site, utilizing various filters, you can very quickly find the machinery best suited to your professional needs. Just send us your request via our contact form and we may just find you the correct machine in a heartbeat. You can find out in-depth information of the machines down to the smallest technical details and carry out searches by filtering based on: 
  • the manufacturer 
  • year of construction
  • the speed expressed in bottles per hour 
  • the type of product
  • the type of container
  • formats 
  • the current state of the machine; 
  • the production hours 
Plus a lot of other data that are specific to the type of operation of that used labeling machine. For any information, please fill out our contact form and our staff will answer any questions you might have.