Case Study

Automated Print and Apply of Shipping Labels

Automated Print and Apply of Shipping Labels

Executive Summary

A major cosmetics manufacturer commissioned a partnership between EBI and Packform to setup a system to automatically print and apply shipping labels.  Previously, their EDI system printed shipping labels to tabletop printers in the shipping department. Thus, they relied on the shipping department to correctly match the shipping label to the correct box prior to shipment. EBI helped them automate that process by combining BreadCrumbs with NiceLabel. Now the shipping department pushes boxes, picked for EDI orders, down a conveyor and uses scanners to correctly identify, print, and apply shipping labels.

Value Propositions

Save labor cost per order: two people instead of six required to process medium to larger orders.

Increase order throughput with increased labeling speed: shipping department can label medium to larger orders in at least half the time allowing more productive use of the warehouse and equipment.

Increase labeling accuracy: with technology matching boxes to labels, less change for error and less complaints from customers.

Using Print-and-Apply Automation

The driving force behind the automation process comes from the ID Technology 252 print applicator. Packform, an industrial packaging and supplies company, recommended the cosmetics manufacturer use the IDT 252 attached to conveyor to print the shipping labels (from the EDI system) and automatically apply them to the boxes.

Previously, the shipping department pulled off sometimes very long batches of a printed labels from a tabletop thermal printer. They would then need to sort through the boxes in the order, by hand, to find the box that correctly matched the shipping label.

IDT print applicators allow the operations of printing labels and apply them to boxes to happen automatically. The print applicator starts by using the print engine (manufactured by Sato in this example) to print the label. Then the machine waits for the box. When the box arrives, a sensor triggers a mechanical arm with air pressure. The mechanical arm gets the label close to the box. The air pressure blows the label the remaining distance to firmly land on box.

BreadCrumbs and NiceLabel Controls the Overall Labeling Process

With the IDT 252, labeling the boxes from the EDI orders just got a lot faster and more reliable. However, the problem of matching the correct label to the correct box remains. BreadCrumbs Shipping Print Module fixes this problem.

The cosmetics manufacturer sends the EDI shipping information to BreadCrumbs. BreadCrumbs imports that information into its Shipping Print Module. Now the shipping department can pull up the order on their mobile Honeywell Android based scanning terminals. From these devices, they can control the flow of labels to the IDT 252 print applicator. Jobs with large quantities of the same item can be sent in bulk to the IDT 252 by just scanning an Item ID (or selecting from list or hand entering) of the first tiem. Or, the user can use the scanner to scan each box to verify they send the correct label individually.

Now the shipping department can just put the boxes on the conveyor and let BreadCrumbs system direct the IDT 252 to do all the work. After the label is applied, the conveyor takes the box to the next step in the process.


With the process of shipping box drastically improved, we look to expanding the automation to other elements of shipping including non-EDI transactions, pallet (LPN) labeling, and integrating with packing operations where we ship products in larger boxes and other types of containers.


  • Packform Integrator
  • ProMach – ID Technology print applicator
  • Sato America print engine
  • Honeywell scanners
  • Sigo BreadCrumbs Shipping Module
  • NiceLabel printing automation
  • Latitude WMS

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