Carton identification: Labelling or direct printing?

There are many ways to label cardboard. The techniques differ primarily in terms of pressure, flexibility, speed and operating costs. Therefore, the decision about cardboard labeling is mostly based on the specific application. For example, different requirements are placed on an identification for internal logistics than on coding, which must also be read out by external partners or customers.

Do you need a flexible label printer dispenser or does a cost- saving inkjet printer fulfill the task as well? We have compared the application-relevant key data of the carton labeling with those of the direct printing by means of l. Conclusion: In most cases, labels are more readable and labeling systems more flexible than inkjet printers. Direct printing, on the other hand, is much faster and much more cost-effective than labeling.

     carton labeling  carton labeling
 Direct pressure
(with piezo technology)
carton labeling



Maximum resolution   200 dpi 600 dpi
print sharpness   Absorbency of cardboard reduces pressure sharpness Brilliant thermal transfer printing on label material
legibility   Brown cardboard reduces readability Very good on white label material
Maximum font size   Printing width variable,
maximum printing height: 800 mm
Label height variable,
maximum label width: 160 mm
Printing of graphics, images and codes   possible possible
Various printing inks   possible possible
investment costs   comparable comparable
Operating costs / consumables   Lower
(labels, thermal transfer strips)
Printing costs per 1,000 prints(In the format 105 x 150 mm, printed image so, at 1 million prints pa)   Lower
(about 3,10 Euro)
(about 9.50 Euro)
Maximum printing speed   1,000 mm / sec 400 mm / sec
Movability of the print head / stamp plate   Static,
not movable
Movable and variable,
also labeling “around the corner” possible
Printable cardboard surfaces   From above, side, not from below From the top, side and bottom
format change   Change font size during the printing process It is not possible to change the label size during operation
Markable surfaces   Only absorbent surfaces (like cartons) are possible Different materials and shapes possible
Maximum removal of the marking system from the carton   Low (due to proximity to the print head), almost contact with the carton required Large (because of a dispensing dispenser), contactless inflation of the label


Carton identification: alternative for small print images

If a print height of 50 millimeters is sufficient, use a so-called “thermal inkjet printer”. This technology prints in a resolution of 600 dpi and withstands any comparison with labels with regard to the print quality on white cartons.

carton labeling
Cardboard marking at the Sauerkraut manufacturer Leuchtenberg.

The Neuss Sauerkraut producer Leuchtenberg changed its carton marking to direct printing. The card sides are printed on the front with two HP print heads and two piezo printheads with Trident ink on the back.