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What are Labelers?
Labelers provide an efficient means to apply stacks of labels, rolls of stamps, stickers and more to mail pieces. Some machines require that labels come on a roll; the roll is manually placed on to a cylinder reel and the machine applies one label to each mail piece using its accurate high-speed placement system. Other labelers require sheets of labels to be placed in a top feed bin, and looped in to the machine, which then takes up the labels and applies them to each mail piece, one by one.

There are labelers that require one person to feed unlabeled pieces in and collect the labeled mail, while others use a combination of conveyors to automatically run mail pieces in to the machine to be labeled and catch trays hold the finished mail pieces, making manual removals less frequent. These machines apply the label to the same spot on each mail piece for a consistent, professional look. Labelers come in variations so you can control the speed of the machine and label position with their simple easy-to-use controls. Labelers will not print the label for you, but once it has been printed, using an address printer or laser printer, labelers will finish the job, when you need professional-looking mail pieces fast, straight, and right now!

What are Tabbers?
The US Postal Service requires that mail pieces with two sides (that are not placed in an envelope) arrive in their offices already tabbed. Mail pieces without tabs cannot be properly run through postal machines. You also save money on postage using self-mailers instead of standard envelopes, and the recipient is drawn to break the seal and open your mail. Different color and size tabs can be purchased to work with the machine you buy.

Each tabbing unit comes with the capability to either place one or two tabs on to tri-folded newsletters, sales flyers, marketing pieces and more. Once the tab roll is placed onto its cylinder reel and envelopes are placed onto the feed, the machine automatically takes the piece in and places the tab on the designated area for sealing. Tabbers apply each tab on the same spot to each mail piece for a unified, professional finish.

How Labelers and Tabbers Work Together
To save time and space, labeler and tabber machines are now manufactured to produce a single finished mail piece in one multi-function unit. These units first apply labels directly on to the mail pieces and then pass them on to be tabbed; mail pieces are then instantly ready to mail. Some machines label only as the piece passes through or tabs only, which means you would first need to run the mail through to be labeled and then run again to be tabbed; in these machines the key feature is that it compacts the space it would take for two machines to be run separately instead of one. Other machines are specifically designed to apply both a tab (or even two) and label in one single pass. One easy set-up is usually all it takes to get the machine up and running in as little time as possible.


Envelopes or mail pieces are stacked in to the entry feed and the machine takes care of the rest. Pieces either output into a catch tray attached to the machine, which then need to be manually removed, or a conveyor can be added to either load material in for labeling/tabbing or dispense mail pieces once they have been processed by the machine. Twin tabs add an extra level of sealing security; so you know that your pieces are securely fastened.

Finding the Right Machine
  • How do I want to prepare my mail piece before it is sent out? Will I need the labeler or tabber to work in tandem with other machines for continued processing, such as an address printer or folding machine?
    There are many different ways to process a mail piece before it is sent out to the US Postal Service for delivery: sheets need to be folded for insertion into envelopes or prior to tabbing, stamps need to be appropriately placed on to the piece, an address or address label needs to be printed, affixed or both, and the piece needs to be efficiently sealed. For some mail pieces you may want to add or imprint a confidentiality notice on to the front, other sticker or quick bulletin. The first step when buying a mail-handling machine is to decide what functions you need your machine to perform. For an all inclusive top-of-the-line unit, you'll want to print your mail pieces on a standard computer printer, jog the paper to prepare it for insertion into a folding machine. The paper is then placed into a folding machine that will prepare the material to either be inserted into an envelope or tabbed for sealing. The folding unit can be purchased as a dual folder/inserter saving time. The folding/inserting unit can be directly linked to the labeler/tabber combination machine that will then finish any type of mail piece. All of these separate machines can be purchased alone or with a conveyor to move material from one machine to another with little to no operator assistance.
  • How many pieces do I need to process at a time and at what speed?
    Each machine is designed to process a different amount of mail pieces per hour. The amount of mail pieces that can be inserted at a time for processing may also vary, as well as how many units can be dispensed from the unit at a time. Make sure that the machine you buy operates at the speed you need.
  • What is the level of security I need to feel confident that my mail piece is securely fastened?
    To ensure that your mail pieces are securely fastened, you may want to buy a machine that can apply more than one tab at a time. There are machines that can handle more than one tab whereas others can only place one tab per pass. The placement of the tabs will range from machine to machine; so make sure that the placement can be adjusted to the position you would like to place the tab(s)..
  • Do you want your machine to apply labels and tabs together in one unit?
    As the need for speed in the office continues, machines will be designed with functionality and office-wide usability in mind. Machines can be combined to apply tabs and labels at the same time in a single pass or can be purchased to work alone..
Glossary
  • Catch Tray: Mail pieces are dispensed from the machine into this shallow flat receptacle with a tilt to hold it in place; meant to be a tray for material to pause in place before being manually removed for continuous dispensing.
  • Conveyor: Material slides down a belt designed to carry the material in to the feed or out from the catch tray.
  • Folder: Machines that fold documents in various styles, preparing them to be inserted into envelopes.
  • Folder / Inserter: Machines designed to fold documents and insert them into standard business envelopes automatically.
  • Friction Feed: Utilizes rollers to load mail piece into the machine- not suitable for glossy paper and other coated stocks.
  • Labeler: Machine designed to apply the necessary pressure to secure labels, stamps, stickers and more to an accurately measured spot on a mail piece.
  • Manual Feed: User needs to feed documents into the machine by hand.
  • Pin-fed tabs: Special type of labels designed to be fed through a labeler or tabber that are guided by pins for precise placement; pins hold the label or tab securely in place as they are run through the machine.
  • Roll label adapter: a device that can be added to a labeler or tabber that allows its standard feed to also handle labels or tabs that come on a roll, instead of in a line or sheet.
  • Self-mailer: Documents are pressure-sealed shut with an adhesive sticker or tab, resulting in a highly professional self-mail document. Models utilize the pressure-seal system by exerting pressure on pre-applied adhesive to create secure seals on a desired side.
  • Tabber: Machine designed to apply pressure to seal shut a two-sided flyer, document or envelope; tabs are usually circular in shape and vary in size and color.
  • Threading: to pass the tape of labels or tabs into the machine, onto a spool or through the designated catch; different threading applications for different machines.
  • Tractor Feed: Specialized mechanism equipped with dual belts to load one envelope at a time into the machine.
  • Vacuum Feed: Utilizes air suction to transfer mail pieces into the machine- allows specially printed stocks, glossy paper, and other coated papers to be processed without jamming the machine.
  • Wafer (tab): thin disk or ring resembling a wafer that is folded on to the mail piece to close or seal it.