Home :: How to Determine Proper Label Roll Direction a.k.a. Unwind?

How to Determine Proper Label Roll Direction a.k.a. Unwind?

The last thing you want when preparing your order for shipping is an upside-down label. A lot of people in shipping industry make this mistake that only leads to frustration and wastage of labels. Thus, when you buy quality labels for printers, be sure that your labels are correctly loaded in the container. Today, we will discuss how to figure out the proper roll direction and make sure that your labels are properly unwound.                             

What does “unwind” mean in terms of label printing?

Unwind is the dimension or edge of the shipping label that comes off the roll first. Unwind is also known as the label roll direction.

Typically, shipping labels come in the form of long rolls that you need to feed in the container by using an applicator. As the roll runs through the label printer, the label will come off the label roll in a specific direction.  

When you apply your labels by hand, the unwind does not matter a lot because you will peel off the labels right away and place them appropriately on your container. However, the application process of a machine is complex.

Not all the applicators place labels onto containers in the same way. Hence, the label roll direction must accommodate your applicator so that the roll feeds the labels into the machine in an appropriate direction every single time. Otherwise, your labels will be upside down or sideways.

How to Identify the Best Unwind for Your Labels

Labels can have different unwinding directions, and these unwind directions are named depending on which edge of your label will come off the roll first. Typically, there are four unwind directions namely top-first, bottom-first, right-side first, and left-side first for each setting: wound-in and wound-out. So, it means that there are 8 possible label roll directions.

When labels are printed on the outside of the roll, they are called “wound out”. Similarly, if labels are printed on the inside of the roll, they are called “wound in”.

You must remember that labels can be placed inside or outside of the roll depending on your applicator. Hence, it is always better to double-check the instructions of your applicator before making any assumptions.

In any business, shipping is an important part. Hence, improper label orientation can cause issues and may even delay the shipping process. Thankfully, you can easily address the improper unwind issue and determine the right direction of label roll.

When you are unclear about the suitable unwind for your business, you should go straight to the source. Meaning, each label application machine has specific instructions that can help you identify the correct label roll direction.

If you apply the label within your premises, you can check out the label applicator’s instruction manual. In case you don’t have one, you can contact the manufacturer. On the other hand, if you have a third-party applicator, they can inform you about which unwind is right for your label rolls.