Post Date: June 15, 2020

Box Labelling or Direct Printing

Cardboard boxes are the mainstay of worldwide logistics, with hundreds of billions of them being shipped all over the globe every year.  In fact, according to a market study the corrugated boxes market is projected to grow from USD 63.29 billion in 2016 to USD 76.76 billion by 2023, at a CAGR of 3.94%.

Applying the correct product and shipping information on boxes is critical and some businesses go to great lengths and costs to ensure that data is printed accurately, investing heavily in technology and fulfillment infrastructure.

box labeling vs direct print

Box information might include product information, weight, quantities, sizes, bar codes, traceability codes, security codes, handling information, contact data, and so on.  Not only does the information need to be printed in a clear and readable format, but it also needs to be meet relevant international bar code standards.

The two main methods for applying this information onto outer cartons are LABELING and DIRECT PRINTING.  There are several printing technologies that can achieve both clear and legible print on boxes, but this article highlights a new but compelling 4.25-inch industrial coder based on Performance Piezo large area printing technology.

Printing and applying labels to cardboard boxes

Overall, labels offer much flexibility because they can be applied from almost any angle, including around corners. Even with variable carton heights, boxes can be labeled very accurately thanks to extendable dispensing temples and contactless labeling techniques.

Labels can also compensate for unevenness on corrugated cardboard surfaces, which is an important factor when the markings, such as data matrix barcodes need to be read accurately.  However, the overwhelming concern with labeling is cost, both for the label and labor.

Printing directly onto boxes using Performance Piezo technology

Markoprint® Integra PP108 Performance Piezo offers significant benefits that address the pain points associated with many labeling solutions:

  1. Speed of Production - Integra PP108 can run 984 FPM at 180x360 DPI, or 492 FPM at 360x360 DPI.  Either way, this surpasses the production speed of label applicators.
  2. Print Quality - Integra PP108 has much higher print resolution than other case coding print technologies. The print quality is completely controllable in the software which yields lower ink costs.  Many barcodes will scan at the lower print resolution of 180x360.
  3. Consumable Costs – With label applicators, the additional cost of the labels, ink supplies, and associated labor add up to an expensive cost equation.  But with Integra PP108 uses 500ml bottles of mineral oil-free fluids and a recirculating ink system, which adds up to significant savings for the user.


While print-and-apply labelers are very versatile, the Markoprint® Integra PP108 Performance Piezo printers also meet the demands of many different types of applications. Weighing the options, direct printing is lower cost, more flexible, and significantly faster so production levels are maximized.

If you wish to know more or would like advice on how to best mark your cartons or boxes, please contact AT INFO.  Integra PP108 can be seen in action here.