From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

Tape and Label Dispensers

Dan MacLeod, CPE, MA, MPH
Peel Housekeeping
Stopping work to peel a label  Housekeeping

Principles affected

Related pages



Peeling from rolls of labels can:

  • require stopping productive work to reach with both hands to peel a label
  • create housekeeping problems
  • require extra time and motions to pick up discarded paper, including bending to floor.

Tape guns can:

  • require extra motions to pick up and put down
  • involve forceful motions
  • create awkward wrist and arm postures
  • cause irritating noise

These shortcomings can interfere with production and in some cases create a risk for musculoskeletal disorders. As the volume of packing increases, tape and label dispensers can provide advantages.


Ideas and Options


Simple label peelers

LabelPeeler dispensersimple
Manual pull on paper automatically peels label

An inexpensive improvement is a roll holder with a peeling feature that permits use with only one hand. When you pull the paper, the label is “automatically” peeled up so that you can pick the label. Some boxes of standard labels incorporate the technique into the box design.

Semi-automatic dispensers

Semi-automatic dispenser

A large number of semi-automatic label dispensers are available on the market. When you pick one label, the machine automatically advances to push out the next label. The empty paper is rewound to make housekeeping easier. These machines enable very fast manual placement of labels.

Automatic labelers

Automatic labeler

Fully automatic labeling devices are also available. Normally they are integrated into automatic packing equipment, but could be used as a stand-alone device in an otherwise manual packing line. As the box is conveyed past the device (or pushed manually), the label is placed automatically.


Paper tape dispensers

LeverTapeDispenser SemikAutoDispenser2
Lever action tape dispenser Semi-automatic — Preset buttons cut specific lengths

Dispensers for paper tape are very common. There are two types. The lever action is less expensive but requires a reach and a pull. The semi-automatic versions eject the tape at a push of a button.

Clear plastic tape dispenser

MountedClear Clear
Clear tape dispenser mounted on arm directly over point of use Clear tape
(click for video tape)

Powered dispensers for clear plastic tape are also available, but not common. Tape is ejected at a pre-set length. Among other advantages, it permits use of only one hand to get the tape. Furthermore, since there is no tape gun to hold, both hands are available to place the tape, which typically yields a nicer-looking wrinkle-free application.

Taping machines

Semi-automatic tapers

Taping machines are common. Pushing the shipping box into position triggers the taping mechanism.

Note in the photo above right the “waterfall” feature for packing the shipping box immediately prior to being taped. The packing surface is level with the top of the shipping box, thus minimizing arm motions to pack. See packing workstations.