Tracking Frames for Inventory Control

A national automation integrator and machinery manufacturer needed an industrial label print and apply for a project that they were building for an automotive supplier to a major American automobile manufacturer.  The print and apply would apply labels to the under-side of automotive frames and  be integrated with a robotic system to automate a previously manual application. The applied label would have a QR code and text to enable the frame to be tracked in inventory, through shipping, and arrival at the automotive assembly facility.

FOX IV provided PLC controlled label print and apply systems with Ethernet connectivity and robotics interface for under-the-line orientation.  


The end-user required a 25 mm x 50 mm label to be printed with a QR code and text then automatically applied to the bottom of their automotive frame at an average rate of 15 per minute with periodic maximum application rate of 20 per minute. Additional criteria included a very accurate label placement (+/- .063”) and the ability to operate 24/7.  

The labeling unit needed to be able to be mounted in an under-the-line position by the automation company, easily integrate with their robotic control system, and be durable enough for the industrial environment.

Industrial robots would place the automotive frames onto holding structures and the control software would send a signal to the print and apply unit for label printing and application.  Afterward, the robots would remove the frame and return it to the production process.  The QR codes applied would then be scanned throughout the inventory and shipping process.


Temperature controlled factory environment.  Print and apply mounted by automation company to frame holding structures.


FOX IV provided a 6954R2 Print and Apply system with PLC applicator control system, Ethernet connectivity, and a 203 dpi print engine and a 10” label applicator assembly.  Two 6954’s were mounted in an under-the-line orientation to holding structures for labeling the automotive frames after being alternately placed into the holding structures by a single industrial robot. The main control panels for the printer applicator were rotated accordingly so that they would be “right reading.”

The FOX IV 6954s included a robotic interface package complete with Ethernet and Digital I/O, a three-color status light tower, and low label sensor.  The 6954s received individual activation signals from the control system after the frames were accurately placed in the holders.  


Two 6954 print and apply units, 10” tamp application assembly with swing-away bracket, Ethernet connectivity, robotic  interface package, light tower, and low label sensor.


The addition of the FOX IV 6954 Print and Apply systems eliminated the supplier hand labeling, significantly increased efficiency, and improved label placement accuracy. Additionally, the proven industrial design provides the ability for the unit to continually function in the long term, given proper maintenance, as many FOX IV units have lasted over 20 years in service.

For More Information, Contact FOX IV Technologies, Inc. at 724-387-3500 or

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