October 7, 2021 

ID Technology Model 252: Exploring the 3-Panel Upgradeable Label Applicator

ID Technology Model 252

The ID Technology (IDT) Model 252, which first debuted in 2012, is the latest version of IDT’s Model 250—a machine that IDT claims to be the world’s top-selling label printer applicator. While developing the Model 252, IDT’s engineers aimed to better meet their clients’ needs by following a philosophy they dubbed “Centerline-Modularity.”

According to IDT’s promotional materials, Centerline-Modularity is defined as “the process of removing as many adjustment points from a machine as possible, coupled with hot-swap modules for quick fault diagnosis and repair, leading to greater uptime and lower running cost.”

So what does this mean? The Model 252 is composed of six modules—the electronics module, pneumatics module, unwind module, rewind module, print engine module, and application/label dispense module. This design was chosen by IDT to reduce the amount of service required to maintain operation. Theoretically, by limiting where errors can occur, the Model 252 streamlines the repair process for fast fixes and longer periods of uptime. 

But how effective is the ID Technology Model 252 while in action? Find out below.

Physical Specifications

As mentioned above, the  ID Technology Model 252 is comprised of six modules:

  • An electronics module that controls every element of the system through an intuitive, icon-driven touchscreen interface.
  • A pneumatics module built with valve-status LEDs, gauges, and manual override buttons for simplified fault analysis and troubleshooting.
  • An unwind module containing a full 1” stainless steel shaft and a 14.5” outer flange for easy label roll changes.
  • A rewind module designed with a fixed position belt and a dancer arm design eliminates adjustment needs and ensures proper tension.
  • An OEM print engine module that varies based on application-specifics. Compatible print engine modules come designed by Zebra, Sato, and Honeywell.
  • An application/label dispense module that also varies based on application-specifics and is available from Zebra, Sato, and Honeywell.

Each of these modules is designed to be easily replaced in the event of a malfunction, while the icon-driven interface allows for quick operational access and complete function control.

Other important physical specs include:

  • 110 to 240 VAC, 50-60 Hz input power
  • 80-120 PSI air requirements
  • 14” x 3” label roll size
  • .25” minimum - 7.1” maximum width label size

Application Specialties

Like other printer applicators, the ID Technology Model 252 is designed to place labels on a wide variety of substrates and surface types, from shrink-wrapped product bundles and food pallets to cases filled with pharmaceuticals. The Model 252 in particular is built for versatility, as every part of the unit can be modified to meet the unique application requirements of each customer. 

A major selling point for the 252 is IDT’s claim that the machine “can be configured for just about any imaginable labeling job.” To create this application versatility, the 252 is designed for compatibility with the following application modules:

  • Tamp
  • Tamp-Blow
  • Corner Wrap
  • Swing-Arm Tamp
  • Leading Edge
  • Trailing Edge
  • Dual Panel
  • PowerMerge
  • CrossMerge
  • TiltTouch

In addition to these options, the Model 252 is compatible with a 3-Panel Smart Tamp that is ideal for both secondary and tertiary packaging, especially pallets, including those that may not be neatly stacked.

Rather than placing just one label with a tamp arm, the 3-Panel Smart Tamp can apply labels on two to three sides of every pallet/case that approaches. To do so, the tamp assembly first extends a tamp pad to the coming package. After this pad is extended, it revolves to place a label on the front panel of the approaching pallet/case.

Once the front label is applied, the tamp assembly retracts back to its original position. Then, once the package moves in front of the applicator, the tamp module extends again to label its side panel. Finally, after the pallet/case has passed the module, the tamp assembly extends one last time to label the back panel. 

How Does the ID Technology Model 252 Compare to Other Printer Applicators?

The Model 252 is a versatile machine that can meet the needs of many different operations by performing a range of applications. The 3-Panel Smart Tamp, in particular, is a great option to complete complicated tertiary packaging functions. Further, the ability to easily replace malfunctioning modules enables quick fixes when substitute parts are available. 

However, this “a la carte” style setup does have a notable drawback. 

Compared to other industry-leading applicators, the ID Technology Model 252’s parts do not offer equivalent longevity. IDT is known for using cheaper components to lower the overall prices of its machines and maximize output. After around two years of use, the parts begin to wear out and become error-prone. Perhaps non-coincidentally, this is right around the time that their warranties expire. 

Additionally, the Model 252 does not come stock with many safety features. With all of the gears and rollers present in an applicator, there is ample opportunity for workers to accidentally get pulled into the machine itself. While other applicators are built with sensors that automatically terminate operation in these scenarios, the Model 252 has no such precaution.

The Model 252 is a stable product, but since the release of the Model 258 printer applicator in 2020, there will be no further development of the Model 252’s software. Moving forward, support and parts availability for the Model 252 will be limited due to this planned obsolescence.  

The ID Technology Model 252: Gets the Job Done, but Isn’t Built to Last

The ID Technology Model 252 has its fair share of benefits. The machine is versatile, easy to use, and allows operators to quickly troubleshoot each module. At the same time, this printer applicator is built with modules that are not designed to last more than a couple of years. 

If you are looking for a long-lasting printer applicator that can operate for an extended period without issues, the Model 252 may not be right for you. However, if you are prepared for periodic module replacements every few years, the Model 252 could help you complete a wide variety of labeling applications.

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C&M Digest Team

The C&M Digest Team is composed of experts from across the coding and marking world. Comprised of ink developers, hardware veterans, and engineers, our News Team delivers informed coverage that is always free from brand bias.

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