Automotive Labels & Labeling for the Automotive Supply Chain


Printed auto labels are often overlooked in the automotive industry but play an essential role during vehicle assembly and for driver safety. The majority of the labels found in a vehicle are not visible to their owners but instead are identification labels used on the car’s various components to streamline and simplify the automotive supply chain. The rest of the labels are employed as safety and warning labels throughout the vehicle, such as tire pressure and airbag warning labels.

Auto Factory Supply Chain

The supply chain accounts for the bulk of the automotive labeling by manufacturers, with much of it happening before car assembly. Car parts need to have a lot number attached to them for identification and tracking purposes, to ensure it is transported and delivered to the right location. For car manufacturers, the only thing worse than labeling errors is a faulty part, as a mislabelled part can result in substantial financial losses for the manufacturer as well as the supplier. With every piece made-to-order and the industry built on just-in-time delivery, the wrong part arriving instead can stop the production line, causing costly delays. This could also cause unwanted disruptions further down the supply chain, worsening the problem.

The use of barcodes can help alleviate this problem and ensure every part arrives on time at its prescribed destination. One of the key issues with current identification methods is the human input. When someone has to enter the code manually, errors inevitably occur, so if there’s a problem with the label, either the production line needs to be shut down, or parts may be sent back. Both can be devastating for a car manufacturer. Conversely, auto labels with barcodes don’t need to be entered manually; employees can simply scan them, ensuring the right information is always entered. By implementing tracking software, this also allows the parts to be tracked throughout the supply chain, logging the date as well as shipping and delivery time. Overall, barcodes help eliminate identification errors caused by human input and improve part tracking and inventory management.

Automotive Label Requirements

Automotive labeling must also meet the specific requirements of different automotive manufacturers. This is especially important if the supplier delivers a similar product to two different auto manufacturers with distinct specifications for their labels. As such, a management system that can create and store customer-specific templates for various companies allows automotive labels to be generated using the same data but formatted differently. The process can also be automated, saving time and reducing the likelihood of introducing unwanted errors. The use of computerized templates also simplifies the process if a manufacturer amends their automotive label requirements. You can simply modify the template, and the next the system generates a label, it will be to the new format.

The durability of the auto label and its adhesive are also a concern. The label must remain attached to the part and legible throughout its lifespan. This requires an adhesive designed for the part to be identified. Most car parts are made of metal, however, newer vehicles have started using plastics to meet weight reduction targets. These new plastic parts need auto labels that adhere to low surface energy plastics while maintaining their resistance to harsh chemicals and oils. The printout must also be considered, as it needs to withstand heavy use, abrasion, exposure to extreme temperatures, and chemicals, including aggressive gasoline, brake fluid, and oils, without smudging, smearing, or losing barcode scannability.

IndustriTAG automotive labels are designed to withstand the harshest conditions and working environments. Thermal-transfer printable, they are ideal for printing high-quality 1D and 2D barcodes, as well as serialized numbering that won’t smear or smudge. Their durable automotive labels are perfect for identifying individual car parts, as well as specialized pieces, such as windshields, car batteries, tires, and under-the-hood parts.


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