Sinclair Systems, the Fresno, Calif.-based manufacturer of high-speed machine and tray labeling equipment, has unveiled a tethered hand labeling system.

The food-grade labelers will be available starting the week of Nov. 15, a week earlier than originally scheduled, said Kelly Kirschner, global marketing director.

“Development of the hand labeling system has been ongoing for more than 18 months,” she said. “We talked with grower-packer-shippers who complained that hand units were frequently getting dropped, broken or lost.”

To address that concern, Sinclair developed a tethered suspension system that eliminates dropping and makes the unit nearly weightless, while always available at hand level. It also provides the mobility to label trays or individual pieces of fruit, Kirschner said.

“The hand labeling system works with all fresh produce, but we found that many of the high-value exotic fruits tend to be hand labeled in smaller packs,” she said. “The labeler works exceptionally well for bananas, melons and mangoes as well as tomatoes, apples and citrus.”

The labeling system uses rolls of Sinclair’s polyethylene labels approved for direct food contact by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and by several European Union legislative bodies, Kirschner said.

A consumer feature of the new labeler is that it uses Sinclair’s Tab-Lift labels that can be removed quickly and easily and in one piece, she said.

The number of polyethylene labels on one Sinclair roll can be as many as 45,000, eliminating the need for frequent changes to new rolls. The hand labeler operator can adjust the unit to account for label size, pitch and tension.

“The hand labeling system also contains a built-in counter that permits the operator to see at a glance the number of labels applied,” Kirschner said.

The tethered suspension system contains the electrical power cord. The labeler may be used with U.S. or European voltage, Kirschner said.