Sunday, August 17, 2014

Innovativation: With Color Labels

Armflags (www.armflags.com) is an exciting new spirit-wear company providing innovative and unique spirit-wear products for fans to wear in support of their favorite teams and causes. ARMFLAGS is a licensed provider of NCAA and High-School Teams and is quickly expanding its assortment and offerings across the country and beyond.

The story behind ARMFLAGS is GREAT!  In 2012, while watching the BCS Championship Game in New Orleans, Michael O’Leary, the founder, became committed to putting “Armsleeves with logos” on all fans! Together with his friend and former colleague, Jonas Thelin, they created “ARMFLAGS”, focused on providing high quality Armsleeves with Team LOGOS and IMAGES; allowing fans and supporters to show their passion for their teams and causes alike.

When starting the business, Michael knew intuitively that they would need to print color labels on-demand.  According to Michael, “ With 4 different sizes and thousands of universities and high schools, we had to have a way to print the labels as needed.  Although new, we have 1,600 different products already available; and plan to have many more universities and high schools signed up by the end of the year.”

For ARMFLAGS, color is important.  Continuing, Michael says “We wanted to have our products stand out on the shelf or on a peg at the store.  To make our product unique, we selected a non-traditional square cap.  In addition, we decided to make our caps black in color.  Although I was concerned about the color selection initially, my partner Jonas Thelin pushed for this color combination.  Now I think the black and red look great.” 

For our logo’s, ARMFLAGS print them on a white label to place on the cap.  “The white label/logo with the black background works well”, says Michael.  “The color contrast makes the team logo really stand out.  Initially, we printed them on matte paper; but have since switched to gloss paper. The gloss paper looks better and stands out even more.”

To print the labels, ARMFLAGS purchased a TM-C3500 label printer, 3 years Spare-in-the-Air warranty, ink and labels.  When asked about the TM-C3500, Michael says “Works like a champ.  This printer is easy to operate and learn to use.  Plus, Color Label Solutions has provided outstanding support.”

ARMFLAGS sell for $19.95 a pair; and we’ll be available soon to purchase on their website.  In their first full week of operation, ARMFLAG sold 2,500 pairs to 3 wholesale customers.  WOW!  Be sure to help me support ARMFLAGS by Liking” their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/AF.Armflags.

 It’s exciting to work with customers like ARMFLAGS; niche manufacturers with great ideas, led by wonderful people.  Plus I appreciate the willingness to use different processes such as print on-demand color labels to produce their products.  If you need print color labels only when you need them, be sure to contact us. We’ll help you as well.

Guy Mikel

Sunday, August 10, 2014

GHS Laboratory Labels; Quickly & Easily

Advanced Analytical Technologies, Inc. (AATI), www.aati-us.com, simplifies complex genomics workflows to accelerate research and discovery in pharmaceuticals, life science, biofuels, biotechnology and healthcare. 

Developing, manufacturing and marketing high-throughput, fully-automated nucleic acid and genetic analysis systems, AATI’s products have both commercial and research applications.  The company’s product portfolio includes instruments for the parallel analysis of biomolecules, DNA, RNA, genomic DNA, double-stranded DNA, pharmaceutical compounds and proteins using capillary electrophoresis (CE) with fluorescence detection or UV absorbance.

Recently, AATI decided to look for a better way to produce color labels on demand.  According to Sherry Goodwin, Scientist at AATI, “we need an easy way to differentiate our Gel products.  We have found having different colors on the labels was a very easy method to help our customers identify the correct gels to use.”

Given the need for color labels, AATI began using a Primera label printer and Nicelabel.  After 2 years of using this solution, they decided to look for an alternative method to print color labels on demand.   Sherry says, “we were not very satisfied with their labels.  After printing, we had to let the labels cure; as the ink would smear.  In addition, the labels would fade and not adhere well to our products once we put them in the freezer.  Given their nature, we store our products at temperatures down to -80 degrees.  Overall the labels were just not very crisp and clear looking.”

After deciding to look for alternatives, AATI begin discussions with Color Label Solutions on options to print better looking and more cold resistant labels.  For those of you interested in cold storage of labels, you may want to review an earlier post from my blog:  http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2012/04/very-cold-so-cold.html.

Based on the requirements, I recommended the TM-C3500 along with durable poly labels made with Kimdura: http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2013/03/kimdura-better-results.html.  In addition, I showed AATI BarTender and the ease of adding color logo’s, images and text; including the way to download a free version of BarTender to test: http://www.seagullscientific.com/label-software/barcode-label-printing-software-download.aspx.  

After sharing this information, Sherry requested print samples to test in the freezer as well as the prices of the labels and ink.  I sent AATI samples to place on their products and test in freezer conditions.  AATI confirmed the labels worked.

To show the approximate ink costs, I sent AATI images of other labels and their estimated cost of ink.  For example, here is an image of a 2.625” x 1” label I sent with the estimated ink costs:

C = $17.50/17707 =$0.0010
M = $17.50/15133 = $0.0011
Y= $17.50/17910 = $0.0010
K = $17.50/25050 =$0.0007
Total = $0.004

Based on the test results and estimated costs, AATI purchased a TM-C3500, ink, Spare-in-the-Air (SITA) Extended warranty, and 4” x 2” poly labels to start printing new labels.  After selling the printer and labels, I gave AATI online training to insure they start printing quickly and easily.

Although AATI is printing, we still have two follow up issues to address to meet all of their requirements.  First, they need small labels; 1” x .5”.  The smallest labels you can print with the TM-C3500 is 1.2” wide and .6” long.  According to Sherry, “it’s possible; we need to make our labels larger, given the new GHS requirements.  We hope to put these new labels not only on the product, but on the packaging as well.” 

Second, AATI needs clear film labels in addition to the standard white poly.  To date, Epson has not qualified any clear film labels to use with their label printers.  However, I have found a film material that appears water fast and freezer resistant.  With further testing, this label material may work for AATI.

If you work in a laboratory or need labels like AATI, you might find another recent post on one of our lab customers of interest as well:  http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2014/02/durable-laboratory-samples.html.  

AATI is a great new customer for Color Label Solutions; especially given their commitment to using print on-demand color labels.  I admire the due diligence Sherry and AATI took to gather information and test the options presented.  If you need labels for your biotechnology or laboratory products; or just need to comply with the GHS requirements, contact us.  We’ll make sure you get printing great looking labels quickly and easily.

Guy Mikel

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Setting Off Alarms With Labels

Aqualarm (www.aqualarm.net) is a manufacturer and distributor that has been supplying alarms and monitoring products to the boating industry for the past 40 years.  Selling on-line and through their channel of worldwide dealers, Aqualarm offers more choices in alarms and security solutions than any other boating-oriented company.

Recently, Aqualarm decided to replace the inserts they use with their products with clamshell packaging with labels.  According to John West, Owner of Aqualarm, “We have been using inserts for years.  Recently, however, our dealers wanted to move to hanging our products on store shelves.  Plus, we found that slapping a label on a clamshell was easier than adding product inserts.”

Continuing, John adds “now we are offering folded cartons with labels as well as the clamshell packaging.  Many of our dealers prefer this type of packaging.  With either type of packaging, color labels were very important, we wanted to create “eye-popping” glossy labels that attract our customer’s attention.  We want glossy labels as they seem to add to the overall image of our products.”

To meet his color label requirements, John purchased a TM-C3500 from the Color Label Solutions store:   http://stores.colorlabelsolutions.com/tm-c3500-color-label-printer-usb-ethernet/.   Plus he purchased Spare-in-the-Air (SITA) warranty, additional ink and 3”/4” continuous gloss paper labels from us. 

Normally, we provide an on-line session to our customers to help them install and configure the printer to insure they start printing labels quickly.  John decided to tackle this work by himself.  Although it took more time, John felt he learned more about the printer.  If you have a TM-C3500, be sure to contact us if you ever need support.  Or check out our Does-Don’ts for Printing with the TM-C3500: http://www.colorlabel.solutions/does-don-ts.html.

 After working with the TM-C3500, John’s initial impression is positive.  “I’m very happy with the TM-C3500; especially like the cutting feature.  The built-in cutter and continuous labels allows us to produce several different label sizes. Also, the easy access of the ink cartridges is nice feature”, says John.

As John has found, the built-in cutter enables you to create labels in variable lengths.  With many different products (148 listed on the Aqualarm website), you can minimize your label inventory by using continuous media.  You can find our gloss paper labels here: http://stores.colorlabelsolutions.com/gloss-paper-labels/ .

I appreciate exerts like John who been selling marine parts for more than 40 years.  And companies like Aqualarm; who are the leading or preferred supplier in their niche.  Aqualarm is a great example of how manufacturing companies  can save money, improve their processes and strengthen their brand by moving to print on-demand color labels.

If you have a company similar to Aqualarm, contact us and we’ll help you too.

Guy Mikel

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Couldn't Be Happier

Vape Dudes (http://www.vapedudes.com/) is exactly what it sounds like: a group of dudes and dudettes that eats, sleeps and breathes (especially breathes) all things vape.  Their goal is to make the best eJuice possible. Every bottle of Vape Dudes eJuice is carefully hand-crafted to the taste of each individual customer, with options available for all preferences.

Shelby Lewis has led the effort to change their labels as well as their labeling process.  Recently, I ask Shelby, why print on-demand color labels?  Did you consider using preprinted color labels?  According to Shelby, “We opted to go with color labels simply because we supply both to individuals online as well as to shops around the world.  Many of these stores sell brands from multiple suppliers.  Therefore, we need to “standout” as a premium supplier with a quality product.” 

Shelby continued, “As for purchasing pre-printed labels, it would be cost prohibitive.  We have 240 different products names.  Within each flavor, we have thousands of possible options.  With so many different products and combinations, Vape Dudes would require too many different labels in inventory, as well as time to select the right label when processing an order.  Now, we print only the labels required; with no picking of the label from inventory.  Plus, we are not required to write the correct option on the label.  Our TM-C3500 based solution has reduced print time by 80%, and packing time by about the same percentage. 

By printing color labels on-demand, we've saved process time, labeling costs and maintenance costs.  We couldn't be happier.”

When I first spoke to Shelby, Vape Dudes was using Primera’s LX400 printer.  As Shelby was looking for a faster, less expensive printer option, I recommended the TM-C3500.  After comparing the TM-C3500, Shelby says, “Our largest complaint with the Primera LX400 was the speed.  To test the two printers, we printed a single day of orders on both the LX400 and the TM-C3500.  The LX400 took 25 minutes to print, and the TM-C3500 took only 5 minutes.  After about the 3rd label, I knew the TM-C3500 was significantly quicker.” 

Shelby continues, “Not only did the TM-C3500 reduce the time to print significantly, but we were able to upgrade our labels.  From Color Label Solutions, we purchased a matte poly label which is much more durable than what we were using previously; at a lower price than our current vendor.” 

Shelby purchased matte poly labels made with Kimdura.  You may enjoy an earlier post covering this label material:  http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2013/03/kimdura-better-results.html.

 Shelby has found our labels to fit his requirements perfectly.  According to Shelby, “After printing our first test label, we placed it on a bottle to perform a simple rub test with a few drops of eJuice.  After rubbing the label for a minute, I noticed no difference at all.  Not believing the result, I dried the ejuice by rubbing the label with a paper towel for another 30 seconds.  After this second test, we still saw no difference between a new label and our test label.” 

Vape Dudes is our second customer in this market.  You may remember our earlier post covering California e-Liquid: http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2014/04/vape-labels.html.

I think Vape Dude’s labels look great; both the design and color. Their new design and labeling effort demonstrates their commitment to quality.  I’m really happy we could provide Vape Dude a durable print on-demand label solution that meets their needs.  Contact us to discuss how we can help you satisfy your labeling requirements.

Guy Mikel

Thursday, June 12, 2014


Merriam Webster defines “Solution” as “an action or process of solving a problem”.  Solving problems with printing labels in color and on-demand is what we do at Color Label Solutions.

Some of the type of problems we solve are as follows:

Meeting the new GHS requirements:

Labeling Laboratory Samples:

Printing low cost color labels for manufacturing:

Producing high resolution, in-plant labels:

Using color to improve logistics:

Supporting Visitor Management:

Plus many other types of application solutions too numerous to mention.

We’re proud of our work with customers; now selling, installing and supporting more than 200 organizations move to print on-demand color labels.  So when I realized that Icann (https://www.icann.org/) had made available a new domain extension, “.Solution”, I immediately purchased two new URL’s.

Now, you can see our website by using http://www.colorlabel.solutions.  This new domain name projects our value add; solving problems for companies requiring print on-demand color label solutions.

In addition, chemicals manufacturers, distributors and other types of organizations working with chemical compounds can find us at http://www.ghs.solutions.   We have the printers, labels, warranty, software and support to help you comply with the GHS set of requirements going into effect next year.

Click on our new URL’s and send us your feedback.  Color Label SOLUTIONS wants to be your color label problem solver.

Guy Mikel

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

On-Demand Event Tags

Component Medical Society Services is a subsidiary of the California Medical Association (CMA) serving the 39 component medical societies in California.  CMA provides support, services, and programs to meet their membership needs.  In addition to this, CMSS offers support for dues processing and accounting services, membership analytics, executive management support and assistance, and even print and online marketing design services.

On-Demand Color Event Tag
Print On-Demand Color Event Tags

As part of their service offerings, CMA holds annually the Western Healthcare Leadership Academy for California and other western states.  To improve these meetings, CMSS decided to print color tags on-demand for each attendee directly from their database.  According to Henry Gardiner, Project Director, CMSS, “We needed a system to print 4” x 3” color tags from our online application.  Before we purchased any equipment, it was important to confirm it worked with our online application.”

On-Demand Color Event Tag
Western Healthcare Leadership Association

After speaking with Henry, we held a webinar where he accessed his application to complete test prints on my local computer and TM-C3500 printer.  Although we proved the application and the printer worked, Henry needed to redesign the page size and tag layout as it was printing larger than required page size initially.  Given the need to redesign the tag, Henry asked “can you send me a demo printer to make the necessary design changes prior to purchasing a printer?”  As I often do, I arranged for a demo printer for Henry to use for 2 to 3 weeks.  In addition, I sent Henry labels to test as well as a set of ink cartridges.  Once he has the printer, ink and labels, Henry quickly redesigned the tag to print on the TM-C3500.

Initially, Henry wanted tags as he was placing the printed member ID badge in a plastic holder.  However, labels were less expensive than tags.  Labels are readily available; where tags are more of a specialty item.  After some tests, Henry decided the labels worked well; allowing CMA to insert them easily into the plastic holders. With this decision, CMA purchased printers, ink, extended warranties and labels for their first event.

According to Henry, “Overall the application and printers worked well.  We only had one issue with the printers.  One setting, Save Roll Media, would change anytime the computers were restarted (Save Rolls Media cuts before and/or after the image and not on the predefined length in order to save the continuous media).  Each morning, we were required to make the change, No Savings, in the driver. We just needed to remember to make the change.”  As for the driver issue, I’m positive we can find a fix.

Also, Henry says, “The set of ink cartridges lasted for the entire meeting.  We did not have to change a single ink cartridge during the event.”  With the 4” x 3” tag design, CMA can expect several thousand tags printed for set of ink cartridges.  Plus their label media worked well; with plenty remaining for their next meeting.

You may find some of my other posts around events and visitors of interest:

Printing color labels and tags on demand for attendee and visitor management is a great application for the TM-C3500.  With this printer, you can add images, color text, logos, and color codes as well as barcodes and other typically black-only variable data.  The next time you need attendee badges for an event or visitors, think color tags and labels from Color Label Solutions.

Guy Mikel

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Vivo! Replacement Option

If you need a high speed, high resolution color label printer in-plant, you should contact me; as I have a TrojanOne Color Label printer.

TrojanOne Label

Now I can send you print samples immediately as well as give you on-site demonstrations as I completed three this week with Brian Jobmann, Chief Technology Officer of Trojan Color Systems.

B. Jobmann

One of our demonstrations was conducted in a company currently using Vivo Color Label printers from Quick Label Systems (QLS):

Vivo! Label Printer
Vivo Label Printer

QLS, a division of Astro-Med, introduced this LED printer named the Vivo in 2006: http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=120530&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=813026&highlight=.   My customer has been using these printers for the last two years to print labels “somewhat” on-demand.  I say somewhat as they need to print and rewind labels in advance; to insure the labels are available to apply during any of their 3 shifts.  Once printed, they store printed labels in racks on the plant floor.

Preprinted Labels

During our discussion, I learned from the customer that keeping these printers running is a difficult task.  It seems they continuously need repair, especially with the media handling.  In fact, my customer said “we had to get a spare recently for a spare printer QLS had already provided to us.  Can you imagine, a spare for a spare printer?  Although QLS has supported us, the Vivo printer has design problems that make it difficult to keep them running.”

During our discussion, Brian and I covered three key aspects of the TrojanOne color printer making it the perfect replacement for a Vivo LED label printer.  First, the TrojanOne color label printer was designed to make it easy to service and support.  With the online secure server connectivity, Trojan Color Systems connects to your printer to diagnose problems and provide support, including editing the firmware.  According to Brian, 98+% of all issues are resolved with this type of support.  No other in-plant label printer offers this type of remote support.  I covered this issue in detail in my earlier post: http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2014/03/trojan-triumps.html.   With QLS, you need to contact them to get service or to send out a replacement printer. This type of service costs money that you ultimately pay.

(Side Note:  After setting up my TrojanOne printer, I had an issue that I could not fix.  While driving in a car in TX, Brian connected to my printer and fixed the issue immediately.  It was an amazing example of the support Trojan provides.)”

Second, the TrojanOne printer is easy to operate.  With the capability of the Trojan Control Panel to store print jobs, operators can reprint labels quickly and easily.  In addition, operators can use the built-in service capability to conduct routine maintenance easily. 

TrojanOne Control Panel

Third and most important, the TrojanOne can reduce ink costs on your in-plant prime label production significantly.  With this customer, we estimated label costs would be reduce by 50% to 70% compared to the Vivo.  The TrojanOne label printer would print their labels with more than 90% coverage for less than $0.02 each.  According to our customer, “QLS can’t tell us our estimated label costs.  All we know is that we spend more than $250,000 a year with them in ink and labels.” 

And it’s not just the ink.  With a list price of $14,995 ( http://www.quicklabel.com/products-services/label-printers/color/vivo-touch.html#priceeven the Vivo printer hardware is more expensive than the TrojanOne label printer.  In addition, the Vivo requires fuser, transfer belt and image drum replacement parts making this printer expensive to keep running.

In addition to the service/support, ease to operate and lower costs benefits, the TrojanOne offers other benefits relative to the Vivo Color Label printer; including significantly faster speed (up to 12 ips versus 2-4 ips), higher resolution (1,600 x 1,600 dpi versus 600 dpi) and much lower energy requirements.

If you have a Vivo printer, contact Color Label Solutions.  We help you print higher quality, in-plant prime labels at a savings of 50% to 70%.

Guy Mikel