Sunday, July 19, 2015


Epson has launched an alternate configuration to its new Colorworks C7500; the C7500G.  Recently, I met with Andrew Moore, Product Manager and Keigo Ejiri, Engineering Liason, to learn more about and to see a demo of the C7500G.

In the past, you may have seen some of our other posts on the C7500 color label printer:

When we met, my first question to Andrew was, what’s the difference between the C7500 and the C7500G? According to Andrew, “It’s the ink.  The C7500G uses a variation of Epson UltraChrome ink, https://www.epson.com/cmc_upload/0/000/021/622/Ultrachrome%20Ink%20Fact%20Sheet.pdfwhich is used in the Epson Stylus Pro Printers (http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/jsp/Pro/Home.do).  This ink works on a wider range of gloss media than the DuraBRITE ink used in the C7500, C3500 and C831 printers (https://files.support.epson.com/pdf/sc80__/sc80__db.pdf). Both inks are pigment based, which make them very durable.”

C7500G on Gloss Paper Labels
C7500G on Gloss Paper Labels
For a better understanding, here is a definition of gloss paper:  http://printwiki.org/Gloss

As described to me, the challenge with glossy media is the high speed of the C7500.  The C7500 is so fast that the standard ink did not have a chance to fully dry on glossy media resulting in some risk of ink transfer or image defects.  The UltraChrome based inks dry much faster on glossy substrates opening up a wider range of media that the C7500 family can handle. 

C7500 on Gloss Paper Labels

Gloss Paper Label; both C7500 and C7500G
On top, gloss labels printed with the C7500G; and on bottom, gloss labels printed with the C7500.

Although you may not see it in the picture, I found the C7500 had slightly darker colors.  See if you can tell the differences in the yellow around the showerhead or the light orange in the Nutritional Facts.  Therefore, if a customer’s specific gloss media allowed sufficient time to dry, I would recommend using the standard C7500.  For sure the standard C7500 provided better print quality on matte.  

C7500 printed on matte paper labels
On top, matte labels printed with the C7500G; and on the bottom matte labels printed with the C7500.

Again see the differences; the yellow around the showerhead and the orange in the Nutritional Facts are darker on the bottom labels printed on matte with the C7500.

I did ask Andrew, can you place ink for the “G” printer in the standard C7500?  According to Andrew, “you can’t mix ink for the C7500 in the C7500G and visa-versa.  In addition, you need to use a different driver for the different printers as well.”

Based on my understanding of the differences, I would recommend using the C7500 if you print both matte and gloss labels.  If you need very glossy labels, the C7500G will be the right choice.

Most importantly, you should contact Color Label Solutions if you are interested in a C7500 printer; as we’re the experts with this technology. To purchase the C7500, visit our store. 

C7500: http://stores.colorlabelsolutions.com/c7500-color-label-printer/.

Guy Mikel

Sunday, July 12, 2015

NFC In Color

FlexStr8, Inc.(www.flexst8.com) develops, manufactures, and markets integrated smart label systems, smart labels, encoders, and NFC software; and a partner of Color Label Solutions.

NFC Enabled Label
FlexStr8 NFC-Enabled Label
FlexStra8 has developed the world’s first NFC-enabled color label clip-on encoder using the TM-C3500 printer.  With the clip-on NFC encoder, FlexStra8 has made it easy to upgrade a TM-C3500 to encode and print NFC labels.

FlexStr8 Encoder
FlexStr8 Encoder/Software
To learn more about NFC, read this Wikipedia description: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near_field_communication 


And to learn more about the FlexStr8 NFC solution, check out their video.  This 3 minute video tells you much more about the technology.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbw4cW02N-sPay particular attention to the potential applications FlexStr8 sees for this solution.

According to Eric Casavant, FlexStra8 Product Engineer, “for $1,199, you get everything you need to start encoding and printing NFC enabled labels; clip-on encoder, label design/encoding software and 500 labels.  With the potential of this technology, it’s a great and affordable way to test how NFC enable labels would benefit your operation. In one easy to use solution, you can print color labels for your products on-demand with an imbedded NFC tag.”

Continuing, Eric says, “more and more consumers have smart phones with NFC enable readers. Now, labels can do more than support your brand or provide use instructions.  You give your labels a voice; a way for your customers to interact directly with your company”.  To see a list of available NFC enable devices, check out this Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_NFC-enabled_mobile_devices

After working in the RFID market for some time, (check out my Linked-In profile to see more about my experience in RFID: https://www.linkedin.com/in/guymikel), my focus in my discussions with FlexStr8 was on the potential applications for the technology; the combination of print on-demand color and NFC.  Here are a few examples.

NFC Enabled Label
NFC Enabled Color Label

NFC Website On Mobile Phone
NFC Directed Website On My Nexus 5
First, you can now direct your prospects or consumers to a specific URL, to provide more specific information than what’s written on the label.  For example, you can:
  •      Provide addition use directions or product manuals.  For example, GHS label information or SDS sheets.
  •      Tie consumers directly to your social media pages.
  •      Offer specific language based on the default language of the browser settings of your customer.
  •      Make it easier for customers to repurchase your products by directing them to the product purchase page.
To elaborate, the idea to direct global customers to the language of their choice is an interesting feature of a NFC label.  According to Eric, “effectively, you can now put all possible languages on your label.  This capability makes global labels more feasible; especially chemical products that now require extensive GHS information in the specific country language.”

Second, you can use the NFC chip to launch an application on the customer’s smart phone; or take the customer to the app store to download and install an application.  Now your label can become a means to distribute applications your company builds to strengthen your relationship with customers.  For example, our customer Hummingbird Nectar can not only connect customers to their Hummingbird cam:  http://www.hummingbirdnectar.com,  but also provide an application that make it easy to identify specific species of hummingbirds (if available). 

Third, event organizers can load v-card information onto a NFC tag; to make contact information readily available.  Lead tracking at events just became easier to do.

Fourth, the NFC tag can be used as an anti-counterfeit device.  Now you can encrypt a unique identification on the NFC tag that connects to a cloud based database to confirm the product as valid.  According to Eric, “FlexStr8 can provide the cloud based database; or will work with our customer to integrate the solution into their existing online validation tools.”

Overall, the FlexSt8 application enables companies to connect with their customers, providing significantly more value that what’s available from a standard label. To learn more or to purchase your FlexStr8 encoder to add to a TM-C3500, contact us.  And begin testing how NFC capabilities will improve your products.

Guy Mikel

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Word Sucks!

This post comes from our guest blogger, Tim Semic, Technical Support Manager for Color Label Solutions.

Being the tech support guy for Color Label Solutions, I was recently asked to assist a company that had created their labels in Microsoft Word.

Word Created Label

To me it was actually amazing what a good job someone had done with creating their labels using this application.  I was humbled with their expertise.  Every label looked professional.  But there was one important question that was not considered during their decision to use MS Word as their design tool for labels:  Will They Print?

"Can you help us?"  The manager asked, after realizing that he could not print any of his MS Word labels to a label printer.  (See just how much we care about our customers at the end of this article).

Word With Error

When starting this project, I had no idea about how to print labels designed in MS Word.  Their labels had large margins around all four sides.  If I tried to alter MS Word’s page settings to make the content fit the label media correctly, the label content would reflow on the page and become unusable.

Poor Word Label Design
In addition, the customer wanted to be able to type in lot numbers on their labels as they printed them.

In MS Word format their labels were effectively unprintable.  Wow, what am I to do about this problem?  As Bones would have said, “I'm a doctor Jim, not a magician!”

So I set to work to find a solution to this problem.  I processed a label through several applications to determine a workflow that would convert the MS Word label files into a printable format.  After a few solid hours of work, I figured out the steps that would allow me to convert labels created in MS Word into form-fillable labels that would print in a variety of sizes!

The moral of the story here is something that I learned years ago:
Use The Right Tool for the Job!

Having the right tool for the job will save you time and money, not to mention frustration.  Don't use a text editor to create your labels!

So to the heart of why I am writing this blog entry.

I wish to let you know that there are several great label design applications available to you.  Some designed to be very user friendly that come with predesigned label templates.  For example, there’s Simple GHS.  Simple GHS makes it easy to input your data and print labels for your chemicals.  Learn more here:  http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2015/05/simple-ghs.html

Simple GHS

Other applications like BarTender offer easy ways to integrate into databases.  http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2014/09/ghs-drum-label-template-database.html

And some will provide advanced features for integrating into ERP software such as SAP. 

My job at Color Label Solutions is not to sell, but rather to help our customers, and to even help those of you who are not our customers.  Not yet at least!  We believe in Karma!  

If you currently have a need to print labels, but don't have an optimized printing solution at this time, I encourage you to contact us.

But please, don’t ever create labels in a text editor such as Microsoft Word.


Color Label Solutions:  Who we are:
We at Color Label Solutions are dedicated to assist you with the purchase and deployment of label printing equipment, label design and printing software, as well as complete label printing systems.  We’ll assist you with installing the correct version of the printer driver onto your computer, show you how to add page sizes, and review the basics of how to print labels; so that you understand how your printing system works.

Our goal at Color Label Solutions is to make your path to label printing easy, and keep it that way!

Rather than you researching just what you need to buy, and then hoping that you didn’t just make a huge mistake, you can relax and rely on our years of experience to help you through the complete process.  Not only will we work closely with you to select the printer hardware and label software that’s the right fit for your needs and budget, we will also spend quality time with you to set up your label system and get you printing.

We go above and beyond to provide our customers with comprehensive service. Once you become a Color Label Solutions customer, you may contact us by phone or email if you need any of the following:

* Customer service for consumables such as labels and ink, or hardware such as additional printers.
* Technical support for your label printing system.
* Graphic design for creating custom labels that meet your needs.

We invite you to become our customer.

Best regards,
Color Label Solutions Tech Support

Sunday, June 21, 2015

LX2000-Full Bleed Color Label Printer

This week, we received our new LX2000 color label printer from Primera.

LX2000 Color Label Printer

With up to 4,800 dpi, from .75” to 8” print width, durable pigment ink, built in cutter and BarTender driver, the LX2000 offers a great solution for those customers who want to print high quality, full bleed, relatively low volume labels. 

LX2000 Color Label Printer

Let me tell and show you why the LX2000 does a good job for this type of manufacturer.

To start using the LX2000, I download the instruction manual and driver here:  http://www.primeralabel.com/support/LX2000.html 

When I downloaded the driver, I learned of my biggest disappointment with the LX2000.  I was told by Primera that a Mac driver would be available.  Instead, I read this statement:

The LX2000 is not currently compatible with Macs.

LX2000 Mac Driver

This was disappointing as I had a customer waiting for the LX2000 specifically for the Mac driver.  Bummer.

Although no Mac driver, I did learn about the wireless option:

Wireless is a unique feature I believe.

And the BarTender driver:

LX2000 BarTender Driver

As I use BarTender frequently, this feature as a real benefit.

After installing the driver, I loaded the ink cartridges.  The black is larger than the other three cartridges.

LX 2000 Black
LX2000 Black Cartridge
LX2000 Cartridge
LX2000 Cyan Cartridge
The cartridges seemed small given the manufacturing aspect of this printer.  Plus I find it interesting that Primera does not change the ink cartridge casing, just like VIP 495:   http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2015/05/495.html 

During setup of the driver, I realized that the printer required alignment of the printhead; just like many desktop inkjet printers do.  To align the printhead, you need to load A4 paper, provided by Primera, into the printer.

It took me 3 tries to get the alignment to work correctly.  I decided that I had not pushed in the paper sufficiently far.  Be sure the paper is gently pulled into the printer when loading.

After aligning the printhead, I “attempted” to print labels.  Frankly, I had a rough start.  First I had labels that were banding.

I have no idea why; or even why it stopped.  But it did.

Second, the printer “grasped” the skin on my hand and pull it into the roll arm.  Ouch!

Be careful when loading the labels; and make sure the lever is up on the Roll Guide

And third, some jobs would just not print:

By the end of the day, I decided all of these issues were operator error.  Specifically, you need to insure the paper is loaded correctly; and to understand the button push sequence.  It’s not obvious what the buttons and lights mean when flashing.  Be sure to read section 5H on buttons/LED lights.  And be careful of the rotating and unprotected arm.

Even with these issues, I was soon printing great looking labels full bleed on matte paper:

LX2000 Matte Paper Labels
LX2000 Matte Paper Labels

Gloss paper:

LX2000 Gloss Paper Labels
LX2000 Gloss Paper Labels

Kimdura poly labels:

LX2000 Kimdura Poly Labels
LX2000 Kimdura Poly Labels
And even clear polyester film:

LX2000 Clear Film Labels
LX2000 Clear Film Labels
Primera did a great job of explaining how to print full bleed labels in section 4E of the manual.  With BarTender, they have made full bleed printing easy to do.

In terms of waterfastness, I found both the Kimdura and clear film performed well.  However, alcohol removed some of the ink from the Kimdura label (see the slight red over the barcode):

LX200 Alcohol Effect
In addition, I printed die cut, blackmark and continuous labels. All printed correctly with the appropriate settings.

One nice feature was the ink cost analysis in the Status Monitor.  As a worst case, I printed 10 (according to the Status Monitor, 10 prints is the minimum required to print for an accurate cost analysis) 4” x 6” high gloss labels at the highest resolution. 

Ink for these labels cost $0.107 and took 26 seconds each.  $0.11 is a seemingly high ink cost.  But the label print quality was great!

LX2000 Ink Cost/Label
LX2000 Ink Cost/Label

After discussions with Primera, I printed a second label, 4" x 6" matte poly at normal resolution with less than 100% coverage to see the ink cost.  The label printed really great!

LX2000 Print
LX2000 Print
And the cost per label was $0.10; about the same price.

LX2000 Cost Per Label
LX2000 Cost Per Label

To purchase the LX2000, contact us or visit our store:  http://stores.colorlabelsolutions.com/lx2000-color-label-printer/

To purchase LX2000 ink: http://stores.colorlabelsolutions.com/lx2000-ink/

And don't forget to purchase 3 years of "Hot Swap" Extended Warranty:  http://stores.colorlabelsolutions.com/lx2000-hotswap-extended-warranty/

Overall, I believe the LX200 produced great looking, full bleed labels easily.  For manufacturers with relatively small volumes that want high resolution labels, the LX2000 seems like a good choice. Please remember:  no Mac driver currently and relatively high ink cost is a part of using this label printer. Contact us to learn more and to purchase the LX2000 printer, ink and labels.

Guy Mikel

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Dust & Label Printers

Not all factories that need to print color labels on-demand are clean like this one:

Color Label Printers
C3400 Label Printers In Production

In fact, many factory locations that need to print labels are dusty.  In the TM-C3500 Technical Reference Guide, Epson states, “Do not use in locations subject to high humidity or dust levels. Excessive humidity and dust may cause equipment damage or fire.”

In addition, the Technical Reference Manual states: Do not place the printer in a dusty location.

The reason for this warning is that dust may plug or damage the inkjet nozzles.  Epson states the nozzles are reliable for up to 6 billion shots.  To keep the inkjet nozzles unplugged, both the C3500 and C7500 have “auto nozzle check systems” that detects missing dots or plugged nozzles.   

Once plugged, it is difficult to impossible to unplug an inkjet nozzle.  Plus the printer will waste ink attempting to unplug the nozzle.  And if a line starts showing in your prints, the printer may have a plugged nozzle. In many or most environments, I would recommend Disable the “Nozzle Verification” in either of these printers to save ink and time.

C7500 Nozzle
C7500 Nozzle Verification Setting
The number one means to keep dust out of your printer is by keeping the label media clean.  Be sure to keep all labels wrapped in plastic bags, preferably in the case in which they were shipped.

Labels In Protective Bags
Labels In Protective Bag
The plastic bags keep the rolls clean; and probably dry. If you keep labels in an open environment, be sure to cut off the outside layer or page on top of the stack before running it through the printer.  This steps eliminates a large part of the dust that could be carried into the printer and thus the printhead.

If you have a very dusty environment, consider adding an enclosure for your printer.

C3500 Dust Enclosure
C3500 Dust Protection Enclosure

We sell enclosures made with ABS plastic which is resistant to corrosion in damp or wet environments.  In addition, the enclosure we sell are printer specific; for the C3500, C7500 and the C831 printers.  Printer specific enclosures provide more protection; not just a box with a cut-out for the label to come out of the printer/enclosure.

Plus, the enclosures we sell come with a filter and fan to provide negative air pressure. 

The negative air pressure blows air out the front slot reducing the probability for dust to enter where the labels are ejected from the enclosure.

Finally, the enclosure we sell are affordable; making an additional small investment to keep your label printer assets running as required.  You don’t want to have your production shut down because of dust and a plugged inkjet nozzle.

And if you print labels in a wash down area, contact us as well.  We sell slightly different versions of these enclosures for where water is mandatory.

Although keeping labels in plastic bags, configuring your printers not to “check nozzles” and purchasing enclosures are not the perfect solutions for a dusty or wet environment, they do provide additional insurance and protection for your label printer assets.  Contact us if we can help you protect or configure your label printers.

Guy Mikel

Sunday, June 7, 2015

"Special" Labels Required

Most every day or at least every week, we get requests for “special” labels.  Not Church Lady “Special” however:

What I mean by special are labels that are NOT matte paper, gloss paper or matte poly; the standard labels available for on demand color label printing.

GP-C831 Opaque Label
Opaque Label

Here are four types of special labels we sell for specific applications.

First, we’re getting calls of “Opaque” labels.  These labels are required to cover up existing labels, eliminating the requirement to remove the previous labels.  We have companies using these labels on drums that are imported into the USA from 3rd party companies.  To make these labels light proof, we have added an opaque adhesive:

GP-C831 Opaque Label
Black Adhesive on Opaque Label
In the picture, you can see how the adhesive blocks the light to prevent the underling image to show through.  For this application, the opaque label works great.

Second and in addition to opaque, we’re selling “Removable” labels; labels that you can remove after applying.

Removable C3500 Label
Removable C3500 Label on Glass
Removable C3500 Label
Removable C3500 Label on Glass
These labels are made of poly so they don’t tear.  Plus they have an adhesive that is durable, yet will peel without leaving residue behind.   We’re selling these labels for companies who want to ship product to Europe using English/German GHS language; and then relabel in French for example.  For this application, the removable labels work perfect.

Third, we’re selling labels for the cryogenic storage of chemicals; down to -80 degrees F.

Cryogenic C3500 Labels
Cryogenic C3500 Labels

Again, these labels are made of poly; and have an adhesive that works down to the required -80F temperature.  On the picture above with the .625” tall label, the font is only 4 point.  We’re getting good print quality for such a small font and images on these labels.

Fourth, we have an eggshell paper. Wikipedia says eggshell is meant as a representation of the average color of a chicken egg.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eggshell_(color)

Inkjet Eggshell Paper Labels
Eggshell Color Paper Labels

Combined with the print quality from the C7500, the eggshell paper produced a beautiful label.  See the label from our customer, Hummingbird Market above.  You may find our earlier post on Hummingbird Market of interest:  http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2013/03/customizing-my-nectar.html.  We can also get this same paper in white.

You may be saying, “These types of labels are readily available for thermal transfer printers; they’re not special”.  However, we’re selling these labels for inkjet printers.  We’ve worked with our plant for some time to get these types of labels produced.

Two types of labels we’re still testing are inkjet coated film and gloss poly.  We’ve not really found materials that are sufficiently durable and affordable.  You might find our earlier post on this topic of interest:  http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2014/10/inkjet-coated-gloss-clear-labels.html

When you have a unique application or need “Special” labels, contact us here at Color Label Solutions.  We’ve find the labels you need.

Guy Mikel