|Kiaro Label Printer|
I know this printer mostly from my work with current customers that have switched away from the Kiaro. This week, I spoke with another prospect who had decided to purchase a C7500G. Based on this discussion, I decided to try to describe the important differences between the Kiaro (and the other options sold under different names) and the C7500G.
Kanematsu sells the printer to AstroNova/Quick Label Systems under an OEM agreement. Up until recently, Kanematsu was the distributor for Canon outside of Japan for this label printer. In January, 2018 at CES, Canon announced the launch of these printers, the D5500, in North America: https://downloads.canon.com/nw/printer/products/printers-and-multifunction/card-label-printers/ij-label-printers/lx-d5500/specifications/lx-d5500_specification_sheet.pdf
|Canon Label Printer|
Now you have access to purchase the same printer from three different companies. In this post, I’ll use the brand name, Kiaro to represent all of the options. And Please Remember; we don’t sell the Kiaro printer. I decided not to sell the Swiftcolor line of printers after attending a maintenance class. But more about care and maintenance of these color label printers later.
Looking at the Kiaro, I see 4 unique benefits vs the C7500G. First, the Kiaro offers up to 1200 x 1200 dpi print resolution; much higher than the C7500G with 1,200 x 600 resolution. I’ve seen great print quality from the Kiaro printer.
Second, the Kiaro comes in either dye or pigment-based inks. Die ink are much more vibrant; but are not water resistant or water proof. The ink will come off labels easily. Pigment inks are very durable; but are not as vibrant in color as the dye Kiaro models. But the choice is good to have depending on your requirements.
|Kiaro Label Printer with Winders|
Third, the minimum width of a 4” version of the Kiaro printer is 25 mm or .984”; which is narrower than the C7500G at 2”. And the minimum length of a label is 6 mm or .236”; much shorter than the 1” minimum of the C7500G. Narrow widths and shorter lengths make the Kiaro printer fit many more applications.
Although the Kiaro has other features, I don’t see them as unique or valuable in the comparison with the C7500G.
As for the negatives, I see 3 with the Kiaro printer. The first and largest is the 4 consumable print heads. As each printhead may cost up to $750, it is expensive to replace this consumable item. As I understand, the costs are $2500 to replace all 4 print heads at once.
How long one of the four printheads last depends on the material and percentage coverage of the labels printed. Many years ago, I requested from SwiftColor an inkcost and printhead estimate on this 4 x 3” label:
|4" x 3" Color Label Test Sample|
And Kanematsu sent me this estimate:
|SwiftColor Yield Estimate|
Although my request was concerning ink cost, the printhead life was more interesting to me. At 161,186 4” x 3 labels, the printhead cost per label was 483,000 inches and added $0.0046/label; almost ½ of a penny per label for just the black printhead. If you add up the cost of all 4 printhead, the cost per label was $0.013 just for printheads (assuming $750/printhead). At the time, I was told the black line around the label reduced the black printhead life. In this example, the printhead cost was almost as much as the ink cost/label. (Remember; these costs were from many years ago. The printhead price may have changed).
However, most people will want to change only the affected printhead. You’ll need to remove and replace the printhead from the array. Changing printheads requires an operator with mechanical skills, time and patience to do the job correctly. With the C7500G, the printheads are permanent and not a consumable item.
In addition to the consumable printheads, the Kiaro printer has other consumable items. The second negative is the time and money required to change these items. The Kiaro has a “Blade Cleaner”, “Purge Unit”, and “Maintenance Cartridge” which are considered consumable items. In addition, the printer has parts that need to be replaced as required such as the “Transport Unit”. To replace many of these items, draining the ink and special tools are required. The time and money required to change these items seems onerous to me. The C7500G has a “Maintenance Kit” that takes seconds to change and costs $30. I tell customers that they’ll need approximately 3 of these kits per year with heavy use.
Lastly, the Kiaro printer seems to require must more work and maintenance to keep these printers operating. By the accounts of formers users now customers, the Kiaro printers have issues with streaks and require lots of repair. Although having C7500G printers that required repair, we’ve found these printers durable and reliable. Plus they are much easier to operate. For most customers, operators of the C7500G must just press “Print”.
Although the Kiaro can print great looking images, and produce very small and short labels, the requirements to keep these printers operating appear to be too difficult for most users. In this regard, the C7500G is much easier to use and reliable while producing great looking labels.
Another point to consider: the Kiaro printer comes in an 8” version as well. However, the 8” version is two 4” printheads stitched together. No only does this printer have 8 printheads to replace, but also has had issues with the stitching between the heads. Because of this issue, I believe Quick Label Systems launched their Memjet printer, the QL-800 and purchased Trojan line of printers.
I hope this comparison helps with your analysis of the available printers for on-demand color labels. Contact us if we can help with your color label printer requirements.