Sunday, November 8, 2015

Large & Full-Bleed

What options are available if you want to do large labels?  When I say “large”, I mean greater than ~8” wide.

Large Label
Larger than 8" label

I’ve been asked this question before; but I did not have any real good options.  Until now.

In addition, I’ve been asked about the best way to print beautiful, full-bleed labels. Professional printers die cut post printing; insuring the labels are printed to the edge. I’ve written about printing full-bleed using die cut labels: http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2015/06/lx2000-full-bleed-color-label-printer.htmlBut it’s difficult to produce full-bleed every time; until now. 

If you need large labels, one option is to use the large format printers from Epson; the T-Series printers.


These affordable printers produce beautiful, high resolution images in widths from 10” up to 44” wide; and with the built-in cutter, you can cut your label to length.  

What’s more interesting to me as a label reseller, the T-Series printers use the same ink as the ColorWorks label printers.  This feature means all of the label media qualified for the Epson ColorWorks printers function with the T-Series.  Matte Paper, Gloss Paper and Matte Poly.  No need to requalify label media.  Plus the T-Series offers BS5609 approved labels as well.  To learn more about BS5609, see our much earlier post:  http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2012/03/bs5609-is-no-bs.html

If you only need to print a limited number of labels, you can purchase the affordable T-3270 printer with up to 24” print width; and then print/cut.  Easy to do.  Plus you can print labels using a Mac driver; effectively no other color label printers offer a MAC driver.

Large Label

 (The LX900 is the exception.  http://www.primeralabel.com/support/lx900.html.  However, the print head for the LX900 is no longer in production.  Therefore, we don’t recommend this product).

We even printed die cut labels using the T-Series printers.

Die Cut Label
Die Cut Label
Beautiful print; but difficult to print full-bleed.

If you want to print full-bleed labels, you can produce them perfectly on-site by printing with the T-Series printer with the optional rewinder, and then cutting using the iTech cutter from Allen Datagraph (ADSI).

iTech Cutter
iTech Cutter

According to Mark Sullivan, Label System Manager, “ADSI's iTech Cutters systems are high performance material cutting systems. We leveraged the technology from these cutters to develop our current label finishing systems. Our cutters include ADSI's DirectCUT™ driver: which enables you to cut directly from software packages such as CorelDRAW®, Adobe Illustrator®, AutoCAD®, AutoCAD Lite® and others.”

Mark continues, “With ADSI's exclusive SmartMark, our cutters automatically capture up to three printed registration marks, adjust the scale and skew, and precision cut your assigned objects. We also have a built-in test-cut function; which saves media.  There’s no need to run a job to test your cut depth.”

To test the large and full bleed label solution using the T-Series printer and iTech cutter from ADSI, we printed full-bleed 4” x 6” labels, 2 UP along with a registration mark.  We then added die lines to mark where to cut the labels using the ADSI’s SmartMark.  Finally, we ran print job through the cutter; yielding great looking 4” x 6” full-bleed labels.

Full-Bleed Die-Cut Label
Full-Bleed Die-Cut Label

You can see the cut lines that enable the matte poly 4” x 6” label to be removed from the liner.

Full-Bleed Die-Cut Label

Perfect full-bleed labels every time for a fraction of the hardware price of most finishers.

With one last key point about the cutters, Mark adds, “ADSI’s iTech Cutters are made in and supported from the USA. Our support team has decades of industry experience and are just a phone call away.”

If you need or even think you need large labels or perfect full-bleed labels every time, contact us to discuss your requirements further.  I like to understand your needs; and ideas on how this large format printer and cutter may fit your situation.

Guy Mikel

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Digital Color Printing-Labeling & Packaging

Package Design recently held a webinar on how brand owners can use digital packaging and labeling to improve their marketing and product offerings.  

During this presentation, I found a lot of parallels in the discussion with digital, print on-demand color labels.  The two key speakers, Peter Borowski, 

and Bob Leahey

made several points that supported the move to print on-demand color packaging and labeling.  To hear the entire webinar, listen here: 

As a summary, Peter provided the following key points.

  • Packaging and Labeling are the marketing vehicles with the greatest leverage; and the last interruptive media.  Further, consumers or businesses interact with the packaging regardless of how it is purchased; in-store or on-line.  It’s advertising; with high reach, low cost and strategic in nature.  And on-line shopping is making packaging and labeling more important.
  • Digital printing is allowing packaging and labeling to become more fluid and personalized.  It’s a revolution in packaging and labeling that will continue for decades; enabling shorter runs, more effective promotions and personalization.
  • Digital packaging and labeling enables you to print what you need, how you need it and when you need it.  On-demand dramatically reduces inventory and waste/obsolescence costs; enables production adjustments based on demand; and provides 100% revision control allowing companies to target consumers better.

Peter’s take away is that digital makes packaging and labeling more compelling, enables companies to make bolder moves in the market, and drives sales both on and off line.

Bob Leahey (full disclosure; an acquaintance of mine) researches digital printing, both label and packaging.  According to Bob:

  • Digital packaging and labeling are growing significantly.  The value of labels printed on color digital systems will increase from approximately $3 billion in 2014 to just under $6 billion in 2019, reflecting a 15.9% CAGR (compound annual growth rate). Direct color digital printing of packaging, mainly folding cartons, flexible packaging, is less established, about $300 million in print value today, but that is expected to easily top $1 billion in 2019.
  • Short run color digital printing of labels and packaging enables companies to launch new products, outfit pop-up retailers, produce private label products, make new versions to better target customers, cut out obsolescence, and eliminate costs like plates.  As a print technology option, it’s effectively the closest a brand owner will come to “mass customization”.
  • Digital labeling allows companies to print variable data, a tool conventional printing doesn’t have. Brands can use variable data printing (VDP) to serialize products and thereby tighten the tracking of them, to prevent fraud. Meanwhile , VDP offers something else, personalization, a boon to on-line entrepreneurs and others who offer products customized for individuals, such as wedding favors, new product samples, etc.

Overall, I believe digital label and package printing technology enables great new ways to reach businesses and consumers; improves processes and ultimately increase sales; especially in the on-line world.  If you want help to move to digitally printing color labels on-demand, contact us; we’ll help you start quickly and easily.

Guy Mikel

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Print, Laminate, Die-Cut, Slit; The Path To Prime Labels

In my earlier post, http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2013/10/in-plant-prime-labels.htmlcovering in-plant prime labels, I define prime labels as the following: 

A Prime Label acts as the main identification of a product. Often designed to attract attention, prime labels contain information designed to appeal to a buyer and are usually applied at the time of manufacture. 

Full-Bleed Label
Full-Bleed Label
From my experience, prime labels have common features that brand owners want and expect:

  • Cover 100% of the label with ink
  • Print “full-bleed”; to the edge of the label
  • Shine- a glossy appearance
  • Withstand water, abrasion, etc.; durable

But 100% coverage and full-bleed printing is very difficult using die cut labels.  I mention the issue with black in this post.  http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2015/10/all-black.html

When producing full-bleed labels at a printshop, printers typically print and then die cut.  That is why you find “die lines” on label artwork.

Full Bleed Label With Die Line
Full-Bleed Label With Dieline
By die cutting post print, you insure full-bleed printing. Also prior to die cutting, you can add a laminate to make the label durable and glossy.

But how can you print, laminate, and die cut in plant?  Now we have an affordable and relatively easy way to produce full-bleed and laminated labels in plant; using the new NeuraLabel 300X printer combined with the Scorpio+ finishing station.

The 300X http://www.neuralog.com/pages/NeuraLabel-300x.html  prints from 3” to 8.5” very fast with print speeds up to 20”/second at resolution up to 2400 x 1200 using a durable pigment ink.  For this application, you can print on lower cost continuous label media like we’ve done here:

According to Steve Larson, Business Development for NeuraLabel Printing Solutions, “The printer is very simple to operate.  Ink is the only consumable, and replacing cartridges is easy.  If the customer buys the onsite warranty, they get next business day on-site break/fix support.  This warranty extends even to the print head, which is why we say that the print head has virtually unlimited life.”  These features make the 300X less risky for a manufacturer.

After printing multiple up on an inexpensive label media, you then need to laminate, die cut and slit the labels.  That’s were Scorpio+ Finisher comes into play http://www.scorpio-plus.com/EN/.  Watch the Scorpio finish our labels here:

According to Luca Bortolon, D.P.R. Labeling Sales, “the Scorpio Plus is all-in-one system capable of laminating labels for added durability, digitally die-cutting, removing the excess label material around each die-cut shape, slitting and rewinding, offering you everything needed for professionally finished labels.  This system provides a very accurate label finishing solution using cutting plotter technology; allowing you to cut different types of materials and shapes without the added cost of dies.”

When asked about the maintenance requirements, Luca continued, “The Scorpio unit has very limited maintenance requirements.  The only consumables are the slitting blades and the plotter knife.  These items are replaced depending on the usage.  We have clients who have been using the Scorpio Plus for 6 months without replacing the slitting blades or the plotter knife; whereas others running heavy jobs replace these items every three to four months.”

In the video, you may notice the noise of the laminate coming off the rolls.  According to Luca, “The laminate doesn’t always make so much noise when coming off the roll. The noise or no noise of the laminate really does depend on the type of laminate the client is going to purchase and use as there are several different types.”

The combination of the 300X and Scorpio Plus have one other positive feature; Affordability.  This combination cost just over $30,000; a great price for a prime label finishing system.

If you need to print prime labels in plant, contact us to discuss how the 300X and Scorpio Plus will work for you.

Guy Mikel

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Increasing Label Real Estate

Do you have small containers requiring more content than the label size allows?

Wrap Around GHS Labels
Wrap Around GHS Labels
We’re providing labels that wrap around almost twice to provide additional label real estate to meet the GHS requirements on small containers.

Although not allowed us to use the company name, I decided to post an overview of what we are doing for this small to medium size company of aroma chemicals.

After finding Color Label Solutions via our website (www.colorlabel.solutions) and blog (www.colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.comin the winter of 2014, our customer wanted to test a GHS label printer prior to purchasing.  To help them move forward, we provided our customer a demo C3500 printer and labels to test; using GHS label designs created by 3E (www.3ecompany.com/).  3E Company, a Verisk Analytics (Nasdaq: VRSK) business, is a global provider of data and information services which enable companies to improve compliance with Environmental, Health & Safety (EH&S) regulations and supply chain obligations through the entire lifecycle of chemicals and products.

During the testing, our customer printed a variety of label sizes and designs.  Also, the customer tested the labels under different conditions (freezer, oven, etc.) for adhesion, durability and acetone resistance. In their tests, the matte poly labels held up very well; and then decided to purchase a C3500 and initially 3” x 5” and then later 4” x 7” inkjet coated labels with their logo preprinted.

Preprinted Logo's Removed
With the logo’s, we took several iterations to get the labels to look exactly as required.  When preprinting, it’s important to insure you get the exact color match and dimensions you want.  Plus with Epson inkjet printers, you can’t print on top of the color; so the logo’s were placed at the top out of the way of the GHS label content. As the labels look great, I wish I could show you the finished product.

After completing the preprinted labels, the customer had one more request: sample bottle labels.  The real estate on these bottles was too small to place all of the required GHS content without using tiny font sizes.  Therefore, our customer wanted to know if we could place adhesive on one end of the label and then skip an area before adding adhesive again at the end.  With this design, our customer could produce labels that would stick to the bottle and then wrap around again to stick only at the end on top of the lower layer.

Given the requirement, we suggested to use a “Kill Adhesive”.  With the kill adhesive, it prevents the adhesive from working on a section of the label.  After sending samples of the kill adhesive, our customer ordered preprinted, 1.5” x 6” labels with 2.875” of good adhesive, 3” of kill adhesive applied, and then .125” of adhesive at the end.

Wrap Around Labels
Label With Kill Adhesive
As we recommended the adhesive be applied to the leading edge of the label, our customer needed to work with 3E to redesign the labels.  But this work paid off in a great looking design, even adding “peel here” text, and a dotted line on where the end of the label would attach to the lower first wrap.

Wrap Around GHS Label
Wrap Around GHS Label
On this particular label, a bit of the ink from the lower wrapped peeled off. But this potential ink issue is not critical as the customer designed the label to eliminate most of the content in the area of the tab of adhesive at the end.

Wrap Around GHS Label
Wrap Around GHS Label

Overall, the customer designed great looking and unique GHS labels.  And according to him, “the GHS labels look and work great!”  If you like unique options for small containers, be sure to read our recent post on GHS tags as well:  http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2015/08/great-idea-ghs-tags-for-small-packages.html

Working with people like this customer is one of the great benefits of leading Color Label Solutions.  Contact us if we can help you with unique and colorful labels and tags.

Guy Mikel

Sunday, October 11, 2015

All Black

I have found, one of the most difficult labels to print was full-bleed, all black.  After some testing, I believe we have found two possible solutions to help customers who want to print all black labels.

All black printing, in the past, has print poorly; as every artifact of the print shows up.  Or the durable matte poly labels looked “washed out”.

Matte Black Labels

The problem is for certain products like the Vape label above, black is an important color for marketing.

At the same time, I get calls for gloss poly labels almost weekly.  Many customers want a durable gloss label; one that looks similar to labels with an over-laminate.
Laminated Label
Printing and then laminating/finishing, however, is a much more complicated process.  Plus the hardware is much more costly.  Most customers don’t want to go through the process to get a durable, glossy label using a laminate.

In the past, however, I’ve had difficulty finding a durable gloss poly that actually worked.    You may remember this post where I compared several gloss and clear poly options:  http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2014/10/inkjet-coated-gloss-clear-labels.html

After getting some new 2” x 1” gloss poly labels at the same time as a customer who wanted to print full-bleed black, I decided to give it a try.

First I tested the new C7500 printer.  High resolution, very fast, durable and low ink cost.  Watch me print 100 4” x 6” labels in one minute:

And you may find our post on our first C7500 customer of interest:

So I tested the new gloss poly, die cut labels in the printer running full-bleed, all black labels.  And they printed great I thought.

C7500 Full-Bleed Black Labels
C7500 Full-Bleed Black Labels

Much better than I expected.  And I got the full-bleed printing correct on the first attempt.

After printing, I tested them in water; and the labels were water fast immediately.

But as with all of the gloss poly labels tested with the Epson encapsulated pigment ink, the ink was susceptible to alcohol with rubbing/abrasion.

But for most or many applications, this gloss poly label would seem to work well.

After the positive results using the C7500, I decided to test the new LX2000 printer as well.  This printer works well for printing full-bleed labels.  Read about the LX2000 here: 

The LX2000 prints great; but the print speed is significantly slower, the ink cost is much more expensive and the durability appears much less.

I printed the same label on the LX2000; and got great results.

LX2000 Black Labels
LX2000 Full Bleed Black Labels

And the label printed with the LX2000 was not only water proof, but also seemingly resistant to alcohol:

The HP pigment ink in the LX2000 worked well with this particular gloss poly.

Based on these results, I believe we now have options to print both all black and gloss poly labels.  But be aware; gloss poly is approximately 2X the price of matte poly.  Gloss labels are just more expensive.

So if you need to print a large quantity of water resistant gloss poly labels, the C7500 will work well.  If you need to add durability to alcohol, then you’ll need to use the LX2000.

When you need to print full-bleed or gloss labels, contact us.  We’ll help you select the best printer and label media to meet your needs.

Guy Mikel

Monday, October 5, 2015

Pack Expo 2015

This week, I attended Pack Expo 2015 (http://www.packexpolasvegas.com/)  in Las Vegas.  From 1995 to today, PACK EXPO Las Vegas has steadily grown into the largest processing and packaging event of the year—an event known for showcasing the innovation of top-tier suppliers. It’s where corporate- and plant-level managers, engineers, production professionals, brand managers and package designers can connect with suppliers, talk shop and gain perspective on the industry to stay ahead of the game.

In previous posts, I’ve written about Pack Expo.  See this post covering 2013:  http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2013/09/pack-expo-2013.html

In this year’s show, I saw a few new products/solutions that seemed unique.  Let’s see if you find them of interest as well.

CAB Hermes C Printer/Applicator

First, I saw the first and only available GHS drum label printer/applicator; from CAB the Hermes C:

CAB Hermes C Applicator
Hermes C Applicator
To learn more about his applicator: https://www.cab.de/en/marking/print-apply/hermesc/

In the pictures above, the CAB Hermes C applicator is configured for side container application. Watch it print and apply here:  

(FYI: if the application seems slow, it’s a conveyor issue.  The printer runs much faster).

And the finished product on a pail:

 According to the Sales Manager at CAB, “the Hermes C with the two-tone X-Series printer is the only solution available to print and apply GHS labels.  We have customers using this applicator for paint cans and box application solutions.”  I believe this new solution is needed in the market.  If you need it, contact us to learn more.

In addition to the new CAB printer/applicator, Kanematsu showed their new 2” color label printer.
Swiftcolor 2" Printer
Swiftcolor 2" Label Printer
Prints beautiful for sure.  However, the list price is $4,000 and requires 4 different printheads.  To change a printhead, you need to dismantle the printer, drain the ink out of the printhead, change 1 or 4 printheads, and then reassemble.  Seems difficult to me.  QLS sells the same printer in the 2” version; and the similar 4” and 8” versions.  Here is the video showing how to replace the printhead in the 4” version: 


What do you think of the change process?  Let me know your feedback. 

In addition to new printers, I saw two affordable label applicators that should fit several of my customers.  Labelmate was showing their manual Bottlemate, a manual applicator for bottles.


This applicator is affordable and easy to use.  Great if you want your labels applied in the same place every time.

And Dispense-matic showed their Flex-Matic flat package applicator; for applying labels to sleeves and other packages thinner than .25”.


I saw it operate; but forgot to take a video.  Works great on sleeves.  Learn more here:

Lastly, I watched DPR run their Scorpio + Label Finisher:
Scorpio + Finisher
Scorpio+ Finisher

The Scorpio seems to be the least expensive finisher at under $24,000.  Plus Scorpio seems the simplest finisher as well; with 3 independent sections (lamination, die-cutting, and slitting).  With few moving parts, the finisher has few places where break-fix or maintenance is required.  This design should make the Scorpio finisher more reliable in operation.

Watch my video here:  

And learn about it here: http://www.scorpio-plus.com/EN/

Overall, I found Pack Expo 2015 a success for Color Label Solutions, meeting a lot of new people and seeing a few new and interesting products/solutions.  Contact us if we can help you with any of the items featured here; or that you saw yourself at Pack Expo.

Guy Mikel

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Over A WAN

This post is from our guest, Tim Semic, Support Manager of Color Label Solutions.  

Tim's work found a solution to a difficult and potentially very important problem; label printing over a WAN.  Read about Tim's work to understand the problem and find a solution.

Hello, my name is Tim Semic.  As a technical support specialist for Color Label Solutions, I help customers with printing color labels on-demand; primarily configuring printers and training users.  I would like to share with you an experience that you may find helpful if you ever wanted to install a Epson C3500 on a network.

Recently, I had two customers experience the same mysterious issue with their Epson TM-C3500 Label Printers.  Specifically, they were unable to print to their C3500 printers that were located across their WAN networks.

By using that printing problem as an example, I'll give you a birds-eye view of how support technicians like myself troubleshoot and solve a customer’s problem.

best prac·tice
Commercial or professional procedures that are accepted or prescribed as being correct or most effective.

First: Identify the problem
Troubleshooting is a process.  First, a technician needs to be able to accurately describe the problem to him or herself, so that he or she can understand exactly what is occurring.  In this case I had two printers that would not print across the network.  

While consulting with our customers, I learned that they could successfully print within in the same building as their printer.  However, they were unable to successfully print to the same printer from their remote sites.  When computers and printers are on a network at the same location, we refer to it as a LAN or Local Area Network.  I found that the common denominator at both companies was that the print failure occurred when printing to printers that were located outside of their LAN.  

Both of these companies had set up a type of network referred to as a WAN, which is an acronym for "Wide Area Network".  A WAN is a network that connects LANs at different geographical locations together.  The failure occurred when they tried to print from one to another LAN across their WAN.

Problem Identification:  The Epson TM-C3500 label printer would not print across a WAN; resulting in a non-specified error.

(Note:  If you double click your printer driver it will launch the Epson print monitor where you can monitor and control print jobs sent to the printer.)

If a company's network security was set to block certain traffic across the WAN, these settings could have led to this issue.  But they were not blocking any traffic.  To restate the problem:  They could print to printers that were on their LAN, but not across their WAN.

Second: Determine potential solutions
Once a problem has been identified, a technician will then take steps in a logical order to determine a solution.  The correct order of steps to take may not always include jumping straight ahead to what we think might be the solution to the problem.  

Implementing a fix will involve making some kind of a change to the stream of events that occur when an instruction is executed within a computer environment; such as when you click the Print button.  When a change is made, there is always some amount of risk involved.  Below are a few points that should be considered prior to making a change: 

·         Is there a potential to cause down-time for the customer?
·         What is the potential for something to go wrong?
·         Back out plan - Is there a way of undoing the planned action?
·         When would be the best time to schedule the repair?

Also to be considered: if I fix the problem, will I have a comprehensive understanding of the cause?  By not fully understand the cause, I may make things even worse things by deploying a change.  It would be like bringing your car into the shop to have a flat tire repaired, and the mechanic simply filled your tire with air without patching the leak.

We also attempt to look beyond our first planned action.  Often however, what we discover after making that first change will determine the next step we take.

Third: Take Actions
With the networking issue, I wanted to better understand the problem by using some benign testing methods that would not create any changes to the existing computer environment.  The more I could do to better understand the problem, the better!

Action 1:  I used a terminal program to send a ping to the printer.  Sending a ping is like using sonar on a submarine to see if another sub is in the area.  You can send a ping to any network device as long as you know that device's IP address.  An IP address is like a phone number, and every device on your network has it's own unique IP address, similar to every mobile phone having a unique phone number.  Sending a ping to a device's IP address allows you to see if that device can respond back to you across a network.  From that ping test I learned that the printer was able to return the ping from across the WAN.  So the ping test was successful.

The C3500 hosts a web page that can be used to change some of it’s settings.  I wanted to see if I could access the printer's web interface across their WAN, and I could.  So the problem appears to be that the printer simply cannot accept print jobs across a WAN.

Action 2: I reconfirmed that both companies were not blocking any network traffic across their WAN networks.  If their firewalls were set to block selected traffic across their WANs, the printers may not have been able to receive any print jobs.

Action 3: I decided to examine the printer driver, which enables you to send jobs to a printer.  I found the driver was an older version than what was currently available.  As I am accustomed to frequently updating the C3500 printer driver for my customers, I determined that updating the driver to the current version would be safe.  Updating the printer driver presents a low threat level.  Newer versions of software may contain bug fixes as well as new features, so I was hoping that the newer version of the Epson printer driver had a fix for the WAN issue rolled into it. 

(Showing the current version as of this writing.)

After updating the printer driver, we still couldn't print across their WAN.

It was disappointing that the driver update didn't fix the problem.  Back to the drawing board!

Action 4: I decided to reinstall the printer driver from the Epson Install Navi utility.  The Epson Install Navi utility provides a better installation platform for supporting network connected printers.  Since the issue was related to a network problem, installing the printer driver from the Epson Install Navi utility seemed a good way to proceed.

However, the Navi utility was unable to find the printer during the printer-search function.

Now hey, that's interesting!  The Navi utility could not see the printer!  So now I determined that 1. jobs sent from the printer driver do not find the printer, and 2. That the Epson Navi utility, which is designed to install printer drivers for network printing applications, will not see an Epson C3500 printer across a WAN.  This new information was a good clue, and lead me away from suspecting that there was something wrong with the printer driver.  It redirected my focus onto the software that's resident on the printer itself.  That software is referred to as firmware.

Firmware is software that is typically stored in the flash ROM memory of a device.  Devices such as scanners, set-top units, game stations, and you guessed it- printers, all generally have firmware installed on them, and firmware can be updated!  I located the firmware version that was currently installed on both printers by accessing the Epson "Printer Setting Utility".

The firmware version on their printers was not current!  I knew that a firmware update was available for the Epson C3500 and I had that installer.  However, there is a risk when updating firmware on a device.  The risk is, if something interrupts the flow of the firmware updating process, say like a power failure, or the computer you are pushing the firmware update to freezes during the process, it may ruin the device!!!  We techs say, "it will brick the device", because it turns the device from being something useful, into a big paper weight.  So a firmware update had the potential to not just fix the printer, but also to kill it.

So rather than move forward to update the firmware, I decided next to contact Epson Advance Tech support to see if they were aware of the problem and could recommend an appropriate fix.

Action 5:  I contacted Epson tech support.  Epson tech support was unaware of any WAN issues with the C3500, could not recommend a solution. 

To clarify, I'm sure that someone at Epson knew about this issue, just not the techs who were answering the phone.  So basically no help there, but still an appropriate step in the troubleshooting process.

Action 6:  I updated the printer’s firmware; to version WAD30200.  Considering the printer had issues across a WAN, I decided to deploy the firmware update from the printer side of a WAN rather than across a WAN.

The result:  The firmware update solved the routing issue. Now the printer will receive print instructions across a WAN.

The Diagnosis:  The factory installed firmware did not include the necessary support for printing over a WAN.  Essentially with the older firmware, a C3500 will be unable to route a print job across a WAN, resulting in a non-specified error.  That network software flaw in the original firmware was corrected in firmware version WAD30200.

Since I now knew both the cause and solution to this problem, I entered that information into my case log file, and now as a blog post as well.  :-)

To summarize:  Updating the printer firmware may solve the issue of an Epson TM-C3500 failing to print over a wide area network (WAN).  Hopefully you have gained some additional insight into the process of troubleshooting a computer environment that you will find to be useful.

And be sure to contact Color Label Solutions for help with your color label printing.

Tim Semic