www.colorlabelsolutions.com

Friday, February 5, 2016

Proper Label Application

Recently, I had two customers with issues of the labels adhering to their containers.


Label Adhering Improperly


Labels Adhering Improperly
In the process of investigating these adherence issues, I learned something about labels that I wanted to share.

As background, both of these labels were made of paper. Plus both were being applied in relatively cool warehouse temperatures as it is winter.  Also, these labels were relatively large; some over 11” long.  Lastly, the paper and adhesive (a true high performance adhesive) is a very large selling label product, with a large volume production.  It’s used across the world.

After learning of the issues, we contacted the original manufacturer of the paper labels; and had them test the adhesive.  During the tests, they learned the adhesive was applied consistently; no issue.  However, they asked, “how was the label applied?”  From this question, I learned how you apply the label makes a difference in adhesion.

According to the manufacturer, “In the photos, it looks like it is the same corner is lifting. One or two corner edge lift is often caused by how the label is removed from the liner. Believe it or not there is a correct and incorrect way to remove a label from the liner.”

Continuing, the manufacturer said, “The incorrect way to remove a label from the liner will break the paper fibers resulting in one or two corners of the label lifting away from the application surface over a period of time.  Do not pull the label back against itself, this results in a tight curl which breaks paper fibers and induces label edge lift – see photos.”


Correct/Incorrect Way To Apply Labels
“The correct way to avoid label adhesion issues is to remove the liner from the label.
Adequate pressure needs to be applied across the entire label to ensure adhesive contact with the surface of the substrate being labeled”, stated the manufacturer.

Once we learned of this application technique, we were able to replicate the adherence issue ourselves:


To help further, we found a video from Datamax O’Neil on the proper way to separate the liner from the paper.   

Who knew this technique could make such a big difference!

Please know; I’m not saying application will solve all adhesion/adhesive issues involving labels.  But you can improve the look and function of labels with proper application.

And if you need more effective and better support for your labels, contact us.  We’ll help you find the best label option for your print on-demand color solution.

Guy Mikel
855-962-7670

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Redesigning Labels & Labeling Processes

Shakti (http://www.drinkshakti.com/)  creates value for their stakeholders (customers, team members, suppliers & investors) by producing the purest functional beverages on earth and sustainably distributing them to the masses. They’re a triple bottom line company interested in conscious capitalism. To Shakti, triple bottom line means success goes beyond turning a profit as they have an incredible opportunity to make a positive impact on the planet and community.  At Shakti, they measure success in three ways: People • Planet • Profit. 

Shakti Labels
Existing Shakti Labels

Recently, Shati decided to change the label printing/application process.  According to Ryne O’Donnell, Founder & CEO, “We wanted to move to a label printer and applicator in house so that we could quickly change LOT#, Expiration Date and Organic Certification Information on our labels.

Existing Shakti Labels
In addition to changing their label production process, Shati wanted to change their label design as well.  Ryne says, “We decided to have our labels redesigned so that we could easily open PDF files from a workstation and print.  It’s important to change the LOT# and Expiration Date for each production run. With our existing labels, we could not make these changes easily.”

Existing Shakti Label

Existing Shakti Back Label
To improve their label production process, Shakti purchased a C3500, rewinder, and waterproof, matte poly, die-cut labels.  To change their label design, Shati asked Color Label Solutions to assist.

For the Shakti redesign, our graphic designer Tony Molina had three key issues to consider:
  •    Creating full-bleed effect on the color bands on the labels
  •    Adding the fillable forms for the enjoy by date and lot number
  •    Insuring the barcodes would scan


When asked, “what are the most important elements of a label design”, Tony says, “I don’t have a set of rules specifically.  However, I consider the coloring of the actual product or container.  It’s important to insure the label stands out and communicates the key attributes and positioning of the product.  I create graphics or images using a variety of software tools; and select fonts to enable buyers to read the label up close as well from a distance.   For Shakti, we had a design template; we just needed to update the label to print on the C3500.”


To print full-bleed, Tony created the actual sized document in QuarkXPress.  Then he manually create the bleed by extending the color or graphic element outside the edges of the document, normally by 1/16 of an inch.

New Shakti Label with Full Bleed




New Shakti Label With Full Bleed
























With this setup, you just print in Reader selecting “actual size” to get the full-bleed effect on your specific die-cut label size.

To create the forms, we use Acrobat; making it easy to convert a label to a form fillable PDF.

On the barcode, however, we had to be careful with size.  As the C3500 has less print resolution than a printer typically used by a printshop, smaller barcodes may not scan properly.  To produce small barcodes, Window-based, lower resolution printers may not create small lines sufficiently “straight”; disrupting the spaces between the lines and thus scanning.  For Shatki, we needed to increase the barcode size from the original design to insure they scanned properly.

Once the label was redesigned and the printer was setup, Shakti was printing and rewinding labels to place on their applicator.



After this first label project, Ryne says “We are very happy with the printer and applicator decision as it gives us the ability to change labels quickly. Also, we’re excited that our labels are now waterproof and smudge proof.

Now Shakti not only has great tasting beverages, but also a label printing process that is much easier to do.  If you need a label redesign and/or a new labeling process, contact Color Label Solutions.  We’ll make sure your labels look great and are easy to print.

Guy Mikel
855-962-7670

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.

T-Series

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
855-962-7670

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
855-962-7670

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.

300X
300X
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
855-962-7670

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
855-962-7670

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
855-962-7670