Color Label Solutions

Color Label Solutions
www.colorlabelsolutions.com

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Label Color Management-Reader/Acrobat

Color Label Solutions prints and send label samples out most days.  And I’d say most of these samples are printed from Adobe Acrobat in my case.  However, many of our customers print from Adobe Reader.  These customers create artwork in Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop or some other application before saving as a PDF.


While at a customer site this week, I decided to test some of the other Adobe Color Settings; as the colors in the initial print output were different from the C7500G versus the customer’s standard printer. By accident, I’ve found an additional way to improve color matching.  I’m sure many graphic artists understand these capabilities; but I did not.

In the past, I posted on using the ColorTone Matching assistant and/or the Wasatch RIP available in the C7500GE to improve color matching. 


But for many of you, selecting a different setting in Adobe Reader or Acrobat may give you “close enough” or sufficient color matching.  Let me explain further.

In the print dialog box of Adobe Reader, you can find the “Advance” button.

Adobe Print Dialog Box
Adobe Print Dialog Box

In the Advance dialog box, you’ll find 3 basic options for color printing.

Adobe Reader "Advanced" Print Dialog Box
Adobe Reader "Advanced" Print Dialog Box

  • Let Printer Determine Colors Checked
  • Let Printer Determine Colors Unchecked (PDF Determines Colors)
  • Print as Image

In addition, you can select “Preserve CMYK Primaries” and “Preserve Black”.  However, I didn’t notice any difference with these selections alone.

With the above label artwork, I found a difference when printing as an image.  The green was darker, and maybe more yellow when printing using the setting “Print As Image”.

In Acrobat, I found Adobe provides many more options for color management; with 4 basic types:

  • Printer Color Management
  • Same As Source
  • Adobe Color Management
  • Print as Image


When Printer Color Management is selected, Acrobat says “Color Handling determines if color management will be used, and if so, whether it happens in the application or at the printing device. When 'Printer' is selected, convert any ICC profiles to PostScript CSAs, and color will be managed in the printer RIP.

With Same As Source is selected, Acrobat says “Color Handling determines if color management will be used, and if so, whether it happens in the application or at the printing device. When 'Same as Source (No Color Management)' is selected, embedded profiles are ignored, and only device values are sent.

When Acrobat Color Management is selected, Acrobat says “Color Handling determines if color management will be used, and if so, whether it happens in the application or at the printing device. When 'Acrobat Color Management' is selected, select an ICC Profile that describes the target output device.”

In my version of Acrobat, I count 42 different ICC profiles available when selecting Acrobat Color Management.  Although not printing using all of the available profiles (some are black/grey’s only), I did find differences. With most of the profiles, I did not see a difference using this artwork and label media.

Acrobat Color Management Profiles
Acrobat Color Management Profiles

Using ColorMatch RGB (Matches the native color space of Radius Pressview monitors.  This space provides a smaller gamut alternative to Adobe RGB (1998) for print production work), I found a darker green with this artwork.

Acrobat ColorMatch Profile
Acrobat ColorMatch Profile
And I found the same print output using Apple RGB: (Reflects the characteristics of the average Mac OS monitor, and is used by a variety of desktop publishing applications, including Adobe Photoshop 4.0 and earlier.  Use this space for files that you plan to display on Mac OS monitors, or for working with legacy (older) desktop publishing files.)

In addition, I did see a difference by selecting “Printer Color Management”.  I’ve decided to make this setting the default.

For those of you printing with Adobe Reader or Acrobat, I encourage you to test your artwork with the variety of settings and maybe label media to see if you find a difference in color of your print output.  You may find a better color matching option.

And for those of you we’ve sent samples, forgive me if the color wasn't exactly correct.  Maybe I could produce better color matches now.

Guy Mikel
855-962-7670

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Edible Love

Love’s Oven (www.lovesoven.comproducts are produced with the highest quality all-natural ingredients that are sourced locally (Colorado beet sugar) and organically (organic coconut oil) whenever possible. Their proprietary THC & CBD extraction methods ensure that you receive a consistent and effective dose of cannabutter/cannaoil Love in every bite.



Love’s Oven was born in 2009 with a promise to its patients to provide great tasting cleanly extracted products to help with their chronic pain and other ailments.  If you look at the label of any of their 15+ products you’ll never find any ingredients that you need to have a chemical engineering degree to pronounce. Ingredients like crystallized ginger and honey roasted peanut butter are about as complicated as it gets.  Love’s Oven has built its reputation by crafting their products in a state of the art facility in Denver where their food safety and quality assurance programs guarantee you’ll receive a potent and delicious product that can be found throughout Colorado.

In the fall of 2016, Colorado issued new label requirements that caused Love’s Oven to change their labeling procedures. According to Katie Wrank, Administrative Assistant & Marketing, “Colorado mandated that we add the Universal THC Symbol, in various sizes and colors, to each label for both medical and recreation use.  At the time, we were using a black only, DataMax thermal transfer printer adding variable data on top of five different preprinted labels in conjunction to printing some on a laser printer. This process was very frustrating and time consuming.  We had to make a change.”

Katie says, “While growing significantly, we needed an efficient and improved process to label our products. Prior to any changes, our work flow was to extract label information from the daily production list, transfer the production numbers and product information manually to the packaging order, and then type everything by hand onto our label templates. With over eighty-eight label templates requiring daily changes, our label process was at risk for human error. Plus, all these changes were too much for one person to manage.” 

To change their label process, Love’s Oven contacted Rich Arbogast of Sendata Systems, (www.sendatasystems.com). As a partner of Color Label Solutions, Rich contacted us to see if we have a solution for Love’s Oven.  Rich said, “Sendata are experts at managing data and thermal transfer printers.  But decided to work with Color Label Solutions to bring the best possible print on-demand color label system for our customer, Love’s Oven.

To start the process, we printed sample labels on the C7500G.  We recommended this printer given their need for a large volume of gloss labels.

Love's Oven C7500G Full-Bleed Label
Love's Oven C7500G Full-Bleed Label
In addition, we provided an estimated ink cost of their labels.

C7500G Estimated Ink Yield
C7500G Estimated Ink Yield
On these long, full-bleed labels, I estimated the ink cost at $0.027 per label.  Based on the samples and estimated ink costs, Love’s Oven purchased a C7500G printer.

About the C7500G, Katie says, “We now have the ability to print on demand labels quickly and efficiently. We also have the design flexibility to change our graphics on a moment’s notice.  Many of our customers love to see their logo printed in full color on products that contain their trim or flower.”


While working with Love’s Oven, I learned about their new label creation process.  Katie says, “to improve our labeling process, I decided to use a mail merge technic that I used in a former position at a large shipping and printing company. In Excel, I created a database of our products, including all the variable information: product name, ingredients, allergens, net weight, and pieces per package. This database allows us to quickly update product information such as changes to a recipe. On another tab in the Excel database, we retain information about the ingredients used during the cultivation of the marijuana, which are required by the state of Colorado. By using the VLOOKUP command in Excel, we pull information pertaining to each product, automating the data input on the production list.”

“Once we have the products compiled in one list, we use Adobe InDesign to merge the data with our artwork onto the backgrounds of our label templates. With this workflow, we can export all our labels from one file as separate PDF files which print like a dream on the Epson C7500G.”

C7500G Label
C7500G Label
One other interesting note, Rich has worked to help Love’s Oven to print THC symbols on their brownies using white, food-grade ink.  What a great solution Rich put together for Love’s Oven.

Edible Ink Printed Brownies
Edible Ink Printed Brownies
“With the constantly changing Cannabis labeling/direct marketing laws and regulations required by the State of Colorado, providing the best solution to these requirements was our goal. I believe we hit the mark with the Epson C7500G printer for the packaging labels and direct marking food grade inkjet coder for applying the mark directly to the edible products. These products are the only ones I know that can print with the quality needed for the labels, and the food grade ink for the direct marking of the edible food cannabis products.”

We’re excited by the success at Love’s Oven.  If you need a new labeling solution for your cannabis or any other products, contact Color Label Solutions.  We’ll help you meet the regulatory requirements of your industry; and produce beautiful labels in the process.


Guy Mikel
855-962-7670

Friday, February 24, 2017

L301

I received my new printer the other day: the L301.

L301
L301
Selling at $1,595, the L301 is the lowest price 4+” color label printer available.  The ability to print up to 6” wide labels at this price point seems like a very interesting proposal for small label producers.  I wanted to try it; so here is my out-of-the-box report.

L301 Label Printer
L301 Label Printer

Prior to taking the printer out of the box, I realized that I could not install the driver.  I needed to get from Afinia a file of the driver to download.  At the time, the driver was not publicly available.  You can now download it here along with the instruction manual and quick start guide:


After unpacking, I started to install the printer by first plugging in the printer and installing the ink cartridges.  Immediately I found discrepancy with the ink cartridge numbers.  The manual called for Cartridges: #26548 and #26562. However the numbers on the bags were different.  In the production units, the part numbers will be on the cartridge outer packaging.  


After installing the ink cartridges, I installed the driver.  However, the driver does not install completely until the USB is connected.  Afinia says do not connect the USB cable until the driver is installed.

Once installed, the driver looks similar to the Neuralabel 300x and Primera LX2000 driver.  Both printers use HP print engines; so that makes total sense to me.  Read my earlier post on the LX2000 here:   


And 300x here:


Next, the instructions gave me information about the media.  Narrowest width is 2”; and shortest label is 2”.  A 2” x 2” label is pretty large for the minimum size.  Afinia hopes to reduce the minimum size to 1.75” x 1” shortly.  And the widest printable label is 6”.  The printer uses a 3” core, and a max OD of 6”.  I then installed the media on the unwinder which was a lot easier than on the VIP 495.  Read my post about this printer here: 


After inserting the paper, the printer pulled the label media into the printer and found the gap.  I then printed my first 6” x 4” matte poly label.  My first print took exactly 1 minute.  And I did lose a label on my first print as the printer had to find top of form.  Here is my first print on a matte poly coming out of the printer:

L301 First Print
L301 First Print
As you can see, my right side was printing on the liner.  To adjust this print start position, I had to simply add space on the “Left Offset” in the driver, found on the “Settings” tab.

L301 Driver Setting Tab
L301 Driver Setting Tab

On my second label, the time to print was cut in ½.  Slightly less than 30 seconds to print a 6” x 4” label.  And the Left Offset adjustment worked! Notice the difference in the location of the ink on the right side of the printer.

L301 Printed Labels
L301 Printed Labels
To cut, I just moved the cutter across the path of the web.  Worked great. Looking at the cut position, I noticed I would want to add about a 1/16” of an inch.  The cutter adjustment in the driver enables this configuration; but does not say which direction is positive or negative.  I’ve learned later that positive ejects the labels out further.

Next, I printed gloss paper labels.  First I used a 6” x 4” label with a .25” gap and blackmark.  When I tried to print, it would not work correctly.  After thinking about the problem, I realized the blackmark was directly in the gap; and may be fooling the gap sensor.  When I changed to blackmark, the gloss paper label printed as expected.

However, the printed label had two issues.  First the print output had lines.

L301 Label Needing Alignment
L301 Label Needing Alignment
By completing an ink cartridge alignment, the lines disappeared.  Look at the Cyan block pre/post alignment.

L301 Alignment
L301 Alignment
I’m not surprised by the fact the cartridges require alignment when you first use the printer.

Second, the black ink came off the gloss paper I tried first.  Look at the barcode in the downspout label above.  As the black is a pigment ink, gloss is a harder match.  I tried our standard gloss paper; and it performed much better. The black ink did not smear.

L301 On Gloss Paper
L301 On Gloss Paper

And the gloss poly printed very nice.

L301 On Gloss Poly
L301 On Gloss Poly

And I found the gloss poly labels waterproof; I was surprised by this result.

L301 Water Resistant Gloss Poly
L301 Water Resistant Gloss Poly
On the matte paper labels, I found the material printed OK using the standard settings.

L301 Printed On Matte Paper
L301 Printed On Matte Paper
Although both barcodes scanned, I though the print quality could be better.  The colors and text looked very nice, however.

On clear film, I thought they printed great.

L301 Black
L301 All Black on Clear Film

But the ink came off easily in water.  Not really an option.

As for ink costs, the L301 is much more expensive than the C3500 or especially the C7500.   For example, this artwork at 5.5” wide would cost ~$0.14 to $0.16/label.

On the LX2000, the ink cost of this label would cost approximately $0.05.

LX2000 Ink Cost
LX2000 Ink Cost

And the ink cost would be only $0.024/label for the C7500G at 4.25” wide:


According to Mike Atkins, Sales Manager for Afinia, “The Afinia Label L301 Color Label Printer is perfect for small and growing businesses. By printing In-house and on-demand, you give your company the flexibility to change your labels as-needed; to accommodate branding, ingredient, or government regulation changes. Powered by an HP thermal inkjet printing technology, the L301 will work well for small businesses wanting to print labels on demand.”

For the positives, the L301:
  • Costs much less than competitive printers.
  • Makes label printing easy to do.
  • Prints great looking labels up to 6” wide.


As for the negatives, the L301:
  • Uses expensive ink.
  • Prints very slowly.
  • Does not offer a networking option.
  • Limits gloss media to selected options


Overall, I found the L301 as an affordable option to print low volume quantities of labels wider than 4.25” wide.  At $1,595, the L301 is under ½ the price of the LX2000; the competitive option.  You can purchase a lot of ink for $2,000+ dollars.  For those businesses printing 10 to 20 labels per day, who need wider than 4.25” labels and want to limit their investment, the L301 is a good option.

If you are interested in learning more about the L301 or any other label printer, contact us to discuss your requirements in detail.

Guy Mikel
855-962-7670

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Full-Bleed Label Media

Color Label Solutions (www.colorlabel.solutions) is pleased to announce the availability of full-bleed specific labels.  With these new labels, you don’t have to worry about overspraying ink onto the liner; then transferring the excess ink to the labels.  With these labels, the ink dries immediately on the liner.

Full-Bleed Circle Labels
Full-Bleed Circle Labels
Basically, we now offer inkjet coated liners for your labels.  Just like your labels, ink dries immediately on the liners; making it much easier to print full-bleed. If you have ever gotten ink on your fingers while applying labels, then you’ll understand the benefits of this new liner.  The full-bleed specific labels are just easier to use.

C7500G Full-Bleed Circle Labels
C7500G Full-Bleed Circle Labels
To print full-bleed labels, I recommend generally the C7500 series printers.  These printers offer something no other color label printers have: precise media handling.

C7500 Media Handling
C7500 Media Handling
Media in other print on-demand color label printers may move slightly horizontally while printing; making it more difficult to print full-bleed.  With the media handling design of the C7500, labels don’t move horizontally; enabling better full-bleed printing.

C7500G Full-Bleed Label
C7500G Full-Bleed Label
To print full-bleed labels, I recommend the following:
*   Design your labels slightly larger (1/16”) than the actual size of the label.  This step is critical to get full coverage.  Most people send me files different than the actual size of label I have.  This difference makes it virtually impossible to print the label correctly.
*   Set the label size in the driver .03” larger than actual.  This adaptation helps insure the label is more likely to be completely covered.  If the driver is much-more larger than the actual size, you get skips and “head maintenance” in the printer.

Too Large Label Format Error
Too Large Label Format Error
*   Use the narrowest edge of the label possible in the driver settings (0.06”) as the default is 0.08”:

C7500 Default Label Boarder Setting
C7500 Default Label Boarder Setting
This setting helps center the image on the template; especially important for circle labels.

If you print full-bleed, contact us to order the new labels designed for your application.  You’ll save time, money and hassle by moving to the new, full-bleed labels.


Guy Mikel
855-962-7670

Saturday, February 11, 2017

WestPack 2017

Color Label Solutions exhibited at WestPack (http://westpack.packagingdigest.com/in Anaheim from February 7th to 9th again this year.

Beatriz Molina At WestPack
Beatriz Molina At WestPack
In addition to demonstrating the C7500, C7500G, the C3500 and the C831, we showed an exciting new item; the CMYK printer with the Fixed Thickness Feeder.  Now you can print coasters, coffee sleeves, bags, cards, corrugated boxes and any number of thick items on-demand in color.  Watch us print here: https://youtu.be/r9PC9puLeYM

The CYMK printer is the perfect income producer for printers and manufacturers who want to print thick paper and other inkjet-coated items.  The CYMK printer and feeder ushers in a new age of on-demand printing, enabling many more personalized items at a much lower cost and labor requirement.

CMYK Printed Coaster
CMYK Printed Coaster
For the first time at the show, we demonstrated the 8” version of this printer.  You may remember, we demonstrated a 4” version at WestPack for folded corrugated boxes:


And erected corrugated boxes at EastPack last year:


In addition to the new 8” version, we’ll release a new RIP (raster image process) for the CYMK printer next month.  This new RIP will enable better, higher resolution printing with more image and color control.  Look for more information shortly.

In addition out the new CYMK printer, we saw in-person a new item we’ll begin selling next month; the BenchMax round container applicator integrated with the C7500 and C3500 printer:

C3500 Integrated With BenchMax Applicator
C3500 Integrated With BenchMax Applicator
This new applicator launches next month once the Interface devices receives approval.

BenchMax Interface
BenchMax  Applicator Interface
The Interface sets between the printer, applicator and the computer; managing the print jobs based on the output of the applicator.  You can watch the C7500 with the BenchMax here:


At approximately $10,000, the BenchMax is the most affordable round container applicator available that is integrated with the C7500 and the C3500 label printers.  This unit is perfect for chemical, food, beverage or other manufacturers with round containers that want to apply labels more productively and accurately; in the same position every time.

In addition, I learned that the BenchMax could be configured with a Thermal Transfer printer to apply over-laminate on labels produced by the C7500.  With this system, you can use much less expensive materials; and then apply over-laminates to add durability and a glossy look.  It’s an elegant solution to a common requirement.

Finally, I saw the Swiftcolor 4” color label and tag printer print and cut great looking tags on-demand.

SwiftColor Printed Tag
SwiftColor Printed Tag

Watch the Swiftcolor print/cut 20 4” x 1” tags in 4 seconds here: 


The Swiftcolor printer is perfect for apparel manufactures who need to print tags and care labels on-demand and in-color.

I’m very excited by the prospects of the new 8” CYMK printer with the Fixed Feeder, the BenchMax integrated with the C7500 color label printer and the Swiftcolor printer for apparel tags.  If you are a printer, the CYMK printer and Feeder are the prefect addition to your production assets.  If you use round containers and want to print color labels on demand, the BenchMax applicator is a great new option for you.  And if you are an apparel manufacture, the Swiftcolor printer offers a new capability to produce great looking tags on-demand and in color.  Contact us to learn more about these valuable new machines.

Guy Mikel
855-962-7670

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Cannabis Label Solutions

On January 31st and February 1st, 2017, we exhibited at the Seed To Sale Show (http://www.seedtosaleshow.com/denver-2017/)  in Denver, CO; the national show focused on innovative best practices, science, and cutting edge technology in cultivation, processing, and sales strategies for the cannabis market.  Over 2,000 people attended; and many came to our booth.

Beatriz Molina of Color Label Solutions at the Seed to Sale Show
Beatriz Molina of Color Label Solutions at the Seed to Sale Show
During this event, we demonstrated several technologies, some of which are new, that fit the cannabis market.  I’d like to recap the technologies we showed.

During the show, the C7500G received the most interest; especially the great-looking labels we were printing on gloss poly.


Gloss Poly Label Produced By A C7500G
Gloss Poly Label Produced By A C7500G
For manufacturers of products, the C7500 produces the great looking labels needed for the cannabis industry.  Brands are very important; pushing manufacturers to use premium looking labels.  As regulators require the identification of items in the cannabis industry, the C7500 allows the printing of labels with variable data, simplifying the production process.  Look at the label with variable data on the left side produced by one of our customers in the Denver area:

C7500G Color Label with Variable Data
This label looks beautiful; in large part by the designer.  The C7500 color label printer is quickly becoming the standard label printer for the cannabis industry.

In addition to the C7500, we showed, for the first time, the ClariSafe Dispensing Color Label Printer.

ClariSafe Dispensary Printer
ClariSafe Dispensary Printer

With it’s very small footprint and very affordable price, the ClariSafe label printer is perfect for prescription labels at checkout.  This printer produces labels up to 2.25” wide with sufficient print quality, one-at-a-time, with text, barcodes and color images like the THC icon:

At $899.90, the ClariSafe Label printer is affordable; especially given it comes with BarTender Basic for designing and printing labels.  Consider adding the ClariSafe Color Label Printer in your dispensary; your budtenders will love it.

In addition to the new ClariSafe printer, we showed the C831 printing pot stakes and plant wraps in color and on demand.

C831 Color Pot Stakes and Plant Wraps
C831 Color Pot Stakes and Plant Wraps
Now you can use color in your growing operations to identify strains or communicate dates, for example.

Color Pot Stakes
Color Pot Stakes

Plus, they stakes and wraps are very durable, lasting throughout the life cycle of the plants.

Color Plant Wrap
Color Plant Wrap
Color can become a great new tool for your growing operation.

Also, we showed the MPack vial; the first new pharmacy vial since the 50’s.

MPack Child Resistant/Tamper Evident Packaging
MPack Child Resistant/Tamper Evident Packaging

This packaging is perfect for edible products, where child-resistant and tamper-evident packaging is required.  The clips on the sides of the MPack are relatively easy for adults to open.  And with the addition of our label, the MPack becomes tamper evident.  If you’re looking for child resistant, tamper-evident packaging, contact us to discuss.

Finally, we started using our new URL just prior to the show: www.cannabislabel.solutions. Check out our new page.

The Seed To Sale Show was a valuable experience for us.  If you could not attend this tradeshow but see something of interest, contact us to discuss how these tools will fit into your operation.

Guy Mikel
855-962-7670