Sunday, May 3, 2015

It's June 1st; Do You Know Where Your Labels Are?

It’s Almost June 1st. Do you have a source of supply for your GHS Labels? Color Label Solutions can help.

Recently, I started thinking about June 1, 2015 wondering about the implications of this date when all chemical producers must comply with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) in the United States. https://www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/ghs.html 

(For a GHS Primer:  http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2012/03/what-h-is-ghs-opportunity.html.  Or search for one of the other 39 posts around GHS on our blog:  http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/). 

Administered by OSHA, the only exception to the GHS standard is for existing label product which may be shipped until December 1, 2015.

The implication of this new requirement came to the front of my mind when a company contacted us May 1st who had done nothing to meet this deadline.   I wondered, “How many other companies are in this same position or have not started labeling their products with GHS labels?”

GHS Label

Some of these products requiring GHS labels are sold in drums and bulk containers, with a total market production and reconditioning of approximately 80 million per year. https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/pptpresentations/oshaghsworkshop/slide2.html. Many or most of these containers are used for chemicals.

Although almost here, this system was initiated in the 1990’s by the United Nations to standardize the classification and communication of hazards associated with the $5.2 trillion (2013) global chemical business. http://www.statista.com/statistics/302081/revenue-of-global-chemical-industry/ or which $769 billion is the market in the United States  http://selectusa.commerce.gov/industry-snapshots/chemical-industry-united-states

So on June 1st, 9,000 companies with 13,500 facilities according to the EPA http://www.epa.gov/sectors/sectorinfo/sectorprofiles/chemical.html will have to begin printing and applying GHS labels to 945,000 products according to OSHA.  https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/pptpresentations/oshaghsworkshop/slide2.html

Just imagine, if these 945,000 products require only 1,000 labels on average a month, we’ll need 945 million new or different designed labels.  I wondered, “Where will companies get all of these new labels in less than three weeks?”  From my perspective, three types of companies will emerge.

First, some companies will continue to use their existing pre-printed label providers with just different label designs incorporating the appropriate language and pictograms required by GHS.

Second, some companies will begin to produce their now variable color labels on-demand, requiring new label designs, software, printers and labels.  Literally hundreds of millions of new labels could be required for production on June 1st.

But who is going to manufacturer and provide these hundreds of millions of new labels for on-demand color?  Given the immediate and significant increase in demand, the lead time for labels will be more than three weeks. I can easily imagine not all companies will be able to purchase and take delivery of the new GHS labels they require.  If you are one of these companies, I recommend strongly that you have sufficient labels in inventory and on order to get you through this initial period.  Contact us to purchase more labels; to insure you have inventory in place.

Third, some companies will not be ready for GHS.  Although OSHA has set selective enforcement guidance on the new GHS labeling requirements, http://nacd.com/default/assets/File/GHS_Enforcement_Guidance0215.pdf, don't be one of these types of companies that will need to show good faith efforts to prevent non-compliance penalties.

If you still do not have a GHS label solution deployed, contact us.  We’ll help you get the hardware and software in place as well as recommend the sizes/types of labels you need to be ready for GHS.  We'll make sure you know where your label are!

Guy Mikel

Saturday, April 25, 2015

"PORTS" smith

Have you ever figured out how to do something that everyone seeming knew already?  That’s how I feel about setting up a GP-C831 printer on a network.

GP-C831 Network

Now you should know; I’ve added a lot of label printers to networks over the years.  But I’ve relied on our customer’s Network Administrators or “Navi’s” to do all the work for me.  For example, you can find the TM-C3500 Install Navi here: http://www.pos.epson.com/developers/techresdetails.htm?productpk=696

GP-C831 Driver

With the install Navi, it steps you through the process of adding a printer to the network, including discovering the printer.  The Navi works great if the printer and the computer are on the “same” subnet.  If the computer and printer are on different subnets, I have received various ideas on how to add the printer to the network; but I was never really confident about how to add a printer correctly.

Recently, however, I’ve ran into a Network potential issue with the C831; no Install Navi.  Epson has not posted an updated Navi with the release of their new driver which enables 8.25” wide printing on the C831.  You may remember my earlier post on this new driver.  http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2014/11/gp-c831-surprise.html

At the same time, I started using a new computer.  Finally, I had to add the C831 printer to the office network in order to send out print samples.   We send print samples to customers most every day.  Not wanting to add the previous driver with the available Navi, I had to take a different tack.

To set up the printer on the network, I downloaded and installed EpsonNet Config Utility from this site: http://www.pos.epson.com/developers/techresdetails.htm?productpk=678

After downloading, I ran the EpsonNet Config and it discovered my printers on the network: 

EpsonNet Config

By selecting Configuration, I was able to set my IP address:

Now that I had the IP address, I had to configure a port for this printer.  I added a port by right clicking on a printer, selecting the 4th option, Printer Properties, then selecting the Ports tab and Add Port using the IP address of the printer I set. 

TM-C3500 Ports

Once the port was configured, I could then download and install the driver. Now you can download the driver for the C831 printer here:  http://www.pos.epson.com/developers/techresdetails.htm?productpk=678

 You need to know if your computer is 32 or 62 bit to select the correct driver.

Once the driver is downloaded, you can run the driver setup until you get to the manual setup:
In the manual setup, you just need to select the available TCIP port that you configured earlier.  And the printer worked great.

But sometimes, EpsonNet config can’t discover the printer.  It may not be able to find the printer as the printer could be on a much different subnet than the computer.  If this happens, you can print the configuration of the C831 printer.  To print the configuration of the printer, you press the Load/Eject and Tear-Off buttons on the C831 printer panel at the same time:

GP-C831 Status

And out pops a C831 Status Sheet with the IP address of the printer:

GP-C831 Status

If you need the ID address of a TM-C3500 printer, press the button beside the Ethernet port at the back of the printer.

TM-C3500 Status

Once you have the IP address, you can access the printer by typing the IP address into the browser:

FYI: access to the printer is password protected by a super-secret password, “epson”.   Clicking on “Network Setup”, enables you to change the IP address of the printer.

With the IP address, you can search for the printer using EpsonNet config as well:

Or just add a port for this IP address as above.

I was very excited to figure out how to add a printer to the network without the aid of the install Navi.  Please remember while reading this post: I’m not a network expert.  But the EpsonNet Config tool and knowing how to find the IP address can assist you in setting up a printer on even a complicated network.

Guy Mikel

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Larger Than 4"

After selling and supporting hundreds of TM-C3500 customers, one question I get all the time is, “Can I use larger than a 4” Outer Diameter roll”?

4" Label Roll, 2" Core

This question results from wanting to change the label roll less often or needing to print and then apply the labels with an applicator.

With the C3500, however, you can’t use just any unwinder and rewinder.  You may remember my post, Death By Inkjet:  http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2014/11/death-by-inkjet.html  or my much earlier post on connecting a typical unwinder: http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2012/05/unwinding-large-volumes-of.html

Traditional unwanders built for a thermal transfer printer may work; but may also not work so well.  The C3500 printer uses a vacuum to hold the paper to the printhead; and not pressure like a thermal transfer printer.  Therefore, you can't have any pull or tension on the labels going into or out of the printer.

Given the basic workings of the C3500, I’m selling the C3500-RTR Feed Station to those customers who want to use large diameter rolls. http://allendatagraph.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/C3500-RTR_Printer_ENGLISH.pdf

C3500-RTR Feed Station
C3500-RTR Feed Station
 This unit has tensioners on the labels going into and coming out of the printer; insuring no tension is occurring on the labels in the printer as well as yielding a tight rewound roll.

With my first encounter with the C3500-RTR, I found the setup a bit confusing.  So here are my additional instructions on setting up this unit.

To start, you should receive two boxes:

Open the larger box first as it has all the parts, instructions and unwinder. In the smaller box, you’ll find the rewind unit, providing all you need to assemble the feed station.

First, take off the nuts from the alignment bracket used to connect the unwind and rewind:

Then attach the alignment bracket to the studs:

Then clip the wrap from the rewind cable to connect to the unwind. Insert cable from rewind into the unwind connector. Don’t force the connector.  Rotate connector to the correct position.  The connector should drop into the correct position.  Then tighten the connector.

Then lower the feet to have a flat surface.  Use wrench to set the feet.

Now load the printer onto the pegs on the alignment plate between the unwind and rewind.

Wiggle the printer to get the printer to set into the pegs.  Or possibly better, get help to set the printer onto the pegs.

Once set, you’ll have the printer in alignment ready to use.

Then plug in the power and USB/Ethernet connections to the printer as well as plug the power into the unwinder. Once connected, you’ll see red laser light onto the back of the printer.  You’ll then place the optical sensor reflector onto the back of the printer.

This optical sensor is what feeds the labels into the printer.  It insures the printer does not have to pull the labels into the rear feed slot. 

After placing the rear reflector, place the reflector tape on the front door where you see the red laser.

Before moving forward, be sure to configure the printer for rear feed.  Navigate to the C3500 Driver to select “Printer Setting” option on the “Maintenance/Utilities” tab, then selection “Option” on the left menu and check Large Roll:

And then in the “General” menu on the left, chose “Media Settings” and then select “Large Diameter Roll, Use Rear Feed Slot”.

After selecting the rear feed option, be sure to choose the correct media detection settings as well as “Apply Settings”. Once applied, you’ll need to turn the printer off/on as well as insert the clear plastic rear feed bracket (found inside the rear feed cover) inside the printer.  I reviewed in detail setting up the printer for rear feed here in this earlier post:  http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2013/11/3500-fanfold.html.

Now you are ready to load a roll on a 3” core onto the unwind.  To insure proper alignment, follow these steps.

1. Tighten up the roll of labels first.  Place roll on the side on a table and pull the leading edge of the label tight.  This step will minimize “telescoping” of the roll.
2. Loosen up the chug by turning the knob.  Make sure springs along the chug are loose.
3. After placing the core on the chug, first feed the paper into the printer directly.  This steps insures the paper/roll is straight into the printer.  Once straight, tighten chug.
4. Loosen the media guides at the end of the rollers using the supplied hex wrench.
5. Feed label through the feed rollers (the two center feed rollers are glued to the shaft) by placing the leading edge of the label between the feed rollers and use your fingers to spin the rollers/feed the label through the feed rollers.  This step helps insure the labels are fed straight.
6. Feed sufficient material through the feed rollers and pull back toward the unwound roll.  Then you can again measure to insure the roll/leading edge is straight.
7. Set end media guides on the sides of label using the hex wrench provided.
8. Feed material to reach the printer. 
9. Once confirmed core/labels are straight, mark chug with a pencil to show where to place the next roll.

Once the printer is loaded, I would recommend printing a few labels; then feeding the printed labels through the tension rollers for the rewind.

The C3500-RTR Feed Station makes it easy to print and rewind large rolls using the C3500 printer.  If you want the convenience of changing rolls less frequently or need to rewind printed labels to use on an applicator, I recommend you contact us to get this device.  You’ll save time and trouble printing large label runs.

Guy Mikel

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Deja Vu

Have you ever had a deja vu experience?  This week I remember something concerning the GP-C831 printer; but only a portion.  The problem was, I forgot the most important part of the memory.  Let me explain.

For those of you who don’t know, the GP-C831 has quickly become the standard for printing GHS drum labels.  With extremely durable (BS5609) ink and available label media (http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2013/10/ghs-label-comparison.html), the most cost effective ink prices (http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2013/12/trust-me.html), and the lowest cost (http://stores.colorlabelsolutions.com/gp-c831-8-4-color-label-printer/), the C831 is the best choice for producing GHS labels wider than 4.25”. 

You might find this recent post covering one company’s experience starting to use the C831 of interest:  http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2015/01/dyeing-for-ghs.html.  Or the first post covering this printer on our blog just before launch: http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2012/10/gp-c831.html.  

This memory started when a customer purchased one of our labels for the GP-C831 printer; an 8.3125” x 5.75”.  Two A5 labels per fold.  

GP-C831 Labels

After purchasing the labels, the customer asked me about configuring the printer.  You may remember from my recent post about the new GP-C831 driver (http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2014/11/gp-c831-surprise.html), you need to set the size of the label using the width of the actual label by the length perforation to perforation.

The problem is the GP-C831 driver shows only the length up to two decimal places.

GP-C831 Driver Settings

However, I “remember” that Epson had changed the driver to enable up to 3 decimal places.  What compounded my issue configuring the driver was the plant said the 2 labels were 11.625”, making the each label 5.8125; requiring 4 decimal places.  Suddenly, I had no idea how to configure the driver.

So I had to call first the plant.  Then I learned the perf to perf measurement was really 11.75” and not 11.625”; making each label 5.875”.  Second, I had to call Epson, who reminded me that the driver now allows for settings up to 3 decimal places only at 1/8” of an inch.

If the paper height is .12 to .13, the driver will use .125; and so on for all of the paper heights above.  As the driver does not enable 3 decimal places for every setting, Epson could not make the overall change showing the 3 decimals.  With the capability to set 1/8th inches, now you can use labels that are 5.875” tall perforation to perforation:

GP-C831 8.3125" x 5.875"

This 1/8” is critical to prevent label “creep”.  With only a minor incorrect setting, the label print will begin printing incorrectly; and not at the top of form.  If your image seems to move off of center after printing a few labels with the GP-C831, you probably have the incorrect page size set in the driver.

As soon as I was told about the settings for 1/8th, I “remembered” the details of the change from some time ago.  It was deja vu all over again.  Then, I could support our customers using this specific label size.

If you want to use labels for the GP-C831 that are approximately 8” x 5.75”or one of our other standard sizes, visit our store http://stores.colorlabelsolutions.com/gp-c831-pin-fed-labels/ or contact us.  We’ll be glad to help you get the labels you need; and the support you deserve; again and again. Kinda like déjà vu!

Guy Mikel

Sunday, March 8, 2015

C3500 Surprise

While working with a prospect, I had positive surprise; Epson released a new driver for the C3500. 

TM-C3500 New Driver

You may remember my first driver surprise this year that enabled 8.25” wide printing: http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2014/11/gp-c831-surprise.html

 After the initial introduction, I learned my prospect wanted to print small labels with color codes. The color helps the organization and their customers distinguished similar products in inventory. In our discussion, I told him that the TM-C3500 is limited to 0.6” label height.  Given this limitation, he created BarTender files and sent them to me to print.  I printed and scanned the 3” x 0.6” barcode labels with no problem.
TM-C3500 Printing Barcodes

The prospect then wanted to see a demo of the printer printing these small labels. While conducting the printer demo, I learned he was currently using the Primera LX900 printers to produce the labels.  However, many of the labels were not able to be scanned.  It seems the labels moved during printing; thus producing poor barcodes.  In addition, he was not able to add the printer to the network; forcing them to use USB connectivity and making the IT group very unhappy.  More important, he shared that their ink costs were very high to produce these little barcode labels.

The prospect also shared that the label real estate was critical; they could not use a label taller than 0.375”.  Based on this requirement, I suggested we could print 2 of these labels in a 2.75” x 0.75” area.  It seemed, however, the prospect company’s current process required printing one label at a time.  To learn more about printing narrow labels, check out my earlier post:  http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2014/10/printing-narrow-color-labels.html  

Once I understood what he really needed, I recommended going back and looking at label design options to produce these small labels. Back at the office, I emailed Epson to say that we may not be able to help this customer given the requirements. Within minutes, I received the reply from Ken at Epson: 

“We just released a new version of the 3500 driver / FW that accommodates heights down to 0.31. “

After getting samples of the prospect’s 2.75” x 0.375” labels, installing the new driver and thanking Ken, I set up the media height as 0.375”:

TM-C3500 Media Size

 and received a message which I should have expected:

As I had the previous WAD20200 version of the firmware loaded in my printer, I went ahead and printed using BarTender.  The labels printed great and the barcodes scanned easily using my phone.  However, each print job skipped 3 labels:

Given this issue, I adjusted the gap sensor to insure the printer was reading the gap correctly.

TM-C3500 Gap Sensor

And I adjusted the print start position (which need to be adjusted slightly anyway).

TM-C3500 Print Start Adjustment

But each print job still skipped 3 labels.  When I contacted Epson to ask why, their first question was, “did you update the firmware of the printer?”  As I hadn't, I immediately updated the firmware; and the 0.375” labels printed perfectly.

Given these results, this prospect is now a new customer of Color Label Solutions.

When printing small/short labels, please know barcodes can be an issue.  For example, this ~.25”/X dimension of 15 mils Data Matrix barcode scanned just fine using my phone when printed:

TM-C3500 Data Matrix Barcode

But this ~.125”/X dimension of 12.5 mils Data Matrix barcode did not scan using my phone:

If you want to print short or small labels, contact us.  We’ll help you get started printing these seemingly difficult labels quickly and easily.  If you have a C3500 printer and want the latest driver/firmware, contact us as well.  We’ll get these updates to you. 

We want to help you become one of our important customers as well.

Guy Mikel

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

First Of Many II

Smark Company (www.smarkcompany.com)  of South Gate, California prides itself in the reputation that has been established over the years of providing their customers with superior industrial chemicals and dyeing auxiliaries distribution services.  With hundreds of different products and specialty chemicals, Spark has the products you need for your business, providing them in 1 gallon to up to truckload quantities.

I first contacted Smark after Michael Garcia, Supply Chain Manager, requested information on printing color labels on demand to meet the requirements for GHS.  In our initial discussions, I learned about their interest in stopping the use of preprinted and laser printed color labels.

According to Elisabeth Dondiego of Smark, “we’re spending over $0.50 for each for our labels.  We need to find a way to reduce our label costs and preprinted label inventory.  Plus the toner from the laser printer can smudge and spread over the labels; and these laser labels are not chemically resistant.   Finally, the labels jam many times, taking over 1 hour just to print 30.  The need to produce GHS labels has caused us to look for a new printing solution.”

Soon after our initial discussion, I met with the team at Smark, to demonstrate the GP-C831 printer to produce drum labels; and the TM-C3500 for their smaller package sizes.  To demonstrate the printers, I loaded the drivers for these printers on their computer and had them printing labels quickly.

Based on the demonstration, Smark purchased a GP-C831 and a TM-C3500 along with ink and labels.  While installing the GP-C831, I made an easy-to-do mistake configuring the printer.  To set the page size in the driver, you need to use the actual label width (8.375” in this case); and the perforation-to-perforation distance (14”) and not the label length (13.875”).  This difference in length causes the label to “creep” moving the image off center by 1/8th inch.  You can read more about setting up the new C831 driver here:  http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2014/11/gp-c831-surprise.html

Also while installing the GP-C831, I mentioned to Michael about the new TM-C7500.   He immediately visited our blog and website to see the printer running:  http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2015/01/my-new-printer-is.html 
Based on our discussion and the website, Smark decided to return the C3500 and purchase the brand new TM-C7500 printer. According to Michael, “we decided to return the C3500 and get the C7500 as the new printer was faster and more cost effective.  We’re working to improve our overall labeling process and the new C7500 seemed like the best option.”

Fortunately, we were able to get one of these limited-availability printers from Epson and install at Smark.  We installed the printer on the network and had them printing on both paper and poly labels immediately.

Although the new C7500 printer was installed and running, we did not have their 4” x 8” matte poly labels available at the same time.  The combination of producing on demand, customer’s unique label configurations and increased requirements means it may take some time to produce and deliver the initial order. Producing your labels on-demand is further made more difficult as our plants are full.  Planning ahead is critical. One solution which our customer find convenient is the use of blanket orders; pre-assigned quantities and delivery schedules insure your labels are delivered when you need them.

Smark Company’s initial reaction to the new printers is positive.  According to Elizabeth, “the new printers look good, we need a way to reduce our costs and produce GHS labels more efficiently.” Smark was our first install of the new C7500 printer.  You may want to read about my first install of the TM-C3500 printer here:  http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2013/09/first-of-many.html

I am very fortunate to have customers like Smark.  The team at Smark has treated me wonderfully and are truly nice people open to new ideas and options.  And more important, Smark has a good solution to produce great looking GHS labels affordably and on-demand.

The install at Smark is hopefully the first of many of these great new printers.  If you need to produce GHS labels or want the new TM-C7500 printer, contact us.  We’ll help you get started printing labels quickly as well.

Guy Mikel