Color Label Solutions

Color Label Solutions
www.colorlabelsolutions.com

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Direct Thermal Changes

If you use Direct Thermal Labels, you may know this already; the price of direct thermal labels and POS paper has/will increase substantially. 

For example, Jujo Thermal announced an 8% to 13% increase.

And Lecta announced an 8% to 10% increase;  After a 7% increase in May



As I understand, this latest price increase results from the closure of a Chinese chemical plant, Connect Chemical, that makes 30% to 35% of the world market for leuco dyes, one of the major ingredients for the manufacturer of direct thermal paper. 

This closure is a result of the Chinese government attempting to clean up the pollution affecting their country.  It seems China has closed 10’s of thousands of chemical plants in an effort to improve their pollution.   

Leuco dye is one of the 4 major chemicals used in the manufacture of direct thermal paper.

What was news to me is that thermal paper uses Bisphenol A (BPA) and Bisphenol C (BPC) which when combined with the leuco dye makes the color when heated.  Recently, BPA has been identified as an endocrine disruptor.  

Heating of the direct thermal POS paper and labels appears to expose the BPA more to people handing these materials.  From Wikipedia:

People who often get in contact with BPA coated receipts do have a higher level of BPA in their bodies than people with average contact. 

In addition to the production issue with the leuco dyes, the largest domestic manufacturer of thermal paper filed bankruptcy:  Appvion.

The combination of these two events has caused the price of direct thermal paper and labels to increase substantially.  Over one million tons of direct thermal paper are used each year. 

With the price increases, now may be a good time to switch away from direct thermal labels to a better, safer alternative that enables color. And the costs may not be that different.  Some time ago, this post explored the cost differences among label printer media:


At Color Label Solutions, we sell two, inexpensive options for producing colorful inkjet labels to replace direct thermal printers.  First, we sell the ClariSafe printer, which prints labels up to 2.5” wide. 

ClariSafe Color Label Printer
ClariSafe Color Label Printer

Learn more here:

Watch this printer produce labels direct from a browser:



At less than $700, this printer produces great looking labels. Perfect for adding color symbols/icons on POS paper or labels.

To replace direct thermal shipping or warehouse labels, consider the C3500; perfect for adding color images to 4” wide shipping labels.

C3500 Color Label Printer
C3500 Color Label Printer

Here is an earlier post about increasing the ROI from shipping labels by using color:


Even three years ago, the price difference between direct thermal and inkjet coated or even uncoated labels were not much. Pleasant Mattress replaced direct thermal printers with C3500 printers to produce color-coded labels.

You can purchase the C3500 here.

With the big increase in prices of direct thermal label media, maybe you should consider switching to a better, safer and more colorful label option.  We can help you with two affordable printer options; and the labels to go through these printers.  Contact us if you would consider moving away from Direct Thermal printers.

Guy Mikel
855-962-7670






Sunday, October 29, 2017

Meet Lacy

Meet Lacy, not only the Controller for Color Label Solutions, (www.colorlabel.solutions),

Lacy With Her C7500

But also the person who prints samples for our new customers.  Let me tell you more about Lacy and her printing responsibilities.

After joining us this year, Lacy began to work immediately to learn the business.  As we send print samples out to customers and prospects almost every day, Lacy came to see how important this activity was to our business.  While I was traveling, Lacy asked if she could help with printing label samples.  When asked why she wanted to learn this aspect of the business, Lacy said, “To gain a more rounded knowledge of the company, and understand better the products we offer.”

So of course I said great; and left almost immediately on a trip after spending a few minutes with Lacy on how to produce labels with the different printers.  She did work with Tim, our Support Manager, to some degree as well.  But according to Lacy, “to learn how to print labels, I read user manuals, watched YouTube videos and just learned from trial and error.”.

One Of Lacy's Printed Labels
On this project, Lacy printed thousands of labels for a customer.  Watch the video of the labels printing.  Very fast, full-bleed and high print quality.


So far, Lacy says the easiest aspect of label printing was using the C7500.  “The C7500 seems to just be a much more user friendly printer, at least for a novice like myself”, says Lacy.

And the most difficult I asked?  I remembered her frustration with the L301 at first.  What was difficult about using this printer? Lacy says, “Initially, I had some technical glitches from learning on the fly.  Most of the issues were getting the artwork aligned properly on the labels.  Once I figured out how to print full-bleed labels on the L301, it was easy to do.”

To read about using the L301, read here:

http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2017/02/l301.html

To make your full-bleed label printing easier, read here about what we did for this customer:


Having Lacy able to print label samples and runs for customers and prospects has been a great relief for me and our company.  Plus all of the staff tell me she prints labels swearing a lot less than I do! (OK, network issues drive me crazy when I’m trying to get samples shipped prior to the end of the day).

Lacy’s new found skills at label printing demonstrate that anyone with some dedication and patience can learn the technics around printing color labels on-demand.  Let us help you begin printing color labels on-demand.  You’ll find it easy as well.

Guy Mikel
855-962-7670

Visit our store here:  https://colorlabel-solutions.com/shop/ 

Friday, October 20, 2017

#1 Trend In Labeling

In the spring of 2014, I wrote about Loftware’s annual survey of customers and their perception of changes in the future; especially involving print on-demand color labels.  Loftware, Inc. (https://www.loftware.com/)  is the global market leader in Enterprise Labeling Solutions with more than 5,000 customers in over 100 countries.

Loftware Color Labeling

In their 2013 report, they predicted a significant growth in print on-demand color labeling.  Read about it here:  http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2014/04/enterprise-wide-color.html

In their latest 2016 survey, Loftware predicts a very large increase in color label printing.  Here you can watch their webinar specifically on this technology:  http://resources.loftware.com/Reduce-cost-overhead-color-label-printing-Thank-You.html

Or download the survey here:


Watching this webinar, you will find all the reasons to begin using the solutions we sell; and validates the Color Label Solutions business model.  The number 1 trend was the move to printing color labels on-demand.

Two key findings from this survey are as follows:
  • 90% of their customers believe color label printing will become more important
  • 60% of their customers plan to purchase color label printers.


WOW!  That’s a new buyers for the solutions we sell!

According to Loftware and their survey, the reasons driving this tremendous increase in color label printing are as follows:
  • Complying With Government Mandates.  If you following this blog, you’ve read about GHS (Global Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of chemicals) and the importance of color label printing.  In fact, we have currently 60 posts on our blog featuring GHS.   California Prop 65 warning is another example of a regulatory mandate that may require manufacturers to print color labels on demand:



  • Improving Brand Management.  Companies are placing more value on their brand; and want to convey their unique brands throughout the supply chain consistently. Also, color enables companies to distinguish between product lines/models/sizes quickly and easily across multiple languages.
  • Eliminating Preprinted Labels.  70% of Loftware’s customer use preprinted labels.  But preprinted labels come at a cost; Obsolescence, Storage, Lack of Design Flexibility, Process costs, etc.  Print on-demand color enable companies to print at the last possible moment, to enable design flexibility and reduce/eliminate label waste and storage.

Listening to Loftware’s webinar it’s clear; companies are learning the branding importance, cost savings and process improvements in moving to on-demand color.  That’s why Loftware created the native drivers for color label printers now available in their software.  Loftware offers drivers for Epson, QLS, CAB and even PCL based laser printers.  According to Loftware, native drivers simplifies deployments, enables large scale deployments, reduces network traffic (large data print streams) and optimizes printer performance.  Loftware seems to be on-board the color train!

Also, during the webinar, Loftware referenced a blog post written by Richa Groupa of VDC. VDC (http://www.vdcresearch.com/ delivers in-depth market insights to technology vendors, end users and investors across the globe; featuring reports in the AIDC market including label printing.  

VDC Color Label Printing

In her post,


Richa states their research showed 40% of their end user respondents use print on-demand color labels in their operation.  Although the perception that color costs more, preprinted labels create a lot of waste accounting for 9.3% of all label purchased. This waste along with all of the Branding, ID and Compliance benefits mentioned earlier will drive more companies to print on-demand color labeling.


My thanks to Maureen Perronil and Jessica Hutter of Loftware for their outstanding webinar.

If you are considering deploying Loftware and/or color label printers, contact us to help you decide how to proceed.  By focusing exclusively on this market, Color Label Solutions is your premier provider of systems to help you print color labels on-demand.


Guy Mikel
855-962-7670

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Edibles Packaging & Labels

DISTRICT EDIBLES (http://www.districtediblescolorado.com/) is a quality, artisan crafted edible line now available in Colorado and other states. All edibles are created in small batches, with Ultra-premium CO2 extracted cannabis oil. Consumers will feel the difference in the quality and consistency of our products so you can really redefine your high!

District Edibles Packaging & Labels
District Edibles Packaging & Labels

Recently, I asked District Edibles to talk to the PR agency for Epson and the Printing News about labeling in the cannabis market.  Based on this request, the Packaging News published this article that featured our customer and myself.


In the article, Lauren Gilligan from District Edibles said the following:

District Edibles is another brand that is seeking to set itself apart, using packaging to help it stand out from the crowd. “When it comes to label design and packaging, we look for something unique and appealing,” said Lauren Gilligan, vice president of sales & marketing. “In order to stand out in a cut-throat market like Colorado, we look for the initial look of the product. Is it eye-catching? With so many brands on the market, it is really important to have curb appeal in order to captivate the consumer. The next feature we look for is texture. Is there a particular feel to the label? It stimulates another sense for the consumer, and makes your product a lot more memorable. Since we work in cannabis, safety also plays a big role in our package design. Packaging needs to be functional to make sure it doesn't get into the wrong hands of children or pets.”

And I got my comments in the article as well:

“Three key requirements are driving cannabis manufacturers and processors to the use of on-demand color labels,” agreed Guy Mikel, president of Color Label Solutions, reseller/partner of the ColorWorks on-demand inkjet label printers. “First, companies in the cannabis business must comply with the state requirements, which keep changing. As most states require a variety of variable data such as serialized package tracking, lot or batch identification, and/or THC or other component testing results, companies need to include this information on their packaging. Printing this information on the label is the most efficient means to meet this requirement. Second, companies are developing new products. As new SKU’s are tested and developed, label content evolves. An on-demand color label makes changes easy to do. Third, branding is a key component of the marketing of cannabis products, especially as the market moves into the recreational segment. Manufacturers want and need to convey their product attributes and product positioning in a retail setting. Great looking color labels on-demand help marketers project a premium product image; which is what District Edibles has achieved with their products.”

Overall, I like to thank District Edibles for participating in this article featuring the customers of the Epson label printers. Also, I’d like to comment on three aspects of the packaging District Edibles is using.

First, District Edibles prints their labels full-bleed.  It’s not easy to print 100% of your labels full-bleed.  The media guides in the C7500 make it relatively easy to print the edges of your die-cut labels with ink.  This post documents my feelings on the media guides in the C7500:


District Edibles Packaging & Labels
District Edibles Packaging & Labels
Second, District Edibles prints their labels in black.  Black is the most difficult color as you can see any “imperfections” in the print.  This previous post explains the difficulty in printing all black:


Third, District Edibles is using a package we sell; the MPack.  This child-proof, tamper-evident, and water/air tight container is great to meet the regulatory and product requirements for edible cannabis products.  Plus we’re producing the MPack in black for District Edibles, giving them a unique look.  In this previous post from our participation in the Seed to Sale tradeshow, I discuss the MPack:


It’s great to have customers like District Edibles; as they grow in this brand-new market.  If we can help with the labeling of your edible or other products, be sure to contact us.  We’d love to have more great customers like District Edibles.

Guy Mikel
866-962-7670

Friday, September 29, 2017

Label Expo Europe 2017

This week, I attended Label Expo Europe in Brussels for the first time.  Although I had attended Label Expo in the US several times before, I found this session much more valuable.  Let me share with some of the new, exciting technologies I saw in the print on-demand color world.

Guy Mikel at Label Expo Europe 2017
Guy Mikel at Label Expo Europe 2017
The most exciting new technology I saw at Label Expo did not involve labels; rather corrugated.  Beautiful, On-Demand, Color Corrugated.

Inkjet Coated Corrugated Printed with the NS Midi
Inkjet Coated Corrugated Printed with the NS Multi
New Solution (www.newsolution.euwas showing inkjet coated corrugated printed with the NS Multi Corrugated printer.

At approximately $100,000, this printer is not inexpensive.  The NS Multi uses 5 Memjet print heads to print up to 42” wide corrugated; very quickly.  Watch this corrugated printer in action:


Here is a picture for the loading table:

NS Multi
NS Multi
Using the inkjet coated corrugated created by New Solution, you can now produce cartons for all of your products on demand.  To make this system work, you flood-coat print the boxes with the inkjet coating, then form the box, and then print.  Box manufacturers should be able to produce the inkjet coated material as it’s no different than flood coat printing.  Once the box is coated, the NS Multi produces great looking boxes.  I was very impressed.

NS Multi Printed Box
NS Multi Printed Box
For those regular readers to this blog, you may remember our work in print on-demand corrugated:


This new technology opens packaging to the same drivers as on-demand color label printing.  With all the SKU’s, now you can produce the boxes you need, when you need them.  On-demand cartons offers significant cost savings in both reducing obsolete inventory and improving processes.

In addition to the new corrugated technology, Okidata launched the new Pro1050 color LED label printer.

Okidata Pro1050
Okidata Pro1050
The Pro511 uses new technology to print compared to most LED and laser printers.  This technology offers better color registration and narrower/shorter labels as well as no waste of label traveling through the printer at the end of a print job. 

  • .83” to 4.95” Print Width
  • .5” to 52” Print Length
  • 6” per second
  • 1200 x 1200 DPI
  • 60 KG (no on-demand demonstrations at this weight)


Plus this technology produces great looking blacks and even white colors on a wide variety of substrates. Notice how black is the print. 

Pro1050 On Clear Film
Pro1050  Black On Clear Film
Pro1050 White on Clear Film
Pro1050 White on Clear Film
Pro1050 on Silver Metallic
Pro1050 on Silver Metallic
Pro1050 on Antique Beer Label
Pro1050 on Antique Beer Label
Now, very clear film, metallic, bright gloss synthetic, inexpensive films and other materials will be available for on-demand color printing.  And the printer toner costs will be priced competitively to inkjet ink according to Okidata.

However, Okidata will not make this printer available in North America initially.  I will keep you informed as I learn more of their plans.

Although we’ll not be able to sell the new Pro1050, we’ll start selling the new L501 as soon as it’s available approximately February 2018.

L501 Color Label Printer
L501 Color Label Printer
With an estimated list price of approximately $3300 (official price has not been set as yet), this 8.5” wide color label printer produces great looking labels; in both dye and pigment-based inks.  The L501 offers great flexibility in printing by changing the consumable printhead.  Need bright colors; use dye-based inks.  Need durable prints; use pigment-based inks.

Watch the L501 print wide labels here:


L501
Normal mode on the left; and draft mode on the right

The L501 is very comparable to the LX2000; but from my perspective better design in both the hardware and software.  The L501 uses a newer generation of HP print engine compared to the LX2000.  I’m very hopeful for the L501 for those companies who must print wider than 4.25” labels.  Compared to the LX2000 from Primera, the L501 should offer a better design, faster printing and maybe lower ink costs according to Afinia.

As the L501 gets closer to market, we’ll keep you informed on the availability of this new 8.5” wide label printer.

For professional printers and in-plant print shops, we saw the perfect companion device to the C7500GE at Label Expo; the Eclipse Mini Finishing Station from Impression Technology Europe:


Mini Finishing Station
Mini Finishing Station
At approximately $10,000, the Mini Finishing Station can laminate and die cut label up to approximately 4” wide at a price point much less expensive than other finishing stations available on the market.  Most of the other finishing stations start at approximately $25,000.  With the Mini, you can now print continuous labels, laminate and then die cut to the specific size you need.  No more ordering a wide variety of die-cut label sizes and then printing.  You can keep only one size in inventory.

Watch it run here:

 The Mini uses knifes (plotter type) to cut labels and not dies.  But given the mini is only 4” wide, the speed is not too bad.  Not fast; but not excessively slow.

With the Mini, you can now purchase inexpensive media; and then laminate to add durability or glossy finish.  And the Mini should enable you to lower your label costs.  Combined with the C7500GE which offers the Wasatch RIP for better color control, the Mini makes entry into the digital printing market easy for most any professional printer.  At a fraction of the cost of a digital press.

Another new hardware technology available at Label Expo came from Memjet; and both New Solutions and Trojan Label showed new versions of the above the web (media path) printhead technology.  The Atom from New Solutions:

Adam Color Label Printer From New Solutions
Adam Color Label Printer From New Solutions
And the T2C from Trojan Label (now a part of QLS).
 
T2C from Trojan Label
T2C from Trojan Label
Both of these units are high speed label presses; but in a smaller footprint.  And as I understand, both use the same above the web (media path) Sirus printheads making maintenance much easier than earlier designs.  I have a lot to learn about how these printers work before I comment more about the technology.

These new industrial designed color label printers will seem to produce thousands of beautiful labels. More interesting to me, is that I learned Memjet has launched a new print technology offering longer printhead life and pigment ink.  Read the press release here:


By next spring, we should see pigment-based printers from Memjet OEM partners; in a variety models.  With this type of great, new technology coming to market, the print on-demand color label business will continue to grow.

At the Neuralabel booth, I learned they were making a big change with their 300x color label printer.

Neuralabel 300x
Neuralabel 300x
According to Ken Lund, President, Neuralabel will begin selling a version of the 300x with a straight paper path.  In the past, the 300x has had troubles with label media jamming as it goes around the 3 turns in the printer.  By adapting the printer to use a straight paper path, the 300x should become a much better option for 8” wide label printing.  Perminate printheads, fast speeds and high resolution are key capabilities of this printer if the new design can prevent jamming in the printer. Read this earlier post on the 300x here:


In addition to new hardware, I found many new types of media for print on-demand color labels.

Wine labels that print great even with the low resolution C831 printer:
C831 Wine Labels
C831 Wine Labels
Imagine how nice these labels will print with higher resolution printers.

Or inkjet coated fabric labels for mattresses and carpets:
Inkjet Coated Fabric Labels for Carpets
Inkjet Coated Fabric Labels for Carpets
Inkjet Coated Mattress Labels
Inkjet Coated Mattress Labels
And some great new material from my friend Franz Walter Pohlhaus. Die cut, matte paper visitor badges with adhesive backing that fold at the perf to form a thicker, stiffer badge:

Adhesive Backed Badges
Adhesive Backed Badges
Inkjet coated parking stickers with on-board lamination to protect from UV rays:
Inkjet Coated/Laminated Parking Stickers
Inkjet Coated/Laminated Parking Stickers
Or inkjet coated, heat-sealed paper labels that form a package after printing:
Heat Sealed, On Demand, Inkjet Coated Package
Heat Sealed, On Demand, Inkjet Coated Package
Print On-Demand Direct Thermal POS Paper
Inkjet Coated POS Paper
Inkjet Coated POS Paper
Watch the C7500 print the back of direct thermal POS paper here:

Overall, the trip to Label Expo was very informative; and well worth my time and money.  All this new technology makes me excited by the prospects for print on-demand color labels.  Contact us if we can help you with any of this new technology.

Guy Mikel
855-962-7670