Color Label Solutions

Color Label Solutions
www.colorlabelsolutions.com

Sunday, June 18, 2017

On-Demand Color Mattress Tags-Labels

The story of Pleasant Mattress Inc. stretches back to the throes of World War II, when the original Morgensterns immigrated from Vienna to the United States and cobbled together a new life. Today, Pleasant Mattress continues their tradition of resourcefulness and forward-thinking. Their success rests on the synergy between father and son. Generation after generation, Morgenstern sons have taken inspiration from their fathers, each one building on the tradition of the last. As Isaac Newton said, the secret to success is standing on the shoulders of giants.



Pleasant Mattress manufactures following product lines in their plant in Fresno, California:

   Chattam & Wells-the first Californian Born luxury mattress.  Each Chattam & Wells luxury mattress is made in the USA by people who believe their job is to create a mattress that provides the foundation for a healthy life.
   MAXX-Ingeniously over-engineered for years of support.  MAXX takes cues from traditional high-end mattress crafting; employing proven and durable coil engineering.  
   Spring Air- the standard for quality mattresses and sleep systems. A great night’s sleep starts with a mattress that can both support the body and relieve pressure where it is needed most. Spring Air Back Supporter mattresses do just that, with patented designs and innovations that are unmatched by any other bedding company.
   Eclipse-makes a difference in the sleep health of their customers through handcrafting the highest quality sleep products.  

Pleasant Mattress Factory
Pleasant Mattress contacted me when they wanted to add color labels and tags into their operation.  According to Russell Raymond, Director of Plant Operations, “In our facility, we mark each law tag we sew into our mattresses with a highlighter.  Each day of the week is added to each tag in the color of the group of orders.  These colors markers make it easy to track our products through production.  But it takes time to mark all of these tags; and opens up the possibility of errors.  We needed to automate this process, using our existing Easy Label software.”

To test the feasibility of this solution, I shipped a C3500 demo printer and labels to Pleasant Mattress to test.  Working with IT, we added the demo printer to their network and adjusted the Easy Label templates to add color based on the order number.  We made this change in a very short time.

Pleasant Mattress Text Label
Pleasant Mattress Test Label

In addition, we tested sewing into the mattresses some of the 5 mil poly tags we sell, and they seemed to work great.

 
Tag Sample Sewn Into Fabric
Tag Sample Sewn Into Fabric
Based on this test, Pleasant Mattress purchased C3500, tags and labels; and deployed them in their operation.

C3500 Printing 4" x 12" Tags
C3500 Printing 4" x 12" Tags
These printers produce the 4” x 12” law tags.  The letter represents the day of the week of the production; and the color represents a group of orders.

On-Demand Color Mattress Law Tag
On-Demand Color Mattress Law Tag
And these tags are sewed into the mattress during production:

Color Tag Sewn Into Mattress
Color Tag Sewn Into Mattress
Once packaged, Easy Label generates a color-coded label for each mattress to represent a shipment of a group of orders.

On Demand Color  Mattress Label
On Demand Color  Mattress Label
And once the label is on the finished product, Pleasant Mattress uses the color-coded label for staging and loading of orders.

On-Demand Color Labels for Staging
On-Demand Color Labels for Staging
According to Russell, “the color codes prevent potential errors.  If a shipping error is made, the incorrect color sticks out.  The color-coding labels in our operation saves us time and potential costs.”

The color-coding solution deployed at Pleasant Mattress reminds me of one of the first stories I completed with Epson, many years ago at Tubelite:


From my perspective, two aspects of the Pleasant Mattress C3500 deployment make this solution stand out. Neither have anything to do with the printer.

First, Pleasant Mattress understood how color would improve their operation, and they found a way to automate this component as part of the solution.

Second, implementing an automated color printing solution was easy.  Using their existing label printing software, Easy Label, Pleasant Mattress's IT manager understood the application sufficiently that making the change was easy.

I’m exciting by the on-demand tag and label solution implemented by Pleasant Mattress, as it shows how color creates value in an operation.  Contact us to discuss how color can improve your operation as well.

Guy Mikel
855-962-7670

Monday, June 12, 2017

On-Demand Color Badges

Founded in 1976, CompuSystems (https://www.compusystems.com/has enjoyed many years as a major registration service provider for the trade show industry. They offer integrated software that meets the specific needs of their clients, creating an ecosystem that fosters the buyer and seller relationship.

Their goal is to establish long lasting relationships with their clients based on trust, a shared success and a commitment to quality. Their vision is to have every customer recommend CompuSystems. To succeed, CompuSystems is dedicated to making investments in quality products and services to support their customers now and in the future.


When Jeremy Kubik, Director of IT for CompuSystems, and I first communicated, he was looking for an alternative to the Xerox Color printers they were using.  Jeremy said, “We’re looking for an alternative to the Xerox sheet fed printer.  We want to use some type of continuous badges; many of our badges are 4” x 12”.  In addition, we need a smaller footprint as our registration desks have limited space.  Plus we need to have the capability to print on-demand and in color.”

Based on our discussion, I sent samples of both 10 mil paper and 8 mil poly badges designed to work in the C3500.  The poly material is more expensive than the paper; but prints great and is very durable.  Ink costs are less, generally, compared to laser..  On the sample artwork provided by Jeremy, I estimated the ink cost for the C3500 printer at $0.049/badge.  Not bad for a 12” tag.

4" x 12" Badge Ink Cost-C3500
4" x 12" Badge Ink Cost-C3500
As CompuSystems consider alternatives, I found a new 8 pt tag paper tag material that was stiffer and printed great.  Plus this material was very affordable.  With this new material, Jeremy created a new 12” tag design, set up to print 2, 4” x 6” badges separated by a crease.  With this design, the C3500 can print a two-sided badge.

4" x 12" Badge Design
4" x 12" Badge Design
Based on the available materials, running costs and printer cost, CompuSystems purchased C3500 printers for their badge printing.

C3500 Badge Printers
C3500 Badge Printers
Even more interesting to me, is how CompuSystems deployed the printers in an overall solution.  First, how the printers were deployed.  According to Jeremy, “to install and configure the printer drivers, I figured out how to accomplish this task via a batch mode.  This step was important as every badge pickup desk at each event uses a different server.  The batch driver deployment makes it easy for us to set up an event.”

C3500 Badge Printers
C3500 Badge Printers
In addition, CompuSystems uses BarTender to create the templates and print badges.  According to Jeremy, “we use BarTender to print our badges.  Our Unix-based registration application looks up each person in the database and “prints” via port 9100 to the local BarTender server.  BarTender then adds the variable information to the template to create each individual badge.  We’re printing hundreds or even thousands of badges at a time with variable information.   All that information is then synchronized with our main servers.  BarTender works great for us.”

BarTender Badge Printing
BarTender Badge Printing
C3500 Badge
C3500 Badge

Jeremy and CompuSystems has built a great solution for printing color badges on demand using the C3500 printers and BarTender.  Jeremy says “we’re very happy with the performance of the C3500 in our first event.  They’re working great; printing very fast.  We especially like the short time to first print.  Plus the print quality is sufficient for our situation.”

In addition, we’ve found badge material, both paper and poly that print great and is affordable.

Fanfold Badge Tags
If you need to print event badges, contact us.  We’ll help you move to printing color badges on-demand, saving you time and money.

Guy Mikel
855-962-7670

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Perfect Print On-Demand Color Label Example

Founded in 1987 as a local wholesaler of products for the cabinet and furniture trades, QuickScrews International Corporation (www.quickscrews.com) has evolved into the supplier of the most popular brand of fasteners in the industry; including their new solar division (https://solarroofhook.com/).   Their highly trained and experienced personnel are ready to discuss their customer’s needs to deliver on the promise “Get the Screws You Need Faster Than Ever”. QuickScrews uses technology to service many different categories of customers; from weekend warriors looking to finish a project, large cabinetmakers or solar roof installers, or wholesalers looking to support their customers. In 2010, QuickScrews began selling their products online, which expanded their customer base to more than 10,000 customers and shipping orders within 24 hours of receipt.


From my perspective, QuickScrews is the perfect example of a company needing to print color labels on demand.  With thousands of SKU’s, QuickScrews uses colors and icons to differentiate types of fasteners. With their solar products, here are their color codes:

QuickScrews Color Codes
QuickScrews Color Codes
And here are icons in use on one of their products:

QuickScrews Variable Icons
QuickScrews Variable Icons
Quickscrews prints these labels using the C3500 in stations distributed in their plants in Livermore, CA and in South Carolina.


And they have experimented using a very inexpensive Go-Dex unwinder to feed large rolls of labels into the C3500.  And it works seemingly great!

C3500 with Inexpensive GoDex Unwinder
C3500 with Inexpensive GoDex Unwinder
But the real magic of the QuickScrews print on-demand color label solution is their database of products and their deployment of BarTender.  According to Mark Buechler, Senior IT Manager for QuickScrews, “our Marketing department has spent a lot of time gathering information and taking pictures of many different fasteners for our database.  We’ve worked hard not only setting up the structure of our database in Excel, but also adding the descriptors, color codes, and variable images associated with every single SKU we sell. It’s a process that will never end”.

In addition to the database, Mark has deployed BarTender, designing different label templates and setting up the network to pull the variable data, including the different text descriptors, icons and color codes to create the labels.  According to Mark, “now each print station in either CA or SC accesses BarTender to print the labels required for each product.   This solution makes it easy for our operators to label our products correctly.  And the colors and icons make it easy for our wholesalers and customer to select the correct fastener.”

According to Elizabeth Sinclair, Manager, Verticals Marketing at Seagull Scientific, the creator of Bartender, “by using good data management practices in your labeling deployment as demonstrated by Mark and the Quickscrews team, you can create enterprise-wide efficiencies that save time, resources and money. Many companies use only the design component, and thus store data in label files. By integrating BarTender with a trusted data source, any changes are easy to make in one location rather than finding, opening, updating and saving every individual label.  QuickScrews has deployed BarTender very effectively.”

Quickscrews has developed a great business model; becoming the subject matter expert in a relatively narrow field.  This focus makes it easy for prospects and customers to purchase the correct fasteners.  By adding a great print on-demand color solution, QuickScrews can now produce labels that make their products easy to use; both their channel and end users.

If you have a large number of SKU’s and considering print on-demand color labels, contact us.  We’d love to help you build a great solution like QuickScrews.

Guy Mikel
855-962-7670

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Easy To Do

Label printing can be difficult; I know.  But label printing can be easy if done correctly.  When the artwork matches the label size correctly, label printing is easy to do.

Nutriment.com (www.nutriment.combelieves that success in the nutrition business is predicated upon knowing what customers need to help optimize nutrient intake; and to help address specific health problems.  Nutriment.com has the distinction of offering formulations with the most comprehensive ingredients lists—highly potent formulations with nutrients chosen to work together so that the final effect is greater than the sum of its parts.

Joint health, male enhancement, vitamin/mineral blends and sleep aid formulations are just a few of the products they offer, and their list continues to grow. All ingredients chosen for these specific formulations are only the purist, highest in potency and scientifically validated by clinical research.  Nutriment.com uses only GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) certified facilities to produce its formulations. This requirement assures a safe and pure product that you can take with confidence.

When first contacting Peter Baker, Owner of Nutriment, I learned he needed a printer for producing short runs of labels for new products.  “We launch new test products all the time,” said Peter.  Continuing, “Some of these new products generate demand; some don’t.  Once I have a large demand, we’ll purchase preprinted labels.  Until we have a winning product, we don’t want to purchase a large supply of labels that may never be use.”

Given that Nutriment needed to produce a limited run of labels at a time, I offered to send samples from both the C3500 and C7500G printers.  The C3500 is a very affordable label printer; the C7500G has much higher print resolution.  We discussed also the L301 (http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2017/02/l301.html)  and the LX2000 (http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2015/06/lx2000-full-bleed-color-label-printer.html) as well.  But the ink costs would be higher to produce labels for these printers. For the Nutriment application, the C7500G was the best choice.

To produce these samples, Peter sent me artwork setup perfectly to work with a 2” x 6” label. 

Nutrient Label PDF
Nutrient Label PDF
Notice how the label is designed with the marks setting out the location for the corners of a 2” x 6” label.  When printing these labels at the “Actual” size using Adobe Reader or Acrobat, the preview shows exactly how the label will look.

PDF Label Preview
PDF Label Preview
For the most part, we don’t carry  inventory of labels required to print all the possible sizes and types customers would want.  But in this case, I checked with our plant, who happened to have a roll of 2” x 6” and 2.5” x 6” gloss poly labels in inventory.  So I agreed to print some test labels for Nutriment.

Once I received the labels from the plant, I printed 7 different labels.  On the first label, I found that I had to move the print slightly down and change the boarder setting to .06” to get the label to print exactly as required.

Label Horizontal Adjustment Example
Label Horizontal Adjustment Example
We then packaged up the test prints and sent to Peter.

Nutriment Label Prints
With the correct artwork and label sizes, printing great looking labels is easy to do.  Perfect for an application such as desired by Nutriment, printing labels as need for their prototype products.  Companies launching new products all the time like Nutriment, printing on-demand color labels make good economic sense.

If you want to produce great looking labels easily yourself, contact us.  We’ll help you get started printing labels quickly and easily.

Guy Mikel
855-962-7670

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

BenchMax

BenchMax Label Applicator (https://greatengineering.com/benchmax/)  will enable you to use any label (or 2) on any round container larger than 8 mm in diameter.  With the Small Container Adaptor, the BenchMax makes it possible to label containers down to 8 mm in diameter.  And the Orientation capability scans the container for a feature, to insure labels are applied in the correct orientation.  Finally, you can adjust the rollers to apply labels to round containers with ridges or other features.


BenchMax Label Applicator
BenchMax Label Applicator

More important to me, however, was the fact that you can now integrate the BenchMax into the C3500 and C7500 for on-demand color label printing and application.  This capability makes the BenchMax the only off-the-shelf label applicator available for integration with a color label printer.  I first wrote about this capability after WestPack 2017: http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2017/02/westpack-2017.html

When I received my BenchMax, I was pleasantly surprised how well the unit was packed for it’s shipment from Australia to the US.



After unpacking the BenchMax applicator, I attempted to thread the supplied labels through the machine.  You can download the directions here: https://greatengineering.com/pdf/BenchMAX_BenchMARK_Manual.pdf 


And be sure to watch this video on setting up the BenchMax first.  It’s important and helpful:

As the machine ships with the small container adapter in place, I made a mistake on the threading.  Therefore, I decided to remove the small container adapter before moving forward.

BenchMax Small Container Adaptor
BenchMax Small Container Adapter
But I had a heck of a hard time removing the adapter.  To remove the adapter, you need to remove the Hex screw shown below and the knob. 

Small Container Adapter Screw
When I tried to remove the screw, the adapter would turn, and not release.  I believe this problem says more about my mechanical skills than the adapter.  Once I held the adapter with the palm of my hand, and turned the Allen screw, the came off.  With the adapter off, it was easy to thread the labels through applicator.

After threading the labels, I had to set the gap sensor.  Frankly, I made a mistake in this step as well.  I could not get the provided labels to apply correctly. You need to make sure the sensor is positioned off a few mm from the leading edge of the first label.  This position below worked great.

BenchMax Label Leading Edge Exposed
BenchMax Label Leading Edge Exposed & Sensor Setting
And found the top of form on round labels as well:


Once I got the sensor set correctly, I was labeling containers. Even applying two labels to one bottle.


(Note to self: get some nice looking, unused round containers).

The BenchMax makes placing two labels with the correct spacing on one bottle easy to do.

After figuring out the applicator portion, I integrated my C7500G with the BenchMax.  Following the instructions for the Interface was easy; get the instructions here:  https://greatengineering.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/interfaceInstructions.pdf

And the included label guide instructions as well: https://greatengineering.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/GuideInstructions.pdf

I thought the label guide worked well; and may work better using fanfold labels:

BenchMax Label Guide
BenchMax Label Guide
And in minutes, I was printing and applying labels to large containers.


And by reinserting the Small Container Adapter, I was printing and applying labels to smaller round containers:


And here you can watch the printer respond to the commands from the interface:


When you first start to integrate the printer/BenchMax, be sure to print 15 to 20 labels to have lots of slack in the system.  As the printer backs up when starting to print, you need approximately 10” to 12” of loose labels.  After printing this initial slack, the Interface does all the work.  And I confirmed, the Interface works with Adobe Acrobat and BarTender, making printing and applying labels with variable data easy to do.  Be sure to keep the software application open during application; so the Interface can continue managing the label printing.

If you own a C3500 or a C7500/C7500G and apply labels to a round container, you should consider purchasing a BenchMax label applicator.  Now, you can print and apply in one step; increasing productivity and insuring your labels are applied correctly in the exact position every time.  The BenchMax applicator with the Interface, Label Guide, Cables and freight costs approximately $10,000.

If you don’t own one of these printers, now you should consider purchasing both the printer and BenchMax applicator to improve your operations and look of your finished products.  Contact us to discuss how the BenchMax label applicator fits into your operation.

Guy Mikel
855-962-7670

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