Color Label Solutions

Color Label Solutions

Monday, January 16, 2017

MIL-SPEC Color Labels

I am pleased to announce that Color Label Solutions now offers print on-demand color labels that meet MIL-PRF-61002B and MIL-STD-129R.

Inkjet Coated, Color, MIL-SPEC Compliance Letter
Inkjet Coated, Color, MIL-SPEC Compliance Labels
If you don’t know these specifications, MIL-PRF-61002B comes from the Department of Defense and covers the requirements for pressure-sensitive adhesive labels that meet or exceed the end user’s necessary performance criteria for use in the implementation of bar code marking/reading operations.  Obtain this MIL-SPEC here:

MIL-STD 12S9R comes from the DOD as well; and provides the minimum requirements for uniform military marking for shipment and storage. Obtain this MIL-SPEC here:

Up until now, most companies were required to use thermal transfer printers to comply with these standards involved with shipping products to the DOD.  In fact, you’ll find direct mention of this printing technology in both documents.

However, one of our customers came to us wanting to switch from thermal transfer (specifically the Zebra 170Xi4 6” wide and 220Xi4) to inkjet printed labels.  He wanted to make this switch after using the C831 printers to produce GHS labels.

C831 Label Printer
C831 Label Printer
We have a lot of posts on using the C831 printer to produce GHS labels:

According to our customer, four reasons make the C831 printer a better option than wide thermal transfer printers for printing DOD labels.  First, printed labels are evaluated by the Department of Defense (DOD) to insure they meet the standards.  Ribbon wrinkle, which happens when the thermal transfer printer ribbon does not feed correctly, happens occasionally producing a barcode with streaks.  These streaks may make the barcodes not readable.  When this occurs, the DOD may reject the shipment, costing suppliers to the DOD a great deal of money.  With the higher print resolution (760 x 360 versus 203 or 300 dpi for thermal transfer printers), the C831 printer eliminates the risk of ribbon wrinkle. 

Second, changing ribbons can be a pain with thermal transfer printers.  According to our customer, their operators hate to change ribbons.  Watch the process to change ribbons in a Zebra 170Xi4:

 Comparably, changing ink cartridges takes just seconds.

Third, ink costs less than ribbons; especially resin ribbons.  Here is a post from some time ago detailing the cost differences.

 In our customer’s situation, the large inkjet labels are less expensive as well.

Fourth, the labels printed with a C831 just look better than those printed on a standard thermal transfer printer.  Although the DOD doesn’t purchase based on label design and quality, our customer believes the color labels from the C831 represent a higher quality image of the product and company; reinforcing positively the DOD’s purchase decision.  Adding color logos, images, color coding and text can differentiate your company from other vendors.

If you supply the DOD, consider moving to print on-demand color labels.  We’ll support your move to this new, better looking, easier to use, and less expensive option.

Guy Mikel

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