Color Label Solutions

Color Label Solutions
www.colorlabelsolutions.com

Monday, June 26, 2017

L801 Full-Bleed Label Printing

While attending the recent Afinia reseller meeting, I learned about a relatively new feature built into the L801 printer driver, which makes full-bleed printing relatively easy.  Let me tell you more.


L801 Full-Bleed Printed Label
L801 Full-Bleed Printed Label
If this company is new to you, Afinia Label (www.afinialabel.com) was founded in 2009 to offer specialty printing solutions with best-in-class support at accessible prices. Their parent company, Microboards Technology, has been offering media duplication products since 1989. This background gives Afinia a rock-solid foundation of technical expertise, and decades of experience providing the best possible customer service.  

In the past, I’ve written about one of their new products, the L301:  

and we’ve sold some of their other products.  Afinia’s major product is the L801 which uses the Memjet print engine:

The L801 prints beautiful labels up to 8.5” wide; especially using the dye-based inks.  Although the dye inks are not sufficiently durable for many applications, they produce a very vibrant color, which is required for many prime label applications where many customers want to print full-bleed.

But full-bleed printing can be difficult on die-cut labels.  You must get some ink on the exposed liner; but not too much.  Too much ink on the liner may transfer to the label itself.  I written about full-bleed label printing in the past.  Here is a recent post covering full-bleed printing.


Now in the driver, Afinia has added to their driver controls that make it easy to print full-bleed labels.  To cover labels 100% with ink, you need to first know the orientation of the labels. To know the “language” that Afinia uses to describe the label orientation.

L801 Label Orientation
L801 Label Orientation
The leading edge of the label (the edge that comes out of the printer first) is described as the “Top”; making the trailing edge of the label the “Bottom”.  Standing behind the printer, you’ll find the “Left” and the “Right” edges.  When facing the printer, the left and right are reversed (naturally).

When printing full-bleed, Afinia recommends making the size of the label in the driver slightly larger than the actual label size.  I’ve used 0.03” as my standard recommendation since I’ve written this article on the LX2000:


Once the print size is set in the driver, Afinia recommends printing a few labels to examine the initial print output.  You need to ignore the first label, according to Afinia, to enable the settings to be completely implemented.

Once printing, you can see if the image need to move up or down; or right to left to better fit.  To move the image in the template, it’s simple to do using the position adjustment.

L801 Position Adjustment
L801 Position Adjustment
The position adjustment provides the movement direction for positive or negative inches or millimeters you can adjust the image. This diagram makes it very simple to center the image correctly on the label.  Again the idea is to have only a very thin line of ink on the liner; covering the edge of the label completely.  Here is the setting we used during our training:

L801 Position Adjustment
L801 Position Adjustment
Once this setting is establish, Afinia recommends printing a few more labels.

If you still have an edge or two that is still slightly off, you can make an “offset” adjustment on a single edge.  This setting basically stretches the edge slightly; just enough to eliminate a thin ribbon of white label showing; or to reduce the overprint slightly.  Again, here is my setting during training:

L801 Offset Adjustment
L801 Offset Adjustment
It’s a genus idea that makes printing full-bleed easier to do.


According to Mike Atkins, National Sales Manager for Afinia, “The low cost of ink and great quality of color output from the L801 has made it one of our most popular options for prime label applications. However, printing edge-to-edge has certainly presented a challenge to users in the past. These latest updates in the driver have opened up what our customers can do with the L801, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.”

If you need to print full-bleed labels; but don’t want to spend a lot of time adjusting the print, contact us to help you with the L801 color label printer from Afinia.


Guy Mikel
855-962-7670

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