Color Label Solutions

Color Label Solutions
www.colorlabelsolutions.com

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Ink Food Certifications

Safety is a key ingredient for food companies; including packaging and labeling.  Epson inks for their line of ColorWorks label printers comply with international Food Contact Material (FCM) regulations.


In 2019, Epson announces that the ink from the ColorWorks line of label printers met the EU Regulation framework (EC) No. 1935/2004, Good Manufacturing Practices Regulation (GMP) (EC) No. 2023/2006, Plastics Implementation Measure Regulation (EU) 10/2011 and the Swiss Ordinance (RS 817.023.21) on Food Contact Materials for food packaging printing inks; and other certifications as well. Learn more here. 

And recently, Epson Europe released a PDF describing these certifications.  Get this great summary here


Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 provides a harmonized legal EU framework. It sets out the general principles of safety and inertness for all Food Contact Materials (FCMs).  This regulation insures FCM’s don’t release compounds into the food or change food composition, taste or odor. To learn more.

Good Manufacturing Practices Regulation (GMP) (EC) No. 2023/2006 lays down the rules on good manufacturing practice (GMP) for the groups of materials and articles intended to come into contact with food.  GMP details here. 

Swiss Ordinance (RS 817.023.21) is a list of substances that are allowed for the manufacture of packaging ink and related requirements for food contact materials and articles. Swiss Ordinance details here. 

Jacob Kallergis, Epson
Jacob Kallergis, Epson

For this post, I asked Jacob Kallergis, European Product Manager for the ColorWorks line of printers, on why Epson pursued these certifications.  According to Jacob, “Responsible food producers, who need to certify their packaging meets the FCM regulations in Europe, will look for appropriate materials. Ink is just one component of the packaging; you have other components also including the label, the barrier, etc. As Epson sells label printers to these companies, we need to ensure our inks comply with the FCM regulations.”

In the PDF and the Press Release, I noticed the certifications were for indirect food contact.  This definition means that printing must be completed on a non-contact surface such as a label on outside of the package.  When asked, why not direct food contact, Jacob said, “Generally, the inks market for labelling are for indirect use.”  And Jacob is correct.  After my years in this business, I don’t know of any label printing company selling printers that use edible inks.
 
Epson Europe considers food manufacturers a great target for their line of ColorWorks label printers.  Jacob says, “Food manufacturers need our on-demand color label printers.  These companies are moving toward smaller and larger variety of SKU/batches as well as customized food products/labels. Plus, Europe’s smaller countries and languages mean potentially many different labels.  ColorWorks label printers are perfect for these types of companies.”  Check out Epson Europe’s web page designed specifically for food manufacturers. 

Be sure to read Epson Europe’s case studies (unless you’re hungry):




HF Chocolate: Confectionary wholesale













Continuing, Jacob says, “Confectionary producers seem to be the most interested with on-demand color labeling as well as prepared foods.  Health conscience consumers, especially since the pandemic, are seeking specialized products, looking for high quality food.  Our label printers enable these companies to print the labels they need when they need them.”

Over the years, I’ve written about food companies many times.  For example, Foodie Fit:

and several customers involved in an Epson PR tour

and even cannabis edibles, Love’s Oven:

Epson ColorWorks
Epson ColorWorks


Bottom line: Food manufacturers can feel safe printing labels using Epson’s inks in the ColorWorks label printers. If you are a food manufacturer producing labels for a variety of products/SKU’s, contact us as we can help with your food label printing.

Guy Mikel
855-962-7670




Tuesday, September 7, 2021

On-Demand Pouches-WestPack

At the recent WestPack 2021 tradeshow, we ran the FP-230 Flexible Packaging printer and laminator.

FP-230
FP-230 Color Flexible Package Printer


Watch the FP-230 run here:


We then took the printed/laminated material to the Phoenix Engineering booth to fill/seal the material.


And you may have seen my earlier post on using this combination of devices to print, fill, and seal flexible packaging.

FP-230 Printed/Filled Pouches
FP-230 Printed/Filled Pouches

During the show, I asked Mike Atkins, National Sales Manager for Afinia, why use these machines to produce flexible packaging?  According to Mike, “Outsourcing is a good option if you require large quantities of pouches; and the printing is static (i.e. never changes). But if you require variable data printing for different SKUs, and/or your individual SKU requirements are relatively small, you may be forced to purchase more pouches than needed. The FP-230 allows you to print on demand and change the content on the fly.  You don’t have preprinted minimums and you print just the amount you need for a particular run. And if you are white labeling, or private labeling, this opens up more opportunities to deliver quickly, have lower minimums, and create more revenue per product by offering packaging as a service.”


Artysio Flexible Pouches

In the FP-230, we used Sihl’s Artysio Flexible Packaging material.


Grace Engebretsen, Manager, Sales & Business Development Packaging North America for Sihl believes the Artysio material fits many different types of customers.  The technology allows total flexibility and is very sustainable, printing only what is needed and locally on site.  Grace says, “Generally speaking, small to medium sized brand owners with a large number of SKU’s (i.e. more product complexity) as well as copackers are both ideal customers.  Copackers who do business with multiple customers, offering varying products/sizes for markets such as food, nutraceutical, and personal care.  We’re looking for customers that want to control their own packaging operation due to product complexity and/or small quantity runs.”

Artysio
Artysio Product Profile


At the show, I told Mike that it seems to be fairly easy to run the FP-230.  Mike said, “The printer is fairly simple to operate. Designs can be printed from a simple PDF viewer, or you can print directly from any number of design applications. Printing flexible packaging is as straightforward as any other type of desktop publishing. The FP-230 connects directly to a PC, or to your network, and installs in your list of printers using a standard Windows driver.”

 

From my perspective, the most difficult aspect of this printing is making sure the art is designed for the correct size of packaging. But please remember; I have no experience running packaging equipment.  Phoenix Engineering’s packaging equipment seems straight forward.

 

Globally, packaging is a $120 to $160 Billion business; of which flexible packaging is a large part.  In the US, flexible packaging is a $31 billion business. Over the next few years, some of this market will move to on-demand color packaging. The trend toward shorter runs and more just-in-time or on-demand production will drive this move.

 

Contact us if you want to move to on-demand flexible packaging.  We can support this switch.

 

Guy Mikel

855-962-7670

info@colorlabelsolutions.com


Sunday, August 15, 2021

Support Tradeshow (Badges)

Last week, I attended and we exhibited at our first tradeshow in 1 and ½ years; WestPack.

CLS booth
CLS booth at the end of the show


And I learned that WestPack was the first tradeshow at the Anaheim Convention Center since the Covid-19 shutdown in March of 2020.  Having exhibited at this show for years, it was great to get back to some sort of normal.  And I attended all 3 days of the show seemingly without catching Covid-19.


As some of you know, we’ve had tradeshow providers as customers for years.  In 2017, I wrote about tradeshows first here.

And then again about the Consumer Electronic Show here.

After this shutdown, I find it amazing that these companies are still in business at all.  After zero revenue for 1.5 years, I’m surprised and happy these companies are still in business.  Given the shutdown’s impact on these companies, I urge you to support this market by attending any and all tradeshows you can.  For example, we’re exhibiting at White Label Expo in Las Vegas September 1st and 2nd, 2021.

And we’re exhibiting at MJBIZCON October 20-22 in Las Vegas for those customers in the cannabis market.

Google Pay Tradeshow Certificate
Google Pay Tradeshow Certificate

Prior to the event, I learned something that was very troublesome; the organizers decided to make the event “contactless” which meant NO BADGES.  This decision bother me on three levels. First as an exhibitor, we spent a lot of money to meet people and gather prospects for our products and services.  With no name badges, I was concerned this decision would inhibit people from sharing their name and contact information; thus reducing the return from exhibiting at the show.

Second, as a badge/printer provider, I hated to see this business/market disappear.  I believe badges add value to exhibitors as well as attendees.  Plus badges offer means to add even more value through color-coding, imaging and messaging.

Third, as a person who believes in science, I understood that Covid is spread primarily by airborne particles and spray droplets that are inhaled or swallowed; and not by surface contact.  In fact, I don't understand how badges would increase contact at all.

When I learned of this decision, I immediately contacted our event sales person to complain.  In addition to the idea of contactless, the show organizer tried to explain the contactless decision as sustainable.  As we sell paper badges made with sustainable forest materials, I found this rationalization absurd. 

Once the event started, I noticed several affects of not only the decision to go contactless, but also of people complaining about no badges.  At the entrance of the tradeshow floor, many people had issues opening up their Apple or Google Pay to get the certificate.

Attendees Attempting to Open Entrance Certificate
Attendees Attempting to Open Entrance Certificate

In my case, the certificate did not show up at all in Google Pay.  I had to download the certificate a second time; and take a picture of my phone screen.  And during the show, I met several people who just printed the certificate.

Exhibitor Wristband
Exhibitor Wristband

Given the difficulty to open the certificate, the show organizers offered wristbands to prevent the requirement to open your phone each time you entered the show floor.  However, the wristband supply was gone immediately.

Name Badge Station
Name Badge Station

In addition, it seems my and other exhibitor complaints about no badges was “heard” by the show organizers.  They implemented a Name Tag Kiosk inside of the show floor to print badges; but without any way to scan.

Name Badge W/O Lead Info
Name Badge W/O Lead Info

In addition, they decided to print badges for attendees as well; still without any QR codes.

On-Demand Color Badge Printers
On-Demand Color Badge Printers

By the second day, new attendee badges had a QR code on them.  I appreciated the fact that the show organizers responded to the concerns of the exhibitors and probably even to the attendees.

After completing this first tradeshow since the start of the pandemic, I’d appreciate your support for tradeshows and for the industry as a whole.  The companies who operate in this market have been crushed; but have survived. And I was able to exhibit and attend this show without getting sick. Please support this market by attending tradeshows; but please make sure everyone has a badge!

Guy Mikel
855-962-7670

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Preroll Label Applicator

“From label design to fully applied labels, the cannabis market is a great place to deploy a print and apply solution.  The Epson C6000A printer and the LabelMill LM1005 combination is an affordable way for cannabis manufacturers to print and apply labels to their packages”, says Chris Wachter of LabelMill.

Preroll Label Applicator
Preroll Label Applicator

LabelMilhas been producing custom labeling solutions for 30+ years. From Concept to Final Product, their Modular Labeling Systems are Quick to Deliver - Easy to Service – Easy to Use; producing more uptime for production lines, reducing the cost of spare parts and making employee training easier.

I’ve written about LabelMill in the past; focusing on their unique tube label applicator.

LabelMill 1005
LabelMill 1005 For Prerolls

But now, we’re selling a print and apply labeling system featuring the LM1005 for preroll tubes in cannabis.  Watch the C6000A printer along with the LM1005 apply labels to preroll tubes.


I’ve found this print and apply system works great for preroll tubes.  According to Chris, “Preroll tubes are generally harder to apply labels given the typical tapered design and attached caps.  Placing a rectangle label on a taper tube can produce wrinkles in the label.  With the adjustable carriage on the LM1005, we can move the idle rollers up and down the shaft to make label placement precise.  This capability makes label application to preroll tubes easier to do.”

The standard carriage used on the LM1005 has two adjustable idle rollers.  These rollers can be locked on either side, which means that you can simply squeeze the rollers closer together on one end to help combat the taper of the tube.  If the taper is significant enough, we can also make custom rollers to match the taper of the tube, but adjusting the rollers is pretty uncommon.

LabelMill 1005 Idle Rollers
LabelMill 1005 Idle Rollers

And less chance of a label wrinkle:

LabelMill 1005 Applied Label
LabelMill 1005 Applied Label

In the video, you can see how the LM1005 applicator controls the production of the “loose-loop” of labels from the C6000A printer.  LabelMill design this print and apply solution with a cable for the applicator to send a signal on when to print more labels.  Controlling the label printing is very important in any print and apply system; but especially in loose-loop designed solutions.

Continuing, Chris says, “Prerolls tubes are a great application for print and apply systems.  With the high-quality design of cannabis labels along with the regulatory requirements for variable data, full color print and apply is a very efficient process as most cannabis manufacturers produce in batches.  Print on-demand and apply enables cannabis manufacturers to produce high quality designed labels with control of the unique data on each one.” 

LabelMill 1005 Applied Label To Preroll Tube
LabelMill 1005 Applied Label To Preroll Tube

When asked, what advice would you have for users of the LabelMill print and apply system, Chris says, “Once set up properly, I recommend to our customers that they use High-Quality labels.  Make sure the labels are cut to the proper depth and don't use a too aggressive adhesive.  Good labels will reduce other costs like lost time and obsolete inventory which more than make up for any incremental expenses.

Print and apply of labels for preroll tubes make total sense to me. This solution is efficient and effective; increasing the productivity of your operation.  Plus, this system assures that every label is placed in the same place each time; improving the look and quality of your product.

If you make preroll or apply labels to any similar packaging, contact us to discuss how the C6000A and the LabelMill LM1005 print and apply system can work for you.

Guy Mikel
855-962-7670


Thursday, July 15, 2021

L801 Printheads

After working with inkjet label printers for many years, one thing I’ve learned is that inkjet printer nozzles will occasionally plug.

L801 Streaks
L801 Printhead Streaks

I’ve written about preventing plugged nozzles on the C7500 printer:


And I’ve written about the costs of consumable printheads with the Kiaro printers:

But I’ve not written about what to do if a L801 printhead nozzle gets clogged; or how to prevent clogged nozzles on these printers. This post is designed to help L801 users (and users of any similar Memjet-based printers; Afinia L701, Afinia L901, VIP 650, VIP 700, etc.) prevent clogged nozzles as well as explain what to do if nozzles get plugged in the printhead.

Afinia L801 Label Printer
Afinia L801 Label Printer

Keeping L801 Printhead Working


Label Rolls Packed In Plastic Bags
Label Rolls Packed In Plastic Bags

The number one recommendation to keep your L801 printer free of plugged nozzles is to keep your labels clean and in the original packaging as well as the room in which the printer sits clean.  Most of the material that plugs inkjet nozzles comes into the printer from the label media.  Generally, label rolls are shipped inside a plastic bag; and inside a box.  Keeping the rolls inside the bag limits the amount of dust that gathers on the roll; and prevents humidity from affecting the quality of the labels as well.  Keeping the room generally clean limits the dust in the printers as well.  Limiting the dust into and on the L801 printer is a good idea to keep your printhead working as long as possible.

Maintain Humidity-L801
Maintain Humidity

Number two; maintain sufficient humidity in the room with the L801 to prevent the nozzles from drying out.  Memjet, the maker of the L801 print engine recommends a minimum of 45% humidity.  This recommendations can make a big difference; especially in dry climates and during the winter months.

Number 3: Keep the L801 powered on if you use it within 6 days or less.  By keeping the printer on, the printer services the printhead; running ink into and through keeping the nozzles moist.  If the printer will not be in use for 7 or more days, remove the printhead following the directions and place it in the orange shipping cup in distilled water.

L801 Media Path
L801 Media Path

Number 4: Perform regular maintenance.  Clean the media path of paper dust by using a wet wipe or small vacuum.  Open the clamshell with the media ejected and clean the top and bottom of the paper path as much as once a day given your print volume. Be careful when cleaning the star roller platen; go with the rollers, not against them. And remove any adhesive that may build up inside the printer especially around the cutter.

Clean L801 Printhead
Clean L801 Printhead

Number 5: Clean printhead manually occasionally.  Use distilled/deionized water on a lint free cloth to wipe the printhead after removing it from the printer. Never touch the nozzles with the moist cloth, however.  Wipe in one direction with the moist cloth. To remove the printhead, select Configuration, #3 Printhead, #2 Replace on the Control Panel.

L801 EWS
L801 EWS

Number 6: Change Servicing Level.  Change the “Mid Job Servicing Interval” to Maximum in the toolbox under "Advanced Settings 1". This setting will allow the head to service more frequently which reduce the likelihood of plugged nozzles. (See table 2 in the L801 User Manual on page 36).

Number 7: Check Unused Nozzle Setting in the Embedded Web Server (EWS):  Check to make sure the setting "Keep unused nozzle wet" isn't disabled.  This setting is in the Advanced Settings 1. (See table 2 in the L801 User Manual on page 36).

The seven recommended steps/procedures will help keep your printhead functioning properly and as long as possible.  Do what you can/when you can to follow these recommendations as much as possible.

But sometimes, you can get a plugged nozzle even following these recommendations.  If you do find streaking from a plugged nozzles, follow these recommendations.

L801 Control Panel-Clean Printhead
L801 Control Panel-Clean Printhead

First, complete a normal clean.  From the LED, select Configuration, #3 Printer 1, #1 Clean and then Normal.  Then complete another print to see if the streak remains. (See page #52 of the L801 User Manual).

Second, if the streak remains, complete an Extended Clean (follow above directions selecting “Extended”).

Third, if streak remains, clean the printhead following the directions above.  In addition, clean the PRINTHEAD Contacts.  Turn off the printer, and wipe the contacts in a vertical manner using a moist lint free cloth.

Fourth, if the streak remains, you may decide to complete an Extreme Cleaning.  However, select this option carefully as it consumes a lot of ink.  Generally, I recommend the next step in advance of the Extreme Cleaning option.

Soaking L801 Printhead
Soaking L801 Printhead

Fifth, soak the printhead overnight in distilled water.  Fill the orange cup in which the printhead ships with distilled water and then placed the printhead in the cup.  This step rehydrates the printhead. Plus, it’s a good way to store the printhead if the printer is not in use for more than 6 days.

Wipe L801 Printhead
Wipe L801 Printhead

Sixth, wipe nozzles as mentioned above using a moist, lint-free cloth. Wipe in one direction with no pressure.  This step may rehydrate the plugged nozzles.

If none of these steps fix plugged nozzles, then a new printhead is required.  As the printheads are a consumable item, replacements are required occasionally. 

In addition to plugged nozzles, I’ve learned one other item may cause streaking.  As the printhead ages, lines may appear approximately every ¾” along the web where the zones of the nozzles meet.  These lines are referred to as “Die Lines”.  These die lines are most noticeable in light, pastel or sky-blue colors. In addition, these die lines appear more on certain materials.  For example, gloss BOPP has very little “Dot Gain”; meaning the ink stays in a tight, small dot which makes the die line more likely to appear.  On other materials such as paper, the ink migrates or spreads out evenly; potentially overlapping the other dots, reducing the likelihood of a die line effect.  Over time, these die lines can’t be fixed and require a new printhead.  Following the recommends on maintaining the printhead will make this consumable item last as long as possible.

By following some or all of these recommendations, you can maintain your L801 (and related Memjet-based printers) printheads and potentially, unplugged nozzles.  Knowing and following these steps will reduce the possibility of streaks in your label printing.

Contact us if we can help with your L801 or any other label printer.

Guy Mikel
855-962-7670

Monday, July 12, 2021

Higher Speed C6000

In the spring of 2020, Epson started shipping the C6000 series printers.

C6000 Series Printers
C6000 Series Printers

I wrote about the launch of these new printers during the fall prior.

And my first, out of the box, experience. 

Overall, I’ve found these printers to print high quality labels and be affordable.  But slow.

Epson has now released a driver change that, according to them, increases the speed of larger, batch printing by at least 20%.  That’s significant.

Let me explain the procedure you should use to realize this increase in speed.  First, I recommend you update the firmware in the printer.  It may NOT be required for this speed increase; but it’s a good thing to do before making any other changes.  Get the latest firmware here:



(I didn’t include the “P” versions as we’ve sold primarily “A” printers with a cutter.)


Second, update the driver to version 1.4 (or later if available).  Get the driver on the same link as listed above.  Don’t worry about updating the driver with the previous version installed. (FYI: I had to restart my computer after updating the driver to get this feature to work).

Third, select “High Speed Batch Printing” in Driver Preferences on the Driver Utilities tab of the driver.

C6000 High-Speed Batch Setting
C6000 High-Speed Batch Setting


And then print a minimum batch size of 60 cm or about 24”.  The time to print 10, 4x3” matte poly labels printed using NORMAL setting and the high-speed setting not selected was about 30 seconds (~1”/second).  To print the same amount with the High-Speed Batch Label selected was 21 seconds (~1.4”/second); a reduction in time of 30%. (FYI: I should have measured the time before updating the driver and firmware to see if it was different).  

Watch me print 10 here in the High-Speed Batch Mode at the NORMAL setting.



Notice how the LED shows only 2 pages printed.  From 10 labels to only 2.

One point: on my first try, I got a skipped label.  It occurred between page 1 and 2 of the batch.


As I normally set up the page size of a label .03” wider and longer than the actual label, I figured this .03” extra times 10 labels caused the printer to skip the gap.  Changing the page size to exactly 3” tall, eliminated this missed label.  Therefore, you may not be able to use this feature when printing full-bleed labels.

Completing the same test using the MAX SPEED setting, it took 14.5 seconds (2.15”/second) to print 10, 4 x 3” matte poly labels.  With the High-Speed Batch Label Printing selected, it took only 9.5 seconds (3.29”/second) to print the 10, 4 x 3” matte poly labels.

How This Feature Works:

Normally, the C6000 series printers send 1 label image down to the printer at a time.  10 labels would be 10 images.  In the High-Speed Batch Label Printing mode, the printer creates a batch of 60 cm and send it down as 1 image; thus speeding up the print.  It seems like a creative way to speed up printing.

Epson does list some restrictions to make this work correctly.  For most, the NO CUT option could be an issue for some operations.

C6000 High-Speed Restrictions
C6000 High-Speed Restrictions

To learn more about this setting, review page 112 in the Technical Reference manual.  Get the manuals on the same URL as the drivers; just select “MANUALS and WARRANTIES” tab on the Support page.

According to Dennis Moore, Epson Senior Technical Support Specialist, “This feature allows the printer to printed at the rated speed of 4.8 ips over a span of 24 inches and is especially advantageous when printing small labels.  I recall during the initial testing in March that multi-page labels could be printed using the high-speed batch setting as well.  Note that the page count on the printer panel is now defined in terms of 24” collections of labels instead of individual labels."

For many organizations, I believe this setting will help speed up their operation.  At a minimum, I encourage users of the C6000 series printer to test this new feature.  If you have issues using this new feature or help with your label printer in general, contact us so we can help.

Guy Mikel
855-962-7670

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Loading The DLF

 Loading printed labels and laminate into the DLF220S looks easy; right?

DLF Media Path
DLF Media Path

For me, however, it’s not so easy.  That’s why I asked Tony Molina, our graphic artist to help me load the DLF220S.

In my post about Sierra Stickers; I asked our customer Derrick, “how long did it take to get comfortable using this label finisher?”  Derrick said “two weeks to really learn how to use this finisher”.  And Derrick is a professional printer.  You should add to this time if you don’t use it every day.

Frankly, I’ve avoided learning how to use the DLF as I’ll never use it every day.  This post is designed to share some insight into threading the DLF220S media path; and not to make you an expert.

Load Printed Labels/Laminate
Load Printed Labels/Laminate

First load the printed labels and laminate onto the spindles and tighten the label core holder.

Loading Into Coupling Roller
Load Into Coupling Roller



Locking Coupling Roller
Lock Coupling Roller

Second, insert the labels into the coupling rollers and lock the knob. Afinia suggests using the 2nd hole from the left (which we didn’t do as shown by the picture above).

Attach the Laminate
Attach the Laminate

Third, pull down the laminate with both hands, centering it onto the label media. And then tighten the laminate core holder. Make sure to adhere the laminate to enough of the paper area so as to not have it come apart when you first advance it through the coupling rollers.

Attached Laminate
Attach Laminate

Tony prefers to place the laminate onto the guide roller to help smooth and center the laminate, then supporting the paper from below against the guide roller to ensure easy alignment of the laminate to the roll of paper.

Advance Labels/Laminate
Advance Labels/Laminate

Fourth, use the manual button to advance the label and laminate. Be prepared for the noise of the laminate coming off the roll.

Under Damper/Into Rollers
Under Damper/Into Rollers

Fifth, run the labels under the damper arm and up through the aluminum rollers. Adjust the edge guides to maintain the media straight.

Into Cutter
Into Cutter

Align Edge

Sixth, lift the handle or latch on the rear of the plotter and push the media through the two pinch rollers. Align the media by having the edge of the media touch the edge of the silver sticker alignment points.

Push Thru Cutter
Push Thru Cutter

Seventh, move the pinch rollers to the media edges on both sides. You can move them manually as long as the handle or latch is up in the unlock position.

The entire surface of the pinch rollers needs to make contact with the media surface edge on both sides.

Close Lever
Close Lever

Eighth, close/lock the plotter by pressing down on the handle or latch securing the media.

Select #2
Select #2

Ninth, select #2 on the plotter display. 

Tenth, I had to start the Graphtec cutter software.  Get the DLF latest software here

Open the DLF software, and then from within the DLF software open the PDF CUT FILE.  Measure the distance from the leading edge of a black mark to the leading edge of the next black mark on the printed media. You need to be as accurate as possible.

Enter Blackmark Distance
Enter Blackmark Distance

In the “DISTANCE BETWEEN BLACK-MARKS”, enter the distance in mm.

Advance Blackmark
Advance Blackmark

Use the forward media single arrow button to slowly advance the blackmark into the camera square shown in the software. The double arrow button advances the media much faster but is harder to control.  You want to align the black mark in the center of the blue box as much as possible.

Prior to running a CUT TEST, check the plotter knife using the loop that came with the DLF unit.

Check Plotter Knife
Check Plotter Knife

The blade should be set to hit the 3rd mark from the bottom seen in the loop.

If the blade cuts the liner, change the CUTTING FORCE on the DLF software. (You may need to remove the die-cut label to confirm the cut depth. In this training session, we had to change the cut force from 11 to 9. You can continue to do the cut test until the correct depth is found.)

Cut Too Deep
Cut Too Deep

NOTE: At this point, it is very important to remember that before you run a CUT TEST, the Media Tension Control needs to be activated and set to AUTO.   Then select CUT TEST.

Activate Media Tension
Activate Media Tension

Eleventh, something that we didn’t do in my training was to correct the offset in the software to make sure the label is aligned with the die-cut.  You can move the cut in all directions; and then complete cut tests until aligned correctly.  My guess is we got lucky. We didn’t have to correct the offset in our training session because the label aligned with the die-cut line perfectly after our first cut test.

Adjust Media Offset
Adjust Media Offset

Once completed, select “COPY MODE ON” to preselect the number of copies you want.  At this stage, we still wanted only a few to ensure the cut is correct.

Now we get into the hard part of the media path (at least I found this part difficult).

Place Thru Rollers
Place Thru Rollers

Twelfth, run the media down through the aluminum rollers.  Adjust the edge guides to maintain the media straight.

Thread Under Damper
Thread Under Damper

Thirteenth, run the labels under the second damper arm and up and over the thick aluminum roller, down and under the thin roller as shown on the photo below.

Place Over Roller Into Slitter
Place Over Roller Into Slitter

Fourteenth, place a core onto the waste rewinder; then the pull off the waste matrix once the labels are fed under the roller and connect it to the core.

Connect Waste Matrix To Core
Connect Waste Matrix To Core

Then you can push down the waste press.  And then close the sponge roller.  I’ve seen users run the waste from the outside edges into a garbage can; or can be connected to the waste roller.

Attach To Core
Attach To Core

Fifteenth, connect the die-cut labels to the core(s) on the rewinder making sure the label media rewinds evenly.


Sixteenth, position the slitters in the correct positions on the sides, and in cases where you are die-cutting multiples labels across the media, you would position the slitters in between the labels as well.For this, you may need to purchase more slitters.

At this point you need to TURN ON the Waste Remover.

Seventeenth, If needed, you can set the backslitters which also cut the outside edges of the finished label media correctly.  Frankly, this step seemed the most difficult to me as you have to work behind the media path.  Knob “A” moves the backslitter; knob “B” sets the cut depth.

Backslitter
Set Backslitter

Eighteenth, Lock the backslitter lever in place by placing the pull-pin on the left side hole. (the backslitter lock pin-hole on our DLF needs some work).


After all of these steps, you can run the job.



And here is a video of the DLF220S cutting Circle Label.




To see Afinia’s official directions, download the DLF-220S User Manual here:

In this simple stepwise recommendation, I attempted to make a relatively complicated process easy.  It doesn’t include possible adjustments required to get the die cut exactly correct; or how to set up the art/cut file.  But I hope it helps you speed up the process of becoming comfortable running the DLF220S.  And help you reduce the waste produced in training to use this machine.

Tony says, "No doubt, the DLF2220S is a great tool to have at your disposal when laminating custom-size die-cut labels.   Once you get past that learning curve that every new user has to experience, the DLF220S will produce beautiful custom die-cut labels.  Compare to other large format printers, this puppy is relatively fast, compact, and easy to use. Again, once you figure out how everything works and you get the machine dialed in, the sky is the limit for creating any shaped-size label"

I’m lucky to have Tony work with me/us on the DLF220S.  He was very patient with me; and a lot of help.

Together with the L801, the DLF220S can help you make the labels you need, when you need them; and at some of the lowest costs available.  If you need to make a lot of different labels, contact us to learn more about the DLF220S.

Guy Mikel
855-962-7670