Color Label Solutions

Color Label Solutions

Monday, November 26, 2012

Label Your Consumables

Pacific Labeling Integration (PLI) is known for high quality products and system design. PLI leads the way as one of Label-Aire's most respected distributors.  The staff of PCL serves the labeling needs of their customers; from product sales and repair to development of the most reliable, cost efficient, and creative labeling solutions. 


At Pack Expo, (  I met Robert Claproth, President of PLI; and we agreed to meet in their Ontario, CA office after the show.  “I’m interested in adding new labeling solutions.  Bringing new solutions to our customers has been the key to our success.  Plus, we love to sell ink; as we sell ink to our customers with continuous inkjet coders/markers”, says Robert.   If you want to learn more about continuous inkjet printing, check out this description from Wikipedia:

While demonstrating the TM-C3400, Robert knew that he had an immediate need to use this label printer; labeling his ink.  As a reseller of ink, he wants to make sure his customers know who to contact to reorder ink. 

"As a reseller of a consumable item, it’s important that my customers know immediately how to reorder.  I see a real advantage placing my color labels on the inks I sell to make it easy for customers to reorder.  I’ll begin placing my labels on inks I sell”, says Robert.  And Robert wanted to purchase my demo printer!  Although I could not sell him my printer, I did get a commitment from Robert to purchase a printer; and to contact me once he has the printer.

For new users like Robert, I conduct a 30 minute webinar to insure they start using the TM-C3400 quickly and easily.  And for new resellers like PLI, I conduct sales training; focusing primarily on the best target customers to sell print on-demand color labels.

For new resellers, I work with distributors to get them registered to sell the Epson products.  As PLI purchases from one of them already, it is an easy process to begin reselling print on-demand color labels.

If you are a reseller of consumable items, consider using print on-demand color labels to make it easy for your customers to reorder.  It's a great idea!

Guy Mikel

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Getting Started: Print On-Demand Color Labels

To help you and your customers start printing on-demand color labels, I like to give you my personal “Quick Start Guide” on using the Epson TM-C3400.  As printing on-demand color labels is different from using a thermal transfer, monochrome printer, I want to make sure you get starting quickly and easily.  Every week, I help people begin using this printer; and want to share what I have learned through all these webinars.

First, unbox the printer, plug in the electrical and USB/Ethernet cords and insert the paper from the box into the printer.  To insert the paper, open the front door by pulling up the lever on the left side, lifting the blue lever on the inside of the printer, placing the roll of labels between the silver disk on the right side and the blue lever on the left side, pushing down the blue lever and pulling the leading edge of the paper out the top as you close the front door.

Second, insert the ink cartridge into the printer.

Third, turn on the printer.  After turning on the printer for the first time, the printer will run approximately to 7 minutes.  This initialization process fills the lines to the printhead with ink; consuming about ½ of the starter cartridge that comes in the box.

Fourth, while the printer is running, download the latest driver (currently v1.5) or the TM-C3400 Easy Setup Wizard:

You will find the driver as the first item under the driver section.  The third item is the Easy Setup Wizard that enables you to install the driver and answer the questions required to start printing.  The Wizard may be the easiest way to start printing.

For the first time, I recommend starting with the setup wizard.  Following this Wizard forces you to answer the important questions to configure the printer properly.  For example, media layout:

This step sets the size of media you want to print.  Other sections include Media Settings (Type and Quality) and Cutter Settings (Auto Cut and No Auto Cut).  This Easy Setup makes it simple to configure about 80% of the TM-C3400 settings.  As a new utility, this Wizard makes it significantly easier to use the TM-C3400.  If you or your customers have a TM-C3400, try it.

If you chose download the driver directly, follow the next set of instructions.  Please remember to designate and remember to what directory/location you downloaded the driver.  After downloading, please decompress the driver and look for the EPSetup icon in the driver folder.

After starting the setup, you will have the opportunity to install the driver for a local setup (i.e. USB) or for a Network (Ethernet).  In the network install, the driver should discover the printer automatically and enable you to manually set the IP address if desired.  If the driver does not discover the printer, download and run the EpsonNet config utility (bottom of the tech resource guide page with the link above).  Find “access control“, enable printer access, and configure the settings identical to the picture below.

 Now you should be able to discover the printer.  If not, contact 562-276-1314 Option #3 to get assistance.

Fifth, now set the default settings of the printer.  From the Start menu, go to Devices and Printers and right click on the TM-C3400 icon to select properties (XP) or printer properties (Windows 7).  You will then need to select the advance tab on the properties dialog box.  At the bottom left, you will see the “printing default” settings selection.  You may want to still complete this setup even if you completed the Easy Setup Wizard.


Sixth, in printer properties, go to the “Driver Utilities” tab and select “Driver Preferences”, second from the top on the left-hand side. 


In this section, select “inches” if you want at the bottom, “Enables the Advance Function…” and Use Epson Status Monitor as seen in the image above and click OK.

Seventh, and probably the issue that causes the most problems for new users, media position detection.  The TM-C3400 has a gap sensor (default setting) and a blackmark sensor.  If you have continuous media and the default gap sensor setting is enabled, the printer will spit out about 3 feet of media and error.

To configure this setting, go to the Maintenance and Utilities (fourth) tab, and select the Media Position Setting (top right-hand side).

Use “Detect Margins Between Labels” for Die-Cut labels, Use “Detect Blackmark …) (for either continuous or die-cut labels) and use “No Detection” for continuous labels.  Once you are finished with configuring the driver, you can replace the media that came with the printer with the type you want to use.

Eighth (while on this tab), I recommend a few other settings.  Notification settings, second from the top on the left, hit next and select “No Beep”.  The TM-C3400 has a very loud beep for no paper, replace ink or errors.

Ninth (while on this tab), I recommend you change the printer to economy mode if you are printing less than 40 to 50 labels per day.  As this printer uses ink to clean, it consumes ink when on but not in use.   To turn off the automatic cleaning, select “Post Printing Verification” on the top left of the Maintenance and Utilities tab, click Next, and then select the third selection down.

“Economy Mode For Low Print Volume”.  This selection will save lots of ink, especially for resellers conducting demonstrations or testing.  This selection, however, requires an extra 3 to 4 seconds per print job as the printer checks for plugged ink nozzles prior to printing.

Tenth, now go to the general tab to set up the media size you require.  Printing on-demand color labels is different than most desktop printers in one key way; most people print only 8.5” x 11” pages.  However, labels and tags are all different sizes.  So you need to set up in the Epson driver the sizes of media you want to print.  From the tech resource link above, please download the how to sheet, “Creating New Media Layouts” (the second one on the list).  This guide provides examples of how to set up different media layouts.

Eleventh, you can select a few other important settings: Print Quality and Auto Cut (especially for continuous media).  Save roll media enables the printer to cut after (or before and after) the image rather than at the selected label length to save media.


Then select OK as the printer defaults are set.  Now I recommend you replace your media with the type of media you want to print.

Twelve, I recommend you check the version of the firmware in the printer.  To check firmware, hold down the “Feed” button while turning on the printer.  You need to hold the “Feed” button the entire time the printer is starting.  The latest version of the firmware is ZSE02001.   If you or your customers have any other version, contact me so I can send you the latest firmware.

After setting the defaults and confirming the firmware, I recommend you print a label from Adobe Reader or another Windows software application.  If you need an example label to print, contact me; and I’ll send you a PDF to print.

Once you open up a PDF or JPEG in your application, be sure to check the printer properties.


I find that certain applications don’t always pick up the defaults settings initially.  Be safe and check the properties first.  With Adobe Reader or Acrobat, the print dialog box offers two settings that make printing labels much easier;  Fit and Auto Portrait/Landscape.  These settings make printing labels as PDF’s (and JPEG’s using Acrobat) much easier.


Once you print using Adobe Reader, you are officially ready to print from any Windows application.  If you want, contact me so I can step through the initial configuration of the TM-C3400 with you.

Last point; be sure to review the “Rear Feed Printing Instruction Sheet” from the link above if you plan to use fanfold media or an unwinder with a large roll.  Using the rear feed printing involves changing a dip switch, inserting a plastic piece and changing a setting on the General Tab of the driver.

I hope this Getting Start post makes it easier to start printing on-demand color labels. 

Guy Mikel

Friday, November 9, 2012

Unique Customer #2

Inkjet Carts ( has been selling commercial inks since 1979; adding a direct to consumer operation in 2006.  Inkjet Carts’ mission is to provide the best OEM inks and easy to use delivery systems.


According to Ross Hardie, founder/owner of Inkjet Carts, “I have wanted to use the Epson pigment inks for some time for my labels.  Before I started using the TM-C3400, I had 2, Primera LX 900 printers.  I hate the dye-based inks used by Primera in the LX-900 printer.  The dye-based inks smear too easy, making the labels look bad.  Also, the dye-based inks will fade over time, even indoors on shelves.  I need labels that last as long as the products themselves.”

In addition, Ross says, “the Lexmark printhead used in the Primera printers does not last very long.  Although it is a serviceable item, it is a pain to change.  It’s better to use an Epson printer as the printhead lasts a much longer time.”  You may want to look at my earlier post from Label Expo, where Primera talked to me about Lexmark exiting the inkjet business:  :

To design and print labels, Inkjet Carts uses Nicelabel software (  They have setup a user interface that enables them to select all the labels needed for a workorder just by holding the control or shift key and select the SKU’s with a mouse.  “With all of the possible combinations of products that our customer’s order, Nicelabel makes it easy to print the correct label”, says Ross.  In addition, “no way can we use preprinted labels as we have just too many SKU’s to carry the label inventory required.  We print only the labels we need, when we need them.”

Besides Inkjet Carts, InkCycle is another provider of refilled inks and toners using the TM-C3400.  You may remember my earlier post covering their application:   InkCycle also tried to use the Primera printer.  However, they could not get this device to work on their network.

In the TM-C3400, Epson uses Durabrite inks.   If interested, here is a more technical summary of these proprietary inks:  These inks are so durable, Epson has received British Marine Standard, BS5609 certification, that enables the marine shipment of chemicals when matched with Kimdura media from Neenah.  To learn more, check out my earlier post on this topic:  

You may find this post on the durability of ink also interesting.  Labeling Solutions uses a poly tag with the TM-C3400 to track live-caught seafood:  Inkjet Carts is testing this material from Stafford Press ( for shelf tags.  

If you need durable, yet colorful labels, be sure to use pigment- based inks for your print on-demand labels.  Send me a JPEG or PDF of you labels; and I’ll send you samples to test the durability of these labels in your operation.

Guy Mikel

Friday, November 2, 2012

Pack Expo 2012

This week, I attended Pack Expo ( at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL.  During the show, I had some experiences and saw some technology that you may find of interest.

In their booth, Epson had running the TM-C3400, the new TM-C3400 LT (scheduled release for November) and the soon to be released, GP-C831.  This product family was the same as shown at Label Expo:

While working the booth, I spoke to representatives from an estimated 40 to 50 companies.  From this group, I was surprised to hear how many of these companies needed to comply with the GHS Initiative.  (If you don’t know GHS, check out my earlier blog:  It appears many companies are facing the requirement to produce on-demand labels for chemicals with various color pictograms and icons.  Including on this list are companies you may not expect:  Nutrition (i.e. ascorbic acid) and Adhesives (check out my post on Dymax;  

To produce these labels for drums, Epson showed the GP-C831 using Kimdura Labels.

You may have seen my earlier post on obtaining the BS5609 certification;

If you have customers who are chemical manufacturers or who use chemicals in their products, be sure to ask, “Do you need to comply to the GHS initiative?”  If yes, ask “what are you plans to comply with this initiative?”  I believe you may find an opportunity to help your customers meet these requirements.

Outside of the Epson booth, I did see three relatively new items.  First, Quick Label Systems was showing their new Kiaro Label printer.  This 8” wide label printer prints at 1200 dpi resolution at speeds up to 8” per second.  It costs approximately $10,000.


 In the booth, QLS was showing this device printing prime labels with 100% coverage.


I understand this printer uses a printhead from Canon; similar to the label printers from KD Digital (   As QLS sells direct, most resellers will not have the opportunity to sell this printer.  In addition, most AIDC resellers do not sell to many of the customers that print prime labels:  printers, print shops, etc.

Second, I saw for the first time a prototype printer from Affinia ( a division of Microboards (   This company is using a printhead from Memjet.  To learn more about Memjet, check out my previous post:   


This printer is 8.5” wide and prints at 12”/second at a resolution up to 1,600 x 1,600.  As I understand, Microboards plans to have this approximately $10,000 printer available next spring.  One interesting point, it will cost about $1,000 to fill this printer with 1.25 liters of ink; WOW!  According to Afinia, 1.25 liters should produce approximately 35,000, 4” x 6” labels.  Again, the printer from Afinia was producing prime labels:

l-801 label

Lastly, Terry Zimmerman of LABELMATE USA showed me a new unwinder/rewinder capable of handling up to a 18” diameter roll.


That’s a lot of labels!!

Overall, Pack Expo was a successful show for me.  If you attended, let me know what your thoughts of the show.

Guy Mikel