Color Label Solutions

Color Label Solutions

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Trust Me!

Recently, I received an email stating that I had “MISLEAD” people on my blog post, “Thermal Transfer vs Inkjet” that I posted February, 2013 (  In this post, I compared the ink costs of thermal transfer, laser and inkjet label printers to produce ISO Standard Documents.

According to the person who contacted me, I overstated the costs of ribbons by “100% to 300%”.  “By using ribbon prices from Zebra, the industry leading manufacturer of thermal transfer printers, you did not reflect accurately the “market prices” of thermal transfer printers” stated the person.  Continuing, the person wrote, “Zebra commands a dominate market position; therefore can charge 100% to 400% higher prices than other ribbon resellers.” 

Given the prices on the site, this person suggested I use prices from Uline to better reflect real market prices:

 In addition, this person stated I had used old information concerning the price increases in thermal transfer ribbons.  In my previous post, I referred to statements from VDC and IIMAK in 2011 about potential price increases on thermal transfer ribbons.  In my post, I wrote, “It seems the same films used in thermal transfer ribbons are being used in more profitable applications such as flat screen displays.  VDC predicts users may switch to a different technology away from thermal transfer.”

After reading this email, I realized that I had just received another good idea for a post to my blog.  I decided to update the calculations using the Uline prices; as well as confirm the latest Zebra ribbon prices (the ribbon prices on had not changed) and add the prices for the black and red resin ribbons for the CAB Two-Tone printer that Color Label Solution sells.

As a refresher, I utilized 5 standard ISO documents to determine the cost per page of the selected laser printers.  To learn more about this analysis, review my earlier post: the inkjet printers, Epson estimated the yield to print the 5 documents to calculate the cost per page.  For the thermal transfer ribbons, the cost is a function of the size of page.

After adding the Uline prices, confirming the Zebra ribbon prices, and inserting the prices for the black and red ribbons for the CAB two tone printers, here is the new cost comparison in terms of MSI (thousand square inches):

Ink Cost/ MSI Of Various Label Printer Technologies
Based on these latest results, my interpretation seems to remain the same.  First, the cost to print using the TM-C3500 or GP-C831 is not significantly different than thermal transfer printers (assuming ISO standard coverage).  Second, if you need to use resin ribbon to meet your durability needs or the BS5609 requirements for marine shipments, the ink costs from the TM-C3500 or GP-C831 may be less. 

In addition to the previous two interpretations, I added a new observation from my analysis; if you want to use thermal transfer ribbons to produce GHS labels, contact Color Label Solutions.  The ribbon prices for the CAB two-tone printer from Color Label Solutions is much better than the resin ribbon prices from either Zebra or Uline.

In my analysis, please remember one key caveat:  Coverage.  If you look at the ISO standard documents, coverage may be less than the coverage utilized in your labels.

For the inkjet and laser estimates, the costs increase substantially with increased coverage.  For thermal transfer, however, the costs remain the same whether the coverage is 1% or 100%.  Therefore, you may have a lower ink costs by using thermal transfer printers when print coverage is high.

Also, please remember this analysis is only for ink costs.  Label media costs differ among the three technologies as well.  I plan to compare the cost of labels for all three types of printers in an upcoming post.

All three technologies may be used to produce GHS Labels.  Check out Color Label Solutions for different options to meet your GHS label requirements: #GHSLABELS

If you need help deciding which technology to utilize for your labels, contact Color Label Solutions (  We’ll find the best solution to meet your requirements. #COLORLABELS.

Guy Mikel

Sunday, December 15, 2013


After spending Sunday preparing Christmas Cards,


Having a color label printer allows you to create and apply original content on cards, envelopes and packages.  Let me explain what I did for my cards; and how I personally use a color label printer for business.

For my cards, I wanted to insert a person message, reinforcing my business.  Positioning yourself and your business is very important especially in this time when everyone is bombarded with so much information.  I want everyone to see Color Label Solutions (www.colorlabelsolutions.comas the premier provider of print on-demand color label solutions.

Using BarTender ( Seagull Scientific, I created a holiday message with images and color text:

After creating, I printed the message on a 2” continuous label and inserted inside my Christmas cards along with a hand-written person message.  If you have seen my handwriting, you understand why it is important for me to use a printer as much as possible.

After inserting the printed message along with my handwritten note inside the card, I printed a 4” x 2” address label on a continuous matte paper label that includes the Color Label Solutions logo:

Not only serving its function, the address label promotes the business as well.  Plus printing labels with a color label printer is much easier than using a desktop printer to print one label on a page full of Avery sheet-fed labels. How many do you waste?

Also, I use the address labels for all the print samples I send.  You may have received a package with this style of printed label:

Again, a color label printer makes creating impactful labels, that everyone will read, Easy To Do.

Next time you send a letter, card or package, think about how a color label would positively impact your business; and save you time!

Guy Mikel

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Chemical With No Name

Although Marketing from the new owners of my customer would not allow me to use their name, I decided to post a slightly altered version.  With the requirement to produce GHS labels coming, I hope you find this version of the post of value.


As a global manufacturer of specialty chemicals and gasses, my customer needed to comply with the Global Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, commonly referred to as GHS.  If you have not heard of this new set of requirements, you may want to read my earlier post:   

All companies who manufacture chemicals will need to comply with these new requirements by June 1st, 2015 according to OSHA:

For companies that ship chemicals by water, they’ll need to comply with the British Marine Standard, BS5609.  Here is a summary of these set of requirements from an earlier post:

I first contacted my chemical company prospect when they wanted to test labels printed with ink from the GP-C831 color label printer.  You may find my largest read post on this printer of interest:

According to Information Systems Director at my customer, “We needed to make sure the labels would meet our set of requirements.  After receiving the printed labels, we placed them on packages and placed them outdoors to see how they would survive the elements.  After several months, the labels looked good.”

Once the tests showed the label meet their durability requirements, the specialty chemical company had to decide which printer to purchase.  Although initially interested in the GP-C831, the Director stated, “The TM-C3500 may be a better fit for us.  But we need to make sure we can get the Kimdura label media in 4” widths”.  I responded, “The TM-C3500 has a max print width of 4.4”.  If your labels are less than this width, the TM-C3500 would work better for you.  With the build-in cutter, you can use continuous labels and cut to a variable length.  So some labels can be 6”; others 8”.  You can change easily on the fly and automatically.  Also, the printer uses exactly the same ink as the GP-C831; so the Kimdura works the same in the TM-C3500.”

Based on their requirements, the chemical company purchased several TM-C3500’s for their plants as well as purchased continuous Kimdura poly labels.  During the initial install of these printers, the company did have an issue getting the printers to work correctly.  The “Printer Settings” application did not communicate to the printer correctly.  You can find the printer settings on the Maintenance & Utilities tab: 

This utility configures all settings in the printer.  To fix this communication problem, we reinstalled the driver using the Epson Install Navi Utility, which is an application to set up the printer, including setting up Ethernet connectivity.  You can find this Utility on the Tech Resource page for the TM-C3500 here: using the Install Navi Utility, the printers communicated correctly. 

According to the Director, “label printing is going well.  We use Hazox ( as our software application to print the variable SDS and GHS information.  Although we have a lot of information to fit on a little area, the labels are working out.”

Although disappointing that I could not use the name of my specialty chemical company customer, I hope you found this information of value.  If you need to meet the GHS requirements like this specialty chemical company, contact Color Label Solutions.  We’ll provide you with the best solution to meet the GHS requirements to print color labels on-demand.

Guy Mikel

Sunday, December 1, 2013


According to a definition I found, "Post-Consumer" material is an end product that has completed its life cycle as a consumer item and would otherwise have been disposed of as a solid waste. Post-consumer materials indicates the product was made with these materials that were recycled by residents and other businesses.

Using post-consumer material is not trivial in terms of reducing the impact on forests.  According to Wikipedia, recycling 1 ton of printing or copier paper saves slightly more than 2 tons of wood; 35% of felled trees are used in paper production; and trees raised specifically for pulp production account for 16% of world pulp production, old growth forests 9% and second- and third- and more generation forests account for the balance.

But should we consider using post-consumer recycled material for labels?

After consulting industry experts, I was told that post-consumer labels:

  • ·        Costs less (~10%) than matte and standard bond paper labels, especially inkjet coated paper.
  • ·        Contains a compound that helps to “capture” ink; producing better print quality than plain paper.
  • ·        Produces, typically, print quality not as good as a matte paper label.
  • ·        Maintains a level of water resistance similar to matte paper labels.

To test these points, I printed using the TM-C3500 on some post-consumer paper and compared it to matte paper labels.  Can you tell which are the matte and post-consumer paper?

Consumer Recycled Labels

On the right, you’ll find the post-consumer recycled paper.  I found no difference between the print quality between the two different media.  Can you see a difference?

Then I tested the printed labels under water.


The top is the post-consumer recycled.  From my very limited test, I found the post-consumer recycled label media did not hold up to the water as well.  Just to be sure, I took off the liner of the matte paper to compare.

wet paper labels

Without the liner, the matte paper label seemed to withstand water better.

Based on my limited tests, I would recommend the post-consumer recycled label for any short term type of labels with the desire to add color; WIP inventory labels, Pick labels, shipping labels, etc.  For product or other types of long-lived labels, I would recommend using a more durable matte paper label. Please remember; I printed these labels with a pigment-based inkjet label printer.  However, I believe these labels should work with both dye and pigment based inkjet color label printers. 

If you like to learn more about reducing waste, check out this post on how moving to print on-demand color reduces waste and costs:

If you have interest in a post-consumer paper for your print on-demand color labels, contact Color Label Solutions:

Guy Mikel