Color Label Solutions

Color Label Solutions

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Inkjet Coated Gloss-Clear Labels

Over the past couple of years, I’ve had many customers ask me about inkjet coated gloss white poly and clear film.  However, I’ve not been able to find materials that seemed sufficiently durable; even to withstand water.  But let me tell you about 3 new materials and other ways for you to get durable gloss and clear printed labels.

If you have followed my posts, you’ve seen me write about the very durable matte poly labels.  You may remember this post comparing different technologies for GHS labels:

Prior to my tests of these new materials, here is a matte poly label that I soaked in water, alcohol, hand sanitizer and acetone.  The printed label was durable to all of these materials.

To start, I printed two new gloss and one clear film label with the TM-C3500 and the TrojanOne label printers.  I hope you can see how great these materials printed using these two different types of ink.  I think these labels look great.

After printing these new labels, I ran water over the labels to see how they would perform.  Surprising, I found all seemed relatively water resistant; especially when printed with the TM-C3500:

Water did not seem to bother any of these materials with the encapsulated pigment inks from Epson.    One thing I did notice was the Gloss 2 material had a “rougher” feel after the water; but the ink did not run.

With the Memjet dye-based inks in the TrojanOne printer, I did see some slight discoloration with water:

In the Gloss 1 sample, I only noticed a difference around the red ink.  In the Gloss 2 sample, I saw some of the black ink migrate in the barcode.  Please know; I not only soaked these samples, but wiped them with my fingers as well.

On the clear sample, you saw a very limited ink migration with the Memjet printed sample:

Overall, I thought the clear film performed pretty well considering the ink is a dye.

Next I tested the samples with alcohol and hand sanitizer.  The Gloss 1 and clear performed well with the alcohol.  But you can see some of the ink ran on the Gloss 2 sample treated with alcohol.

Hand sanitizer took the ink off all of these samples.

With the Memjet ink, both alcohol and hand sanitizer made the ink run.

If your requirements are only water resistance, I do believe we can get you both gloss and clear film that works; especially if you can use the print quality from the TM-C3500.  Please know; these materials cost more than matte poly; and may require higher minimum purchases.  In some recent quotes, the cost of this gloss label material was approximately $0.004 to$0.0047 per sq inch.

If you need either durable gloss or clear film as well as very high print quality, then you’ll need to add a post printing step; either laminate or coat. 

Concerning laminating, you may have seen my earlier post on using the Rotary Wizard: 

Or may find the new promotion video from Trojan Color Systems of interest:

Here is a scanned image of a basic matte label printed with the TrojanOne laminated with a gloss film.  These 100% coverage labels look great! 

Plus, you can save money on label materials using an inexpensive matte paper direct from the label factory and then laminate and die-cut post print. It’s a very affordable way to produce high quality prime labels that are resistant to water and many chemical compounds.  Recently, I complete cost estimates for TrojanOne printed labels with the laminate.  The cost of the label, ink and laminate totaled $0.0014 per sq inch (70% less than the gloss poly label along); making this option the least expensive way to get durable gloss labels.

If you want a somewhat similar secondary process step, you can also consider a UV coating process.  “UV coating" refers to surface treatments which are cured by ultraviolet to protect the underlying material.  You can learn more here from Wikipedia:

Trojan has been working with the EZ Coat 15; a simple way to coat even die-cut labels.  Here is the Trojan video using this post printing process:

Recently at Label Expo, Trojan launched their own coater, the TCS Elite.  This device coats up to 10” wide labels at speeds up to 80 feet per minute; yet costs much less than the EZ Coat 15.  Here is the video of this new tool:

And here is a picture of basic matte paper labels, one on the right coated with a UV varnish.

By using different coatings and settings in the coater, you can add more or less gloss as well as durability to the labels.  With the new coater, adjusting the coating is easy; as is change over and clean up.  Check out my video on the durability tests using hand sanitizer.

Using the coating, the cost per sq inch will equal approximately the cost of laminating; $0.0014 per sq inch.

If you need gloss or clear labels, we can help you at Color Label Solutions.  Contact us to discuss your requirements and the option that fits your label printing situation the best.

Guy Mikel

Friday, October 24, 2014

Creating SDS-GHS Labels-Easily?

By June 2015, all chemical companies must be providing the new 16 section Safety Data Sheet (SDS) documents. 

The project to convert these important documents by June of next year could be extremely difficult; especially for distributors or repackagers of chemicals.  These companies distribute thousands of different compounds from many different vendors.  Producing SDS documents using your brand and company names for all these products will take time and work.  But could this process be made easier?

To complete this process relatively quickly and easily, you may want to consider Hank Solutions,,  SDS Online.  SDS Online is a complete online software solution to create GHS compliant safety data sheets and labels.  This application is specifically designed to be user friendly and very easy to use.  According to Darren Mitchinson, Technical Director for Hank Solutions, “We designed SDS Online, specifically to make it easy for companies to build SDS documents; at a very affordable price.  Once the SDS is built, our software converts the SDS information to standard GHS labels.”

To show you how easy it is to build a SDS, let’s imagine we repackage and resell Acetyl Chloride; and get a SDS from the manufacturer; in this example Sigma Aldridge:

To start the process, I logged into the SDS Online software at the following: and set up my company profile located in “Settings”.

Next I go to the “Datasheet Manager” to search to see if the product is already available in the database.  SDS Online makes SDS information available to everyone as a part of the Software as a Service.  To see if information was available, I searched Acetyl Chloride both the product name and CAS number.  This product is not in the database.

As it was not in the database, I needed to create a new SDS.  Once I selected create, SDS Online presented me the information to add in logical order using a “Stoplight” system:

In this picture, you can see section 1 is completed and "green"; with the other 15 sections needing to be completed.

After section 1, you complete section 9; chemical physical properties by copying and pasting the information.  In addition, you can add standard phrases by highlighting on the right side of the document and selecting “Add”.

Once a section is completed, selecting “update” will turn section 9 stoplight “Green”. 

In section 10, you add standard phrases or type/paste in phrases listed in the SDS; and then update.

You continue to complete each of the sections using this same approach.  To complete each category, you can select from the available default phrases, add your own phrase, or paste the suggested phrase from either SDS Online or from the original SDS.  Assuming I was using a supplier’s SDS with their approval, I found copying and pasting the information the easiest.

Depending on your perspective, I found one good and bad aspect of SDS Online.  Each section must be completed in order to proceed.  This requirement is great for most sections.  In some sections, however, the SDS I was using as my template did not have any information.   Therefore, I had to add something to save the data in a section.  I’ve learned however, the actual REACH Law legislates that each section of the SDS must be completed. If no information is available, you can set a default phrase for "no information available" and just add this comment.

Once all the sections are completed, you process the document; and download a copy of the 16 section SDS:  7 pages in this test case.

Once you have a SDS, you can build a GHS Label by selecting “Labeling”.  In this section, you search for the product you want the label.  Once found, you can add the variable information for the label at the bottom prior to printing.

By selecting “Build Label”, you get a PDF of your label to print.  Using my TM-C3500, I printed this GHS Label for my example product.

In the near future, SDS Online will be adding a feature that I believe will give you options to design GHS Labels to fit your particular requirements better.  Soon, you’ll be able to download the information into an Excel file to create a GHS database. Using an application like BarTender, you’ll be able to set up a template and connect to your GHS database.  Then you’ll be able to create exactly the GHS Label designs you want.  If you want to see how to create these types of templates, review my blog post on this topic: 

Three Key Points I need to add.

First, you should start using SDS Online by editing or adding you default phrases for each section.  By selecting “Datasheet Phrases” and reviewing each section, you can set up or edit your standard phrases.

Second, if you're a distributor or reseller of many products with similar hazards, you can create one product/SDS and select “Use As Template”.  This step enables you to create further SDS’s by completing section 1 and then applying the template to build the rest of the SDS.  Total time can actually be under one minute.

Third, if you require professional advice on how to classify your products, then SDS may not be for you.  SDS does not provide recommendations or advice to help you build your SDS.

SDS Online seems to be a good way to adapt your vendor’s SDS’s to create your own GHS documents.  Plus, this cloud-based application is affordable.  If you like to learn more or demo the cloud application, contact us.

Guy Mikel

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Printing Narrow Color Labels

Printing narrow color labels can be tricky.

Narrow Color Labels
1" x 2" Color Labels
Tricky as many of the label printers I sell have a minimum print width.  Here are the minimum print widths of a few of the printers I sell:

·        LX 900:  .75”
·        TM-C3500:  1.2”
·        TM-C7500: 1.81”
·        TrojanOne:  2”
·        GP-C831: 3”
·        Okidata C711:  3”

To get around this issue, I recommend typically printing labels in the widest orientation possible.  For example, Vape Dudes need 1” x 2.625” labels; so we printed 2.625” wide by 1” tall.  You can learn more about the small labels used by Vape Dudes here:

When you apply the labels by hand, orientation is not an issue.  When you need to apply labels with an applicator, especially to cylindrical containers such as bottles or vials, orientation is critical.  Typically, you need the leading edge of the label to be the narrowest direction.  For example, here is a Primera bottle applicator that I sell:

So how do you print a 1” wide label when the minimum print width is 2X or greater?

The easiest way is “Multiple Up”.  “Up” refers to printing multiple impressions of the same image at the same time.  “Multiple Up” is used typically to reduce the amount of time needed for a given print job; or to print smaller than spec labels.

2 Up Labels
2 Up-1" x 2" Die Cut Matte Poly Labels
Formatting the printing is the most complicated issue when printing Multiple Up. To manage this issue, I’ve found BarTender’s page setup wizard makes printing multiple up easy to do:

Just setup in the printer driver the total page size of all the labels; and then create the page setup with the template size and number of rows/columns.  It’s easy to do.  You can even add a background image or color.

With small labels, I would typically recommend using blackmarks to set the precise print start/stop point. 

Experimenting, I printed these 1” x 2” black mark labels on the new TM-C7500.  Works great!

TM-C7500 Labels
Small Labels Printed On TM-C7500
You can see a short video of the printer running and rewinding here: 

When you need to “flood coat” the labels, covering them 100% with ink including to the edge, I recommend the TrojanOne label printer.  With the media handling capabilities of this printer, you can made very precise adjustments (Microns) to the print; to top, bottom and left offsets:

These precise adjustments make printing to the edges of the label very accurate.  This capability is especially important when working with small labels.  Check out these less than 2” by less than 1” labels with 2 half-circle cutouts on the bottom of the label I printed on the TrojanOne printer:

Once printed, you still need to separate the printed labels to place on an applicator.  To make this process easily, our plant will wind the labels are separate cores; and place a “soft perforation” between the labels making it easy to slit.  If needed, you can use a “slitter” like this one from Labelmate to separate the multiple up labels:

Small labels are required for certain markets, such as the vape labels mentioned earlier in this post.  But other markets, such as chemical, require small labels. Check out my earlier posts on printing labels for laboratory samples: 

Printing color labels on-demand smaller than the specification of the printer can be accomplished; with a little preparation and support like you get from Color Labels Solutions.  Contact us if you have any questions about printing small or any other color labels.

Guy Mikel