Color Label Solutions

Color Label Solutions
www.colorlabelsolutions.com

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Label Expo 2018

Last week, I attended Label Expo 2018 in Rosemont, IL (https://www.labelexpo-americas.com/)  and saw 3, relatively new, label printer ideas that I wanted to share with you.


First, Neuralabel introduced their newly available, straight paper path version of the 300x.

Straight Paper-Path 300x
Straight Paper-Path 300x

With this version, the paper path changes from having 3 turns to straight through.  In the previous version, labels may pre-dispense (come off the liner) and get stuck inside.  If the label was synthetic so it would not rip, no big deal.  If the label was paper, it was almost impossible to remove the shredded label.  This change makes the 300x much more usable.  Watch it print fanfold labels here:



(FYI: you may notice the paper path is opposite from the previous version as well).

In addition, Neuralabel has developed a very unique solution for fixing plugged inkjet nozzles: cleaning solutions:


300x Inkjet Nozzle Cleaning Solution
300x Inkjet Nozzle Cleaning Solution
According to Neuralabel, the cleaning solution can fix simple plugged nozzles.  Having dealt with this issue many times in the past, I think this simple solution is a great idea.  It could cure a major portion of the service calls around inkjet label printers. 

The new straight paper path 300x offers high resolution, and very fast printing.  And the new 300x does not require the operator to move the printer when changing print widths.  This printer costs about $10,000, and still requires blackmarks on the labels (no gap sensor).  Further, I still have concerns about printing full-bleed as it requires .25” gaps.

I see the 300x as a good option for chemical companies wanting to upgrade the print quality and speed of their GHS label printers.

Second, I saw again the latest prototype of the Okidata LED-based label printer.

QL-300 LED Label Printer
QL-300 LED Label Printer
Okidata has selected AstroNova to sell this printer in North America; and will sell it under the model number QL-300. 


Okidata has solved some of the key issues with LED/laser printers with this new technology:  Wasted labels on every print job, large label minimum widths and lengths and color registration.  With this printer, you can print down to a 4” minimum batch length with down to .5” minimum label length.  And it prints down to a 1” minimum width.

QL-300 LED Label Printer
QL-300 LED Label Printer
But the big reason to use this new printer is the availability of white toner, matte black color and the ability to print various materials including foil labels.  White toner, deep blacks and good results on foils, clear films and vinyl will make this new printer fit many customers. 

Silver Foil and Clear Film Printed on the QL-300
Silver Foil and Clear Film Printed on the QL-300
AstroNova has yet to announce the price of the printer, but has said the toner cost per label will be comparable to existing inkjet. I still need to test to insure the actual results match the claims; and I hope to get one in the 1st quarter of 2019.

Finally, I got the chance to study the Trojan T2C, the first available “Mini-Press”.

T2C Mini Press
T2C Mini Press
During this deep dive, I learned three key aspects of this Memjet-based press.  First, the printer has only one consumable item in addition to the ink: a cleaning roller.  It makes this version of Memjet printers easier to maintain.

Second, the T2C uses 8 liters of ink:

T2C 8 Liters Ink
T2C Uses 8 Liters of Ink
That’s a lot of ink and labels; and a lower ink cost than most other on-demand color label printers.  It may be the lowest ink cost per label!

Third, I found the new Niagara ink from Memjet, Purell resistant:

Purell Resistant Memjet Ink
Purell Resistant Memjet Ink
In addition, I tested the ink once I returned with 70% IPA on gloss paper.  And it withstood the IPA fairly well.  After soaking for about 1 hour, the ink did smear slightly.  No bad for paper and dye-based inks; and a big deal for companies needing alcohol resistance on their labels.

Alcohol Durable, Dye-Based Memjet Ink
Alcohol Durable, Dye-Based Memjet Ink
The T2C costs about $30,000; therefore, this printer is designed for companies printing thousands per batch.  You can pay $40,000 and save about 33% on all future ink purchases as another option.

After Label Expo 2017, I wrote about the T2C and the Okidata LED printer:

And here is the summary of Label Expo 2016:

And Label Expo 2014:

And Label Expo 2012 #1:

And Label Expo 2012 #2:

Things have changed in the last 6 years.  Some printers have hit it big; and other not so much.

Let me know if any of these ideas presented in this summary of Label Expo 2018 could fit your business.  Look forward to hearing your feedback.

Guy Mikel
855-962-7670

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