Color Label Solutions

Color Label Solutions

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Sierra Label Printers

With “Nothing But Love” from their customers, Sierra Stickers, is a family-owned printer business based in Rancho Cordova, CA who produce high quality stickers.  With the motto, “Custom Stickers Done Right”, Sierra Stickers makes ordering easy and ships orders fast. 

Guy Mikel Sierra Stickers
Sierra Sticker Founders; and me with my Covid Haircut

According to Derek Alvarez, Co-Owner of Sierra Stickers, “we started making labels in March/April after we moved into our new location.  Prior to this time, we sold primarily die cut stickers; but had customers who need labels on rolls.  We started with an inexpensive label printer that didn’t work out so well; I then contacted Color Label Solutions to find a label printer option.”  Based on our discussion, Derek purchased a C6500A.”

Derek is one of the few professional printer customers we have that is using the C6500A.  Most would say that the C6500 is too slow, running about 2” per second.  Derek says, “we run the C6500 overnight to print an entire roll of labels.  Once the roll is completed, we rewind the roll to put the black eye mark on the opposite side in order to work in our Finishing System.  Our experience showed that the C6500A runs as fast as our Finishing System.  We’re so satisfied with the C6500, we got a second printer.”

Sierra Stickers-C6500
2 C6500's At Sierra Stickers

But what I was most interested in seeing was Sierra Sticker’s use of the Finishing System.  We sell the DLF220S from Afinia, but is manufactured by DPR in Italy.  A finishing system laminates, die-cuts, weeds the matrix (removes the waste matrix round the die-cut label), slits labels into columns and then rewinds into rolls. 

Label Finishing System DPR Afinia
Label Finishing System

According to Derek, “the cutter on this finishing system is extremely accurate.  Down to 1/10,000 of an inch; but we run it down to 1/50,000 of an inch.  Although the finishing systems is slow, we run it overnight as well. We now laminate almost 100% of the labels we sell.”  This video shows how important the Finishing system has become in the Sierra Sticker business. 

In the video, Derek shows the software designed to specify the cut location.  From my perspective, understanding the software is the critical path to make this equipment productive.  To generate the cut location, Derek creates a PDF with a cut layer along with a visual layer of the art.  With this procedure, the operator can see both the cut and art to ensure the finish labels are correct.

DPR Label Finisher Software
Label Finisher Software

Two suggestions from Derek.  First, don’t push the laminate all the way against the back plate. He finds the alignment easier.

Laminate On The Finishing System
Laminate On The Finishing System

Second, don’t push the cores on the rewinder to the back plate also.  This space ensures the waste from the side cuts doesn’t bind and get wrap up in the matrix.

Label Matrix Waste
Label Matrix Waste

I find the DLF220S complex; it takes time to learn and become proficient.  It’s not plug and play like other devices we sell.  Derek says, “it took me a full two weeks to really learn how to best use the DLF”.  And Derek is a professional printer!  If you start using a finishing system, plan to take some time to become productive.

L801 at Sierra Stickers
L801 at Sierra Stickers

In addition to the C6500 and the Finishing Station, Derek also uses an Afinia L801 in his operation.  According to Derek, “we use the L801 for art with solid black or mix of heavy colors.  And we use the L801 on jobs requiring specific materials such as matte BOPP.  The L801 can produce vibrant colors; and that is an important benefit of the L801.”  In this video, Derek goes through the unboxing and setup of the L801:

Sierra Sticker Founders
Sierra Sticker Founders

In less than 6 months, Derek and his wife have built a thriving label printing business.  Further, I admire how they have used YouTube and other social media to promote their business and communicate the professionalism of their operation.  Sierra Stickers is a great small business run by intelligent entrepreneurs. 

If you are a printer and want to expand your business; be like Derek.  Start by contacting Color Label Solutions.  We’ll help build your business too.

Guy Mikel

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