5 Questions to Ask Before Buying an In-House Label Printer
Posted on October 27, 2016
So you’re thinking of buying an in-house label printer. Great! You’re on the path to gain more independence and control within your business. That’s probably why you’ve come here, am I right? Before you make the call, you may want to take a look at these 5 questions to ask before buying an in-house label printer.
We know the issues that can arise when using an outside printing source. You are no longer going to have to deal with costly re-prints, overstock, delayed shipments, or wasted expenses.
Now the question is what type of color label printer do you need?
Depending on the type of industry you’re in, your labeling needs are bound to vary. There are requirements and specifications that you need to look into before making your purchase.
But don’t worry; QuickLabel is here to help make your buyer’s journey much easier.
There are 5 questions to ask before buying an in-house label printer. These questions will help determine what type of inkjet label printer is the best fit for your business.
Let’s get started.
1. Buying an in-house label printer: What size labels are you printing?
Each printer has different characteristics, including the label width they are capable of printing on. You wouldn’t get the same label printer used for eJuice/eLiquid labels as for a cleaning solution jug.
You may know the type of label you want to create in-house, but before you go making any decisions, you really need to know the width you require.
If you know what size labels you need, you should be able to have them printed out just as you want them on the first run. After all, this is supposed to make things easier for you.
For example, if you’re printing e-liquid bottles you don’t want a system that prints up to 9.07 inches in width. You’d go for the smaller, narrower print of 0.5″ (12.7 mm) in width. The same applies if you want to produce wide, durable labels. The printer has to be able to give you exactly what you and your product requirements, which bring us to the next question…
2. Do your labels have regulations? (FDA)
Are there certain requirements your labels are supposed to follow? For example, FDA regulations for medical labels or nutrition facts. If you want to distribute your products, these must be met. They also have to be accurate.
Meeting FDA regulations for nutrition panels can be an intimidating task. There are font restrictions, mandatory statements, allergen alerts, and difficult calculations for daily values. As a food manufacturer, you need to spend your energy on your recipes, production, branding, and sales – not on interpreting FDA labeling mandates.
However, it’s absolutely necessary to adhere to FDA regulations to avoid recalls and to present your customers with the quality and transparency in the packaging they’ve come to expect.
There is a great risk of mislabeling when you rely on pre-printed labels. Human beings are responsible for selecting the correct label, and they can make mistakes. Whether it is a food, medical, or other health-related labels, both create a serious health risk if not labeled properly.
With QuickLabel printers, you gain the flexibility and accuracy you need to meet the required standards.
For example, the QL-120X label printer has the capability to print your food labels in an astounding 1200 dpi resolution to ensure that the intricate details (and small text sizes) on your nutrition labels are perfectly printed every single time.
Printing compliant food labels in-house with a QL-120X label printer also gives you the capability to control your compliance in-house, by overseeing each part of the labeling process: design and printing.
You’ll have fewer labeling mistakes because you’ll be able to control the entire labeling process.
3. Do you need to print barcodes? If so, do you need 200dpi or 600dpi?
If you are printing for food, beverage, clothing, or any item that requires purchasing, you need a barcode label.
So what next? Many people debate the pros and cons of whether to select a 200 dpi barcode label printer or a 600 dpi barcode label printer.
High-resolution barcode label printers can economize limited label space and improve barcode scanability but are higher-priced than traditional 200 dpi barcode printers.
Barcode printing in 200 dpi is great for text, numbers, and codes, but may appear a bit grainy or pixelated. You can improve the print quality of a barcode printed in 200 dpi by making the barcode physically larger on your label, but you may not have enough space to do this on your label.
If you decide to do this, please note that each barcode must be scaled proportionately, since the aspect ratio of each barcode is strictly defined by each barcode symbology.
Using a 600 dpi barcode printer is best if you wish to minimize the size of the barcode you print on your label, or when you need to print a lot of text and want to minimize the space it occupies on your label. A high-resolution label printer is also useful when you have a small size label, a small size product, or when you are labeling a small area on your container or package. It’s also the best way to reproduce a 2D barcode.
All in all, buying an in-house label printer is really based on your product needs. Take a look below to see the difference:
4. Do your labels contain heavy or intricate imagery?
Not all labels are used commercially, meaning not all labels require photographic imagery. If you’re using your labels for strictly barcodes or low-resolution imagery, you don’t need to waste your expenses on a higher resolution printer when buying an in-house label printer.
For example, you can use a 600 dpi barcode printer to make barcode labels with very small text, at sizes as small as 4 pt., and makes barcode label graphics in near-lithographic print quality with consistent, solid fills and clean lines and curves. This can be used for small-size identification labels, rating plate labels, and PC board labels.
300dpi barcode printers are also an option, creating low-cost custom labels for primary display labeling in the color of your choice, including variable information such as product description, flavor, weight, size, nutrition facts, ingredients, and barcode onto the open space of the pre-printed label.
Or, on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, if you need a superior-high-quality resolution for commercial labels, that’s an option as well. It may cost more, but for the product type and quality, it’s definitely worth it.
So, you have options. The only speed bump is determining what level of imagery your product needs when buying an in-house label printer.
5. Where do you store your products?
This question is sometimes overlooked, which can result in unattractive products and wasted label stock.
Did you know that if you label frozen food products, you have to use a durable, freeze-resistant labeling system? That’s right. Your printer must be able to print that specific label material and adhesive to remain on your product.
What your products are exposed to and the environment in which they are normally stored can completely ruin a label.
Without the right printer, your frozen food labels can wrinkle due to condensation, fade away due to UV store lights, or lose their adhesion and fall off due to low temperature.
For example, a QL-120X inkjet label printer can print frozen food labels that don’t peel off at the astounding quality of 1200 dpi. That means you’ll have professional frozen food labels printed instantly right in your facility. Then you can apply them after your foods are already frozen or before they go into the freezer.
This applies to chemical resistance, UV resistance, abrasion, and water-resistance as well.
So make sure that when buying an in-house label printer, it has every single one of the traits you require.
You deserve nothing less.
Hopefully, this article helped you get a clearer idea of what you need, or at least the types of questions you should be asking to get you there!
Good luck on your journey to owning your own color label printer. Happy printing!