Effortlessly Design, Manage, and Print Your Labels In-House

…. All with CQL Pro Labeling Software

In the labeling industry, it’s no secret that having in-house labeling software can improve efficiency, saving time and money by effortlessly managing the combination of artwork and data that make up a label file.

With the help of professional labeling software, like CQL Pro, artwork can exist in various image types like png, jpg, pdf, tiff, etc.  Data can come from multiple data sources such as your company’s ERP or another external database.  Additionally, enjoy the ability to add other common label elements, such as barcodes, QR codes, date of manufacture, expiration dates, lot codes, etc.

Label Image Types

If you’re looking to print high-quality labels, it requires a suitable, high-quality printing file.  Here’s a brief outline for anyone who may be newer to the industry:

Vector: vector graphics are mathematically-drawn points, lines, curves, and shapes. When scaling a vector image file, as it’s not low resolution, there’s no loss of quality, so it can be sized to your desired scale.  Vectors are widely used for logos, line art, 3-D renderings,  text, and variable data like barcodes.

Raster: raster graphics consist of individual, colored pixels that compose a single image.  While great for photographic elements and textures, these files can be sized smaller but not larger as it’ll compromise the resolution quality.  A sufficient resolution of at least 300dpi is recommended for these to avoid poor print quality. ( jpg, png, and tiffs are common raster image types)

PDF: As PDFs can use both vector and raster graphics, they’re typically the optimal choice for label designs.

How Can CQL Pro Labeling Software Help?

First, what exactly is CQL Pro? Compatible with any label printer in the market with a Windows® driver, CQL Pro is AstroNova’s advanced labeling software that allows users to easily design and print custom labels for color and monochrome label printers. Complete with Label Designer and Print Manager, users can create and edit label designs, design printer profiles, and easily monitor or create print jobs across any label printer model.

With an intuitive, easy-to-use interface, this software makes creating and accessing your label files simple and allows users to quickly print multiple jobs with differing designs and varying quantities, all without interruption.

Additional features include a label converter for easy conversion, job monitoring for in-process print jobs, and an easy-access launcher with shortcuts to your recent designs, print manager, print jobs, and more.

Learn more about CQL Pro labeling software and how integrating it can help you design, manage, and print your labels in-house.

Special Offer!

Download CQL Pro today for a FREE, full-featured 30-day trial!

Questions? Let us know, we’re here to help!

At AstroNova, we offer a total labeling solution. We provide the tools you need to integrate production efficiencies into your business and keep up with industry demands from a wide variety of label printers, materials, technical support, training, and a library of support videos. Contact us to schedule a free, web-based demonstration and to speak with one of our specialists!

What You Need to Know About CBD Labeling

Learn About CBD Labeling –
the market, the requirements, and the solutions

The CBD industry is a rapidly growing market with constant regulation changes. While the industry continues to evolve, one thing is clear: cannabis is here to stay, and we can expect to see more legalization, consolidation, research, and product offerings.

If you’re hoping to capitalize on the CBD market, here’s what you need to know:

What is CBD? CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a chemical compound from the cannabis plant. It’s a naturally occurring substance used in products like oils and edibles to impart feelings of relaxation and calmness. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it is not psychoactive.

Benefits of CBD: Help assuage everyday aches and pains, help treat severe medical conditions, relief from various mental health conditions, consumers can take it without any unwanted or hallucinogenic side effects, can be produced legally and widely sold without contradicting federal law.

CBD Products: Products include oils, topical creams and lotions, beverages, gummies, terpenes, capsules, tea, coffee, syrups, pet products, and more.

CBD Labeling Requirements

For starters, every state that authorizes the sale of CBD products also mandates the labels of CBD products sold within their borders be labeled in accordance with the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA).

Following the FDA regulations for cosmetic product labeling, CBD-infused health, and beauty product labels should:

  • Avoid false or misleading claims
  • Provide the required information (includes identity statement, statement of the quantity of contents, name, and place of business, distributor statement, material facts, warning or caution statements, and ingredients)
  • Properly & legibly display label information
  • Not violate the Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1970

At the time of publication, the FDA doesn’t currently allow the sale of CBD products intended for ingestion, and labeling requirements differ state-by-state. While some states permit the sale of CBD in foods and dietary supplements, they require specific label information and warning requirements. For a more comprehensive understanding, visit this list compiled by the FDA – list of the 26 most common questions about cannabis products and their regulations.

It’s also worth noting, a growing number of states are mandating the inclusion of a scannable bar code, QR code link, or web address linked to a document containing the above-outlined information. Ensuring compliance with the laws of each individual state where CBD products are sold can be a challenge, yet it’s a crucial step in mitigating the risks of enforcement action by federal and state agencies. For more specific information pertaining to the FDA guidelines surrounding CBD labeling, read more here.

CBD Labeling Solutions

In this evolving industry, AstroNova offers state-of-the-art solutions to help you increase profits and market share. Constant regulation changes in the industry mean facing constant labeling changes. Having labeling solutions in-house and readily available offers a solution for all your on-demand labeling needs, allowing for flexibility in product changes, releases, and limited edition revamps. Additionally, AstroNova’s QuickLabel and TrojanLabel brands offer the only label printers on the market capable of printing labels as narrow as the industry requires, ultimately providing less waste and reduced cost for customers.

Some of the best labeling solutions expertly engineered to benefit the CBD Market:

 

cbd labelingTrojanLabel T2-C – Ideal for those requiring higher volume output

  • High print speed up to 12 inches per second (60 ft per minute)
  • Superior print resolution up to 1600 dpi
  • Print width 2” to 8.8″
  • First tabletop press to operate at high-volume capacity and precision of a digital press

 


QuickLabel QL-120X – Perfect for narrow applications & color-matching with white-based materials

  • Fast print speed up to 12 inches per second (60 ft per minute)
  • Superior print resolution up to 1200 dpi
  • Print width 0.5” to 4.2”
  • Industry-best performance
  • Excellent reliability

QuickLabel QL-300 – Solution for dynamic, colorful branding and special effects

  • Print in White (CMYK+W), allowing you to expand your branding opportunities
  • Print speed up to 6 inches per second (30 ft per minute)
  • Exceptional print resolution up to 1200 dpi
  • Print width 0.83” to 4.95″
  • High-resolution output with low toner consumption
  • Durable labels that withstand abrasion, moisture, and UV exposure

QuickLabel QL-60M – Single Color Application Solution

  • Print speed up to 5.9 inches per second
  • Prints smaller labels at a 4 mm x 3 mm minimum printable area
  • High accuracy and fast print speeds
  • Ideal for producing durable images for linear and 2D barcode printing, overprinting, and surfaces exposed to extreme conditions
Materials Matter

When it comes to CBD, it’s essential to have label materials explicitly suited for this industry. Luckily, AstroNova’s GetLabels division has the widest variety of material options. Whether you’re looking for materials that are narrow, eye-catching, glossy, matte, extremely durable, resistant to oils, or are made with materials such as hemp or grass paper, GetLabels has you covered. GetLabels understands that in a competitive industry, it’s not only essential to ensure your materials fit your needs, but it’s equally important to personalize your products and stand out on the shelves. We have Media Specialists equipped to offer you a consultative approach, or browse our online materials finder and find the material that fits your needs.  

Questions? Let us know, we’re here to help!

At AstroNova, we offer a total labeling solution. We provide the tools you need to integrate production efficiencies into your business and keep up with industry demands from a wide variety of label printers, materials, technical support, training, and a library of support videos. Contact us to schedule a free, web-based demonstration and to speak with one of our specialists!

How to Find a Tabletop Label Printer That Fits Your Needs

Once you’re aware of the different printing technologies and the pros and cons each one offers, here are some helpful tips for identifying which tabletop label printer fits your application needs.

If you’re unsure which print technology is right for you, you can find more detailed information on that here.

I understand the different printing technologies and their pros & cons, now how do I buy a tabletop label printer that fits my needs?

Now that you’re aware of the three key technologies available in a desktop format for printing color labels, how do you go about selecting the right printing technology and model for your unique application?

Start by looking at your product:

Consider its container size(s) and your favorite look and colors. Do you prefer your labels to have a shiny, glossy look, or perhaps a semi-gloss or a matte look is more appropriate? Will printing colors on white label substrate do the job, or does your product require you to print on clear or colored substrates of different textures? Nobody else knows your product or your branding requirements like you do, so only you can make that decision. This will ultimately help you arrive at the necessary label sizes that you’ll need and the vital elements of your label artwork.

Decide on your product packaging, transportation, and storage through its journey from the manufacturing location to the end-consumer:

Are there any special environmental conditions to consider? For example, does your product need refrigeration requiring labels that must withstand water droplets due to condensation? Will the product labels need to withstand prolonged exposure to moisture or sunlight? Do the labels need to withstand exposure to certain chemicals that perhaps make up part of your product? In addition to helping you select the right printing technology, these choices may influence your material preference and the adhesive backing.

Estimate Print Volumes:

Based on the sales forecast of all your SKUs, estimate your daily, weekly, or monthly print volumes by label size. Also, consider what a typical print run would be like. For example, let’s say you print 1000 labels of 4×3 in four separate print jobs on almost a daily basis. That is useful information.

Consider Variable Data:

Do you need your tabletop color label printer to print variable data information on your labels, i.e., serial numbers, dates, lot codes, etc.? If so, you’ll want your vendor to provide labeling software that’ll help you meet these specific requirements.

How will you be applying labels?

Will you be applying labels to your product(s) by hand, or by using an automatic label applicator?  Which is the most efficient option for your labeling and production needs?

Once you’ve given the above questions a thought, you’re ready to shop around for an appropriate label printer as an educated buyer. Some tips as you browse websites for printer specifications and contact label printer manufacturers or distributors:

Do they carry printers based on a single technology or different technologies?

Printer manufacturers/distributors who only carry one printing technology are more likely to push for their technology/product than look out for your needs.

Do they offer a total solution, for instance, label material supplies, software, and technical support along with the printers and ink?

If they do, they are more likely to ensure that the right printer is selected for your needs, and is functional so they can earn revenues from inks and materials. Like document printers, label printers are a very competitive segment, and hardware sales are typically made at very thin margins. By ensuring the printers, the inks, and the labels are engineered and tested for compatibility will ensure a longer lifetime of your investment.

Do they offer free remote web-based support?

Think of your label printer as a production machine that will invariably require some periodic maintenance and upkeep. Search for available support videos on the company’s website or YouTube channel, or sometimes it may be easier to call, email, chat, or have a live web-based conference call.  Do they offer the kind of support you’re looking for?

Does the printer company provide labeling software as well?

If you have any special or unique software requirements now or in the future, consider how much easier it’ll be for you to deal with a single vendor to ensure software and hardware are compatible.

Questions? Let us know, we’re here to help!

At AstroNova, we offer a total labeling solution. We provide the tools you need to integrate production efficiencies into your business and keep up with industry demands from a wide variety of label printers, materials, technical support, training, and a library of support videos. Contact us to schedule a free, web-based demonstration and to speak with one of our specialists!

Top 10 Benefits of Printing Labels In-House

It’s no secret that printing labels in-house offers businesses a breadth of benefits and has become an integral part of a company’s packaging production process.  Today, thousands of manufacturers, processors, and retailers around the world are increasing their sales revenue and profit margins by producing their own color labels in their factories and offices.

Printing labels on-demand provides benefits, like:

Benefit #1: Private Labeling

Private labeling has exploded over the last decade, especially in the food, beverage, cosmetic, chemical, medical, CBD, and dietary supplement industries.  Studies have shown most consumers prefer to buy private label or store-brand labeled goods because of the higher perceived quality or value that the product provides.  Manufacturers who use in-house color label printers are able to command a competitive edge in the marketplace and a greater market share serving more customers with privately labeled products that are quickly customized in affordable, short-run label quantities.

printing labels in-house

Benefit #2: Produce Labels Instantly

Having the ability to print the exact number of labels you want, anytime you need them, affects more than product marketing, it’s also a tool to increase productivity by making labels on-demand. Even the best forecasting and purchasing practices can leave the packaging department hunting for labels at the last minute. For manufacturers with a family of multiple products, having the right label in inventory at the right time for the right product is often a challenge – easily fixed with in-house printing. With an in-house color label printer, manufacturers have the flexibility to print labels instantly, changeover packaging lines in minutes, and immediately start labeling new products.

Benefit #3: Cut Costs & Reduce Inventory

In-house label printing cuts costs for short-run, small quantity labels and simultaneously allows businesses to replace inventories with lean, just-in-time production practices.
Even with the best inventory management practices, it is difficult to predict how many labels will actually be used before products or label designs change. Additionally, the economics of traditional label printing requires print houses to ask to purchase large quantities of labels, usually more than you need at the current time. As a result, rolls of purchased labels perpetually remain in inventory. After a long period of storage, labels may become dirty, damaged, or yellowed and can lose adhesive properties. The labels, or even the products to which the labels
will be applied, may also become obsolete before they are used.

Benefit #4: Gain Production Flexibility – Label Any Product, Any Time

Traditionally, full-color primary display labels were printed off-site by a commercial label print house, while “back panel” labels with product-specific text and barcodes were printed in-house on a simple barcode label printer.  Today, QuickLabel printers have changed the label printing workflow by bringing it entirely in-house. For example, with QuickLabel, both the primary display “front panel” full-color label and the product-specific text and barcode “back panel” label can be printed simultaneously, in a single print pass.

The traditional labeling process:
  1. Design labels
  2. Order labels
  3. Wait for label proofs
  4. Makes changes
  5. Wait for second label proof
  6. Accept and return proof
  7. Wait to receive printed labels
  8. Receive and inventory labels
  9. Apply labels
The QuickLabel labeling process:
  1. Design labels
  2. Print your own proof
  3. Make changes on the fly
  4. Print labels
  5. Apply labels
Benefit #5: Maintain In-House Quality Control

For companies in highly regulated industries such as pharmaceuticals, medical devices, hazardous chemicals, and increasingly, dietary supplements and foods, it’s critical for the packaging process to meet quality standards established by third-party auditors and maintained by in-house quality management systems.  With a QuickLabel printer, it costs nothing to add or remove label content, a benefit to companies in regulated industries where required label changes are a costly fact of life. Country of Origin labeling legislation, more stringent labeling disclosures, and new GHS chemical hazard labeling requirements are recent examples of governmental labeling standards that have caused companies to completely revamp their labels. Creating color labels on-demand with an in-house QuickLabel printer allows your company to ensure that it maintains strict control over labels so that your production operation is always able to label the right product, for the right customer, at the right time.

Benefit #6: One Pass Label Printing – including dates, barcodes, and serialization

Quality Control managers are relieved of many of the stringent regulatory burdens that apply to labels because all information can be printed on the fly, including serializing
barcodes, lot codes, batch codes, and expiration dates. Labels can be printed physically close to the product receiving the label, reducing the possibility of human error in the labeling process and eliminating the need to stock printed labels in inventory, and quarantine and discard obsolete labels.

Benefit #7: Reduce Delivery Time to Market

Now more than ever, customer convenience and keeping up with demand are high priorities for most companies.  Consumers not only expect things faster, but product demands have never been higher, especially for industries like medical, pharmaceutical, sanitation, and food and beverage.  With an in-house label printer, print labels on-demand and get shipments out the door to retailers and customers faster, easier, and more efficiently, reducing lengthy and unnecessary downtimes.

Benefit #8: Be Ready to Ship Labeled Products at Any Time

At one time or another, production managers have been in the predicament of not being able to ship products to a waiting customer. The result is often missed deadlines, costly expedited shipments, backorders, reduced profitability, and lost revenue. In these cases, awaiting customers may decide to choose an alternate vendor rather than wait to receive a late shipment.
Owning an in-house label printer takes the unpredictability out of label availability. As long as managers maintain a stock of printing supplies, they are always ready to print the labels they need.

Benefit #9: Produce Short-Runs

There are a variety of perks attributed to producing short-runs.  Some include providing consumers with limited-time offerings like seasonal flavorings for holidays, producing customized products for customers, eliminating unnecessary waste by not printing more than you need, or simply the flexibility of running a small, limited batch of labels for any variety of reasons.  One instance we’ve seen of this is companies switching their production process to meet the needs of their community by producing sanitation or protection supplies in difficult times like COVID-19.

Benefit #10: Offer Contract Labeling

Contract packagers provide custom labeling services to businesses that want to outsource packaging services, both to control quality and costs. If you are a professional contract packager, you already understand the revenue-producing value of flexible, in-house label printing. If you’re a company considering the purchase of a color label printer for your own use, you may also be able to benefit by providing labeling services to other companies in your geographic area or industry. The flexibility of owning a color label printer allows owners to act as contract packagers, making labels in any size, shape, or design, satisfying the branding requirements and technical requirements of customers. Printing labels as a service will allow you to increase revenue and profit while also absorbing excess production capacity.

Have you any questions on how QuickLabel can help or more specifically how owning an in-house label printer can breathe new life into your business? Contact us for more information or a free consultation today!