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 makeup 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!
These 7 Tips Will Help you Evaluate Any Color Label Printing Solution
Whether you’re currently printing your own product labels, or you’re considering printing your labels in your facility, you want to ensure you’re making the right decision and best investment for your business. Many companies consider their first or additional systems for several reasons – keeping up with demand, looking to reduce total cost of ownership or cost per label, or improving operational efficiencies. But, currently, the biggest reason is that people want to control their labeling under their own roof.
While there is undoubtedly a breadth of benefits labeling in-house and on-demand provides, there are several factors to consider before making a decision. Considering label printing systems for your business is more complicated than evaluating a standard at-home desktop printer.
Here are some tips to make this process easier for you:
This is vital. It’s important not to rely on “canned” printed label samples or a video from the manufacturer. Witnessing the labels print will expose any technical shortcomings in the printer. Ultimately, you’re the expert on your labels and how they should look. If print quality and color-matching is a priority, you’ll get the best demonstration of a printer’s capabilities by seeing your label artwork printed. So, before committing to a purchase, it’s advised to schedule a demonstration and request to watch while your labels are printed in real-time.
2. Ask to see your label format printed
You can evaluate your own labels better than a sample or pre-printed label
To ensure you see all the capabilities of the printer, provide digital label artwork to your printer salesman prior to the demonstration. It’s important to note that if your artwork was designed for a different output device, whether it’s your office inkjet or a commercial flexographic press, your salesperson may need to adjust the colors to match expectations.
3. Compare “how long it takes to print”, not just “print speed”
Time the print job while you watch
When evaluating “print speed,” it’s natural to assume that you are evaluating “how fast it takes to produce a print job.” However, there are many technical reasons why this is not the case. Factors such as pauses for maintenance procedures, processing time delays, and the time it takes to load a printer with blank labels and inks all have a significant impact on throughput. These are all factors your production department needs to measure when evaluating.
4. Compare “print quality”, not just “print resolution”
Be the judge
All label printers list a specification for “resolution”, but this does not necessarily imply “print quality”. “What resolution should I be looking for?” is a notoriously difficult question to answer, given there’s often some trade-off between print quality and print speed. In addition to the physical dot size produced by the label printer, the halftone printing algorithm, substrate material, and ink set each has a tremendous bearing on the appearance and color gamut of the printed label. So, when comparing 1200 dpi to 1600 dpi to 2400 dpi, your own perception of quality is much more accurate than the technical specification.
5. Ask how much it costs to print your roll of labels
Request a quote
Importantly, after the full role of your label designs is printed, ask your salesperson to calculate the cost of the printed label roll, including the costs of the ink and the label material. This will give you a realistic estimate of the finished cost per label, so ultimately, you can extrapolate how much you’d be paying each time you print your own labels.
6. Determine where you’ll purchase your labels
Select a substrate and a provider
If you have a special performance or print quality requirement, the odds are that you will want to “spec in” a particular label material that works well with your printer. So, determine who offers labels created from the material and whether the delivery timeframe and cost of the die-cut label is in line with your expectations. Be advised, a good label solution provider should be able to offer a variety of compatible materials in a range of different price points. AstroNova’s GetLabels division offers the widest variety of premium label materials for all of your labeling applications.
7. Ask who will maintain and repair your printer?
Who will service and fix any problems?
Regular on-site maintenance of a printing system is necessary to prevent breakdowns due to wear. So, don’t be afraid to ask who will be available to provide on-site maintenance service (or whether you are expected to do this yourself). Because a label printer is a critical part of the packaging process, it’s essential to find out whether on-site repair service and 24-hour telephone support are available. These things may come at an extra cost or may be included as part of the warranty – find out!
Questions? Let us know, we’re here to help!
Interested in how bringing label printing in-house can provide you with significant cost and time savings?
Contact us to schedule a free, web-based demonstration and to speak with one of our specialists!
An AstroNova partner recently shared an interesting story detailing how a small commercial printer in the Mid-West fell in love with a TrojanLabel® T2-C digital mini-press. While the commercial printer already owned a few smaller printers, they wanted something that could run wider widths (up to 8.5”), print multiple labels across, and produce faster printing throughput. Unlike their desktop printers, they were looking for a machine that was sturdier and built for professional printing.
Originally, they were considering Muratec’s PLS-475i when the TrojanLabel T2-C was introduced to them. While both machines are based on the same fundamental Versapass technology by Memjet, with a quick feature comparison, the commercial printer was undoubtedly interested in the T2-C after a trial showcasing:
| TrojanLabel T2-C
| Muratec PLS-475i
|Ink Tank Capacity*||2-Liter CMYK Ink Tanks||250 ml CMYK Cartridges|
|Maximum Roll OD**||11.8” (300 mm)||9.8” (250 mm)|
|Digital Front End***||On-Board PC with Touch Screen||N/A|
|Slitting***||In-line Slitters (up to 8 across)||N/A|
*8 times more ink per, savings in volume
**20% wider maximum roll diameter
***Additional user benefits
It’s All in the Details
A perfect combination of a smaller footprint, larger roll capacity, and efficiency
Right at the outset, the customer loved the job library built into the on-board PC that stores previously run print jobs. The additional abilities to print multiple labels across with perfect registration and put on a semi-rotary finisher later was also extremely beneficial to them. Additionally, the T2-C has a much smaller footprint, about half that of the PLS-475i, so it takes up substantially less space in the print room.
The wide variation in the types of labels printed typically results in a lot of artwork editing and color adjustments. So, the Wasatch RIP combined with the T2-C comes in handy as it allows them to make those changes quickly and efficiently, while the bigger roll capacity on T2-C allows them to do longer runs.
Enjoy a 40% Cost Savings
Equally important for them was the print economics: the T2-C is a tank-based system, including four (CMYK) 2-liter ink tanks versus PLS-475i’s 250 ml cartridges, resulting in a 40% cost increase for Muratec’s inks. Also, the PLS-475i was priced 33% higher than the T2-C despite the missing features and obvious disadvantages.
With Service and Support Included, the T2-C was a Clear Winner
This customer concluded that it was more economical and sensible to invest in a TrojanLabel T2-C instead of the PLS-475i for their growing needs. Investing in an AstroNova Service Plan for any service or support needs in the future was an additional benefit providing the customer with ultimate peace of mind.
Interested in How the T2-C Can Provide You with Significant Cost and Time Savings?
Contact us to schedule a free demonstration to speak with one of our specialists!
Local French favorite confectionery, Domaine De Baudry, uses a QuickLabel® QL-300 to efficiently print premium, high-quality confectionery labels on-site.
In the quaint town of Saint-Hilaire de Pionsat, located in the heart of the Auvergne region, in a scenic, charming village, you’ll find Domain De Baudry. A multi-generational family-owned marmalade and confectionary company, equipped with an on-site factory, store, museum, and restaurant, Baudry is a local favorite.
Making and packaging their regional products all in-house requires a reliable, quality, labeling solution.
Vincent Bône, Baudry’s Company Manger, speaks highly of the company legacy and products.
Bône’s father was a farmer and started the company in the 1970s on a raspberry plantation, where Baudry still resides today. Once a small operation, today, they have more than 150 varieties of jams. With the introduction of the QuickLabel QL-300, a five-color toner-based label printer, Baudry can now quickly and effectively label their products.
Small Batches and Efficient Labeling
“Before we got the QL-300, we used laser-color photocopiers with cutouts – very tedious work. The printers we worked with had problems with deadlines, quantity, and with stock”, said Bône. “When I saw the QL-300, I thought it was the machine we needed.”
Using local whole fruits, all-natural flavors and traditional, family recipes, Baudry creates, labels, and sells a variety of products. From marmalades to wines, beers, honey, and a wide selection of oils, Baudry needs a reliable labeling solution suitable for a full line of products.
“…The QL-300 allows us in small quantities and in a flexible way, to make rolls and adapt them to our automatic labelers. So it’s rather simple to make labels with the QL-300”, says Bône.
Baudry prides itself on seeking the “good taste of our childhood.” Since the family takes a lot of pride in crafting these gourmet products, and their branding holds a lot of significance, they needed a solution that wouldn’t cause label wear or tarnishing over time. Because jam has a long shelf life, label durability was a priority to the family when searching for a labeling solution. Luckily, they were able to find that required durability with the QL-300. Says Bône, “what’s nice about the QL-300 is that it allows us to go farther in the offer we can make to our customers, so now we can offer Kraft labels, transparent labels, and completely white labels.”
Looking to Print Product Labels In-House?
If you’re interested in learning more about how you can print beer labels on-demand, feel free to contact us to schedule a demonstration or no-obligation consultation.
Many companies outsource their product labels to save on costs and maintain production efficiency. But when you break it down, is outsourcing really the most efficient route? Depending on your business size and needs, it could be more beneficial printing prepared food labels in-house.
Here are the top four reasons why taking label production in-house can be the better option:
1. Outsourced Printing Comes at a Price
While using another facility to produce your prepared food labels might seem like a giant weight off your shoulders, it may not necessarily be the case. Outsourcing can end up severely delaying your labeling process, costing your business valuable time and money.
For example, if an outsourced label shipment becomes delayed, so will the orders your company was scheduled to have in stock and on the shelves. These delays will happen, as do errors.
Misprints can cause setbacks and affect the use by/sell by dates on your products. This is especially true for made to order businesses and prepared foods.
On implementing short-run digital label printers in-house, Impression Technology Europe reveals, “Not only is the initial investment much more affordable but the cost per print is extremely low. After doing the math, most clients will find it will be much more cost-effective than outsourcing, and based on the output.”
Our main alternative to outsourcing, investing in an in-house digital label printer will not only save you time but also reduce cost-per-label.
2. NOT ALL ENVIRONMENTS ARE CREATED EQUAL
Printing prepared food labels in-house have its benefits when varying environmental requirements come into play.
Just because some prepared foods need to be frozen, doesn’t mean the quality and appearance of your packaging should suffer. Your store’s frozen foods need to remain cohesive with the rest of your prepared food line. After all, it is your brand. However, using the wrong label for the products environment can lead to wrinkles due to condensation, fading due to exposure or loss of adhesion, and labels falling off.
If your business is using regular pre-printed labels, chances are, the labels won’t hold up in your storage environment.
Ultimately, finding the correct label material is just as important to your printed results as your design. AstroNova has developed special materials that are capable of absorbing the inks so that printed labels do not smear and reproduce the most accurate colors possible.
The ability to maintain complete control over your label materials and printing process will allow your business to have a streamlined, efficient process with branded labels that look the part.
One example of an easy in-house printing solution is the QuickLabel QL-120X, or wide-format QL-850 inkjet label printers. These printers are known for printing frozen food labels that are extremely durable. With the right in-house printer, you’ll have professional frozen food or beverage labels printed instantly and can be applied to products that are already frozen, or before they go into the freezer.
3. It’s Not Easy to Keep Up with FDA Regulations & Demands
Keeping up with the FDA’s changing regulations and formats can greatly affect your product labels. If standards are not met, your entire product line could suffer from massive recalls.
This intimidating process includes font restrictions, mandatory statements, allergen alerts, and stringent calculations for daily values.
As a food manufacturer or grocer, you want to spend your energy on your recipes, production, branding, and sales – not on interpreting FDA labeling mandates.
While it is absolutely necessary to adhere to FDA regulations to avoid recalls and present your customers with the quality and transparency they deserve, you can make it easier on your business.
This is where an in-house label printer truly shines. For every change in date, rule, format, etc., you can immediately customize your labels on the spot.
Printing prepared food labels in-house give you the ability to print the exact number of labels you need on-demand. Meaning no more wasted labels, no more overstock, and no more falling short. This gives you more flexibility in your printing process, as well as introducing the option for seasonal or promotional packaging.
4. Things Are Better When You’re in Control
Your labels are the face of your brand, so you always want to maintain professionalism and put your best foot forward. If you want to be in control of your business and remove exterior dilemmas, it may be time to consider printing prepared food labels in-house.
Looking to Print Food Labels In-House?
If you’re interested in high-quality, short-run label printing in-house, feel free to compare our line of complete labeling solutions, including software, media, and a wide range of digital label printers from monochrome barcode printers to photographic inkjet color labeling systems and presses.
Or, if you’d like to speak with one of our field sales engineers or media specialists, feel free to contact us for more information! They would be happy to work with you to find the right solution for your application.
If you brew beer or bottle wine, you already know the challenges that occur once your products are sent to the market. You need to make your wine and beer labels stand out in order to get on the consumer’s radar.
The shadows of big brands make it extremely difficult for new, local breweries and wineries to thrive. Here are a few tips to help make your products stand out.
How Do They Do It?
With well-known brands, it’s easy for consumers to walk into a store and pluck a product off the shelves.
It’s all in the packaging and product branding.
The familiarity, years of experience, and trustworthiness of a brand make these decisions a no-brainer. But everyone has to start somewhere, right?
What Can You do to Make Your Brews Stand Out?
After determining the basics, there are a few extra things you need to make your wine and beer labels stand out and give your brand that extra push.
1. It’s All in the Packaging
Humans are visual beings, so first impressions matter. Especially when targeting first-time buyers browsing through the aisles of their local liquor store.
In fact, the human brain processes image 60,000 times faster than text, and 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual.
Since consumers can only view your products as they browse, what they find aesthetically pleasing makes all the difference.
According to Barrett Brynestad, Associate Creative Director/Designer for TDA Boulder, the package should tell consumers as much as possible about the beer, from the occasion to taste profile and overall brand ethos.
Our advice: Design your product label well and design it to be easily recognized. It can be as simple as your color scheme and font, qualifying image or logo, etc. Whatever it is, it has to be unique to you. Investing in a talented artist or graphic designer always helps.
After all, your brand logo is arguably the most important part of your product.
Check out some examples of branded beer labels that understand the importance of story-telling branding.
2. Save Face on the Shelves…and Money in Your Pocket
Once you have successfully created your brand label, it’s time to start labeling your cans and bottles.
Outsourced printing can get expensive. For local wineries or breweries, it may be wiser to print your product labels in-house. In addition to avoiding fees and delays, you’ll be able to control the entire process within your own facility.
For example, wine and beer displayed in store freezers or chilling in coolers need labels that withstand frozen temperatures.
After all, it wouldn’t look very professional to have your labels wrinkling from condensation or losing adhesion and peeling off.
QuickLabel’s line of in-house label printers allows your business to meet all the requirements (aesthetic and physical) for printing labels on-demand and in-house.
These printing systems are perfect for the craft beer tradition of experimentation, adaptability and small batch production.
Our advice: Learn more about QuickLabel’s capabilities and benefits with printing frozen labels, wine, and beer labels to see if they’re right for your business. You can also browse the full line of in-house color label printers here.
3. Get Your Name Out There!
It’s time. You’ve made a solid brand name for yourself with the packaging (and product) to prove it.
Investing in trade shows, tastings at local liquor stores and advertising (print or video), is the next step in getting your brand recognized. The more people see your product, the more natural it becomes to pick it up.
Our advice: By promoting your brand, you are showing consumers that you are real; you have a story and a taste unique to your product. By investing in these promotions, you are building the trust of your brand.
These three steps will change the way your wine and beer products are perceived – now a known brand rising above the sea of shelves. Good luck!
Not all JanSan labels are easy to get approved. If you handle sanitation or chemical supplies, you know there are specific marks and content that must appear on the product labels.
In this post, you will gain insight into chemical and GHS label markings and how to label them. In addition, we will cover how utilizing an on-demand color label printer can provide the best labeling solution for your products.
What Are GHS and Chemical Regulations?
Janitorial and sanitation products are among the chemicals that require color-coded chemical hazard identification labels in compliance with GHS Labeling regulations.
GHS stands for Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, which are usually represented as red and black pictograms.
Also known as graphic symbols, pictograms are used to communicate specific information about the hazards of a chemical. The GHS regulation standards use a total of nine pictograms.
The purpose of these symbols is to provide workers with better information on the safe handling and use of hazardous chemicals, thereby allowing them (or anyone handling the product) to avoid injuries and illnesses related to exposures to hazardous chemicals.
To read more on each GHS classification symbol, with a more in-depth review of each, please view our white paper GHS Chemical Labeling Compliance: Requirements & Solutions.
What to Include on Chemical Cleaning Supply Labels
The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) states, “chemical manufacturers, importers, or distributors must ensure that each container of hazardous chemicals is labeled, tagged or marked with the following information: product identifier; signal word; hazard statement(s); precautionary 1 2 statement(s); and pictogram(s); and name, address and telephone number of the chemical manufacturer, importer, or other responsible parties.”
Make Compliance Easier by Printing Compliant Labels In-House
Now that you have a better understanding of the labeling requirements, what’s the best way to create your labels?
If you are in the industry, you already know most GHS label printers offer the ability to print GHS compliant labels in just two colors, red and black.
An ideal durable label printer, QuickLabel tabletop label printer has the ability to instantly print full-color GHS JanSan labels in 1200 dpi resolution.
The QuickLabel “D” printers produce durable, pigment based labels that are able to withstand water, dirt, exposure, abrasion, and hazardous chemicals while maintaining color-fastness.
So, with a QL-120D, you can print your entire chemical label in seconds, including your logo and primary display panel graphics and the red and black GHS pictograms, text, barcode, and serializations.
See What the Extra-Durable, GHS Compliant Kiaro! D is Capable of:
Printing in full color, 1200 dpi allows your compliant GHS labels to send two messages:
1. A responsible manufacturer has packaged the product safely.
2. The company logo and branding stand out from other competitors.
A QuickLabel printer provides valuable competitive advantages by maintaining GHS compliance and showing off signature brands.
Stand Out on the Shelves
While other companies are stuck with identical packaging, you have the option to stand out with custom messaging. Your custom label and verbiage will ensure customers and clients know exactly who manufactures their chemicals.
To get the perfect package, we recommend using labeling software in addition to an in-house label printer. Labeling software allows you to link your database of chemical descriptions with a label printer for accuracy.
With a robust color label printer such as the QL-120D and a fully-featured GHS labeling software such as NiceLabel, it is easy to become compliant and maintain compliance.
Interested in learning more about in-house durable label printers?
Contact us for more information on GHS and chemical JanSan labels.
Essential Oil Labeling –
the rules, regulations, and solutions
If you have ever enjoyed the scent of a rose, you’ve experienced the aromatic qualities of essential oils.
A trusted partner in the essential oils industry, doTERRA defines essential oils as naturally occurring, aromatic compounds found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants.
For hundreds of years, essential oils have been used for medicinal, beauty, and cleaning treatments. So how can you make your oils stand out from the rest?
1. We Make Label Creation Simple
We know that makers of essential oil products don’t just need a lot of labels – they need a lot of different labels.
Instead of dealing with the hassle of an outside printing vendor, with the risk of costly re-prints, overstock, delayed shipments, or wasted expenses, we give you the ability to control everything in-house.
Our in-house color label printers print labels in any quantity. They are perfect for short-runs of seasonal products and ideal for printing custom labels for new scents, sizes, and formulations. That means growing your line of essential oils doesn’t have to be difficult. With a QuickLabel printer, you can start printing off your new scents as soon as they are designed.
What’s more, our printers are designed to be user-friendly and specifically designed for narrow labels.
That means you can focus on creating beautiful aromas, and we can take care of the rest.
2. We Meet All Labeling Rules & Regulations
As you know, being a producer of personal care products in the USA, your essential oil labels must comply with the FDA standards.
With a QuickLabel printer, you can print ingredients lists, allergen warnings, barcodes, organic and natural certifications on demand; ultimately giving you the advantage of keeping up with the constant changes being made to label requirements as they go into effect.
We’ll help keep you one step ahead and easily producing FDA-compliant labels.
3. We Let Your Beauty Shine Through
We want your labels to be as beautiful as you’ve imagined.
At QuickLabel, we know the importance of personalization. Your brand has to be able to tell your company’s story to stand out from the crowd. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Our label printers allow for complete customization of your labels. And they don’t only look good on screen.
Our label printers have the ability to print in up to 1600 dpi at 12 inches per second. That’s fast, photo-quality imagery!
Especially helpful for narrow labels, our systems precisely print 3-point font to list every ingredient, percentage, and note you need.
5. Finally, We Are Always Here For You
You can always reach out to us without hesitation. With representatives throughout the nation and around the globe, we are here for you.
Having over 40 years of experience and reliability, we not only have the support but the resources to guarantee the best quality product on the market.
Interested in our in-house color label printers?
Contact us today to start learning more or set up a free in-person demonstration.