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!
Have you heard you can simplify your manufacturing process with Kanban cards? If you’re in the manufacturing industry, you should.
Kanban cards originated from the Japanese term “Kanban” meaning “visual sign” or “signal.” The physical cards became widely used during the 1940’s in Toyota’s manufacturing process to improve work flow and efficiency.
The simplicity of the cards allow for quick comprehension, ease of use and accurate control of inventory in the workplace.
Working in the manufacturing industry, you know how beneficial the Kanban cards are.
They help your company keep track of the parts you have, the parts (and therefore orders) you need, the deliveries you have scheduled or should schedule, and the demand of your products internally and externally.
But what makes the Kiaro! the ideal color label printer for Kanban cards? A lot of things.
The Kiaro! appreciates the need for high quality.
With the Kiaro!, you are not limited to having only a barcode or color code — you have the ability to include photo-quality pictures of the product or part along with a full product description on the card as well.
This makes it easier to verify a complete visual of what it is you need.
What’s more, you can print your cards in full color and 1200 dpi resolution. With that said, you’ll be sure to print with the finest detail and color accuracy.
This is especially useful for not only images, but the color coded cards distributed amongst different product lines.
And what’s more valuable than yours?
The Kiaro! has the ability to print at 8 inches per second. The edges are even perforated, so you can produce your prints as needed and separate them just as easily.
It certainly knows how to maintain productivity. No scissors, no cutting and no measuring needed. You can also check out our label slitter for larger productions.
It’s even easier than you thought. Just grab it and go.
The Kiaro! is never wasteful.
A forecast is usually one of two things: lucky or wrong.
Instead of having to predict how many cards to order, the Kiaro! gives you the ability to print your Kanban cards on demand.
Now, you’ll always meet your company’s needs. No more wasted supplies and no more storage rooms full of extras. You can print in batches of one and cut to custom lengths immediately with the optional Kiaro! tag cutter.
And, if you need to change something, you can reconfigure a process instantly without being burdened by the cost of scrapping pre-printed cards. You have the ability to respond to what’s actually being done and fulfill your precise needs with the highest accuracy.
All in all, these little cards make a big impact – but they can also become a significant pain to stay on top of.
With the Kiaro!, the process of producing Kanban cards remains effortless — and the possibilities endless.
It’s your visual indicator, it’s your reminder and it’s your record keeper.
Make your Kanban cards with the Kiaro! label printer and you’ll have everything your team needs to know on that little card.
The Kiaro! delivers Kanban cards efficiently, precisely and in a manner that’s most beneficial to you and your company’s continuous improvement initiatives.
Any Questions on How We Can Help Simplify Your Manufacturing Process with Kanban Cards?
To learn more about how the Kiaro! color label printer can save you time, money, and provide you with highly accurate color labels, click here.
Or contact us today by giving us a call, sending us an email or deciding to schedule your own Kiaro! demonstration!
Browndog Creamery’s Micro Batch Gourmet Ice Cream Meets Micro Batch Label Printing
With an ever-changing variety of ice cream flavors as evocative as Dragon Bite, Tuscan Sun, Buttered Berry Brioche, and French Press Mocha, the owners of Browndog Creamery needed a labeling solution that could adapt to label changes on-the-fly.
For example, they may need 20 labels for Triple Vanilla this morning, and 15 for Mystery Cookie this afternoon. Luckily for owners Brian Scherle and Paul Gabriel, they found the Kiaro! label printer to print labels for their pints of ice cream on demand, in the exact quantity that they need.
Watch How Browndog Uses the Kiaro! for All Their Gourmet Creations:
Browndog Creamery, a “micro-creamery” located in the heart of downtown Northville Michigan, west of Detroit, brings customers delicious and unique handcrafted ice creams.
Being a micro-creamery, as explained by co-owner Paul Gabriel, “basically means that we make our ice cream in very small batches. We’re not a mass factory where we make thousands of gallons of ice cream. We make about four or five gallons at a time for each flavor.”
Browndog Creamery’s unique flavor combinations are all created in-house by Gabriel and Scherle. “I always tell people I refuse to make butter pecan, so instead we make a bourbon pecan,” said Gabriel. “For our Cinco de Mayo we made a Holy Guacamole ice cream, and that’s the type of stuff that we really like: the really unique, creative stuff that you’re not going to find anywhere else. “
The Perfect Label For Every Single Batch
Browndog rotates flavors of ice creams so frequently because each batch made in their micro-creamery is only a few gallons. Even before they opened their business, they knew that using pre-printed labels wouldn’t make any sense, because buying minimum orders of labels would lead to excessive costs and way too much label inventory for their small backroom.
“I knew we would be running small batches of ice cream and I didn’t want to take an inventory of a hundred or a thousand labels of one flavor because I knew we might only need ten,” said Gabriel. “The Kiaro! has been a wonderful fit in our business to allow us to make these very small run labels and customize them to everything that we needed to do.”
“Being able to create products and without having to go to a mass printing,” has been a boon to business said Scherle. “Using the Kiaro! printer to label our ice cream, and to create amazing and attractive packaging is just part and parcel of creating our products.”
Scherle described his first impressions of the Kiaro!, “When it was delivered I found that it’s bright purple. Upon seeing it, I was pleasantly surprised that the Kiaro! looks as fun as it is to use. It’s a good addition to our shop.”
Kiaro! Labels Handle Freezing Temps
One of Browndog’s chief concerns was whether or not their Kiaro! labels would stand up to the freezing temperatures necessary for storing ice cream.
“The synthetic material that we use for the pint labels is pretty resistant to water and we actually label the pints after they’ve gone through the freezing process,” said Gabriel. “We were a little skeptical about how they would adhere to a frozen pint, but the Kiaro! labels do quite well.”
“It’s surprising how fast the printer is,” said Gabriel. “We have taught some of our employees how to use the Kiaro! and besides its flexibility and other benefits, it’s also very easy to use. The first time one of our managers used it she thought, ‘oh goodness I have to print out 150 labels that’s going to take all day’ and they started to come out and she was trying hard to keep up with the printer, and roll labels up so they weren’t all over the floor, it was actually quite humorous,” added Scherle. “The print speed is amazing.”
More Questions About Label Printing?
Read here how the Kiaro! digital label printer lets you print gorgeous labels, while reducing excess label inventory, saving you time, and allowing you to make more money. The Kiaro! gives you control over your entire labeling process, and allows you to more affordably label your products.
Or, give us a call, send us an email, or schedule your own Kiaro! demonstration today!
About Browndog Creamery…
Browndog Creamery is a gourmet ice cream shop and dessert bar on East Main St. in Northville, MI. “Browndog started off as an ice cream line, but we also now have a retail space where we sell t-shirts, hooded sweatshirts and gift cards; along with our own unique blend of coffee,” said co-owner Brian Scherle. “Plus, we now have a pastry chef who is making anything from a simple ice cream cakes all the way up to wedding cakes and specialized cookies, so we’re becoming a full-fledged creamery and dessert bar.”
Stop by their gourmet ice cream shop and dessert bar on 118 East Main St. in Northville, MI, visit them on Facebook, follow them on twitter @browndogcreamery, and stop by their website Browndogcreamery.com
Doc’s Tea is a handcrafted, small-batch beverage brewed by a family of dental health professionals dedicated to a healthy lifestyle. Recently, Dr. Ken Banks, owner of Doc’s Teas, began printing his own labels with the Kiaro! inkjet label printer in order to increase productivity, reduce cost, and dramatically improve label quality on all of their products.
“When I first saw the Kiaro! print I was amazed,” said Dr. Ken Banks, “I was impressed with the application process of the labels with our bottles and the look of the labels.”
We traveled to the home of Doc’s Tea, Inwood, West Virginia, to document how the maker of healthy, low-sugar, bottled sweet teas has increased their production speed, reduced their costs, and enhanced the look of their labels by using a Kiaro! label printer to print their own labels.
“We make our product on demand so that we can deliver a fresh product, not one that’s brewed, bottled and then stored,” said Dr. Ken Banks. Because Doc’s Tea doesn’t allow their teas to sit on shelves, they needed a solution that allowed them to print labels instantly, which eliminated the waiting time and inventory difficulties that come with ordering outside labels.
“The Kiaro! label printer fits in so well for us because it is allowing us to do small batches, to have high-quality labels, not to have a large inventory,” says Dr. Ken Banks, “it allows us to brew on demand and to print on demand.”
See for yourself!
Doc’s Tea, and countless others, have found that printing labels on-demand and in-house just makes sense. Schedule a demonstration of a Kiaro! label printer with one of our regional sales managers, who will take a Kiaro! to your facility, and show you what an in-house label printer can bring to your business.
Christmas is STILL just a week away – and if you’re anything like me, you’re STILL scrambling to get the gifts for everyone on your list. Yesterday, with part 1 of our Great Gifts List, we showed some awesome Kiaro! users with fantastic gifts for you to get for your loved ones this holiday season.
Today we’ve got five more awesome Christmas ideas, with just-as-awesome labels. Here’s part 2 of our list of the Great Christmas Gifts (with sensational Kiaro!-printed labels):
We’d be foolish not to include our Giving Thanks Label Design Contest champions in this list, right?
The spice-makers from Maryland craft some of the best seafood spices we’ve ever had, and this gift-bag of goodies is perfect for any of the at-home cooks in your family. Used in restaurants all over Maryland, and around the Chesapeake Bay, they’re renowned for their quality (plus the bag comes with a “merry christmas” labeled seasoning – so get to it!). And each gift bag is wrapped in decorative plastic, and is tied with a ribbon for extra presentation points.
Earlier this year, Eco Lips gave us the year’s single best commercial…
As one of our most creative clients, they craft lip balms that you design yourself. Choose the oils, the flavors, the herbal infusion, tube color, cap color, label color (!!), create your own label text(!!!!), and even add extra premium ingredients like red raspberry seed oil, or Vitamin-E boosts. Eco Lips is the perfect way to say “Merry Christmas” and ensure that your loved ones’ lips stay healthy through the dry winter season.
As an almost-but-not-really Vermonter I feel that I’m particularly qualified to recommend anything and everything from one of our newest Kiaro! users.
Though they have several locations, I would always stop in to the Vermont Country Store off of Route 103 on my way back home, during college breaks.
They offer, maple syrup, cheeses, cakes, candies, toys; everything, really.
If you’re wondering, Maple Butter is made from Vermont Maple Syrup and is great on ice cream, waffles, pancakes, toast or as a frosting.
One of our favorite customers, La Crema Coffee in Ohio, makes wonderfully delicious (and beautifully packaged) gourmet coffee. We even went out and visited them, not too long ago.
Their gourmet coffee comes designed with awesome illustrated labels, by Lula Bell Art & Designs; their coffee looks as great as it tastes, and makes for a perfect holiday gift.
Check out some of the varieties from their Holiday Coffee collection like Rudolph’s Red Velvet, or Prancer’s Peppermint.
Amoretti Ingredients, out in California, makes flavored syrups, olive oils, and other gourmet ingredients, but my personal favorite is their blackberry martini mix.
Blend with 2oz vodka, shake with ice, strain into a chilled martini glass, and serve. They say it goes great with gin, rum, tequila and more for any festive libation. But always, always remember to drink responsibly.
We hope you enjoyed reading through our selections and we hope even more that you took a shot and purchased one of these great holiday items. We’d love to hear about any other holiday items you’re labeling yourself! Let us know with comments, on facebook, or twitter!
How to Choose an Inkjet Label Printer
We understand that deciding which inkjet label printer is right for you is a puzzling question. You really want to make sure that you are purchasing the printer that is right for you and your particular needs. We manufacture two different inkjet label printers: the Kiaro! and the Zeo!, and we’ve heard many of the questions you have from customers of our own and want to help. When you’re comparing and contrasting different inkjet label printers here are some things to consider before you purchase.
Inkjet Label Print Speed
If you’re looking for an inkjet label printer two things that you are probably going to look at first are print speed and print quality. After all, time is money!
You may think that print speed only refers to the amount of time it takes to print your labels, but print speed also includes: pauses for maintenance procedures, loading the labels into the printer, processing time delays, etc. All of these impact the throughput and productivity of the printer. When you consider the purchase of a label printer, it’s important for someone from your production department to evaluate what they are looking for in terms of overall label printer productivity. If you have questions about which printer is the best fit in terms of this we have specialists on hand to help you determine which inkjet label printer is right for you.
Inkjet Label Print Quality
When you’re looking at the print quality of the labels, be sure to ask questions about what speed they were printed at – for example, ask “were they printed at top speed?” Some label printers reduce effective print resolution when printing at higher speeds. Be sure to ask for label samples at different speeds to compare and contrast output quality. With a QuickLabel inkjet label printer you can print high quality labels at a high speed.
The Kiaro! inkjet label printer has print speeds up to 8 ips, fitting in nicely in fast-paced production environments. But the print speed can be slowed to as low as 2 ips allowing it to accommodate to other various packaging environments. The Zeo! inkjet label printer on the other hand has sprint speeds of 0.02 – 0.25 ips making it more suitable for slower production areas.
Cost per Label for Inkjet Printers
In addition to looking for economically-priced inkjet label printer equipment, it’s also important to look for low ongoing costs for printing supplies. This can be difficult information to get from a salesperson, so here are a few tips:
Each label has a different cost. Give your salesperson some label artwork that best represents the amount of “ink coverage” that you will typically print. The cost per label for an inkjet printer will vary based on the amount of colors and ink used, so pick an assortment of “light,” “medium,” and “heavy” coverage labels. Ask the salesperson to give you a cost to print each label (the salesperson should have an ink cost calculation tool to do this).
Get the price of the blank label stock. This is easy and straightforward for the salesperson to quote, especially if you purchase from a company that allows makes blank labels (ahem, like QuickLabel Systems does!).
Once you have both the ink cost and the blank label cost, you can combine them together to arrive at the final cost of your finished labels.
As a rule of thumb, the finished inkjet label cost should be comparable to laser label printers or multi-color thermal transfer label printers.
Another important feature to take into consideration with inkjet label printers is its build. If a printer is finicky or fragile, it will produce a print error if the system is just slightly tilted. Think of a table with uneven legs or floors that are slightly uneven. A robust label printer should be able to be used at more than just a perfectly flat angle.
A good example for comparing and contrasting different color label printers can be done with the Kiaro! and the Zeo!. The Kiaro! is a compact inkjet label printer built to fit into almost any environment, it is small enough to fit on an office desk but robust enough to find a home on the manufacturing floor. The Zeo! resembles your typical desktop printer (but more stylish in purple of course!) and is a better fit for an office rather than a production floor.
Cleaning and Maintenance
This is another measure of productivity. Regular maintenance on any label printer is a given but all inkjet label printers must periodically clean their print heads. If print heads are not cleaned blotches, banding, or voiding artifacts will occur. An important label spec to look for is whether the inkjet label printer you choose allows you to clean labels “in job” instead of cutting the web and requiring you to splice together a finished roll. It is little things like these that go unnoticed until it comes time to have to deal with it.
Inkjet Labeling Software
Although you could choose to print directly from Adobe® Creative Suite software, you won’t be able to take advantage of features like barcode generation, databasing, or automatic counter fields unless you have labeling software.
It isn’t uncommon that labeling software isn’t included in the price of the printer when you purchase your label printer. Be sure to check into whether software is included or if it will be another expense. Software leads into another valuable benefit that is fantastic to be included in the purchase…
Installation and Training
I don’t know about you but I think that trying to learn how to use a label printer can be a bit daunting. How long will it be before you’re up and running, printing your own labels? And once you’ve begun printing, how can you really know you’re using the printer to its fullest capacity? QuickLabel offers a Quick Set-Up package where a QuickLabel specialist will come to your location, install the Kiaro!, and train your users to start printing labels. This is extremely helpful, as is the more intensive QuickLabel College training program held at our factory headquarters.
Ask Us Anything About Inkjet Label Printers
Phew, that is a lot to take in but if you have any questions about inkjet label printers we’re here to help! Feel free to ask us a question in the Comments section, we’d love to hear from you. For more information on QuickLabel’s inkjet label printers you can schedule a demonstration or request more information.