This past decade has been an eventful one in the color label printing world. Manufacturers like Epson, Primera Technology, Afinia Label, iSys Label, NeuraLabel, UniNet, and VIPColor have produced some amazing color label printers over the past decade, constantly improving their technologies. Below are some of the best color label printer innovations of the decade:
- “Just in Time” color labeling — Epson’s Just in Time™ label printing solutions arrived in late 2012 with the Epson TM-C3400 and other color label printers featuring MicroPiezo inkjet technology and fast-drying pigment inks that produced durable, smudge-free color labels on demand. Just in Time color label printing helped change the way industrial companies, manufacturers, and packaging partners printed their labels. Rather than relying on and managing preprinted color labels, they could print them on demand using the Epson TM-C3400 color label printer. In addition, the ability to print their own color labels on demand gave companies greater flexibility in their label designs. It was no longer necessary to stick with a given design until all of the pre-printed inventory was used up. Many experimented with seasonal labels and took advantage of different label and packaging trends. Now checkout the complete line of Epson color label printers now available.
- Dual-purpose printers — Color label printing generally falls into two main categories: GHS/industrial label printing and “prime” label printing. Both types of labeling have specific requirements, which boil down to the ink types used. GHS/industrial label printing requires durability more than resolution or vivid colors; thus, pigment inks are used. Prime label printing requires high resolutions and beautiful, vivid colors; thus, dye inks are used. This meant purchasing a specific color label printer type based on the type of labels you intended to print, either GHS industrial labels or prime product labels. But what if you needed to print both types of labels? That meant buying two different label printers. Dual purpose printers arrived a few years ago such as the Afinia L501/L502 duo and the Primera LX910, which use pigment and dye ink cartridges depending on your needs. Instead of buying two separate printers, these dual-purpose color label printers allow you to swap out one ink type for the other.
- One-pass printing — If you’re familiar with modern color inkjet printers, you’re familiar with how the print head travels back and forth across the page to produce images. It’s a fairly slow mechanical process. One-pass printing features a much wider print head that remains fixed, showering the ink onto the page as the page passes through it. One-pass printing is dramatically faster, resulting in outstanding print speeds of up to 60 feet per minute. Memjet printers such as the Afinia L701/L801 and L901 and the VIPColor VP700 print full color high resolution labels in a single pass. A few other inkjet label printers do the same including the Epson TM-C7500.
A lot has changed in the packaging and labeling industry in the last 10 years and we expect to see even more innovations in the 2020s.