04 Apr Choosing the right printer label
Choosing the right printer label sounds like an easy job, but if you don’t answer the following questions…you may end up with a bad label that doesn’t work for you and costs more money in the long run.
A mistake some people make is to find a label manufacturer that does not understand thermal transfer printing. They create a label that looks good, but will not accept the ink transfer from the ribbon. You need to make sure the person you are working with knows how to make labels that will not only look good, but that you can use in a label printer.
To make sure you get the right label for you, we recommend you ask yourself the following questions before making a decision. We also strongly recommend buy a roll first to test the label rather than buying a large quantity upfront. This small additional expense can save you thousands of dollars (or more) in the future.
- What label printer are you using? This is important because core size and maximum diameter of the rolls varies and not all printers can accommodate every roll size. The 2 most common core sizes are 1” & 3”, and a few printers can handle both core sizes, but for the most part they only handle one of them. Also, some printers work better with an inside wind versus outside wind roll of labels.
- What size of label you are printing, and are going to print multiple sizes with one printer? When defining a label, the first number is the width and the second number is the length. Example a 4.0” x 2.0” label is 4.0” wide across the web, and travels 2.0” as it is printed. You may need a custom label which adds to the cost.
- What are you using the label on? Are labeling; cardboard, glass, metal (painted-not painted), or any other type of surface. Is the surface smooth or does it have a rough texture, is it clean or dirty, and how long will the label will need to stick to the item?
- Are you using a tag vs a label? If so, how will you attach it to your products? Will you staple it, do you need one or more than one hang holes, will you glue it, or do you just need clean edges? Some materials will tear if you puncture them with a staple, so you need to make sure find the correct tag stock.
- What environmental conditions will the label be exposed to? What are the temperature extremes and for how long the label will be exposed to those extremes? Both the high and low temperature. Different labels work on different surface materials and different temperature conditions. For example, some labels will survive -80c and others over 200c for long durations.
- How many labels you will be printing at any given time? What will you be printing on the label? Some label material can handle high speed printing and others cannot. If you are printing barcodes, you need to know if you will be printing like a picket fence, or like a ladder. Printing labels in the picket fence orientation will allow you to print at higher speeds. If you need to print a high volume labels and your label is small enough, you may be able to put 2 or more across the web, thus doubling or tripling the number of labels you print at one time.
- Do you need a pre-printed portion of the label and what would you want printed on them? This could include information such as ingredients, weight, expiration date etc.
- If you are going to have pre-printed labels you need to know the wind and direction of the pre-print? This is less critical when you are creating a new label and have to setup the print temple from the beginning; however it is critical if it is a repeat order. There have been times when a pre-printed label was mistakenly wound on the roll backwards which meant that the print template had to be changed, and in some cases the labels had to be sent back and re-wound.
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