Posted by Frank Murch | Feb 21, 2014, 4:53:00 AM
Do you have a small number of labels and can not find anybody to print them?
Many companies need a few to a few hundred labels but can not find a printer to accept the job. Label makers normally are interested in making thousands of labels. The set up time and cost is high and it is not economical to print a small number of labels. Most companies start out with their desktop printer and quickly find these labels are low quality “junk”. They need an economical high quality solution.
Digital printing could be your answer. We use wide format digital printing to print signs on vinyl. We make signs, big signs, small signs and everything in-between. Along the way we use rolls of vinyl. We make a lot of signs that are less wide than the roll of vinyl we use, often much less. This means we have scrap material, often a lot of scrap material.
Having a few customers needing small volumes of labels is a great way for us to use this scrap. While most printers don’t want this business – we do want it.
Labels can easily be printed with Adobe illustrator and a digital printer – just like a sign. This means companies with small custom labels can serialize these, customize these with names, dates or account numbers. Our Digital printing equipment is the HP L26500 – a CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and key – black) printer that can print most labels. It is an excellent option for short runs with multiple designs.
The set-up costs and really in the design. The turn around time is fast, waiting for another job to run can take a week or so. There is a $100 minimum. If your schedule is flexible this could be an ideal solutions for smaller companies or short run products.
The process is:
- Design – this is the most difficult part. We take your design and convert it into Adobe Illustrator. This can be full color, in English, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish or any other language. The label can incorporate a photo, a drawing, a color fade. The detail can be extreme and it can be unique. By Unique I mean you can serialize these, put a customer’s name on it, or date it.
- Print - The label will be printed on vinyl. You may not have a huge range of material choices, but nearly all the material used in a sign shop is designed for signage that requires much much how durability, and better adhesion than a normally label. It is a very high quality product.
- Lamination – A film laminate is a clear plastic layer that is pressed against the face of the label. It provides mechanical protection, UV protection and protection against liquids. This step is not strictly required and is not always done, but when it is – it is tough. It is a lot tougher than a normal label
- Cut and weed – We can cut these by hand or by machine. If we cut by machine we need to plan for this way back at the design step. Machine cut is done with a very small knife or razor blade on a plotter that cuts through the sticker, but not through the “release liner”. The release liner is the part that is pealed off and thrown away.
So is this process for you? It is a lot more expensive that a company dedicated to making labels and making thousands. It is a lot more manually intensive. The product is a much higher quality than most requirements. So where does is make sense? In short runs, (1 to 400) when timing is not critical (a week to ten days) and the cost of setup exceeds the cost of running the label production. It also makes sense when what can be done off a desk top inkjet it just not good enough. (strong adhesive, resists mechanical, chemical and liquid damage) This is exactly where companies have problems because label printers just don’t want that type of business.
If you are in this situation. If you need prototypes or short runs – contact us. Lets see if we can help!!