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Flexo 101: A Survival Guide for the Pressure Sensitive Label.

Have you been struggling with designing a label? Do you have questions about what the best material is to run your label on? Do you even know what materials are available? Not sure whether to use varnish or lamination? Have you never heard of a "rewind code?" You've come to the right place. Everyone has been there before- looking for a little bit more education on pressure sensitive labels. If you are already an expert then you might not want to read on any further because this weeks blog is all about the basics of putting together flexo labels! 

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At Label Tech we have dealt with all kinds of label purchasers. Some of these people are extremely educated when it comes to flexo labels- others not so much. There are a lot of new companies out there bringing a new product to market and they are researching what the best way to label their product may be. So what did we do you might ask? We took it upon ourselves to create a "Learning Center" on the Label Tech website so that you can talk the talk when it comes to flexo labels! Right in the upper right side of our website you will find the Learning Center. Here are some of the questions you may find answered!

  • What is the best finish for your label?
  • What is a "Rewind Code?"
  • What is Digital printing?
  • What is four color process?
  • What is full bleed?
  • What is the best size for your label?
  • What are my material choices?
  • What is the ordering process?
  • What is the proofing process?
  • What are these new things called QR Codes?

Note: We feel that having this information can help customers better understand the world of the pressure sensitive label! We hope you find our learning center helpful and if you don't see the answer to the specific question you have feel free to reach out to a specialist. Thanks for tuning in this week to Flexo 101.


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Topics: four color process 4CP labels label tech inc rewind code Label QR Codes Lamination Varnish Pressure Sensitive Labels Pressure Sensitive Labels Protecting Inks Choosing a commercial printer flexographic label printing

Digital Label Printing- Cutting Costs One Plate at a Time.

So what the heck is digital label printing all about and can your company benefit from it? Let's find out! Digital label printing is still a relatively new form of printing however, it has been growing in demand and popularity since it's inception. A digital press is basically like a gigantic, high color copy machine.

The ideal digital label printing candidate is looking to print about 10,000 custom labels or less depending on size. Ideally, it is any job for a printer that is approximately 6,500 feet of material or less that is running through the press. Another key point to note is that digital printing is usually comprised of 4 color process. Often times, businesses can still create high impact labels that are 4CP and get outstanding quality on a digital label. Digital printing can significantly lower the cost of production for a printer by combining aspects of pre-press, production, and finishing all in to one machine. 

There are cost savings for the customer as well. A tremendous cost savings for customers going digital is in the absence of plate charges! Not to mention that the dies for a piece of digital finishing equipment can be hundreds of dollars less than a die for a flexographic press. Printing digital labels generally will not produce nearly as much waste as printing flexographically and there is significantly less set up time involved as well. 

If you have a company with short runs of labels or even long runs with multiple skus then you may want to have your work quoted digitally. In the past year we have seen a coffee company with literally over one hundred skus ordering anywhere between 30 to 40 skus at a time over the course of about fifty thousand labels. Can you imagine how much money they would of had to pay in plate charges to get all of those skus set up?? If you are keeping your work with a printer who can't run your work digitally you may be getting nickel and dimed on plate charges and new die costs. Your quality may be suffering too- digital labels are typically higher quality than flexo labels. Just as with the differences between analog and digital processes, there is less potential for discrepancies from label to label on a digital press. However, don't count out great flexo press operators as often times a talented press operator can match the quality of a digital label.

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Topics: four color process 4CP labels digital printing Pressure Sensitive Labels

Beer Labels With Dynamic Numbering Flying Off Shelves!

Beer labels with "Dynamic Numbering" are flying off the shelves in New Hampshire! Local New Hampshire brewery White Birch Brewing has been brewing beer commercially since June of 2009. In a short time span the company has grown very well due to excellent micro brew beer and a unique approach to label design made possible by Digital Printing.

Not only is White Birch Brewing a great beer maker, but they also support local business when it comes to selecting vendors. With the addition of a new 7 barrel brewing system at their brewery in Hooksett, NH the company has been brewing close to 10,000 bottles of beer a month and sometimes more. 

Label design is important in an industry that is flooded; and with the gaining popularity of micro brew beer in America in recent years Brian Parda (Director of Marketing and Sales at WBB) and Bill Herlicka (Founder and Master Brewer) knew that they needed a unique label that would stand out in a crowd. Their approach was simple yet highly effective: use dynamic numbering on their labels. In the label biz we refer to this as variable data

Digital printing is a new technology that has allowed for short run multiple sku/lot printing to be cost effective and superior in quality. White Birch Brewing needed just that. Many of the beers that are made at WBB are limited in quantity and Brian and Bill wanted to convey that to the customer. If you look at the WBB label you notice almost immediately that the bottles are numbered dynamically. Want to buy a bottle of Bill's Belgian Style Pale Ale? Well, then you might appreciate knowing that you got bottle number 47 of 240, or 48 of 240, or possibly even bottle number 1 of 240. The WBB label itself will tell you.

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Here is what Brian Parda had to say about Label Tech Inc:

When we designed our labels, we wanted to showcase all the information beer lovers want to know about their beer. We also wanted to feature the size of our small batch production by numbering each bottle. LabelTech's ability to provide us with high quality digital printing and sequential numbering allowed us to do just that.

So if you get a chance to pick up a bottle of White Birch Brewing company's beer any time soon make sure you take a look at the label, it could be a number worth holding on to.

 

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Topics: four color process 4CP labels digital printing Beer Labels Variable Data Dynamic Numbering multiple sku printing Pressure Sensitive Labels

What the Heck is Four-Color Process? AKA 4CP.

What the heck is four-color process or what is commonly referred to as full color? Well, don’t feel bad about not knowing or having limited knowledge on the subject. In flexographic printing and digital printing it is good to have a brief understanding of what 4CP stands for and what it can do for your labels. CMYK and full color are both commonly referred to terms in label printing. Full color is not anything special so don't worry about your friends laughing at you for not understanding what it means. It is just a commonly referred to term for 4CP. CMYK is important. CMYK refers to the colors that are used in four-color process: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. The true meaning of the K is for Key Plate, however to make things simple let's just refer to it as the black plate. Click here to find out about our prepress department. Printing in 4CP allows for the printer to construct any color in the Pantone (PMS) book from these four colors. In doing so it allows the graphic designer who is creating your labels to get way more creative in designing your labels.

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Side note: if you want a "spot color" then you are referring to us picking an actual PMS number out of the pantone book. If you look in a "bridge" book then you can see the difference between making a color out of 4CP versus using the actual color itself. It is a subtle difference but good to take in to consideration when designing a label.

The CMYK process works by partially or entirely subtracting reflective light from whatever surface it is covering. In most cases the surface is white and often times when a Flexographic printer is printing on clear surfaces they will first lay down a coat of white to get a better color reflection, much like a painter laying down a base coat. 

Label Tech Inc has become an expert at four-color process printing. We run 4CP on many of our flexographic Mark Andy presses and we also run 4CP on our digital press. 

Printing a four-color process image and then laying down one or more spot colors can make for a label that has pop or more shelf appeal then your competitors. Stay tuned for more info from Label Tech Inc on labels and labeling. 

Topics: four color process 4CP labels label tech inc digital printing salsa label multiple sku printing Color match issues for labels color consistency color inconsistency labels coupon labels Pressure Sensitive Labels beverage labels food labels flexographic label printing cosmetic labels pharmaceutical labels consumer product labels

Color Match Issues for Food Labels Conquered by Label Tech Inc Again!

Virginia Chutney is a family owned company based in Rappahannock county, VA. The company has been making specialty chutney's ranging in flavors from Balsamic Fig to Spicy Plum, Rhubarb and many others since Clare and Neville Turner founded the company and settled in VA. 

As a manufacturer of specialty chutneys the company grew and eventually needed a line for filling jars. Once the line was set up to run it was time to order food labels. Filling jars that are hot fill can be tricky when it is time for labeling. When the product is filled in the jar, often times the jar remains hot for some time. Placing a label on a hot jar may sound simple, but if your flexographic label printer isn't adhesive savy, it can make for messy labels. Their label problems didn't end with poor adhesive selection. 

Virginia Chutney was also experiencing issues with consistent label color. If your label printer is sending you inconsistent labels with every shipment, chances are either one of two things is going on: one, he's not printing the labels for you and he's subbing out the work to other printers each time for to find the best margins to make money off of you. If you are buying from a print distributor instead of going direct to a label manufacturer you are most likely paying 15-30% more than you should be for your labels. Or two- he doesn't know what he's doing. If you combine the issues that Virginia Chutney was having with their labels, chances are that's enough for you to look at a new vendor. 

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Label Tech Inc is also a family owned and operated business and they were ready to make a difference for Virginia Chutney. 

Solving color issues is something we are very familiar with. Virginia Chutney has many different products that are all run with the same size label. This allowed Label Tech Inc to switch them over to a digital press for superior four color process label printing and unmatched color consistency. Our HP Indigo Digital press sits in a climate controlled room and our press operators mark down all the color readings on the job ticket. This allowed our press operators to match color exactly on all future repeat orders for Virginia Chutney. 

Freezer grade adhesive allowed us to run hot fill labels for them with no bubbling or peeling of the label after it was applied to the hot jar. Simple solutions are easy once you've been down that road before. Here is what Clare Turner had to say about Label Tech Inc's most recent order for Virginia Chutney: 

Just wanted to thank you for doing such a wonderful job with the Cranfiggy labels - we asked for a rushed job on a small amount of labels and then sent you the wrong UPC and yet you still managed to get them to us well ahead of time.

Our experience with printers has always been complicated but working with Label Tech Inc is a joy and we will recommend you at every opportunity we get.  We will be at the Fancy Food Show (Booth 3026) next week and if you plan to attend please try and visit us.

Thanks very much

Clare

Clare Turner
The Virginia Chutney Company

Label Tech Inc has over 25 years of experience in the label manufacturing business. We have been ISO Certified since 1998 and have a quality control procedure in place for every thing that we do. Please allow us to fix your label problems or take a look at us as a new vendor. 

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Topics: four color process 4CP labels label tech inc digital printing hot fill labels glass jar labeling bubbling labels label not sticking label application multiple sku printing Color match issues for labels color consistency color inconsistency labels in line labeling chutney labels labels peeling Pressure Sensitive Labels food labels flexographic label printing food label printer
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