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Colour Technology Guide

Print your own photo-quality, UV resistant labels from a dye based or pigment inkjet colour label printer, we can also supply the latest in Memjet technology colour label printers.

Colour Technology

The first step is to identify what you are printing for, as if you are only going to be printing address labels or labels for perishable goods that are only going to be used for a short space of time then a direct thermal printer would be ideal. This is due to the fact that Direct thermal technology uses heat sensitive paper by transferring heat through the print head of a direct thermal printer burning an image (text, images and barcodes) directly onto a label. This means that the print will fade in sunlight or heat and can be easily marked when scuffed.

The other option is Thermal Transfer which uses heat to transfer an image (text, images and barcodes) using an ink ribbon onto a label. Heat from the print head melts the ink on the ribbon which is deposited onto the label surface to create the image. This type of printing allows for use of paper and synthetic label materials, which depending on the type can give resistance to heat, water, oil and chemicals.

Pigment or Dye Based Ink

There are two types of ink that colour printers utilise; dye based and pigment.

Dye based colour printing gives you vibrant colours and exceptional photo quality labels that are ideal for applications where brand and product appearance is vital, dye ink can provide good water and smudge resistance.
Pigment provides less vibrant colours than dye inks, but has superior resistance to a range of substances, including water, oils, chemicals and UV.

Inks are available in Magenta, Yellow, Cyan and Black.

Print Width

Label printers have a fixed size printhead, generally 4”, 6” or 8”. The standard size is normally 4 inches, which we would generally recommend unless you need to print wider labels.

Resolution (DPI)

Resolution describes the print quality of the printer, defined in dots per inch (dpi). 720 to 1200dpi is the standard resolution for a colour label printers printhead, this is ideal for printing low quality images. If you would require to print higher quality we would recommend a resolution higher than 4800dpi. 

Media Sensors

Media sensors are used to detect the size of media you are using, either by detecting a gap between the labels or a black mark on the backing paper. Black marks are used where it is not possible for the printer to detect a gap (e.g. card tag labels or transparent labels). 

Most printers will have both gap and black mark (reflective) media sensors.

A moveable sensor may be necessary if you are printing labels more than one across (make sure that the gap detector does not coincide with a vertical gap) and may be necessary if you are printing circular labels (make sure that the gap detector is lined up with the top of the circle.

Interface Options

Interfaces are used to connect your computer to the printer. Most colour label printers have USB interfaces as standard.

  • 802.11 WLAN
  • Bluetooth
  • Ethernet
  • IBM 468x (RS485)
  • Parallel
  • RS232 Serial
  • USB
  • USB Host

Printer Options

a) Cutters

Cutters are available on some colour label printers, the cutter unit cuts the label or backing paper to the label length set by the label design software.

b) Built-in Label Rewind

Built-in label rewinders allow labels to be rewound onto a hub within the printer after printing. The alternative is a separate, stand alone rewinder, which usually works out more expensive. Internal rewind options are usually available on industrial printers.

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