Color inkjet label printers are not new, but they’ve yet to take hold in the enterprise label printing market which relies on large fleets of black and white thermal transfer printers and preprinted stock to get the job done. According to Basat Khalifa from DuraFast Label Company, that’s about to change with the new Epson ColorWorks CW-C6500A and CW-C6500P 8-inch color label printers that are coming out in January 2020. We recently spoke with him about these new printers and how they are likely to transform this market segment.
Q: Why aren’t large enterprises using color inkjet label printers currently?
A: Color inkjet label printers, such as the Primera LX2000, NeuraLabel 300x, and Afinia L501, L701, and L801, are excellent products, but they are not designed for the enterprise market which typically requires a fleet of high speed printers and some very specific features like remote printer management and integration with middleware programs.
What Epson did with the Epson CW-C6500 color label printer (as well as the 4-inch Epson CW-C6000 color label printer which comes out in May 2020) is create a high speed, high resolution full color pigment inkjet label printer and design it as a replacement for these black and white thermal transfer printers. Thus, it has similar features, media handling capabilities, print speed, and most importantly connectivity options as the black thermal transfer printers it will replace.
Q: What types of features do enterprises need that have been lacking in the past and preventing them from incorporating color label printers into their fleets?
A: Enterprises typically require their printer fleets to integrate with various systems and middleware like SAP as well as be compatible with ZPL II. Remote printer management is essential for managing a large fleet of printers over the network. Another must-have feature is an applicator I/O control port to allow for a truly automated workflow. The applicator I/O control port supports I/O commands and is required for use with a label applicator where the label is printed and then applied to the product. The Epson CW-C6500 color label printer has all of the above features as well as MAC OS, Windows, and Linux drivers.
Q: How is color transformative in the enterprise label printing market?
A: Being able to print color labels up to 1200 dpi in the enterprise label printing market will enhance productivity. Currently, if using black and white thermal transfer printers, adding color requires the use of a single color ribbon or pre-printed labels. Not only is this limiting, it’s a hassle, expensive, and wasteful. Pre-printing labels from a supplier typically requires a minimum order quantity and set up and die fees. From there, the labels must be stored until they are needed. If the label design changes before the labels have been used, they become obsolete and must be discarded.
With Epson CW-C6500 color label printers in the fleet, color labels can be printed on demand. There’s no need for preprinting, no setup and die charges, no minimum label amounts, and no waste. Plus, the print quality is outstanding at 1200 dpi! In addition, the Epson CW-C6500 color label printer meets GHS BS5609 certification when used with DuraFast Chemical label media for pigment inks.
Q: What happens once the labels are printed?
A: That depends on the model. There are two versions of the Epson ColorWorks CW-C6500 color label printer:
– Epson CW-C6500A — Comes with an auto cutter
– Epson CW-C6500P — Comes with a peeler.
The Epson CW-C6500A color label printer automatically cuts the labels once they are printed. The Epson CW-C6500P color label printer peels and presents the labels so that you can quickly remove and apply label as they are printed without having to manually peel them off of the liner.
Q: What happens if the printer breaks down?
A: It’s important to keep service disruptions to a minimum in enterprise environments which is why the Epson CW-C6500 color label printer has warranty options, depending on the customer’s needs: Spare In the Air (SITA) with quick replacement printer options or Onsite Service.
Q: When will the Epson CW-C6500 color label printer be available?
A: We begin shipping in January 2020. We expect demand to be high which is why we are taking pre-orders now. In addition, for those who pre-order and use discount code “C6500PRE,” we have a pre-order special worth $1000 in free label credit. This offer expires as soon as we start shipping, so it’s best to pre-order now.