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We’ve been chatting with Basat Khalifa about Afinia Label’s new color label printer that’s recently hit the market. The Afinia L501 comes in several configurations. Today, let’s find out more about the Afinia L501 Duo.
Q: Earlier we talked about the Afinia L501 Dye and L501 Pigment models. So, could you tell us about the Afinia L501 Duo?
A: The Afinia L501 Duo is the bundled version which contains both the dye and pigment ink print heads along with both sets of ink cartridges. As you may recall, the Afinia L501 color label printer is unique in that it uses Afinia’s Duo Ink Technology, allowing the L501 to print with either dye-based inks or pigment inks.
Q: With the L501 Duo, people can use both types of inks depending on their needs?
A: Yes, that’s correct. For example, they could use the dye colored inks one day to print photo quality product labels that look amazing on their products. The next day (or the same day if desired), they could switch gears and use the Afinia L501 Duo with pigment colored inks to print industrial, GHS BS5609, or chemical labels. The pigment inks are not as vibrant as their color counterparts but they are far more durable and suitable for outdoor and industrial purposes.
Q: You said customers can buy either of the other L501 versions and later add the print head and cartridges to take advantage of both types of inks. Why would someone want to buy the Afinia L501 Duo version?
A: The L501 Dye and L501 Pigment versions are great for users who have a primary use in mind and expect to later want to add the other ink type by ordering the appropriate print head and ink cartridges. However, many users have the immediate need to print with both types of inks right away. The Afinia L501 Duo comes with everything, and it’s a great value. The L501 Duo has both the dye and the pigment print head along with a full set of ink cartridges for both. These are full ink cartridges, too. Not starter cartridges like you will find in printers like the Primera LX2000 which have just enough ink to prime the print head.
Q: Is it common for businesses to need to use both pigment and dye inks?
A: Yes. The way I like to think of the difference between ink types and labels is whether the end use is customer-facing and internal. For example, most product labels are customer facing or “prime” as the industry calls them. They need to look professional and attractive. They need to represent the brand and evoke an emotional response. They have a job to do — sell the product — so they need the vivid colors that dye inks produce.
On the other hand, labels used to identify inventory or provide instructions (such as warning labels, address labels, or barcodes) don’t necessarily need to be photo quality. While color is definitely a plus, it’s more important that the labels remain legible despite harsher environmental conditions like exposure to water, chemicals or sunlight or rougher handling conditions that may cause abrasions and scratches. Pigment inks and synthetic label materials provide better durability for this type of label.
Many businesses need both customer-facing and internal labels. They manufacture goods, in which case they need product labels. They probably warehouse some of those goods, in which case they need internal labels such as inventory labels, carton box labels, pallet labels, rack labels, and more. If they export goods containing hazardous substances, they may need GHS labels. Even some types of products, like essential oils, cannabis oil, or pool chemicals, are best labeled with pigment inks and synthetic film labels due to the product’s content and likely exposure to water, chemicals, or oil.
Q: Are there other dual-purpose color label printers on the market?
A: Primera Technology has just started shipping the LX910 (replacing the older LX900 dye inkjet printer). It ships with a single tricolor CMY dye ink cartridge. Primera will also have a pigment tri-color CYM (cyan, magenta, and yellow) ink cartridge soon. The LX910 pigment ink cartridge is supposed to be available in July 2018. The LX910 is a capable, high resolution color label printer intended for small production runs. It’s more costly than the L501 in terms of its ink cost per label. The Afinia L501 uses four individual ink cartridges, so if you run low on one color, you only replace that color. With a single cartridge, you’d have to replace the entire cartridge, even if you still have plenty of two of the three colors.
Since we sell both these printers, we are always happy to print samples with the true ink cost so that you can compare before you buy. There is a significant ink cost saving when using four separate ink cartridges versus a single tri-color ink. Lower priced printers tend to have the highest ink cost in the industry. That’s how the printer manufacturers make all their money.
Q: Does ink cost really make a difference?
A: Yes! You’d be surprised at how quickly a bargain-priced inkjet label printer can become a huge operational monthly expense. That’s why we offer a free cost analysis upon request. Customers can send us their label design files and we’ll print them on the different label printers as well as provide them with the expected monthly ink cost per label. It’s an eye-opening exercise that better illustrates actual costs and savings.
If you are printing 3,000 labels per month and you have high ink saturation in your design, you could be spending anywhere between 5 to 20 cents per label for ink depending on the printer you are using. If the ink cost is $0.10 cents, that alone would cost you $300 per month for a total yearly cost of $3600. Now if your ink cost was 0.20 cents, you will spend $7200 per year, twice as much as the L501 or LX2000 or VP495 cost. Talk to us and get the true ink cost before you buy any printer. It’s totally free.
Q: Speaking of savings, you mentioned a free label deal?
A: Yes, for a limited time, customers who purchase an Afinia L501 Duo through DuraFastLabel.com can use discount code L501 to receive $200 worth of free labels at the time of purchase.