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We recently spoke with Basat Khalifa, CEO of DuraFast Label Company, about the new Afinia L501 color label printer. Last time we focused on using the L501 with dye inks, but it can also be used with pigment inks, so we thought we’d ask him more about the model that uses pigment inks.
Q: What makes the Afinia L501 Pigment model a good choice for business use?
A: The Afinia L501 color label printer is an innovative dual-purpose label printer that can be equipped with either a dye print head and dye-based inks or a pigment print head and pigment-based inks. The Afinia L501 Pigment model comes with the pigment print head and pigment ink cartridges. Thus, it’s set up for printing durable industrial labels right out of the box.
Q: Are pigment inks more durable than dye inks? You need a special type of ink for industrial labels?
A: Yes, definitely. Pigment inks are much more durable than dye inks which can smudge, smear, and fade. Pigment inks are also designed for use on matte finished label stock versus dye inks which bond better with glossy or high gloss finished labels. If you need labels that will be exposed to water, sunlight, oil, chemicals, scratches and abrasions, and other harsh conditions, you need a pigment ink color label printer like the Afinia L501 Pigment. The colors aren’t as vibrant as dye inks, but they are the much more durable choice, and when paired with certain matte label materials, can be used for waterproof, GHS, chemical, scientific, and other labeling applications requiring extreme durability. Pigment inks bond best with matte finished label stocks, where dye inks work best with high gloss shiny label stocks.
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Q: Why would a business owner want to opt for the Afinia L501 pigment version over the dye version of this color label printer?
A: It comes down to what the initial and primary use for the L501 color label printer is. For example, if the person has an immediate need for printing chemical-resistant or waterproof labels or primarily prints industrial labels, then we’d suggest getting the Afinia L501 with the pigment print head and pigment inks. Later, if they want to print photo quality product labels, they can buy the dye print head and ink cartridge kit and swap out as needed. This can save potentially thousands of dollars versus buying a standalone “prime” product label printer.
Q: How complicated is it to swap out the print heads?
A: Not complicated in the least. The print head holds all four (CMYK) color ink cartridges, so you just pull the entire unit out and replace with the other one.
Q: What types of labels would someone use the Afinia L501 Pigment ink color label printer to print?
A: There are so many possibilities ranging from vape and essential oil labels, pool chemical labels, nursery and greenhouse labels, and household cleaning product labels to boat labels, marina labels, scientific and weather equipment labels, laboratory labels, healthcare labels, and chemical drum labels to name a few possibilities. In general, if the label will be subject to water, sunlight, chemicals, or oil exposure, using the Afinia L501 Pigment can produce a high resolution, extremely durable label. DuraFast Chemical labels, when printed with the L501 Pigment inks, will produce GHS BS5609-compliant labels that are fully waterproof and can be immersed in saltwater for up to 12 months. These matte chemical labels cannot be printed with the dye inks. Pigment inks only.
Q: How does the Afinia L501 Pigment compare to other pigment label printers on the market like LX2000 and VP495?
A: Quite favorably! It’s an affordable unit that can be converted to use dye inks as discussed earlier, but it’s also an excellent pigment printer in its own right. It has a print resolution of up to 2400dpi which is outstanding for an industrial printer. It uses tried-and-true HP thermal inkjet technology and can print at a speed of just over 5 inches per second. It can print large format chemical drum labels in bulk thanks to its unwinder, which accepts 8” OD label rolls.
The Afinia L501 Pigment competes with the Primera LX2000 and VIPColor VP495 color label printers in the GHS BS5609-compliant label market. All three of these printers use HP pigment inkjet technology, where Afinia has the newest release and VIPColor has the oldest version. Since they have the same print technology, the print quality and print speed are very similar. However, your operating cost will differ. The Afinia L501 has the lowest ink cost per label followed by the VIPColor VP495. The highest ink cost per label is with the Primera LX2000. Ink cost is an important criterion when you buy a color label printer since the yearly ink cost can add up to much more than the original printer cost. These three printers are designed for people printing small quantities of labels each month, ranging from 500 to 3,000 labels per month.