Monthly Archives: October 2007

  • Our Largest Job Ever

    Record_job_2

    Today we shipped the largest job we have ever printed. We printed 500,000 2" square labels, and as you can see in the photo above, Steve Smith is proudly leaning on the 100 rolls neatly rolled in batches of 5,000 labels. While digital label printing works great for short runs, with the latest HP-Indigo WS4500 technology longer runs become possible. This job took around 7 hours to print - it would have been almost 2 days on our old press.

    We have noticed a trend towards slightly longer runs here. Many of our customers have been with us now for several years and as they grow the number of labels they order grows as well. While we will continue to happily serve those of you who want just 500 or 1,000 labels, keep in mind that the high quality and fast turnaround you expect from Lightning Labels is now possible for longer runs.

  • Back from the TLMI Annual Conference

    Steve Smith and I spent this past week at the TLMI (Tag and Label Manufacturers Institute) Annual Conference in Hawaii. The conference was excellent with great speakers and a fabulous location - we stayed at the Fairmont Orchid Hotel which is right on the beach on the Big Island. This was our first TLMI conference and everyone went out of our way to make us feel welcome. That was one of the real positives about the conference - meeting the other label printers; it was a very friendly and open atmosphere amongst the attendees.

    One of the highlights for us was the awards dinner on Tuesday night. TLMI give out awards every year for technical excellence and we were delighted to come in second in one of the digital printing categories for this label. Seeing this was our first year and the only category we entered we were very happy to be recognized.

  • Our Second HP-Indigo WS4500 Arrives

    100_2170_2

    Yesterday our new HP-Indigo WS4500 press arrived. It came on a big 18-wheeler in about 20 boxes and took the better part of the morning to unload from the truck into our warehouse. We are trading in our old WS2000 on this new press, so now we will have two new state-of-the-art digital label printing presses.

    The WS4500 is simply the best digital label press that money can buy and we are delighted to be the first US company to own two of them. It will effectively double our printing capacity and allow us to grow while still maintaining one of the fastest standard turnarounds in the industry.

    We should be up an running by Thursday and ready for full production shortly after that.

  • Today is Blog Action Day

    October 15th has been designated as Blog Action Day. It is an effort by a group of influential bloggers to get the entire blogosphere to blog about one topic on one day. It is going to be an annual event and the topic this year is the environment. So in honor of Blog Action Day, today I am going to be writing about the environment and labels.

    The environmental impact of packaging has been in the news a lot lately. Walmart have their packaging scorecard which evaluates suppliers on the sustainability of their packaging. Coke announced last month their plans to recycle or reuse 100% of the plastic bottles they produce. Many companies such as Green Mountain Coffee, Biota bottled water, and the UK company Sainsburys have adopted sustainable packaging materials in their products. But what about labels?

    Most people focus on the impact of the product container and not the label, but the label is an important part of the packaging. Here are three things you can do to be more environmentally responsible in your labeling:

    1. Choose the smallest label size that will work - you want the label to do its job by promoting your product and providing all the necessary information but do you really need a 4" x 6" label? Maybe a 3.5" x 5" label would work just as well. By choosing a smaller label you are using less label material, and best of all you will pay less for your labels.
    2. Print your labels on sustainable materials - there are now new label materials that are environmentally friendly - here at Lightning Labels we are proud to offer EarthFirst PLA material, which is made from corn, an annually renewable resource.
    3. Order only what you need - there is no need to buy a year's supply of labels, you don't know what will happen in the coming year and you may be left with labels you cannot use.

    If do these things you will be lessening the environmental impact of your label purchases. Happy Blog Action Day.

  • Personalized Beer Labels

    Beer_labels_3Earlier this week there was a fascinating post about mass personalization over at the Trend Hunter magazine blog. It described 18 different products such as Nike sneakers and ladies handbags that you can personalize, but of most interest to me were the products involving personalized labels. They mentioned Heinz ketchup that I have discussed on this blog before.

    What I didn't know about was the Danish brewery, Tuborg, that is offering personalized beer labels through their web site. Unfortunately I can't read Danish so I don't know exactly how it works, but from poking around their site it looks like a pretty simple process.

    It is surprising to me that in the ultra-competitive beer market in this country none of the major breweries or micro-breweries have bothered trying to take advantage of this market. There is an opportunity for someone to come in and establish themselves as the "personalized beer" company. All the label printing technology is in place and with today's high quality digital label presses the labels could be photo quality. It will only be a matter of time before some enterprising brewery discovers this "untapped" market.

  • Personalized Holiday Gift Ideas

    We have been receiving Christmas card catalogs here at Lightning Labels now for a couple of months already. And with Halloween just around the corner we know that the holiday season will soon be upon us. Have you given any thought to holiday gifts for your customers?

    I have an easy suggestion. Just take your standard product label, give it a holiday theme and then personalize it with your customer's name on the label. It is quite easy to do, it is not that expensive, and it will be appreciated by your customers. Everyone likes to see their name on a product, and you get the added benefit of using your product as a marketing tool.

    Doing personalized labels is very easy to do, you just provide us with the names in a spreadsheet and we take care of the rest. Our digital label printer merges all the names on to your label just like a mail merge in Microsoft Word. 

    I know Christmas is still more than 10 weeks away, but it will be here before you know it. Get working today on your personalized holiday gift - it will be a win-win for you and your customers this holiday season.

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Material Descriptions

Materials

BIOSTONE

One of our eco-friendly options that is actually made of stone—no trees are used. This material should not laminated.

CAST GLOSS

This is another material specially designed for the wine industry. It is paper-based with a high-gloss white finish. Same adhesive and liner as Estate #9.

CHROME (SILVER) BOPP

This material has the same water and oil-resistant properties as our White BOPP and Clear BOPP, but has the "mirror-like" look of shiny chrome.

CLASSIC CREST

Best suited for wine labels, this is a white paper stock with a dull matte finish. It is not suitable for lamination and is therefore not waterproof. Same adhesive and liner as Estate #9.

CLEAR BOPP

This is the clear version of the Polypropylene (BOPP) material. It has the same waterproof qualities as the White BOPP. It provides more of a "no label" look and is also suitable for window stickers (where reverse printing of the image allows the label to be applied to the inside of a glass window and be viewed from the outside).

ESTATE #9

This is a great option for wine labels, gourmet foods or applications where a textured finish is desired. Being a paper stock, it's not as water-resistant or durable as BOPP, but its light cream color and textured feel add a touch of the "unusual" to the right product. It features a special adhesive (removable in 100+ degree hot water) and a stronger liner particularly suited to machine application. Not suitable for lamination.

GOLD POLYESTER (METALIZED)

This material will make your labels shine! Suitable for most labeling applications, it has a strong adhesive backing and must be laminated. Choose glossy laminate to make your label designs pop, or matte for a unique, elegant look.

KRAFT (RECYCLED)

This is a recycled 100% post consumer waste material. It is a 55# paper material that is a wonderful option if an “earthy” appearance is desired. The stronger liner is well suited for machine application. Depending upon face, substrate, water temperature and dwell time, label may be removed in hot water. It is not suitable for lamination; therefore, it is not water or oil resistant.

REMOVABLE WHITE BOPP

This material is the same as our standard BOPP, but has a special, "less aggressive" adhesive designed to allow the label to be removed or re-positioned after application. Depending on the surface it will be applied to, customer testing is strongly recommended. We can provide samples for this purpose.

SATIN CLOTH

Quite the unique material! Yes, it is woven satin acetate cloth. Think wine or spirit labels! This material will make your product packaging POP. The stronger liner is well suited for machine application. Depending upon face, substrate, water temperature and dwell time, label may be removed in hot water.

SQUEEZABLE

A white, 3mil film that is better suited for squeezable applications. This material has proven to work well in a variety of applications, so you can be confident it will perform well for you.

VELLUM (RECYCLED)

A great “green” choice, this 60# vellum is 100% recycled with 100% post consumer waste material. Cannot be laminated. Is neither water nor oil-resistant. The stronger liner is well suited for machine application. Depending upon face, substrate, water temperature and dwell time, label may be removed in hot water.

WHITE BOPP

This is our most commonly used material and is suitable for most applications. It's a polypropylene material with a permanent adhesive. It is impervious to water and oils, and is particularly suitable for bath and body products, as well as food containers.

WHITE EARTHFIRST PLA

A more environmentally friendly alternative to White BOPP. The PLA stands for Polylactic Acid (a biopolymer made from corn rather than petrochemicals). Similar look and feel to BOPP and suitable for most applications, but should not be used directly on candle containers.

WHITE FLEXIBLE VINYL

This is our most substantial material. The vinyl is thicker than BOPP, and is most suitable for outdoor applications where greater strength and durability are needed, or where lengthy exposure to the elements is an issue.

WINDOW DECAL (CLEAR/ULTRA-REMOVABLE)

We offer this window decal option as an alternative to static cling. The face stock is clear with excellent clarity. The adhesive is an ultra-removable featuring excellent weatherability and UV resistance. It removes cleanly from a wide variety of substrates without staining or ghosting. Why worry about static clings staying on when you can have removable adhesive there to hold it in place?

CAST GLOSS

This is another material specially designed for the wine industry. It is paper-based with a high-gloss white finish. Same adhesive and liner as Estate #9.

CHROME (SILVER) BOPP

This material has the same water and oil-resistant properties as our White BOPP and Clear BOPP, but has the "mirror-like" look of shiny chrome.

CLASSIC CREST

Best suited for wine labels, this is a white paper stock with a dull matte finish. It is not suitable for lamination and is therefore not waterproof. Same adhesive and liner as Estate #9.

CLEAR BOPP

This is the clear version of the Polypropylene (BOPP) material. It has the same waterproof qualities as the White BOPP. It provides more of a "no label" look and is also suitable for window stickers (where reverse printing of the image allows the label to be applied to the inside of a glass window and be viewed from the outside).

ESTATE #9

This is a great option for wine labels, gourmet foods or applications where a textured finish is desired. Being a paper stock, it's not as water-resistant or durable as BOPP, but its light cream color and textured feel add a touch of the "unusual" to the right product. It features a special adhesive (removable in 100+ degree hot water) and a stronger liner particularly suited to machine application. Not suitable for lamination.

GOLD POLYESTER (METALIZED)

This material will make your labels shine! Suitable for most labeling applications, it has a strong adhesive backing and must be laminated. Choose glossy laminate to make your label designs pop, or matte for a unique, elegant look.

KRAFT (RECYCLED)

This is a recycled 100% post consumer waste material. It is a 55# paper material that is a wonderful option if an “earthy” appearance is desired. The stronger liner is well suited for machine application. Depending upon face, substrate, water temperature and dwell time, label may be removed in hot water. It is not suitable for lamination; therefore, it is not water or oil resistant.

REMOVABLE WHITE BOPP

This material is the same as our standard BOPP, but has a special, "less aggressive" adhesive designed to allow the label to be removed or re-positioned after application. Depending on the surface it will be applied to, customer testing is strongly recommended. We can provide samples for this purpose.

SATIN CLOTH

Quite the unique material! Yes, it is woven satin acetate cloth. Think wine or spirit labels! This material will make your product packaging POP. The stronger liner is well suited for machine application. Depending upon face, substrate, water temperature and dwell time, label may be removed in hot water.

SQUEEZABLE

A white, 3mil film that is better suited for squeezable applications. This material has proven to work well in a variety of applications, so you can be confident it will perform well for you.

VELLUM (RECYCLED)

A great “green” choice, this 60# vellum is 100% recycled with 100% post consumer waste material. Cannot be laminated. Is neither water nor oil-resistant. The stronger liner is well suited for machine application. Depending upon face, substrate, water temperature and dwell time, label may be removed in hot water.

WHITE BOPP

This is our most commonly used material and is suitable for most applications. It's a polypropylene material with a permanent adhesive. It is impervious to water and oils, and is particularly suitable for bath and body products, as well as food containers.

WHITE EARTHFIRST PLA

A more environmentally friendly alternative to White BOPP. The PLA stands for Polylactic Acid (a biopolymer made from corn rather than petrochemicals). Similar look and feel to BOPP and suitable for most applications, but should not be used directly on candle containers.

WHITE FLEXIBLE VINYL

This is our most substantial material. The vinyl is thicker than BOPP, and is most suitable for outdoor applications where greater strength and durability are needed, or where lengthy exposure to the elements is an issue.

WINDOW DECAL (CLEAR/ULTRA-REMOVABLE)

We offer this window decal option as an alternative to static cling. The face stock is clear with excellent clarity. The adhesive is an ultra-removable featuring excellent weatherability and UV resistance. It removes cleanly from a wide variety of substrates without staining or ghosting. Why worry about static clings staying on when you can have removable adhesive there to hold it in place?

Artwork Specifications

Laminates

High Gloss

High gloss is our most popular laminate. It is the least expensive option and provides protection for the label and a high gloss shiny finish.

Matte

The Matte Laminate provides your label with a dull, non-glossy finish. Some customers consider this achieves a more "natural" look.

Thermal Transfer

This is a gloss laminate that is designed to work with most over-printing thermal transfer printers. We do recommend you get samples first to test through your own printer before placing an order with this laminate.

UV Outdoor Gloss

As the name implies this is best used for labels that will be used outdoors. It has a high gloss finish with excellent UV resistance. It is best paired with our vinyl material for the most durable outdoor label.