Afinia Label has a new color label printer hitting the market, the Afinia L501 Dye, which comes with dye water-based inks and the option to use pigment inks. We reached out to Basat Khalifa, CEO of DuraFast Label Company, to get his take on this versatile color label printer.
Q: What is the big deal about the Afinia L501 Dye color label printer?
A: The Afinia L501 Dye inkjet model comes with a complete set of dye-water-based ink cartridges and the dye print head. This means it’s set up to print what we call “prime” labels — high resolution, photo quality color labels with eye-catching graphics and text. Dye-based inks produce vivid colors and are the ink of choice for prime label printing. The big deal with the Afinia L501 Dye is that it is a worthy competitor to the other tried-and-true high resolution color label printers on the market but with the ability to swap ink types. Not only can you print 2400dpi color labels as wide as 8.5 inches, you can use the Afinia L501 with an optional pigment print head and pigment inks to produce industrial labels such as GHS BS5609 labels, chemical labels, and barcodes.
Q: Why would you want to use a different type of ink to print “prime” or “industrial” labels?
A: Pigment-based inks and dye-based inks have dramatically different properties. The dye inks in the Afinia L501 Dye color label printer produce the beautiful, vibrant colors needed for customer-facing labels like wine bottle labels, barbecue sauce labels, and other product labels. Pigment inks tend to produce more muted colors (a bit dull when compared to dye inks) but have the durability required in chemical and industrial labels. In fact, pigment inks are super durable. They dry instantly and won’t smudge or smear or fade in U/V light. When combined with certain matte synthetic label materials, pigment inks can even survive the harshest environmental conditions such as long-term immersion in saltwater, exposure to oil and chemicals, or ultraviolet light exposure. Thus, if a business owner needs to produce both beautiful product labels as well as industrial labels, chemical labels, or GHS BS5609 labels, the Afinia L501 Dye color label printer could be equipped with the pigment print head and pigment inks and used to print both type of labels.
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Q: Couldn’t a business just get a second printer for printing industrial labels?
A: Absolutely. In fact, that’s what most businesses have had to do — until now — and at great expense. Rather than buying a separate pigment ink-based color label printer, like the Primera LX2000 or LX1000 GHS color label printer, and a separate dye-based color label printer at several thousand dollars each, businesses can now buy one printer, the Afinia L501, with Duo Ink Technology along with the extra print head, and then swap the print heads and print cartridges as needed.
Q: So, all they would need to buy is just another print head and ink cartridges in order to use the Afinia L501 Dye color label printer for both purposes?
A: Correct. For those who know right off the bat that they’ll need both types of inks, we offer a package of this color label printer that’s ready to go with both types of print heads and ink cartridges.
Q: And if they don’t expect to need both ink types…?
A: Then we recommend choosing the Afinia L501 with the print head type that best fits their immediate needs. For example, a winery, brewery or distillery manager may initially plan on printing high resolution wine bottle labels, beer bottle labels, or whiskey bottle labels to ensure that the product looks as attractive and professional as possible. At the same time, he or she may eventually want to print industrial labels for labeling barrels and kegs intended to be aged for years. That may be something that’s on the horizon, with current production needs taking priority. In a case like this, we’d recommend getting the Afinia L501 Dye model so the business could print its own product labels right away. When ready to start printing industrial labels, they can then order the pigment print head and ink cartridges for the Afinia L501, saving potentially thousands of dollars compared to buying a standalone industrial label printer.
Q: That sounds like a smart move, but is the L501 Dye a capable “prime” printer or is a compromise?
A: The Afinia L501 Dye is definitely a capable prime color label printer that checks off all the boxes for companies that print up to 3,000 labels per month. Its print resolution of up to 2400dpi produces crisp graphics and text. It uses HP thermal inkjet technology. Its print speed reaches up to 5.2 inches per second — that’s about 26 feet per minute. It includes a built-in unwinder that supports label rolls with an outside diameter of 8 inches, and it can print large format labels up to 8.5 inches wide — all for less than $3600 USD.
Q: I was told that the Primera LX2000 is also a better “prime” label printer than the Afinia L501?
A: We actually sell both of these printers. The Primera LX2000 and LX1000 color label printers actually use the same print technology manufactured by HP that the Afinia L501 uses, with the Afinia using a newer version. However, the Primera LX2000 and LX1000 only have pigment inks available. When you compare pigment and dye inks, you will notice the more vibrant colors from the dye inks. We are always happy to provide customers with printed samples so that they can see the difference. This is only one reason you would want to consider the L501 when compared to the Primera LX2000. There are several more reasons. The most important is the operating cost. The Primera LX2000 has a higher ink cost per label compared to the L501. This is the number one reason you want to buy the L501. Over the course of one year, the ink cost difference can be more than what you actually paid for the printer, so it’s very important. Secondly, the L501 also allows you to have larger label rolls, therefore giving you more options.
Q: Sounds like the Afinia L501 Dye is a great color label printer for those who primarily print product labels and may want to get into industrial label printing.
A: Yes. Plus, for a limited time, if they buy the Afinia L501 Dye color label printer from DuraFastLabel.com and use the L501 discount code, they could get up to $200 in free labels at the time of purchase.