In this application, the customer needed a 4×4 label that included a color bar across the top of the label. The printed label had to display one of 8 different color blocks for logistical purposes. To achieve the variable color coding, we preprinted the direct thermal labels using a 4 color process technology, which is more economical than spot printing with 8 different color inks. The top of the labels then had a bar across the top, like this:
The blank color coded labels are fed through the printer, where each label printed in sequence could required a different color code from the next one. So while variable data is printed on the label, seven of the color blocks are blacked out to print a label with the required color visible along the top. This process repeats itself from one label to the next, yielding cost effective variable color coding capability.
Using this process the customer was able to achieve variable color coding with standard direct thermal material while maintain print speeds and throughput requirements.
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Source: Labeling News