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Monday, August 2, 2021

digital label evolution

Robert Knox explains how, from humble beginnings, both his Labels-U-Print brand – and the development of DIY digital label roll printing – have come of age.

Concept born (1984): I first printed my own black and white barcode labels on a TOSHIBA TEC desktop roll label printer back in 1984 to help identify and track pallets of parts through automotive factories when working as a just-in-time manufacturing specialist here in the UK.  

Having refined the processes to make car parts down to moments, we could not dispatch them to customers without labels. The labels took a long time to arrive. I thought of the idea of designing and printing my own labels just when I needed them using my PC computer and specialised roll label printers were just becoming available. I was so excited with the results I started the company KTEC Technologies Limited, dedicated to help other users with instant print label roll machines, now under our brand ‘Labels-U-Print ®’.

Barcode Labels (1986): Supermarkets like Tesco were instructing their suppliers to barcode everything for automating stock control and receipt printing. For many years we installed thousands of barcode label printing machines.

Colour label roll printers arrive (2003): It was around this time we introduced the first desktop size full colour label roll printers partnering Primera USA. For the first time we could help producers print ultra high quality labels for their various products in their own works.

Software gets better (2010): Seagull Scientific USA, working with Microsoft, had written many of the printer drivers and had now developed BarTender, a simple to use label layout designer using drag and drop methods.  Our busy manufacturers welcomed a simple label designer they could use to drag their artwork onto their computer screen and print it to labels in house. It gave better control.

Epson ColorWorks (2016): We became an authorised reseller for Epson ColorWorks with good timing again as Epson launched the C7500 series industrial colour label printers. These new models fitted our business model entirely and we were able to install over 300 machines in a short time winning the prestigious Epson ColorWorks partner of the year award two years running.

OKI Pro 1050 (2018): Having seen this amazing machine launched at Label Expo Brussels we became an authorised reseller for the unique OKI Pro 1040 and 1050. They represented the first label printers I had seen to utilise the familiar heat fused toner method of office printers – but with label roll to roll feed providing a highly durable print.  The OKI Pro 1050 is further unique having the capability to print colours + white.

Primera Print and Cut (2020): New for 2020 from Primera, the LX610e combines desktop colour label printing and digital cutting a revolutionary step forward for flexible labels making. For the first time customers print their label designs but also digitally cut them to any size or shape.  Inventory is reduced needing only plain label rolls in the store.

Eclipse digital label cutting and finishing (2020): An expansion of the print and cut and new for 2020, particularly with Brexit in mind, we partner the UK made Eclipse range of digital label cutting and finishing machines. The Eclipse partners any one of our industrial label roll printers and can optionally laminate over printed label images before cutting them to shape and winding to finished rolls making for extreme durability.

To find out more about how www.ktecgroup.co.uk

Tel: 01527 529713

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