by Industrial Print Magazine
Small- to medium-size businesses may find it cost effective to outsource label printing at first, but bringing the service in house allows for much better management of the process. The control placed in not only the manufacture of the product, but the packaging and subsequent labeling that make it standout on a shelf, is irreplaceable.
Above: Quickscrews and QuickBOLT brands benefit from labels printed off of Epson ColorWorks color inkjet label printers.
Inkjet printing presents opportunities to bring label printing in house. From smaller, tabletop-style devices all the way to more industrial performing machines, a range of products are available to meet the needs of any manufacturer looking to control its entire operation.
A Quick History
Greg Wiener started Quickscrews in his home garage with two additional employees in 1987. With a background in construction supply, he saw a need for specialty woodworking fasteners. Specialized wood screws, he both designed and imported the product with a goal of enhancing strength and speed. Cabinetmakers and furniture builders responded and 35 years later it is still the company’s largest customer demographic.
Today, Quickscrews International is made up of 30 employees with two warehouses—Livermore, CA and Rock Hill, SC—as well as a satellite office to service customers in Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. “We maintain a general hierarchy in terms of structure, departments have managers in place but it’s part of our company’s core values to encourage collaboration between all departments whenever possible. We host daily morning meetings to share challenges, solutions, updates, and personal stories,” says Mike Wiener, marketing manager, Quickscrews.
One of those departments Wiener references is QuickBOLT, the solar division of Quickscrews International. QuickBOLT began in 2010 when the recession affected a significant portion of longtime Quickscrews customers. “Having experience in specialty wood fasteners made it an easy expansion into solar mounting. We’re still making relatively small metal parts and fasteners that are driven into wood,” explains Wiener.
Today, QuickBOLT is a leading supplier in the residential solar mounting industry. The company holds four patented versions of its flagship mounting solution—QuickBOLT—along with mounting solutions for every type of common residential roof.
Turning to Inkjet
To remain a leading supplier in both wood fasteners and solar mounting, the organization relies on colorful labels and packaging. “Color plays a large role in our branding. Fasteners and solar mounting are not glamorous industries, but we’ve always wanted to stand out amongst our peers,” admits Wiener.
For years, the company relied on thermal label printers. “The thermal printers’ monochrome details and text were not as crisp as we would like. We were limited with functionality with what could be included on the printed label,” says Wiener.
In 2015, it became apparent that it was time to upgrade from thermal to color inkjet. The research process involved working with Color Label Solutions of CA, a value-added reseller specializing in print on demand color label systems, specifically Guy Mikel, president/CEO, Color Label Solutions.
With his help, Quickscrews International decided to implement an Epson ColorWorks C7500 in house. It eventually added an Epson ColorWorks C3500 as well. Today the company owns a total of 15 Epson ColorWorks label printers across its two facilities.
The Epson ColorWorks C7500 inkjet printer offers 1,200×600 dpi print resolution and a 4.25-inch print width, capable of printing at speeds of 300 millimeters per second. For multiple, full-color labels with variable data, Epson rates the printer’s speed at 11.8 inches per second (ips). The printer is BS-5609 certified, meaning labels won’t smudge, smear, or fade.
The Epson ColorWorks C3500 inkjet printer targets high-mix, low-volume applications. It reaches print speeds of up to four ips with four-color CMYK inkjet printing. Label widths can adjust from 1.2 to 4.4 inches. Like the ColorWorks C7500, it also meets BS-5609 certification.
High-quality color printing was top of mind when deciding on which printers to purchase. “Our distinct branding between Quickscrews and QuickBOLT brands lean heavily on colorful labels and packaging, whether they’ll be placed on shelves in another warehouse or immediately recycled at a job site. We want our packaging to reflect the quality of the products inside them, so high-quality color printing is an important part of that,” shares Wiener.
Additionally, while appearance is paramount, it was also important that the label printers handle over 100,000 SKUs for both Quickscrews fastener and QuickBOLT solar mounting products. “Our marketing department spent a lot of time gathering information and taking pictures of many different fasteners for our database. We worked hard to set up the structure of our database in Excel, as well as add descriptors, color codes, and variable images associated with every single SKU we sell. Incorporating color coding and icons across all our SKUs were just two of the many features we wanted so that our products continue to stand out,” shares Mark Buechler, IT manager, Quickscrews.
The goal is to not only standout to customers, but in inventory as well. “These two capabilities alone have helped us with warehouse management and organization. We can easily shelve and identify inventory products with the color tags included on labels. The personalized labels include part numbers and a product image to help ensure customers can easily locate the products they need,” continues Buechler.
The marketing department works with BarTender by Seagull Scientific, Inc. label design software to achieve the graphics. The comprehensive barcode labeling software allows users to create, automate, and manage labels, barcodes, RFID tags, and more. It is available in four options—Starter, Professional, Automation, and Enterprise. At the base level, BarTender easily and quickly generates labels and supports dynamic variable data from databases like CSV or Excel files.
Locked In with Digital
Quickscrews and QuickBOLT brands benefit from the quality of the Epson ColorWorks inkjet label printers—in addition to their productivity. An average day involves anywhere from 50 to 100 labels printed on the Epson ColorWorks printers. With the labels digitally printed in house, the company is able to ship close to a hundred pallets of product per day. Upgrading its label printing processes allows the company to keep pace with customer demand as well maintain a high level of visual quality.
Sep2022, Industrial Print Magazine