TSG prides itself on designing labels and tags to match the applications workflow processes.
Specialty materials, adhesives, and coatings allow us to cater to your exact needs, where most of our competitors do not have the expertise to do so. Many of our employees previously worked for specialty label manufacturers, and this combined with the workflow and equipment knowledge puts us in a unique position to address even the most difficult applications. Please allow us to analyze your needs, you will not be dissapointed.
Regular Labels and Tags
It is a little know fact that you will spend anywhere between 8 and 12 times the cost on the labels that are used in your printer than the printer itself. For this reason alone, the label application should be analyzed from a variety of different perspectives: Labels being designed to follow the optimal workflow procedures, the proper material and adhesives for the application and the environment, consolidation with other labels and tags that might be in the same workflow environment, and consolidation in manufacturing of like sizes to achieve economies of scale. The list goes on and on.
Pre-printed labels (specifically barcode labels) may actually be more cost effective than setting up a printing system in house.
Much of this revolves around how time critical the information is, and can if the barcode can be used as a “license plate” to assign to a transaction. Volume of the application will usually determine if it is cost effective. Rack labeling is typically done out of house, being that in most cases it is a very specialized label and it is a one time order.
Stock labels & tags are items that are manufactured in very large quantities, and stores for immediate delivery are almost always the most cost effective per unit. The drawback is they are very generic and may not totally fit your needs. Thermal transfer, direct thermal, 7 pt tag stocks, EDP and some synthetics are common in the stock label world. Sizing in general varies every half inch.
Managed Print Services
This term is defined as an automated inventory control system for all print media which is addressed outside your facility. TSG will implement JIT (just in time) ordering and shipping procedures, and grouping analysis to take advantage of economies of scale and product consolidation to minimize SKU’s. This process should drastically cut your inventory costs and stockouts while increasing cash flow. We have warehouse facilities available on the east coast, midwest, and west coast, for timely delivery and freight cost reduction.
Although electronic media is the way of the world these days there is still a wide variety of printed product that needs to be inventoried, housed, disseminated and replenished. Many of our partners have come from the form and label field where form inventory management was a necessity. Along with putting an inventory program in place to manage your consumables, TSG can also perform grouping analysis when ordering, to assure you are taking advantage of your economies of scale when ordering. Annual trend analysis allows us to group based on efficiencies and peaks/lulls to minimize inventories and capital outlay.
RFID has been around for about 40 years, but in the last decade it has come into prominence. The three main frequencies used are UHF, LF and HF (Ultra high frequency, high frequency and low frequency). A stock RFID inlay consists of an IC chip set and antenna married to a label or tag substrate. TSG has created a variety of products using RFID technology where barcode will not fit the application. RFID is a unique technology that is only cost effective in certain applications. On average, for every 10 people who come to us thinking RFID is a fit for their needs, 80% of the time we recommend another technology such as barcode, vision, or GPS. We are experts at designing systems that will not only determine whether RFID is feasible, but whether it will give you the read rate you are looking for.
RFID Labels and Tags
These are an adjunct to the typical stock labels in some cases. An RFID inlay which consists of a chip set, tightly wound coil, and antenna, which are married to a label or tag substate to create the product. RFID typically comes in 3 different frequencies; UHF 915 Mhz, HF 13.56 Mhz, and LF 125 Khz. Each has its own attributes which should be aligned with the application. These are also available in passive (no battery), semi active (small battery), and active large battery with more amperage. There is a value add component to this and is only cost effective at this point in time in certain applications. Where a barcode can cost a penny or fraction of a penny, these products can cost 4-10X more than the comparable barcode offering. Usually an ROI would be set up to look at cost effectiveness compared to other technologies. These technologies can allow for manned or unmanned scanning at a variety of different broadcast distances. TSG can assist you in positioning the right inlay and reading equipment for your application.
Although not a big seller, (we are not a credit card company) we primarily supply these for applications such as trade shows and systems applications. An example would be our Sani-track card, for hand hygiene monitoring. We have embedded a UHF Monza 5 inlay and chip set in the card. These can be customized like any other substrate, and in many cases badge holders are used for specific vertical markets.
You might think plastic cards are a cut and dry offering with most companies, using a wet offset process to customize the card. Today, these can be customized with color digital printers on blank cards, so there are no minimum quantities that have to be ordered. We also cater to specialty applications such as UHF RFID inlays embedded in the card. These offerings are quite popular for access control, along with seamless data collection. Our offering ranges from 10 pt cards (reflecting membership cards) to 30 point cards that are very thick and virtually indestructible.
Ribbons are an integral part of the printing process. Without the right marriage between the label substrate, printhead heat, speed and pressure, your imaging will suffer. At TSG, we are experts in aligning the right ribbon product with the proper label material. Resin to wax ratio is vital when establishing not only indelibility, but print contrast as well. Being that we primarily set up printing systems, we are extremely well suited to align all of the printer settings for the optimal imaging. If you have any issues with your existing set-up, let us look into your needs.
Wristbands/Form Label Combinations
At TSG we always strive to consolidate systems. Form label combinations typically allow for two different substrates to be combined in the same printing process to streamline workflow. These can be incredibly cost effective when comparing to an existing system.
Wristbands are lumped into this category being that in essence, this is a product that in recent years have consolidated systems and follows a patient through the healthcare process from start to finish. Systems consist of printers dedicated to wristbands, only with a variety of different products ranging from soft touch to plastics.
Direct Thermal Labels
Thermal Transfer versus Direct Thermal Labels
Thermal transfer and direct thermal labels are ideal for on-demand applications, especially those calling for variable data, barcoding, or human-readable numbering.
Thermal transfer labels require a ribbon when printing. Thermal transfer printers apply heat to the thermal printhead, which transfers the image through a wax and/or resin ribbon to the label. Thermal transfer ribbons come in various colors, so you are not limited to black print. With thermal transfer labels, the image is crisp, durable and fairly scratch resistant. If you need a label that lasts a year or longer, use thermal transfer labels. Some examples of thermal transfer labels are: asset tagging, inventory identification, laboratory specimens, outdoor and freezer applications.
Direct thermal printers apply heat to the thermal printhead, activating the direct thermal media. Through a chemical reaction, the label turns dark where the heat is applied. With direct thermal labels, there is no ink, toner, or ribbon consumable – the only supply needed is the direct thermal labels. Direct thermal labels are less costly because you don’t have to buy a ribbon. The downside to direct thermal labels is that they are not scratch resistant and will start to turn when exposed to lighting, making them hard to read. Use direct thermal labels for short term applications and when you want to print without a ribbon. Some examples of direct thermal labels are: shipping labels, name tags, receipts, pick tickets and visitor passes.
Quickly Tell the Difference…To tell the difference between a thermal transfer and a direct thermal label, quickly and forcefully draw your fingernail across the label, like you are striking a match. It may take a couple of times depending on the media. If a dark mark appears, it is a direct thermal label. You can also use a lighter to determine the difference. If when placing the lighter behind the label it looks like an explosion of black you know you have direct thermal.