Produce Color Labels On-Demand With Information From Color Label Solutions

Kiaro vs C7500G

The Kiaro from Quick Label Systems, Products/Color Label Printers/Kiaro, has been one of the largest selling color label printers on the market. Astro Nova has done a good job selling this printer.

Kiaro Label Printer

I know this printer mostly from my work with current customers that have switched away from the Kiaro. This week, I spoke with another prospect who had decided to purchase a C7500G. Based on this discussion, I decided to try to describe the important differences between the Kiaro (and the other options sold under different names) and the C7500G.

Before starting, please know that the Kiaro is the exact same printer as the Swiftcolor SCL 4000 D/P sold by Kanematsu.

SwiftColor 4000

Many years ago I wrote about the Swiftcolor printer in this post: BLOG: Short Run, In-Plant Batch Label Printing

In addition to the Kiaro and Swiftcolor printers, Canon announced the launch of the same printer, the D5500, in North America at CES:

Canon Label Printer

Now you have access to purchase the same printer from three different companies. In this post, I’ll use the brand name, Kiaro to represent all of the options. And please remember; we don’t sell the Kiaro printer.

Looking at the Kiaro, I see 4 unique benefits vs the C7500G. First, the Kiaro offers up to 1200 x 1200 dpi print resolution; much higher than the C7500G with 1,200 x 600 resolution. I’ve seen great print quality from the Kiaro printer.

Second, the Kiaro comes in either dye or pigment-based inks. Die ink is much more vibrant, but are not water resistant or waterproof. The ink will come off labels easily. Pigment inks are very durable but are not as vibrant in color as the dye Kiaro models. But the choice is good to have depending on your requirements.

Kiaro Label Printer with Winders

Third, the minimum width of a 4” version of the Kiaro printer is 25 mm or .984”; which is narrower than the C7500G at 2”. And the minimum length of a label is 6 mm or .236”; much shorter than the 1” minimum of the C7500G. Narrow widths and shorter lengths make the Kiaro printer fit many more applications.

Fourth, the Kiaro offers an optional cutter. For tag application in apparel or greenhouse, this cutter is a unique capability. At the 2017 WestPack, I saw the Swiftcolor printer with a cutter in action. Read about the cutter for tags in this post: BLOG: WestPack 2017. The cutter with the C7500G is not designed to cut each label; rather cut at the end of a print job.

Although the Kiaro has other features, I don’t see them as unique or valuable in the comparison with the C7500G.

As for the negatives, I see 3 with the Kiaro printer. The first and largest is the 4 consumable print heads. As each printhead may cost up to $750, it is expensive to replace this consumable item. As I understand, the costs are $2500 to replace all 4 print heads at once.

How long one of the four printheads last depends on the material and percentage coverage of the labels printed. Many years ago, I requested an ink cost and printhead estimate on this 4 x 3” label:

4″ x 3″ Color Label Test Sample

And I was sent this estimate:

SwiftColor Yield Estimate

Although my request was concerning ink cost, the printhead life was more interesting to me. At 161,186 4” x 3 labels, the printhead cost per label was 483,000 inches and added $0.0046/label; almost ½ of a penny per label for just the black printhead. If you add up the cost of all 4 printheads, the cost per label was $0.013 just for printheads (assuming $750/printhead). At the time, I was told the black line around the label reduced the black printhead life. In this example, the printhead cost was almost as much as the ink cost/label. (Remember; these costs were from many years ago. The printhead price may have changed).

In addition to the cost of the consumable printhead, installation of one of the four printheads is not so easy. To replace the printhead, you need to drain the ink, disassemble the printer and remove 1 of 4 printheads, reassemble the printer and then recharge the ink. In this video, Quick Label Systems assumes you want to change all 4 printheads at one time.

However, most people will want to change only the affected printhead. You’ll need to remove and replace the printhead from the array. Changing printheads requires an operator with mechanical skills, time and patience to do the job correctly. With the C7500G, the printheads are permanent and not a consumable item.

In addition to the consumable printheads, the Kiaro printer has other consumable items. The second negative is the time and money required to change these items. The Kiaro has a “Blade Cleaner”, “Purge Unit”, and “Maintenance Cartridge” which are considered consumable items. In addition, the printer has parts that need to be replaced as required such as the “Transport Unit”. To replace many of these items, draining the ink and special tools are required. The time and money required to change these items seem onerous to me. The C7500G has a “Maintenance Kit” that takes seconds to change and costs $30. I tell customers that they’ll need approximately 3 of these kits per year with heavy use.

Lastly, the Kiaro printer seems to require must more work and maintenance to keep these printers operating. By the accounts of formers users now customers, the Kiaro printers have issues with streaks and require lots of repairs. Although having C7500G printers that required repair, we’ve found these printers durable and reliable. Plus they are much easier to operate. For most customers, operators of the C7500G must just press “Print”.

Although the Kiaro can print great looking images, and produce very small and short labels, the requirements to keep these printers operating appear to be very difficult for most users. In this regard, the C7500G is much easier to use and reliable while producing great looking labels.

As for another comparison, check out a previous post, the LX2000 vs the C7500, here: BLOG: LX2000 vs C7500

Another point to consider: the Kiaro printer comes in an 8” version as well. However, the 8” version is two 4” printheads stitched together. Not only does this printer have 8 printheads to replace, but also has had issues with the stitching between the heads. Because of this issue, I believe Quick Label Systems launched their Memjet printer, the QL-800 and purchased Trojan line of printers.

I hope this comparison helps with your analysis of the available printers for on-demand color labels. Contact us if we can help with your color label printer requirements.

Posted at 2:44 PM
Guy Mikel

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