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Nasco labels thousands of unique items sold in 180 countries with Colordyne digital printer

After more than two years of utilizing Colordyne Technologies™ (CDT) 1600-C Continuous Format Digital Color Printer, Nasco's in-plant print shop continues to benefit from the printer's speed, quality, and ease-of-use.

Headquartered in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, Nasco has successfully operated for more than 70 years providing 24 mail-order catalogs to educators, farmers, and industry in all 50 states and 180 countries world-wide. Nasco's unique blend of products targets education, healthcare and agriculture industries. To support this diverse and fast-growing business, Nasco's in-plant print shop has been tasked with a wide range of printing challenges, including producing labels for their thousands of unique items with the correct label, in the correct warehouse, exactly when needed. The company was searching for a viable solution to enable its in-plant print shop. That solution was found with the CDT 1600-C digital printer after several different systems were previously explored.

Supplying labels for thousands of Nasco's proprietary products and custom kits would normally lead many companies look to a big name company to print their required labels. Because of Nasco's success within its in-plant print shop, the company is able to print and apply nearly all its own labels in a more efficient and cost effective manner.


One aisle of Nasco's packaging warehouse with cartons and inventory labeled with labels printed on the CDT 1600-C Label Printer.

Early on, many growing companies that require volumes of labels for packaging gravitated to large outsource companies or expensive in-house equipment. David Lass, Nasco Printing Supervisor, decided to look at the problem differently, asking the question, "How can I get the same work done without a huge investment, but with the same impact?"

The ultimate answer to that question came when Nasco purchased a Colordyne CDT 1600-C Printer in February 2012.

Nasco's history with in-house printers started with traditional offset printers. Operating these printers correctly was a long, strenuous and messy process. Early on, Nasco transitioned to digital while others clung to traditional printing technology. One of the first in the local area to transition to digital printers, Nasco took a more condensed and efficient strategy to printing labels.

Nasco's initial solution to its labeling problem was a 4-color thermal printer which used thermal transfer ribbons. This printer made producing labels faster than using an outside service, but its 300 dpi resolution could not print images at a high enough quality level. Eventually the unstable and ever-increasing costs of the thermal transfer PET film market steered Nasco to inkjet printers. The initial inkjet printing system purchased, was designed more like a home printer, was slow but offered better quality labels. However, with their business growth, this solution soon became inadequate as well.

"I started having to make excuses as to why our labels were not getting done, truth was, the machine was slow, business was growing, and I needed a new secret weapon," said Lass.

This is when Lass discovered the Colordyne solution in the form of the CDT 1600-C Continuous Format Color Printer. Nasco purchased a CDT 1600-C throughWaukesha Graphics Systems, a CDT Authorized Reseller Partner. The printer was added to the roster of label printers and has boosted Nasco's vitality.

With print speeds up to 12 inches per second and a print resolution up to 1600 x 1600 dpi, the CDT 1600-C immediately resolved Nasco's speed and print quality challenges. The CDT 1600-C is designed for printing carton labels with the ability to add color highlighting and pictograms. Additionally, Nasco purchased the optional Unwinder and Winder accessories to allow for printing labels and tags in roll form, rather than in fanfold mode. Using the winders gives Nasco tightly wound rolls of labels for its employees to effortlessly hand-apply to product.


Phil Gaumond (left), owner of Waukesha Graphics Systems, a CDT Authorized Reseller with Dave Lass, Nasco Printing Supervisor, next to Nasco's CDT 1600-C.

Nasco's in-plant print shop is now able to compete with larger label print shops. The CDT 1600-C has given them the ability to print rush orders, and varying amounts of labels fast and efficiently. The more than 500,000 labels Nasco printed last year came with no problems, making it possible to provide a superior level of service. The shop is able to get labels printed in-house, same day, in the quantities needed, with no large inventories to buy or wasting away in a warehouse.

"The small footprint, inkjet printer, began to work for us right out of the box, fully capable of speeds of 12 inches per second, with exceptional print quality up to 1600 x 1600 dpi on a variety of stocks and substrates," said Lass. "Long or short runs-I don't worry about it when using the Colordyne printer, it's a workhorse that hasn't let us down."

Lass is impressed with the speed and quality the CDT 1600-C offers for fast turn-around times, putting Nasco in a great position. Nasco has gained new customers and is looking forward to a bright future because it is now able to meet the needs for its labeling jobs.

"Sure, there are other digital label printers on the market, but all have lists and lists of consumable parts to purchase and stock, and need to set-up and train their skilled professionals to run the equipment," said Lass. "All the Colordyne printer needs is ink, a spare print head, and a computer to launch your graphics. By the time they start printing their labels, I have thousands done and in the hands of my people applying them to packaging, and our products are out the door on the trucks because of our CDT 1600-C."


Lass showing a label printed on the CDT 1600-C printer for one of Nasco's products.

"The CDT 1600-C has helped us in keeping with Nasco's motto, 'Dedicated to Delivery.'"

More information about Colordyne and the CDT 1600-C can be found To learn more about Nasco, please visit International, a division of the Aristotle Corporation, publishes 29 different mail-order catalogs serving education, health, agriculture, and industry worldwide. The Aristotle Corporation has facilities located in Wisconsin, California, Indiana, New York, Minnesota, Colorado and Ontario, Canada.