FINDING THE RIGHT LABEL SOLUTION - Series
3. APPLICATION SPECIFICATIONS
Quite simply: how long does your label need to last? Is it days, weeks, months, a year or years? If it's a shipping label, for instance, then it only needs to last days - from the time the label is applied to the carton to the time the carton is delivered. There - job done. Label has lived its life. The label solution: simply a paper direct thermal or thermal transfer label.
However, if it's an asset or inventory label, it will likely need to last years. In that case, you would need a longer lasting, more durable label. The label solution: a synthetic thermal transfer. Now we've got the label life information.
Depending on the specifications thus far, we'll be given an idea of what label material you would require. It could just be thermal transfer or direct thermal paper or thermal transfer synthetic material such as kimdura, polyamide, polyester, polyethylene, etc. We can help determine that for you given accurate specs thus far. The following specifications are major determinations for the right label material and adhesive.
Surface Material and Conditions - Sometimes it takes more than one label for a Solution
Here's a common scenario we hear - is this your situation?
"I have several products with different surface materials and surface conditions that I'd like one label for -- one is wood, another is foam rubber, and the other is plastic."
As part of labeling application specifications, some times we receive requests for “one label” that will work on a variety of surface materials -- for instance, raw wood, powder coated, rubber or plastic materials. Surface materials have different surface properties. All surface materials are not alike, therefore, one label face stock/adhesive would not necessarily be a solution for all surfaces. In addition, it’s not only the surface material that must be taken into consideration, but it’s equally important to understand all the applicable surface conditions of each surface material to determine the right label face stock and adhesive.
That’s why in our label questionnaire, we ask you choose “one” kind of material or surface that best describes the surface material your product is made of to which a label is to be applied to. Examples of some surface materials to choose from are: anodized, glass, metal (bare), painted, paper, plastic, powder coated, rubber, wood-raw end grain, wood-raw with grain.
If you are looking to label more than one product that has very different surfaces, it could result in two different label solutions. Not always – but most likely - especially if the materials are very different. For instance, wood is porous. Plastic isn’t. The same label adhesive would not work on both surface materials. Because the wood surface has more voids, pits or tiny holes, there's less surface the label is being applied.
In addition, one must also take into consideration the surface condition.
Surface conditions on a surface material can be one or more of the following: Curved, Dusty, Flat, Frosty-Frozen, Oily-greasy, Rough, Smooth, Sooty, Textured, Waxed, Wet Water. Identifying accurately all the surface conditions are critical in pin pointing the right label solution.
If you’re looking to label a variety of products, remember it is important to first, identify each of the surface materials and second, identify all of the surface conditions for each of the surface materials. This will help to identify the specific label for the specific surface material and surface conditions. One label may not be the solution for all products – sometimes it does take more than one label solution.
Don’t be overwhelmed - we can help you identify these application specifications using our comprehensive label questionnaire that we can review together with you - contact us.
Temperatures: Apply and Use Temperatures
This pertains to the temperature of the object or product at the time you're applying the label to it.
For instance, let's say you're labeling a frozen box of seafood.
At the time the label is applied, what will be the temperature of the object/product (i.e., the frozen box of seafood) to which the label is being applied? And this question is best answered in a temperature range scale.
Let's say the temperature range of the frozen box of seafood is between -50F to -25F.
Now we've got the apply temperature information.
This temperature pertains to what the temperature range the label will be exposed to over its life?
Let's take the frozen box of seafood again. And it's kept in a freezer until it's ready for final sale, for instance. And you've determined the temperature range of the labeled box will exposed to over its life is -120F to -20F.
Now we have the two important temperature range specifications necessary towards finding the right label material and adhesive that must withstand:
The Apply temp of -50F to -25F
The Use temp of -120F to -20F
Another step towards towards finding the right label material and adhesive that must withstand the above specified temperature label requirements.