Know Your Labels
What is a product label? Labels are everywhere. Everything is labeled. One would think that labels are easy. All there is to labels is that they stick to things, right? Not quite. Being an intrinsically complex procedure, multiple factors have to be taken into account when choosing both the label construction and the production procedure.
Below we offer a detailed description of what our labels consist of, for you to be easier to chose what kind of a label you would be interested in.
Before anything we will run down the general structure. A label consists of three main parts: release liner, adhesive and facestock. Our portfolio also contains other label constructions for special applications, which will be detailed in a future article.
The release liner is usually a filmic material made of paper or plastic, coated on one or both sides with a release agent (silicone), in order to prevent the label to stick to the support surface. Basically this is the , usually, white, yellow or transparent tape from which you can easily detach the label.
The adhesive determines the required level of adhesion.
The facestock is the top layer of a basic label construction. This is what the adhesive is adhered to.
In the following segment we will focus on the most frequently used materials that make up our labels and their various characteristics and uses. Eltronis uses an array of facestock materials ranging from paper through various types of plastic polymers, like PET, PP, PE, HDPE, PVC, also acetates and textiles for specific products.
– PET (polyethylene terephthalate) is a plastic resin and the most common type of polyester. We work with several types of PET, each with their own properties.
PET labels are very durable, have a high tolerance against chemicals, heat and UV. These labels have an excellent mechanical resistance, great tensile strength, meaning it doesn’t crease. PET labels are ideal for average length applications from 1-3 up to 5-10 years.
In addition to thermal transfer printing, these labels can also be printed by all conventional roll label techniques.
Bleached kraft paper liner is used for laser printing and glassine paper for other applications. PET labels have a high durability and they come with very strong permanent adhesives.
Depending on the labels’ function the adhesives meet the requirements for both indoor and outdoor use. They present excellent adhesion on both Low Surface Energy (LSE) and High Surface Energy (HSE) materials, also on smooth or irregular surfaces.
Depending on their specific use, the service temperature of these labels varies between -80 ºC and +150 ºC, and their minimum application temperature between -5 ºC and +10 ºC.
– PP (polypropylene or polypropene) is a thermoplastic polymer used in a wide variety of applications. PP labels have excellent water, chemical, UV and weather resistance together with good adhesion performance, even on apolar substrates. These labels have a medium mechanical resistance. PP labels tend to crease and stretch slightly, in comparison to PET labels. PP ages quickly and becomes brittle. These labels are used for shorter applications (6-12 months).
The ones for the pharmaceutical industry are developed with the lowest risk for migration (substances from the adhesive don’t pass through the bottle). In particular cases, these labels are suitable with the right face material or security die-cutting as a tamper-evident solution or as a seal. PP labels are printed by thermal transfer and other printing applications.
The most commonly used liner for these labels is glassine paper. Depending on their use, we produce PP labels with permanent, extra permanent or removable acrylic adhesive.
The service temperature of these labels varies between -40 ºC and +90 ºC, and their minimum application temperature between 0 ºC and +5 ºC.
– HDPE (high-density polyethylene)
The HDPE material used by Eltronis has very good resistance to chemicals, excellent tear, puncture and tear propagation. Thanks to these properties HDPE is the ideal material for hang tag production. We produce hang tags for the pharmaceutical industry (namely for infusion vials). The average lifespan of HDPE is 2-3 years.
HDPE labels come with a glassine paper liner and permanent acrylic adhesive. These labels have a service temperature between -40 ºC and +115 ºC, also a minimum application temperature of 10 ºC.
– PE (polyethylene) is the most common plastic. It is also the cheapest of them all. PE labels have a low mechanical and chemical resistance. They are used for short-term applications (less than 6 months).
The most commonly used liner for these labels is glassine paper. Depending on their use, we produce PE labels with permanent or detachable adhesive. These labels are characterized by good adhesion, even on rough surfaces.
Depending on their specific use, the service temperature of these labels varies between -40 ºC and +150 ºC, and their minimum application temperature between +5 ºC and +10 ºC.
We also use PE Duct Tape, which is waterproof, smooth, flexible and easy to tear by hand; its many applications include: sealing of ducts, fastening of protection films, closing of covering foils, fixing, closing, packaging, etc.
– PPR (paper) – most frequently used for logistic labels. We use a variety of paper stock: laser, thermal transfer, direct thermal, multilayer, pharma, carton. Our paper labels can be printed with various printing processes, depending on their function.
The most commonly used liner for these labels is glassine and kraft paper. Depending on their use, we produce PPR labels with removable or permanent adhesive. Specific PPR labels have good adhesion to all normal substrates, including non-polar surfaces, films and corrugated board; good low temperature performance; not recommended for labeling highly curved surfaces. The materials specially used for pharmaceutical applications show excellent tack and adhesion on a wide variety of substrates, including apolar, slightly rough and curved substrates; particularly good performance at lower temperatures, in the case of labeling of chilled products.
Depending on their specific use, the service temperature of these labels varies between -40 ºC and +80 ºC, and their minimum application temperature between 0 ºC and +5 ºC.
– PVC (polyvinyl chloride) label applications are used for promotional labels, labels that require durability and flexability, for in- and outdoor use, offering good weather- and UV resistance. Further applications include labels on plastic bottles for household chemicals, motor oil and industrial chemical containers. Certain PVC labels show a very high degree of aging stability. They are expected to possess a durability of 7 years.
The most commonly used liner for these labels is high tear-resistant glassine paper. PVC labels come with permanent adhesives. These labels are characterized by good adhesion performance, even on apolar substrates.
Depending on their specific use, the service temperature of these labels varies between -40 ºC and +110 ºC, and their minimum application temperature between 0 ºC and +5 ºC.
– Textile (nylon taffeta) labels can be printed by thermal transfer. They are washable at 90 ºC, 40 min. light stone wash cycle.
We also produce adhesive textile labels for the automotive industry, which eliminate the need for sewn-on labels (eg. airbag labels). The service temperature of these labels varies between -40 ºC and +115 ºC, and their minimum application temperature is 10 ºC.
Eltronis also uses tamper evident VOID materials in addition to the others mentioned above. We work with 3 variations of tamper-evident VOID material:
– full tamper-evident – any attempt of removal will result in the visible detachment of only the surface foil, leaving the rest of the label on the applied surface
– no residue – removing the label will display a message (e.g. ‘OPEN’, ‘VOID’) on the label, but will not leave any residue on the applied surface;
– pattern tamper-evident – a predefined pattern residue is left after removal on both the applied surface and on the label itself;
The materials are RoHS and REACH compliant, some are UL and CSA recognized materials and we are also working with the IMDS system for the automotive industry. Based on our customers’ specific requirements, we have adhesives which are approved for all food labeling applications, including direct fatty food contact and are allowed to be used in the pharmaceutical industry, where substance migration in the interior of the container is not permitted.
As stated at the beginning, the above described materials are just the most frequently used by Eltronis. They, however, do not represent the full array of products that Eltronis is capable of producing. Different combinations of adhesives, liner and facestock is possible, depending on the function of the required label. For more information please visit our Products page or contact us, should you require a custom made label of any kind.
There are a number of important information we require, in order for us to give you an accurate quotation:
- label size;
- material – in case you are unsure, please specify the use of the label: describe the environment that it will be exposed to (exterior/interior, weather, temperature, chemicals, abrasion, etc.); type of surface it will be applied on;
- How will you apply the labels? – manually or automatically;
- type of adhesive – permanent or detachable? Will they come in contact with foodstuff or medicine?; please describe the surface it will be applied on: curved, apolar, the type of material is the substrate made of, application temperature, etc.;
- if you require printing on the label (how many colors?), serial number, barcodes or holograms;
- please specify the type of the printer, in case you want to print on the labels yourself;
- Method of packaging – in a role, sheet or fanfold;
- quantity – per order and per project;
- other special requirements.
Thank you for choosing Eltronis!