January 13th is National Sticker Day!
Picked to commemorate the birthday of R. Stanton Avery, the original creator of the adhesive label with a removable backing. Today, we use adhesive labels everywhere! From postage stamps to product identification, labels are an integral part of our lives.
A far cry, from the smiley face stickers of our youth!
The Science of Labeling
Yes, I said “science”. Beyond your standard address label, there are many factors to consider when identifying a label to do exactly what you need it to do. Hundreds of label material and adhesive combinations could have even the most label savvy person scratching their head. So in honor of Mr. Avery, let’s talk a about the importance of adhesives!
What Type of Adhesive is Best?
When starting your quest, the most important thing you need to ask yourself is “What do you want the label to do?
If you want your label to adhere until the end of time, then you’re probably looking at a permanent or possibly high tack adhesive. So what’s the difference?
As the name implies, a permanent is just that . . . once applied, the label is meant to stay there permanently. What the label is sticking to, environmental factors and the label material itself all play into the permanency of the label.
A high-tack adhesive has a more aggressive bond than a standard permanent adhesive. A high-tack adhesive may be needed if you are labeling a curved or bumpy surface or if the surface is not completely clean.
If you are looking to remove the label at some point in the future, you’re probably looking at a removable adhesive.This category of adhesive is one of trickiest. Important considerations are the length of time you want the label to stick and the surface being labeled. Within this category there are many variations.
Here are a few examples (Source: Intermec Media Products);
General Purpose Removable - Designed to remove cleanly from a wide range of substrates. Moderate peel strength for applications requiring medium to long-term removability.
- Ultra Removable - A specialty adhesive with easy peel for clean removability on challenging substrates such as glass, paper, and steel. May be reapplied to surface multiple times.
- Tight Removable - Develops high initial tack and strong peel to prevent inadvertent edge flagging. Has medium to long-term removability from many durable substrates. Generally paired with film facestocks to prevent label tearing during removal.
Cold Temp Adhesive
In simple terms, a cold temperature adhesive is a specialty permanent adhesive that performs well in cold temperatures. Again, a number of factors need to be considered when selecting a cold temp adhesive.
- What is the application temperature? Is the label being put on at room temperature or is the surface already cold?
- What is the coldest temperature the label must withstand?
- Will the label go through freeze-thaw cycles?
Here at ADI we’ve helped customers label all kinds of things. A unique application for cold temperature adhesive required the labeling of test tubes being stored in liquid nitrogen. Now that's cold!!
What labeling challenges are you facing?