Choosing the Perfect Label

You might think choosing a label is a simple decision. Actually, though, selecting a label that will effectively serve its purpose can be a rather involved process.

When deciding on labeling, you must consider a number of factors. How you are going to use the label, the type of printer and ribbon you will use to print your labels, and the environment in which the label will be used all influence the type of label that you’ll need.

For example, a label used in an electronics assembly line will need to be made of different durable materials than a label used in a warehouse on a shipping pallet. In some assembly processes, the label may come in contact with chemicals or solvents that can erode the print on the label, damage the label material, or weaken the adhesives. Or the label might need to withstand abrasions during manufacturing or shipping and you might need an over-laminate to protect the label.

Other environments might require labels that can go from ambient to freezing temperatures. In this case, you’ll need to consider the temperature at which the label is applied and if the adhesive can adhere to packages that may have condensation on them at some point in processing.

The surface on which the label is applied also influences the adhesives and material. Will the label be applied to a metal, plastic, or paper surface? Will the label be applied by hand or auto-applied by a machine? Will the label need to be removed or will it remain permanently affixed? Again, your label must match the surface and the method of application so that it won’t rip, fall off, or become unreadable. After all, what good is a label if it becomes mangled during its expected lifetime of use.

Some of your label decisions will depend on the printer used to print the label. For example, a laser printer will print better on paper than on glossy material. A thermal transfer printer will require that you use the right type of paper and ribbon to prevent bar codes and text from smudging.  Labels are packaged in a variety of formats –  a roll, fan fold, or piece format – so your printer must be able to accommodate the format. For example, if your labels come on a roll, how large a roll can fit in your printer?

You might have a special UL or Mil Spec requirement for your labeling, and you’ll need to show that your labels comply with these regulations. You may require a specific layout of labels on the label liner, such as side-by-side labels or with a specific distance between labels, so that your label software will print your labels correctly. Perhaps you want your logo or color or text pre printed on your label too.

Don’t forget about label volume. Consider the number of labels you use and do a simple “make or buy” analysis. It might be less expensive to let us do the printing for you.

With so many factors to consider, it’s clear that choosing a label that performs as expected is more involved than you thought. That’s where we can help. We are experts on labeling solutions and can give you advice on creating a new label, or improving an existing one. So if you are having problems with your label or are looking for a new label solution, give us a call and we can help you design the label that is just right for the job.

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