Ask Dr. Dave / Pressure-Sensitive Adhesives (PSAs)

Ask Dr. Dave: September 2012

QUESTION: We use pressure-sensitive labels in our bottling operation. They work well, but are quite expensive. Is there a fast, low-cost alternative?
ANSWER: Pressure-sensitive labels are making serious inroads into traditional labeling markets, but if your business can afford some capital investment, then an alternative is to use overlap labels that have adhesive applied automatically to the leading and trailing edge of the label. The adhesive can be jetted on or applied by roller. Labels are commonly supplied in a magazine, and the adhesives are usually water-based or hot melts. 
The simplest labeling machines (such as those found in small wineries) are semi-automatic horizontal labelers where the bottle or can is rolled through the machine. Extremely high-volume operations, such as those in the soft drink or canning industries, use totally automatic vertical labelers where the bottle or can travels upright through the labeler. 
One of the key elements to successful low-cost labeling is to choose the right adhesive for both your container surface and the label itself, which is commonly paper or plastic. Adhesive manufacturers have formulated special adhesives for specific applications. For example, carbonated drinks use polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, which tend to expand during shipping or storage. To address this problem, manufacturers have developed hot-melt adhesives that slip a little to prevent tearing of the labels. Similarly, special adhesives have been designed to label cold, wet containers or containers full of hot liquids.
You need to carefully consider the pros and cons of changing from your current pressure-sensitive adhesive. Pressure-sensitive labels, though somewhat expensive, are easy to store and apply with simple equipment. Fully automatic labelers can also be expensive to purchase, require you to buy and store adhesive, and require line and maintenance personnel to be thoroughly trained in their operation, maintenance, and cleanup.


Any views or opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not represent those of Adhesives & Sealants Industry, its staff, Editorial Advisory Board or BNP Media.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Adhesives & Sealants Industry Magazine.

Recent Articles by Dave Dunn

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

ASI April 2014 Photo Gallery

Our April 2014 issue is now available!


ExxonMobil Tackifier Expansion

Dwight Tozer, vice president of ExxonMobil’s Adhesion Industry business, discusses the company’s latest tackifier expansion project with Editor-in-Chief Susan Sutton.

More Podcasts

Adhesives & Sealants Industry Magazine

ASI July 2015 issue

2015 July

The July issue features our annual Distributor Directory! Be sure to check it out!
Table Of Contents Subscribe

"Cultural Fit"

A recent opinion piece in the New York Times observed that new employees are often hired based on the personal similarities they share with their interviewers. How important is “cultural fit” when hiring someone?
View Results Poll Archive


Handbook of Sealant Technology

The Handbook of Sealant Technology provides an in-depth examination of sealants, reviewing their historical developments and fundamentals, adhesion theories and properties, and today’s wide range of applications.

More Products

ASI 2014 Buyers GuideASI's Buyers' Guide

Annual purchasing resource for equipment used in the manufacture/formulation of adhesives, sealants, pressure sensitives, tapes and labels and for application of finished adhesives. 


facebook_40px twitter_40  youtube_40pxlinkedin_40 google+ icon ASI 30px

Clear Seas Research

With access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications, Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.