While durable labels have important roles to play in deterring costly mistakes in compliance situations and protecting the public against counterfeiting, not every permanent labeling exercise is as high-profile. In some cases, you simply have an important message to convey about product usage, dangers or compatibility, and the label carrying that messaging needs to last as long as the object to which it is adhered.
Consider the case of durable consumer goods, such as a lawnmower or washing machine. These items typically have film-based labels adhered with permanent adhesives that offer information around operation (how to start the lawnmower or how to adjust washing machine settings, for example), safety (warning a user not to put hands or feet under mower blades) and ratings (explaining the voltage considerations and capacity of the washing machine). Because these sorts of items are meant to last long term and may even be resold or handed down, it is important that these warnings and instructions stay adhered and legible for the lifespan of the units, necessitating a durable label.
How do we ensure durable instruction labels will last?
As is generally the case, your best bet is to carefully consider the application when choosing an ideal label. Ask yourself:
- Do I need chemical, water, UV, extreme temperature or other environmental resistance? If the answer is “Yes”, then you will want to choose an adhesive type that will withstand the challenges. In the case of the lawnmower above, you might want an acrylic adhesive that will resist gasoline spills and a polypropylene facestock with UV inhibitors that will resist heat and solar rays as well. Rubber-based adhesives are becoming more resistant to high temperature than they once were, and can also be a great option for applications where chemical resistance is not an issue.
- What sort of substrate does my adhesive need to stick to? Different adhesives adhere well to different surface types, so be sure you prioritize compatibility. Rubber-based adhesives are known for their ability to adhere to a wide variety of substrates, including low-energy coated materials whereas acrylics do best on polar surfaces such as metal or glass.
- How much conformability do I need? There are a variety of durable facestock options out there, but a rigid, tear-resistant option like polyester may not be the right choice if you want to have a label sit flat on a curved or uneven surface. Vinyl would be a better option in this case, as long as the application is not one where leeching plasticizers could be a problem.
From the automotive market to electronics to garden equipment and beyond, there will always be a need for durable labels that inform and protect us. Need help deciding which materials will provide the lasting performance you need at the proper price point? Consult with a supplier you trust; they have the knowledge and resources to lead you down the right path.
This post is part of a series on permanent labeling called The Permanent Record. You can find the previous post here. Check back soon to learn what’s trending and what’s next in the durable label market.