Not all labels are created equally. There are labels made to endure sleet, snow, heat, and even explosions – and there are labels that can’t even stand up to a few drops of water.
Today, we’re going to explore the difference between traditional labels and durable labels. We’ll explore how durability can mean many different things depending on the industry the label is made for, and we’ll examine some of the most common environments labels will be deployed in, and the risks in each of those environments.
Before we get into any of that, however, you’ll need a basic understanding of what labels are made of.
The anatomy of a product label
All labels are made of at least three components: Ink, substrate, and adhesive. A simple paper product label may be made of nothing more than that: Print product information on a piece of basic printer paper, slap some glue on the back, and you’ve got yourself a label.
Most companies are, of course, looking for something a bit more durable than that. Durable labels will frequently feature a protective coating to protect the ink underneath – this coating can also provide water resistance and other useful qualities.
It’s important to match the substrate to the adhesive – a weak substrate with a strong adhesive is a terrible pairing. Have you ever tried to pull a label off of a product and inadvertently shredded it into a papery, sticky mess? That’s because the substrate was too weak to pull the adhesive off with it when you pulled on the label.
How product labels are used in different industries
This is a pretty broad category, but all labels for consumer goods share a particular quality: They need to be easily removed by consumers.
Adhesives for consumer goods need to be chosen carefully. You won’t need a particularly strong adhesive for foodstuffs, as they have a definite lifespan – it’s almost inconsequential if a single piece of fruit loses its labeling. Other consumer goods, like dishware, however, will need labels with adhesives strong enough to last for years. These adhesives must be paired with a substrate that allows the label to be easily removed by the consumer.
When you’re working on a vehicle, you need to be able to identify parts and hazards quickly. Labels are to vehicles what regulatory signs are to driving – they keep you safe and make everything a little easier to understand.
Automotive labels need to be incredibly durable. They’re exposed to caustic chemicals and scorching heat. When the vehicle is in a place with winters as frigid as we have (we’re located in Minnesota), these labels also need to be cold resistant. Given that the manufacturer will never know where a car is going to end up, they need to keep all weather conditions in mind. Throw water resistance and UV resistance into the mix, too – you can’t be too careful when it comes to safety.
These labels are all incredibly standardized – the color, the shape, everything. They can’t fade. They shouldn’t be removed by anyone. That’s why automotive labels are some of the most durable on the market.
Industrial, oil and gas, military, and more
Labels used in these industries are subject to a wide variety of different environments. They’re often used outside, and they may be exposed to substantial heat, acidic or alkaline substances, abrasion, heavy impact, explosions, and more. Labels in these industries must be easy to read and fade resistant and must often comply with a variety of standards set forth by various regulatory bodies.
In other words, they need to be incredibly durable. In some cases (such as for machine controls), it’s best to use overlays in place of labels.
These are just a few examples of the industries that need durable labels – you’ll find them on everything from electronics to medical equipment, and each industry has its own hazards and conditions the label will need to withstand.
The conditions your label will need to withstand
As you can see, “durable” can mean very different things depending on what industry you’re in and what you’re using the label for. Broadly, there are a few different qualities that will make your label more durable:
- Temperature resistance (both hot and cold)
- Force resistance (abrasion, impact, tearing, etc.)
- UV resistance
- Chemical resistance
- Fire resistance
Depending on the conditions your label will need to withstand, you may require a variety of different substrates. Vinyl, for example, is particularly good at withstanding fluctuating temperatures, while polypropylene labels are great at repelling water.
What are durable labels used for?
The most durable labels are rarely removed from the surfaces they’re affixed to. As such, very durable labels are generally used to warn people of hazards. They may be used to classify dangerous chemicals, provide instructions should serious problems occur, and more.
Trust General Label Inc. for durable labels
Now that you know what goes into creating a durable label, choose a labels manufacturer who can provide you with the customization and durability you need. Choose General Label Inc.