Your labels are more than just a label. Much like your printer, your label has a big job to do. Labels identify, track, categorize, and help with many other functions. Therefore, it is crucial that you pick the right label for your job. A simple paper label with a standard adhesive isn’t going to work for every application.
When dealing with labels, it is important to ask the right questions. You will want to know as much as possible about the application and to understand the complete story of the life of the label and where the label will end up adhered to. For example, a standard direct thermal label available anywhere is just a label with a direct thermal topcoat and a standard adhesive. These are mainly designed to be applied to corrugated boxes, used in shipping applications. However if that same corrugated shipping box is going to end up in a freezer or high moisture environment the standard direct thermal label will not work. Within minutes or hours, the label will fall off the box because of the exposure to the cold or moist environment.
Imagine, that you just labeled hundreds of boxes, and came back the next day to find all the labels peeling off or scattered around on the ground. Your tracking system just broke down. You have two choices, reprint all the labels or try to match the boxes with the lot numbers. Has this happened to you? Unfortunately, it happens more often than you would think, cause frustration and adding costs to the job.
Of course, this could have easily been avoided if the right questions were asked when purchasing the labels.
Questions to Ask to Get the Right Label for the Job
What printer are you using?
Not all label rolls are made the same, each printer manufacture has their own unique sizes and wind (inward or outward) for their label rolls.
What is the label going to be adhered to?
This is a very important question to ask. There are many types of label adhesives on the market. There are freezer grade adhesives, oil resistant adhesive, removable adhesive, and even dissolvable adhesives. There are adhesives for different types of surfaces such as a heavy coat weight or high tact for rough or powder coated surfaces.
What is the label environment?
Will the label be used indoors or outdoors? Will it be exposed to oils, grease, alcohol, or solvents? A good example is a cosmetic retailer that will need a label that will withstand the oil typically found in the cosmetics. A standard label when exposed to the oil could make the print bleed, making it unreadable.
How long does your label need to last?
Direct thermal labels generally last about a year, these types of labels are not intended for a long shelf life. Thermal Transfer labels are used with ribbon and generally last longer and are recommended for outdoor environments or asset labeling. That said, there are many treatments that can be made to a Direct Thermal label that will give the label a longer shelf life.
What size label do you need?
In the printing world, we have many shapes and sizes for customers to choose from and if we don’t carry the shape or size a customer needs we can custom order it.
Do you need any pre-prints like logos or anything with color added to your labels?
Making your label stand out by adding your company name or logo or adding color that is needed for identification, is something you want to determine at the start of your label selection journey.
Of course, we don’t expect you or the customer to know all the details, but the more information you get, the better. The above questions are just a way to get your customer thinking about the unique conditions the label might be exposed to. Our team at Brother Mobile Solutions can help you find the right label for your job, ensuring your labeling journey is a success!