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Not all labels are the same: an introduction to durable labels

Industrial manufacturing floor

There are many different types of durable labels and varying levels of durability.

In this blog you will begin to understand why label durability matters, including the benefits of using correctly matched labels for industrial applications.  

What is a durable label?

A durable label is synthetic carrier of information/data with an adhesive layer, which is typically affixed to a product or component.

Industrial durable labels are designed to resist harsh elements such as:

  • solvents
  • extreme temperatures
  • moisture
  • tearing
  • weathering
  • abrasion

There are many uses for durable labels within industry including providing important information on:

  • a product's origin
  • manufacturer’s details
  • electrical rating
  • serial numbers
  • barcodes

Depending on the adhesive, materials and print protection used, durable labels can be permanent, removable, made to last the lifetime of a product or for a specific process duration.

Durable labels are widely used across industrial applications ranging from car engines, sensors and pumps to electronics medical devices and machinery. 

3 key elements which impact label durability

  • Adhesive: must be correct for the surface of your product
  • Material: must be durable enough for the lifetime of your product/application
  • Printing: must resist the labels end use environment

Why label durability matters 

Virtually every new product or component produced will have a requirement to carry some type of product or traceability information. This can be easily and cost effectively fulfilled by using a durable label. 

A correctly specified durable label, matched to the challenges of its end-use environment, is the ideal way to:

  • meet identification specifications
  • enhance productivity
  • meet regulations and legal compliance
  • save money by not using more expensive identification methods (such as metal plates)
  • prevent a host of quality problems

Low spec labels in industrial environments will let you down!

Ordinary stationery paper labels or low specification durable labels are not designed to withstand the range of conditions found in outdoor environments or industrial processes such as, offshore oil and gas hose identification, to automotive part labelling, and the identification of industrial pumps and valves.

In these environments exposure to weathering, extreme temperatures, abrasion, solvents and chemicals can result in labels becoming unreadable, tearing, fading, peeling or falling off altogether.

Label failure can cause:

  • decreased productivity
  • non-compliance to regulations,
  • loss of product traceability
  • a compromise in safety
  • increased costs and time loss for businesses

What is a durable computer imprintable label?

Most companies print durable labels themselves, as it is efficient, cost effective and keeps inventory to a minimum. For example,

Why have ten different labels for ten different versions of the same product, when you could have one professional label template and add the variable data yourself?

Durable computer imprintable labels can be printed using an office laser printer or Thermal transfer printer and the print is remarkably durable.

As an example, laser toner can resist Isopropyl alcohol and there are thermal transfer ribbons that will resist acetone, provided the correct label is used.

How to find the right label for you

Think about whether you want a fully printed label, a blank label to print yourself, or a hybrid version of both, and what your labels will need to withstand.

Speaking with a computer imprintable label specialist is recommended, as they will help you define more clearly your durable label need and be able to navigate you through the option best suited to you. 

It is always best to work directly with the label manufacturer as they will have first-hand knowledge of which adhesives, materials, print method and print protection works best across industrial applications so that you can label with confidence.

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