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Save time and reduce your ID costs - switch from metal plates to vca approved labels

What you'll learn in this blog...

You can now save money by switching from expensive metal plates to cost effective die cut durable labels as set out in EU regulation 19/2011~249/2012.

An EU directive that will help you save money

The EU directive for type approval labelling provides two methods to go about achieving the correct type approval certification that shows testing and product conformity to the applicable regulations. These methods include using metal plates which has historically always been favoured or making your own labels using a complicated printing, laminating and die cutting machine with VCA approved materials. The EU regulations states:

1. The manufacturer’s statutory plate shall consist either of:

(a) a rectangular sheet of metal;

(b) a rectangular self-adhesive label.

1.4. Metallic plates shall be fastened with rivets.

1.5. Labels shall be tamper evident, fraud resistant and self-destructive in case there is an attempt to remove the label.

This is an EU regulation that can actually save you money as it has allowed for the introduction of type approval labels to be used as an alternative to metal plates. This can be a much more cost-effective solution if gone about in the correct way. However, until now a simple to use and economical VCA approved die cut label solution has not been available with a letter of non-concern. 

Process of using a label solution as an alternative to metal plates

Typically, tier 2 suppliers use metal plates for their type approval, as they are very durable but the downside of this is that they are also expensive to use. There are a few hurdles you need to jump through first to be able to use labels instead of metal plates, however, once you have done this, they can be a much cheaper choice. 

To be able to use a label for type approval, it must first be submitted to the VCA for approval. This all seems very straight forward but there are some frustrations to it including:

  1. The VCA are a very busy organisation, therefore, time and resources for label approval are limited
  2. The VCA will charge you each time you ask them to test a label
  3. It can be extremely admin intensive and take time to do

There is an existing label printing method available that the VCA has approved but the printer is very expensive to buy, complicated to use and wasteful. That being said, it is now possible to get die cut labels that follow the criteria of the EU directive and meets the VCA definition of indelible. We have worked closely with the VCA to test two label constructions that have now passed their tests and have been VCA approved. This has been backed with a letter of non-concern to show that the two labels are compliant with the EU directive.

What are the two label constructions?

Option 1

The first option is made of ‘VOID’ evident material which leaves a ‘VOID’ message upon attempted removal.

Option 2

The second option is made of tamper evident material which is extremely difficult to remove once applied. If an attempt is made to remove the label it will break up like an eggshell.

Rub Test

Both label constructions are made of highly durable material that can resist harsh processes and environments including but not limited to fuels, lubricants and solvents etc.

How can you print the labels?

These type approval labels can be printed using a standard thermal transfer printer, this makes them very accessible as a lot of automotive companies may already own one of these printers, therefore, all that would be required is the VCA approved label construction and correct ribbon to be used. Alternatively, a thermal transfer printer and software can be purchased for the job, prices start at £370 for an entry level model that would be a perfectly adequate printer for what’s needed.

Why use labels rather than metal plates?

There are many benefits to using labels over metal plates, below is a summary of the key points to remember:

  1. You don't have to get VCA approval for your labels
  2. Letter of non-concern provided
  3. Reduce costs with durable labels rather than expensive metal plates
  4. Label durability that matches or surpasses metal plates
  5. The convenience of printing your own durable labels in-house
  6. Thermal Transfer printers are economical and can be used for other labels 

For more information on this subject or if you have any questions feel free to contact us ensuring to add ‘VCA Approved Labels’ in the message section.

About CILS International

CILS International are leaders in the durable labelling industry and are at the forefront of labelling innovations. Manufacturing computer imprintable labels for customers worldwide, we provide a comprehensive ID solution to suit all needs, as well as a label printing service where we print your variable data onto your labels. We also supply thermal transfer printers, ribbons and label design software which includes technical set-up and support if needed.

CILS manufacturers the widest range of durable labels ensuring a perfect match to your application. Labels are available for laser or thermal transfer printers, can be made in any shape or size, pre-printed or left blank as is necessary.


All statements, technical information and recommendations herein are based on tests we believe to be reliable, but the accuracy or completeness thereof is not guaranteed and the following is made in lieu of all warranties, expressed or implied, including the implied warranties, of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose: Seller’s and Manufacturer’s only obligation shall be to replace such quantity of the product proved to be defective. Before using, user shall determine the suitability of the product for its intended use, and user assumes all risk and liability whatsoever in connection therewith. Limitation of Remedies: The remedy described above shall be the buyer’s Exclusive remedy for any breach of warranty.

NEITHER SELLER NOR MANUFACTURER SHALL BE LIABLE EITHER IN TORT OR IN CONTRACT FOR ANY LOSS OR DAMAGE, DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, OR CONSEQUENTIAL, ARISING OUT OF THE USE OF OR THE INABILITY TO USE THE PRODUCT. No statement or recommendation not contained in our authorised literature shall have any force or effect unless in an agreement signed by officers of seller and manufacturer.

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