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Durable labels for laboratory processes

Durable computer imprintable labels are a crucial identification method for laboratories worldwide. These specialist labels are constructed to survive harsh processes and are printable using a standard laser or thermal transfer printer.

This blog summarises key laboratory processes that benefit from using computer imprintable durable labels including the typical purposes they serve and the durability challenges they need to resist.

The 5 main laboratories processes that benefit from using durable printable labels

Refrigeration, Freezer and Cryogenic Storage

Low temperature storage (-25°C to -196°C) is a key part of all laboratory processes, with millions of samples spending years in storage, such as in Biobanks. Clear identification of each sample is imperative to ensure that they can be easily identified when required.

With the wide use of plastic labware, which has a narrow diameter e.g vials or straws offering very little surface area to apply labels to, combined with the fact that there is a very short period of time from when a label is applied to when it is placed in storage, label material and adhesion is imperative to ensure labels stay put in freezing temperatures (-80°C to -196°C). This can cost extra time cross referencing sample records to re-identify a sample, or it may even result in gaining approval for the disposal of the sample altogether.

Durable computer imprintable labels developed specifically to resist cold storage offer a clear and secure sample identification for all labware stored in conventional or liquid nitrogen freezers, or transported on dry ice. Our colour coded label sets offer a simple solution for instant sample recognition.

Applications range from: Identifying cryo tubes, vials and boxes, tube caps, IVF fluid straws to microplates and wellplates.

Solvent Processes

Solvent usage is one of the harshest lab processes and can cause a problem for sample identification. A sample ID label will need to offer maximum durability to resist short periods of solvent or chemical immersion for testing or sterilisation.

Printed data such as barcodes, batch numbers, expiry dates, lot numbers, patient and sample ID etc. should remain clear and legible even when exposed to xylene and other organic solvents, staining processes, autoclaves, extreme temperatures (-80°C to +155°C), freeze / thaw cycles etc.  The combination of a special printable coating and thermal transfer printer ribbon provides maximum solvent resistance without secondary lacquers, over-laminates or tape.

Applications include: slides, HPLC columns, tissue cassettes, histology and microbiology tissue analysis, cytology and haematology application, immunofluorescence testing

Autoclave Cycles and Sterilisation

The use of heat, steam, UV light and chemicals in autoclave cycles and sterilisation can be really challenging for identification labels.  Moisture can leave printed or handwritten labels wet and illegible, while heat and UV light can cause fading and even cause the label to melt or lift off labware if a durable label is not correctly specified.

This complex mix of harsh processes means that a durable label must be used to ensure that identification stays put and legible. Durable removable labels are ideal for resistant identification and can be easily removed ready for sterilisation, without leaving behind sticky residues.

Application surfaces include: glass, metal or plastic labware and instruments

Histology and Cytopathology Processes

The unique demands of cytopathology and histology require that labelling is resistant to cryopreservation, slide staining, reagents, chromatography techniques, xylene and IPA.

Our label sets, colour-coding and high-tech adhesives for curved containers are continually developed for maximum efficiency in histopathology, haematology, microbiology, immunology, toxicology etc.

Application surfaces include: glass, metal or plastic labware and slides

Reagent Testing

Familiar with all aspects of laboratory research, we have label formats specifically for reagent kit labelling. Branded , full colour labels printed with our brand new CILS 3.0® Technology allows for a highly professional high definition label. Colour-coded label sets assist identification when supplied with kits for substance and sample analysis, and can be tailored precisely to the vessels in each pack.  

Application surfaces include: Vials, Cap and Tube, glass and plastic labware

Durability is the key

Durable labels are manufactured using specific combinations of adhesives, label materials and coatings matched to exact specifications including, printing method, regulatory compliance and the labels end-use environment.

When correctly matched durable printable labels will resist:

  • Extreme cold temperatures (-25°C to -196°C)
  • Abrasion and repetitive handling                                                                                                            
  • Solvents and chemicals              
  • UV exposure 
  • Moisture and humidity
  • Autoclave cycles and sterilisation
  • Staining and sealing agents
  • Centrifuge processes
  • Diagnostic reagents           

How to find the right label 

Selecting the right durable label can be difficult without the help and experience of a computer imprintable label manufacturer.

CILS consultative approach simplifies the process of sourcing durable labels. We work with you to identify your requirement and use our extensive industry knowledge to manufacture the most appropriate label solution for your needs.

Fill our our quick contact form, send us an email or call +44 (0)1903 219000.  

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