Blank computer imprintable costs explained
Written by Oliver Stockton, Managing Director, CILS
The complex nature of durable computer imprintable labels means they do not cost the same as paper stickers, packaging labels, etc. as they are made from durable synthetic materials.
Prices vary depending on the end-use application, quantity, size, shape, material, adhesives, format, popularity and print method. These factors make it impossible to put a meaningful price list together as there are thousands of combinations.
Durable labels have a greater expectation of longevity and are in a higher price range because stickers, stationery, and packaging labels are made from low-cost paper with cheap generic adhesives. Durable labels are more complex and have 4 key elements that all contribute to the cost:
- Durable label material
- Adhesive appropriate to your surface
- Computer imprintable coating
- A special release liner
Download our free eBook for more information on the construction of a durable label to help you choose the label that is right for you.
Let’s now consider each of the factors that will influence the price:
What the label is going to be applied to
The label needs to be made from a material that meets your durability requirements and will be guided by what your label will be applied to. Polyester is the most common and cost-effective label material for good durability and broad temperature resistance (usually -40°F to +311°F).
Any quantity of labels can be made and there are price breaks per 1,000 so the more labels you order (are manufactured) at a time, the lower the price per label.
It goes without saying that the bigger the label the more material and adhesive is used and this will influence the cost. However, intricately shaped or tiny labels <5mm may be more expensive because they have to be made more slowly and may create a lot of waste in the manufacturing process.
Rectangles and circles are typical but if you need a specific shape this will increase the cost because the shape will be unique to you.
Polyethylene is a cheap synthetic material but has performance limitations (download our eBook). Polyester is the most cost-effective all-rounder and there are more expensive specialist materials such as cast vinyl for outdoor UV resistance or Polyimide to resist temperatures of up to +730°F, etc.
The cheapest adhesives found on synthetic materials are water-based acrylic or rubber-based. Solvent acrylic adhesive is the only adhesive to cure and get better with age as well as, not dry out and deteriorate. Don’t be fooled into thinking that a label specification stating acrylic adhesive is solvent acrylic. If it doesn’t state solvent acrylic, it will be water-based. This is the most common difference when comparing prices when the construction seems to be the same but the prices are different.
There are different solvent acrylic adhesives for different surfaces. CILS (HSE) adhesive for flat smooth high surface energy surfaces is the lowest price, (LSE) adhesive for lightly textured or low surface energy surfaces is a higher price and (LSE+) for heavily textured or low surface energy surfaces comes at a premium.
The number of labels on a page or the number of labels across the width of a roll can influence the price. The material element of a price is calculated on an m2 basis so the more labels on a page or across a roll, the more economical the label will be.
If you purchase a size such as 19mm x 38mm, for instance, we manufacture hundreds of thousands of these per week so we are able to pass on the economy of manufacture to our customers. If the label is a size unique to you, then the label is being custom made and will be more expensive but don’t forget price breaks as mentioned above. Always tell us if the size of the label you are looking for is critical. If it isn’t, we will suggest alternative similar sizes for the economy.
Print method – laser
Special lay-flat release liners are used for laser printable labels and there is a special computer imprintable coating that makes the toner from the laser printer durable. This is great because it means you don’t need to buy a special printer, but the label price will be a little more expensive.
Print method – thermal transfer
Thermal transfer labels have special printable coatings designed to work with specific ribbons. For example, a premium CILS label material TMWUSPET(LSE) is acetone resistant when used with the correct ribbon and is more expensive.
Click here to read more about our thermal transfer and laser printing options.
How can we help you?
I hope that this has given you a feel for the pricing of durable computer imprintable labels and provides a little insight into why we qualify every enquiry so thoroughly.
Our aim is to understand your end-use so that we can recommend the most appropriate label options at the most cost-effective price. We make sure that your label is not over-engineered but remain mindful that the most expensive label is a label that fails.
So, contact us and tell us what you need and we will provide you with recommendations and pricing.