Selecting the Right Labels for Your Label Applicator Machine

label applicator machine

When it comes to optimizing labels for use with label applicator machines, several critical factors must be considered to ensure smooth operation and effective application. The construction of the label, including the liner, adhesives, and facestock, plays a significant role in the labeling process. Additionally, understanding peel values, release values, and adherence to the surface being labeled is essential. Neglecting these factors can lead to a host of issues that impact efficiency, quality, and overall business performance.

Key Considerations for Label Optimization

Liner

The liner is the backbone of any label construction and must be carefully selected to ensure optimal performance with label applicator machines. The liner material should be both durable and flexible. While paper liners are common, film liners are often preferred for their enhanced strength and ability to withstand higher application speeds without tearing. A good release coating, typically silicone, ensures that labels peel off smoothly without tearing or leaving residue. The thickness of the liner must also be compatible with the applicator machine to prevent jams and ensure proper feeding. Thinner liners can increase the number of labels per roll, reducing downtime for roll changes.

Adhesives

The adhesive used in label construction is crucial for ensuring the label sticks properly to the intended surface. The type of adhesive, whether permanent, removable, repositionable, should be chosen based on the application’s specific needs. Permanent adhesives are ideal for long-term applications, while removable adhesives are suitable for temporary labeling. It’s also important to select an adhesive that performs well under the application temperature conditions to ensure a strong bond. Furthermore, the adhesive must adhere well to the material being labeled, taking into account surface texture, cleanliness, and composition.

Facestock

The facestock is the visible part of the label and must meet various requirements depending on the application. The material should be selected based on the end-use requirements, such as durability, printability, and resistance to environmental factors. Common materials include paper, polyester, polypropylene, and vinyl. Ensuring the facestock provides excellent print quality and ink adhesion is vital for barcodes and other printed information. Additionally, the facestock might need to be resistant to abrasion, chemicals, moisture, or UV light depending on the application.

Peel Values

Peel value refers to the force required to remove the label from the liner, which is a critical parameter for label applicator machines. Peel values should be optimized to allow easy peeling by the applicator machine without tearing the label or liner. These values are typically tested at a specified angle and speed to ensure consistency, facilitating smooth operation during high-speed labeling.

Release Values

Release value measures the force needed to separate the facestock from the liner and is crucial for high-speed labeling applications. Consistent release values are essential to prevent misfeeds and jams during application. The balance must be such that labels do not prematurely detach during handling but still release easily during application, maintaining efficiency and accuracy.

Adherence

Adherence refers to the label’s ability to stick to the surface immediately and over time. The initial tack, or the adhesive’s ability to stick to the surface immediately upon contact, should be high enough to prevent label lift during application but not so high that it causes issues with repositioning if needed. Final adhesion must be strong enough to ensure long-term adherence to the substrate, considering factors like exposure to environmental conditions and physical stress. The substrate’s surface energy also affects how well the adhesive bonds. High surface energy materials, like metals and glass, typically provide better adhesion, while low surface energy materials, like some plastics, may require special adhesives.

Potential Issues from Poor Label Optimization

Failing to consider these critical factors can lead to several issues that can impact the efficiency and quality of the labeling process:

Preventing Label Jams

Incompatible liner thickness or materials can cause labels to jam or misfeed in the applicator machine, leading to downtime and reduced productivity. Ensuring that the liner’s thickness and material are compatible with the applicator machine is crucial to maintaining smooth operation and avoiding costly interruptions.

Peel Value Accuracy

Incorrect peel values can result in labels tearing or not peeling off the liner properly, causing interruptions and potential damage to the labels. Accurate peel values are essential for ensuring that labels separate cleanly from the liner, allowing for consistent and efficient application.

Static Control

Without measures to minimize static electricity, labels can stick together or misalign, leading to misapplication and wastage. Effective static control is necessary to prevent labels from clinging to each other or misaligning during the application process.

Adhesive Selection

Choosing the wrong adhesive type or one that is not suitable for the application temperature can result in labels not sticking properly to the surface, causing them to fall off. Conversely, too strong an adhesive can make repositioning difficult and cause damage to the labeled surface or the label itself when adjustments are needed. If the adhesive is not compatible with the surface material, it can result in poor adhesion or even damage the surface, especially with delicate or low surface energy materials.

Facestock Quality

Selecting an inappropriate facestock can lead to issues with print quality, such as smudging or fading, which can affect the readability of barcodes and other critical information. Labels may not withstand environmental conditions if the facestock material is not chosen correctly, leading to fading, tearing, or degradation when exposed to moisture, chemicals, or UV light.

By carefully considering these aspects of label construction, you can optimize the performance of label applicator machines, ensuring efficient and reliable labeling processes. Implementing these best practices will help enhance productivity and reduce downtime, ultimately leading to a more streamlined operation.

For more information on how to optimize your labels for applicator machines, contact us at CleanMark. Our team is here to assist you with all your labeling needs.

Author

CleanMark