GLOSSARY

A

Adhesive - An adhesive is a substance used for sticking objects or materials together. In the context of pressure-sensitive adhesives, it refers to a material that forms a bond when pressure is applied to marry the adhesive with the adherend.

  • Permanent - Permanent adhesives are designed to create a strong bond that is intended to last for a long time. Once applied, these adhesives typically cannot be removed without damaging the surface or leaving residue. They are ideal for applications where a long-lasting bond is required.
  • Removable - Removable adhesives are formulated to provide a strong bond, but they can be removed without damaging the surface or leaving significant residue. These adhesives are useful for temporary applications where the adhesive needs to hold securely but allow for easy removal.
  • Repositionable - Repositionable adhesives allow for initial positioning and repositioning before the final bond sets. This type of adhesive is useful in applications where precise placement is critical. After repositioning, the bond will eventually become permanent or semi-permanent, depending on the formulation.

Autoclave Labels - Heat-resistant and customizable labels designed to withstand autoclave sterilization processes, ensuring clear legibility and data integrity in critical environments such as healthcare, laboratories, and pharmaceuticals.

B

Backing Liner - The protective layer that covers the adhesive side of the label and is removed before application.

C

Cleanroom Labels - Specialized labels designed for use in controlled environments like cleanrooms, ensuring cleanliness, durability, and adherence to stringent industry standards.

D

Die-cutting - The process of cutting labels into specific shapes using a die.

Durability - The ability of a label to withstand environmental conditions without deteriorating.

  • Chemical Resistance - The ability of a label to withstand exposure to various chemicals without degrading, discoloring, or losing adhesion.
  • Cold Resistance - The ability of a label to maintain its adhesive properties, legibility, and structural integrity when exposed to low temperatures. Essential for labels used in refrigerated storage, frozen food packaging, outdoor applications in cold climates, and other settings where low temperatures are prevalent. Labels with cold resistance are designed to perform reliably in freezing or sub-zero conditions.
  • Heat Resistance - The ability of a label to maintain its integrity and adhesive properties when exposed to high temperatures.

F

Facestock - Facestock refers to the top layer of a label on which the printing is done. The choice of facestock is crucial as it affects the label’s appearance, durability, and suitability for different applications.

  • Paper - Paper is the most common facestock material, offering a balance of cost-effectiveness and versatility. Paper facestocks are available in various finishes, including matte, semi-gloss, and high-gloss. They are suitable for general-purpose labeling, such as product packaging, shipping labels, and office use. However, paper facestocks may not be as durable as synthetic materials and can be susceptible to moisture and tearing.
  • Polyester (PET) - Polyester facestock is known for its durability and resistance to harsh environments. It is a synthetic material that offers excellent resistance to chemicals, moisture, and abrasion. Polyester labels are ideal for applications requiring long-term durability, such as asset tracking, outdoor labeling, and industrial use. They can withstand extreme temperatures and are often used for labels that need to remain intact and legible under challenging conditions.
  • Polypropylene - Polypropylene facestock provides a good balance between durability and flexibility. It is resistant to moisture, chemicals, and tearing, making it suitable for a wide range of applications, including food and beverage labels, health and beauty product labels, and chemical labeling.
  • Polyethylene (PE) - Polyethylene facestock is a soft, flexible material that is resistant to moisture and chemicals. It is commonly used for applications where flexibility is important, such as squeezable containers and curved surfaces. Polyethylene labels are suitable for health and beauty products, household chemicals, and food packaging. They offer good durability and can withstand exposure to various environmental conditions.

Finish - Finish refers to the final surface treatment applied to the label material. This treatment affects the appearance, texture, and performance characteristics of the label. Different finishes can provide various aesthetic and functional benefits, depending on the intended use of the label.

  • Matte - A matte finish is a non-reflective, flat surface that diffuses light, resulting in a soft, subdued appearance. Labels with a matte finish have a smooth texture that does not shine or reflect light, making them easy to read under various lighting conditions.
  • Gloss - A gloss finish is a shiny, reflective surface that catches and reflects light, giving labels a bright and vibrant appearance. Labels with a gloss finish have a smooth and glossy texture that enhances the color and detail of the printed design.
  • Satin - A satin finish offers a middle ground between matte and gloss finishes. It has a soft sheen that provides a slight reflective quality without the high shine of a gloss finish. Labels with a satin finish have a smooth texture and a subtle luster, giving them an elegant appearance.
  • UV Coating - UV coating is a type of finish that involves applying a clear liquid coating to the label surface and then curing it with ultraviolet light. This finish can provide a high-gloss, matte, or satin effect, depending on the formulation. UV coatings offer enhanced durability, protecting labels from scratches, moisture, and fading due to exposure to sunlight.

L

Label Printing Types - Label printing types refer to the various stages of pre-printed information that can be present on labels, determining the extent of customization available or needed. This classification helps in understanding how much of the label's content is fixed and how much can be modified or added later. Different label printing types are suited for different applications and provide varying levels of flexibility, convenience, and efficiency.

  • Blank Labels - Blank labels are labels that have no pre-printed information or designs on them. They are completely blank and can be customized with text, images, or other information as needed, typically using a printer or handwriting. These labels are versatile and can be used in various applications, such as inventory management, shipping, and product labeling.
  • Partially Printed Labels - Partially printed labels have some pre-printed information or designs on them, but there is still blank space available for additional customization. This could include logos, borders, or other fixed elements that do not change, while the variable information, such as dates, barcodes, or specific details, can be added later. Partially printed labels offer a balance between pre-printed convenience and flexibility for customization.
  • Fully Printed Labels - Fully printed labels are completely pre-printed with all necessary information, designs, and elements. They are ready for immediate use without any further customization. These labels are often used for products where the information does not change, such as branded packaging, product labels, or compliance labels with fixed data.

Lamination - A process of applying a protective film over the label to enhance durability and appearance.

P

Perforation - Small cuts or holes in the label or liner to allow easy tearing or folding.

Print Methods - Print methods for labels refer to the various technologies used to apply text, images, or designs onto label materials. Each print method has its own advantages, suited to different applications, environments, and material types.

  • Direct Thermal - Direct thermal printing uses heat-sensitive paper that blackens when passed under a thermal print head. This method does not require ink, toner, or ribbons, making it simple and cost-effective. Direct thermal printing is best for short-term applications such as shipping labels, receipts, and temporary identification labels. However, labels printed with this method can fade over time, especially when exposed to heat, light, or friction.
  • Thermal Transfer - Thermal transfer printing uses a heated ribbon to produce durable, long-lasting images on a variety of materials, including paper, polyester, and polypropylene. The heat from the print head melts the ribbon’s ink onto the label surface, creating a high-quality, resilient print. This method is suitable for applications requiring durable labels that withstand harsh environments, such as asset tracking, inventory management, and outdoor labeling.
  • Laser - Laser printing uses a laser beam to produce an image on a drum, which is then transferred to the label material using toner and heat. This method is known for its high speed, precision, and cost-effectiveness for medium to large print runs. Laser printers can produce sharp, high-resolution text and graphics on various label materials. They are suitable for applications requiring clear, professional-quality labels, such as office labels, barcode labels, and identification labels. Laser-printed labels are durable and resistant to smudging, making them appropriate for both indoor and outdoor use.
  • Inkjet - Inkjet printing uses tiny droplets of ink to create images and text on labels. This method offers high-quality, vibrant prints and is capable of producing detailed graphics and photos. Inkjet printers can handle a wide range of label materials, including paper and synthetic films. They are ideal for short runs, customization, and applications where high-resolution color printing is essential, such as product labels, promotional labels, and custom designs. However, inkjet prints may not be as durable as those produced by thermal transfer printing, particularly in wet or abrasive environments.

R

Release Coating - A coating applied to the backing liner to prevent the adhesive from sticking to it.

S

Sterile Indicating - Sterile indicating labels, tape, and tags provide easy verification of proper sterilization by changing color to confirm the process, with options for autoclave, gamma, and EtO sterilization methods, ensuring safety and adherence to standards.

  • Autoclave Indicating - Autoclave indicating labels, tape, and strips are visual cues that verify critical factors like temperature and time, providing real-time feedback on the effectiveness of the autoclave sterilization process.

Sterile Labels - Rolls of labels that are individually sterilized and packaged for safe use in medical, laboratory, and industrial environments with stringent cleanliness requirements.