Archive for the ‘Quality’ Category

How to Choose the Right Label Adhesive

Saturday, August 20th, 2011

Do you get frustrated when someone answers a question, by asking a question? Well, then, you may find choosing the correct label adhesive a little frustrating! When engineering a label specification one of the most important decisions is which label adhesive to use. There are more than a hundred different label adhesives available. Choosing the wrong adhesive can lead to poor application (lowering production efficiency), re-work / waste, and poor package aesthetics. Often, the end consumer is affected if the label adhesive fails after retail. Worst case a product recall may be initiated because a label (with critical consumer information) does not adhere to the package.

Types of Adhesives
It’s glue, just pick a glue that sticks, right? We wish it were that simple! Modern label adhesives are manufactured several ways (hot melt, solvents, emulsions) and using a few different materials (rubbers, acrylics, etc). But no matter which method or material is used for manufacturing - they need to perform.

Adhesive Performance Criteria
There are four basic criteria of performance that an adhesive is evaluated on:
- Printer converting (die-cutting and stripping)
- Initial tack (how well does the label stick initially)
- Long term bond (after setting up, how well does the label perform)
- Consumer use (in shower, under sink, outdoor, etc)

Specialty Adhesives
Scientists have taken the basic types and engineered very specific adhesives - each aimed at a performance specialty. Examples of these special uses are:

All-Temp: Very good adhesion across a wide range of temperatures.
Cold-Temp: Engineered to have strong adhesion in very cold temperatures.
Wet-Stick: Adheres well to moist application surfaces.
Tire Adhesive: A very aggressive high-coat-weight adhesive for adhesion to porous surfaces.
Removable: Can be removed from some surfaces. Testing strongly recommended.
Ultra-removable: Can be removed from most surfaces even after long term bond.
Repositionable: Weak initial tack, strong long term bond. Allows the label to be removed and adjusted during application.
Soak and Remove: Adhesive is formulated to be removed when soaked in warm water.

Questions to Ask
Custom Label can help you select the correct adhesive:

What container, product, or surface is the label being applied to?
Is there any moisture or residue on the application surface during labeling?
What temperature is the room where the label will be applied?
Once the label is applied, will it need to be repositioned or removed?
What temperature will the label endure during storage, distribution and end use?
Will the label encounter unusual humidity during application, distribution or end use?

Even after answering those questions, an adhesive recommendation is exactly that: a recommendation. There is no guarantee that the adhesive will perform exactly as desired. Custom Label strongly recommends adhesive testing prior to production - give us a call and we’ll expedite label samples for your testing!

How Important is Color to YOU?

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

private-2In the most recent blog I cited a study which found that people make a subconscious evaluation about a person, environment or product within 90 seconds of their initial viewing (source: CCICOLOR “ Institute for Color Research) and that more than 62% of that assessment is based on color alone! We are all programmed to react with emotion to different colors. It seems clear to me that a product’s color has more to do with our purchasing behaviors that we are aware of. On a subconscious level we connect specific colors with feelings, fears, emotions, and sensations. Brand managers and entrepreneurs must pick their colors carefully to make sure their brand colors match their brand image.

There are other reasons to pick packaging colors carefully. In another research study color was found to increase brand recognition by up to 80% (source: University of Loyola, Maryland). That is a big number! Coca-Cola versus Pepsi is a clear example of this phenomenon. Same can, same artwork layout, but if I asked which is red, and which is blue you wouldn’t need to phone a friend. What about Pepto Bismol? Easy to remember when you have an upset stomach?

d004Custom Label is all about Color. Your Color. We have more than 30 years of experience working with customers to match your exact color not once, but every time you place an order. Our flexo label presses are multi-color platforms that support up to 10 individual colors run in a single pass. Each print station can print a different PMS or custom-match color. We can provide color draw down samples or conduct a live press-check proof where you can be involved and confirm the perfect color for your label and product. Our digital press uses up to 6 colors to create a process blend that emulates the traditional PMS colors. We can come very close for a large percentage of PMS colors. For those colors that do not translate to process printing, we can order PMS match colors for the digital press. Whether your need is short run digital labels or a long run flexo job, we will make sure you are happy with the color. Your success depends upon it!

Varnish or Lamination - Which one is right for you?

Friday, August 20th, 2010

Often, after asking the question “would you like a varnish or a lamination”, our customers will ask “Do I need one?”. That’s a difficult question to answer, as the label supplier. While there are applications that require no additional protection the vast majority of applications we see at Custom Label require either a varnish or lamination. These coatings offer both aesthetic character to the package and a layer of protection to the printed label.

squeeze-tube-label1Varnish Basics
Varnishes are liquid coatings that are “printed” onto the label surface. Water-based varnishes dry through evaporation and are often called “aqueous varnish” or “press varnish”. UV Varnish is a uv-cured varnish - often with a very high gloss sheen. Varnishes can protect the label from abrasion and scuff, while added interesting aesthetics with different finishes. Gloss, Matte, and Satin finishes each deliver a unique image. Computer Imprintable varnish allow for thermal transfer printing in an end-use environment. Food-Safe varnishes are safe for secondary food contact in most applications. If the varnish is used for label detection, a varnish with extra Optical Brightener can improve your manufacturing line efficiencies.

n0141Lamination Basics
Laminations are thin layers of film that are adhered to the label surface, providing an actual plastic barrier between the label and the environment. There are two main types of lamination: self-wound lam and linered lamination. Self-would laminations have adhesive on the lam, but are wound on themselves like a roll of transparent office tape. This is economical, but can leave air bubbles and irregularities in the finished label. Linered laminations are created much like other pressure-sensitive materials - with a release-coated liner separating the adhesive. Linered laminations are more expensive, but have a higher-quality look with better clarity, particularly if applied to a film label substrate. Similar to varnishes, laminations are available in gloss, matte, and imprintable versions.

Which is Right for Me?
Both varnishes and laminations provide protection to your label. Laminations can “cheapen” the look of the label, with a “plastic” appearance. However, if your label is exposed to oils/solvents/agents or is in a high-scuff environment, lamination might be a safer choice. To choose the best coating for your label, call Custom Label. We will guide you through selection of best materials for your label!

All About Label Liners

Friday, May 28th, 2010

labeldiagram1Although the consumer never sees it, the liner is a critical component of any pressure sensitive label. A label liner, also known as carrier or backing or “release liner”, serves a very important purpose: carrying the die-cut labels to applicator and releasing the adhesive-backed label onto the product. The diagram below shows how diecut labels are released from the liner.

ps-label1

Why are there so many Liners? Just like adhesives, each type of liner was engineered to meet specific performance criteria. Here are some of the quality and performance criteria used to judge a pressure sensitive label liner:

Liner Performance Criteria

Die-cutting: High speed diecut and stripping
Cost: Relative cost of the liner material
Strength: Liner web strength and durability
Layflat: Resistance to curling after sheeting
Dust: Absence of loose particulates

Types of Liner

SCK
Semi-calendered Kraft material. Low cost, all around liner for paper materials. Very good diecutting and stripping, poor layflat. Moderate particulate levels.
PK
Poly-coated Kraft liner has a poly layer that improves die-cutting and strengthens the liner. Is credited with lower incidence of web-breaks due to deep die-cuts. Higher cost than SCK, slightly lower dust particulate. Does not sheet well.
LF
Lay flat liners have excellent stability and resistance to curl for sheeted applications. Higher cost than SCK liners. Moderate particulate levels.
PET (Poly)
Polyester film liner: durable and good for high speed die-cutting and stripping. Poor sheeting characteristics. Very low particulate. More expensive than paper liners.
BG (Glassine)
Bleached Glassine liner:   low cost. For low to medium speed dispensing, not recommended for sheeting.

As you can see, no one liner can do everything. Much like facestock materials, liners must be selected based on the specific label requirements. Sheeted labels require liners designed with lay flat in mind. For roll labels, the applicating equipment will usually drive liner selection. With a robust, modern label applicator a standard SCK or BG liner will work well for the majority of labels. For clean room (zero particulate) and pharmaceutical (high speed application) a polyester liner is often the only option. Ask your Custom Label representative to help you specify the correct liner for your custom labels!

Custom Label receives ISO 9001-2008 Certification!

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

It began with the goal of updating the company’s quality system. That simple goal evolved into a comprehensive charter to improve all areas of our business. Each department in the company participated -finding better ways to satisfy our customers. Countless hours and nearly one year later, ABS Quality Evaluations conducted an on-site audit and granted our Certificate of Conformance! Effective June 16, 2009 Custom Label is ISO 9001:2008 Registered.

iso-certificateIn light of our recent certification, it’s probably helpful to summarize the benefits of ISO 9001. From our experience one of the key benefits is the integration of all quality initiatives into one system. Many company’s evolve with quality procedures, documents, and forms scattered throughout the business. With ISO 9001, the Quality Management System organizes and maintains these various processes. The heart of the QMS is the Quality Policy and Quality Goals and Objectives. All other procedures are developed to support the company’s quality vision. As each area builds systems and procedures that support the Quality Policy and Quality Goals the improvement is seen in all areas. Key benefits reported by ISO Registered company’s include:

- Less re-work
- Lower defect rates
- Material waste improvement
- Shorter lead-time

All of these benefits lead to one key indicator: Improved Customer Satisfaction. Since Custom Label has received our ISO 9001:2008 certification we’ve had an overwhelming voice of support from our valued customers, many of whom recognize the hard work it took to achieve our certification. We’re looking forward to hosting many of our customers on-site and showing them the many changes we’ve made to our Quality Management System!

Earth Day and Your Labels

Monday, April 20th, 2009

green-light-bulbWith Earth Day nearly at an end, I started wondering. Who declared the first Earth Day, and why? Did they realize how important environmental awareness would become, and at the same time how polarizing an issue?

The first official Earth Day in the United States was celebrated in spring 1970, at the urging of a Wisconsin Senator, Gaylord Nelson. The limited bounty of earth’s natural resources were of concern, but ironically the focus was not on conservation. At that time, the more popular movement was for population control! Nelson was quoted as saying “The bigger the population gets, the more serious the problems become … We have to address the population issue… every country is green-globeresponsible for stabilizing its own population. It can be done.” Quite a different spin on environmentalism! Even more ironic, one popular environmental concern cited “imminent cooling” of the earth’s surface and “glaciation” as a significant threat to our environment! A downward temperature trend was observed during the 30 year period preceding 1970 which alarmed some scientists, and led to the popular fear of “Global Cooling”.

green-snakeWhether our planet is cooling or heating, one thing is certain. We should all do our best to use earth’s resources wisely and reduce waste. Custom Label is ready to help you find packaging materials that are environmentally friendly. Our Digital Label press is a perfect example. Digital printing has significantly lower material waste than traditional flexography, letterpress, or rotogravure. By running an order digitally we avoid the need to “set-up” the press while running waste stock through the press. Selecting an eco-friendly label stock is also a way to green up your package. We offer a range of facestocks that have higher post-consumer-waste content. There are also bio-degradable and compostable materials that Custom Label can propose for your labels. We even have renewable materials, such as tree-free bamboo papers, where the source plant can be replenished faster than the consumption rate. Give your representative a call, Custom Label would welcome the opportunity to help you create a more eco-friendly package!