How to Choose the Right Label Adhesive

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!

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