Top tips for choosing the correct label adhesive

 May 2016

Industrial labels header


The world of adhesives can be extremely technical and a little daunting.  The best advice I can give you is to make sure that you provide us with as much information as possible so that we can supply the most suitable adhesive (and material) for your labels.  

By asking yourself these five questions you will be able to clearly specify your printed label requirements:


1. Is the surface smooth?

A smooth surface is always a good start as there is more surface area for the adhesive to hold on to. However, some smooth surfaces are described as having 'low energy', the most extreme example can be found on non-stick pans! Some plastics also have this type of surface so make sure you mention this but, if in doubt, please provide us with a sample and we will advise accordingly.

Also, some adhesives are designed specifically to stick to 'stippled', or slightly rough surfaces and, in some cases, mildly damp surfaces as in the case of chilled wine bottles. A 'standard permanent' adhesive will suit most smooth surfaces so there is no point paying extra for an adhesive with a high specification as this will be unnecessarily costly.


2. Is the surface curved?

Some adhesives are not suitable for applying to tightly curved surfaces such as test tubes or pharmaceutical vials. Even some cylindrical jars and bottles can pose a problem. Essentially, if the adhesive is not strong enough, the label will not remain in a curved position and is likely to 'ping off' the surface. In this situation a higher specification adhesive would be required.


3. Will the surface become hot or cold?

It is very important to establish from the outset if the adhesive is expected to cope with extreme temperatures. Anything above 150 degrees centigrade is likely to require a more specialised adhesive (and material) as is anything below minus 20 degrees centigrade. Generally, a 'standard' type of adhesive will be sufficient to withstand temperatures of minus 20 to plus 80 degrees which covers most situations.


4. Will the adhesive be subjected to wet conditions?

We would need to know if the adhesive is expected to survive wet conditions (immersed permanently in water for example). Also, it is essential that we know if the adhesive is likely to be exposed to seawater. If this is the case it must comply with British Standard BS609. If not, the life of the label will be shortened considerably.


5. Inside or Outside use?

Some adhesives will be more suitable than others if expected to remain outside for long periods. Lengthy exposure to U.V. (sunlight) will severely shorten the life of a label if the adhesive if not correctly specified.

As you can see much of the decision of which adhesive to choose will depend on where the label will be used and the surface it will be adhered to. So the next time you need some labels printed you can use the above as a checklist of questions to ask yourself.  You’ll find your specification more accurate for a more accurate quote! Remember I’m through the process but considering the above will help you prepare and plan.

John Fisher

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