Nothing lasts forever. It’s a fact of life. And labels are no exception. Labels that peel or lift over time can damage your brand image, reducing your product’s perceived quality and making your customers wonder if what’s in the package or bottle is really worth the price. It’s worth the time to learn how to extend label lifespan. These tips will increase the amount of time that your labels will serve your needs and represent your brand effectively.
Temperature is a key factor in label longevity. When labels are kept in a warm environment (over 75 degrees F), the adhesive starts to break down. Labels that are stored in conditions that are too warm will stick to each other, effectively making the roll worthless. Below 50 degrees F, the adhesive starts to become brittle and loses its stickiness.
Condensation can also affect label adhesion. For example, beer labels that are affixed in cold temperatures during the bottling process and then brought back to room temperature are likely to peel away from the bottles if precautions are not taken.
If your containers that go through hot and cold cycles in the process of canning or bottling, you have several options. You can choose specially selected labels that will resist temperature extremes, adjust the ambient temperature of the facility, allow 24 hours cure time before filling the containers, or use label application equipment that employs wipes and blowers to minimize condensation.
Storage conditions also play a part in label life. Exposure to dust and dirt can cause tiny particles to collect around the edges of a label and lead to peeling and lifting. Keeping the labels in a plastic bag can prevent this. It’s not necessary to seal the bag. Just make sure it’s kept out of the sun to prevent degeneration of the adhesive.
Choosing the correct adhesive is crucial. Stronger adhesives may be required for recycled plastic containers, for wood, for oily or powder-coated metals, or for highly textured or tightly curved surfaces. Many labels need to “cure”, or sit for a day or two, after application in order to ensure optimal adhesion. Pressure-sensitive labels tend to need less cure time. Tamper-resistant labels require longer cure times, more than 48 hours in many cases.
Take care of your labels and your customers will stick to you!