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Labels Stock – What type should you be using?

When people talk about labels, they are often referring to the type of material the

label is manufactured from, when in fact, label stock is comprised of many layers of

media, that when put together provide solutions to various types of substrates.

Simply put, label stock is the sum of the ingredients found within the labels layers.

The combination of layers produces different performance characteristics

depending on what types of ingredients are used and how the layers are put

together. As important as the label media itself is the carrier, which is generally

coated on one side with adhesive and printed on the other side. Coating not only

carries the adhesive but additional properties that allow the adhesive to stick to the

topcoat (the label) and release from the bottom layer (the carrier).

Most manufacturers concern themselves with the topcoat when determining what

type of label media to use. The topcoat is made from a variety of papers, plastics and

nylon blends. However, certain industries find themselves having to dive a little

deeper to find label stock solutions that meet very stringent standards. These

standards are often in place to maintain peak performance in production or to offer

solutions for extreme environments like chemical exposure or high temperatures.

In order to ensure your choosing label stock that suits your application and will

survive the manufacturing process or product lifecycle, you must first know what

types of stocks are available.

Common label stocks include:

Paper

A variety of papers and paperboards can be used as labels. Paper stock

material is manufactured in thin sheets from the pulp of wood or other fibrous

substances. Paper labels don’t last for long periods of time and are generally cost

effective making them a great solution for consumable products. The fiberous

material soaks up ink and offers brilliant color reproduction.

Nonwoven Fabric – This material offers extra durability and is manufactured in

sheet or web structures bonded together by entangling fiber or filament

mechanically, thermally, or chemically. They are flat, porous sheets that are made

directly from separate fibers or from molten plastic or plastic film. This label stock

can be printed on and cut to size. Nonwoven labels can offer a more ridged solution

with various levels of flexibility depending on the mil thickness of the film.

Latex

This lithographic stock with some added latex makes labels more water

resistant. An ideal solution for applications that require extreme flexibility and can

contour around curled objects

Plastics

The most common alternative to paper label stock solutions. Plastic

stocks, also known as vinyl and PET film, offers strength, stiffness and

transparency. Known for being more resistant to tearing plastic label stock is

commonly used for applications that require UV cured coatings for printing

process or to produce durable labels that will be exposed to extreme sunlight

and/or high temperatures.

Foil

This material comes in a variety of colors. Commonly used for wine and

beverage labeling or label designs with distinct graphics that need to shine or

sparkle. Foil labels are extremely durable and resistant to high temperatures.

Foil label stock is a premium media than more common stocks primarily due its

multi step manufacturing process and unique visual benefits.

Label-Stock-Rolls1

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