Choosing Materials for Barcode Labels
Choosing the right labels for the production floor is a challenge that many of our clients come up against. There are many variations and ultimately they want to choose something that is going to be suitable for years to come.
Previously, we talked about Choosing Label Adhesives and the best adhesives for different applications. Choosing a material for your barcode labels is equally as important and also depends ultimately on what you intend to use them for and the kinds of environments they will be exposed to.
The Common Types of Label Materials
As with adhesives, there are many different types of materials suited to different applications.
Paper labels: Paper is probably the most inexpensive and commonly used type of material for general inventory, packaging and shipping labels. The work well in for most common applications and non-specific environments, but tend to be less durable than other types.
There are a number of variations when it comes to choosing a paper label:
- Thermal or laser-printed – the type of paper label you choose will also depend on the type of printer you intend to use. Thermal labels require heat to print, while laser-printed labels use ink.
- Coated or uncoated labels – coated labels are slightly more durable and resistant to tearing than uncoated
- Gloss and matte coated papers – glossy coatings are not commonly used simply due to the fact that they reflect light and may end up distorting a barcode
- Coloured papers – coloured paper can be useful for colour-coding, however colour may affect the contrast of a barcode, making it harder to scan. White is usually the best option
- Paper labels with wet-strength capacity – these labels are resistant to water and damp making them a useful choice for a items that might be exposed to small amounts of water such as in refrigeration.
Polypropylene Labels: Polypropylene is oil, water and tear resistant, making these labels durable when not exposed to extreme weather or chemicals. They are only slightly more expensive than paper labels making them a good choice for low level durability.
Polyester Labels: Polyester labels are the most durable types of labels and the ideal choice for heavy use and rugged environments. They are resistant to water, oil, scratching and chemical exposure, but are relatively rigid, making them unsuitable for curved surfaces. They are the ideal choice for outdoor use, harsh conditions, or exposure to chemicals.
Polyethylene Labels: Polyethylene is also a less rigid material than polyester and is ideal for use on curved surfaces such as bottles or vials. It is water and chemical resistant.
Polyimide Labels: Polyimide is a polymeric plastic material that is designed specifically for long-term durability at very high heat (in excess of 250°C). It is thermally very stable, and a good choice for use in electronics.
Vinyl Labels: Vinyl labels with a strong adhesive are especially tamper-resistant, breaking up into small pieces if removal is attempted.
When integrating TransLution™ into your production and manufacturing processes, we can help you to test all labelling options, from materials to adhesives, and decide on the best solution
Contact us with any questions you may have about getting started with TransLution™ Software.