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Durable Labels: The Superheroes of the Label World

November 13, 2019
Durable Labels: The Superheroes of the Label World

Strength

Durable labels are made from a variety of materials including anodized aluminum, polyester, ceramic, polycarbonate, polypropylene, and stainless steel. Tough stuff. Each material fills its own special niche enabling robust resistance to the threats of varying environments.

And not only are their structural materials strong, the adhesive partners used in modern durable labels have grips that never give up. Because of permanent, pressure-sensitive synthetic adhesives with a very high peel strength, labels stay put even when paired with polypropylene and polyethylene surfaces. Some even take on slightly oily surfaces as partners; as a closed-cell foam combined with a high strength acrylic adhesive can bind with unstable or slightly off-kilter partner surfaces to make a hardy bond.

Each durable label’s strong adhesive layer stands up to such common threats as rubbing alcohol, lye, glass cleaner, acetone, and others.

Heroic Examples

In the face of theft, natural disasters, and human error, your assets and your profit can be identified: you are saved by the data on durable labels attached to assets.

Tough skinned

Certainly.

Some durable labels, notably metal nameplates, have an anodized aluminum surface brought about by a chemical reaction involving aluminum and oxygen. Some metals are weakened when exposed to oxygen, but not aluminum - it becomes stronger!  Almost as hard as a diamond! Space satellites are wrapped with anodized aluminum in addition to a covering of a thick synthetic fabric skin which protects their surfaces from high-velocity space debris.

Similar to space satellites and police persons protected by Kevlar, durable barcode and RFID labels are also skinned in synthetic polymer shields such as polyester, polycarbonate, and polypropylene. Polypropylene is the lightest in weight of the three. But, regardless of weight, these materials are extremely durable.

Transparent polyester labels, in particular, cannot be torn apart and can withstand extreme impact, but they are not as resistant to buffs and scrapes as their clear-skinned counterparts: polycarbonate and polypropylene labels. And although all are clear in their natural state, they often take on the guise of color or, to be non-reflective, a textured finish.

Often rigid when required, the durable label can also be flexible enough to conform to the surface dips of the asset it is protecting.

Just as their adhesives are, the skins, if you will, are resistant to chemicals and corrosion too.

Heroic Examples

In the face of bumped barrels, dumped boxes, and splashed solvents, your inventory accounts can be reconciled: you are saved by the data on durable labels attached to assets.

Photographic Memory

Memory plus digital printing, barcodes, and RFID circuitry are words that should be used with durable labels.

Durable labels have digital human-readable text, barcodes, QR codes, and other images that are always sharp, never fading, never blurred. (After all, superheroes must be sharp or, needless to say, their mission fails.) Through silk-screening/digitizing, photographs, icons, logos, and text are placed on top of tough subsurfaces and covered with a durable laminate so the stored information there stands ready to answer the need.

For on-site printing, durable polypropylene labels naturally receives lucid thermal transfer print.

But the real bad boy durable label encapsulates data and images in polymer by reverse printing on the underside of one layer and sealing it to another so data is never lost. This unique printing process maintains barcode/numbers, logos, designs and copy even after exposure to chemicals, abrasion, and extreme environments. Polymer protected redundant barcodes and encrypted RFID chips add even more to their retentive powers.

Heroic Examples

Faced with complex identification challenges, quickly moving supply chains, and accurate electronic readings, your financial liability is reduced and your business image is kept intact: you are saved by the data on durable labels attached to assets.

Invulnerability to Extreme Temperatures

Like other superheroes, durable labels can withstand freezing and searing conditions.

Durable labels are rarely affected by cold temperatures. But, like the performance of other superheroes, their effectiveness can diminish under severe conditions. In the case of durable labels, they can lose their strong grip if applied to a surface when the temperature of the label or the asset is over 72 degrees or under 50 degrees. (Bonding can also be reduced if the humidity is over 50%, the surface is dirty, oily, or wet.) After application, the peel strength remains when intermittent temperatures range from -40°F to 300°F.

Many polymer labels can withstand heat up to approximately 300°F for an hour before readability and adhesive is severely compromised. Durable, high-temperature anodic and ceramic labels can withstand temperatures from 900°F to 2400°F for short durations. These high-temperature durable labels, however, are printed using ceramic ink on a thin ceramic layer that is fired and fused to a heat-resistant stainless steel substrate and, sometimes, they feature an additional transparent glass layer fused on the ceramic to improve chemical resistance.

Heroic Examples

In the face of choosing pans for french fries going into 450°F  ovens, choosing surgical supplies to go into a  590°F autoclave or choosing which ceramic pots among many in need of firing at  1277°F  to fix an enamel overglaze, messes of all kinds can be eliminated: you are saved by the data on durable labels attached to assets.

Unique Traits

Superman, Spiderman, and Wonder Woman are unique entities and so are labels. They are unique, of course, from the overall group, but all have their individual traits that belong only to them. The same is true of durable labels: unique in the group, special in their own ways.

It’s up to you, perhaps with the help of a competent tag manufacturer like Metalcraft, to choose the durable label that you need to overcome your unique tracking, liability, and organizational threats . . . because, now, you know that durable labels are out there.

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