Your labels can be manufactured using a range of self adhesive label material. The material you use for your self adhesive label will be dependent upon the purpose of the labels and the specific qualities you need. This will be dictated by the environment the label is used in and the longevity required. The materials fall into two basic categories; paper based materials and plastic based materials.
Paper Based Self Adhesive Label Material
The most common material we use to manufacture your labels will be vellum. In simple terms his is just un-treated paper and is suitable for dry environments and uses where the labels will not be subject to much environmental stress such as temperature fluctuation. Price Label Gun labels are almost always made using vellum material along with a range of other uses such as box end labelling.
Semi-Gloss materials are used where a finer print will be needed as the paper allows for clearer definition of text. This is a by-product of the treatment the material receives. Semi-gloss material has a china clay slurry applied during manufacture. This gives a heavier paper with a smooth finish. Semi-gloss material when burned, produces a substantial quantity of asj as the china clay within the material does not burn.
Direct Thermal Eco and Direct Thermal Semi-Top Coat (Semi Top) materials are used for specific printing applications. You will be familiar with till receipts and ATM bank statements and these are made using a direct thermal material. Direct Thermal Eco is basically vellum material that has been treated with a thermally sensitive ink. The ink cures and goes black when subjected to heat.
Semi Top is effectively semi-gloss material treated and impregnated again with the direct thermal solution.
Considering thermal printing
Thermal printing can be used as a printing method with vellum and semi-gloss if thermal transfer ribbons are used. These ribbon have a very thin layer of pigmented wax or resin on one side. When subjected to the heat of the printer head, the wax or resin de-laminates from the carrier material (usually a plastic film) and adheres to the paper. Whilst vellum and semi gloss is cheaper than the equivalent thermal materials, there is an added cost of ribbons to consider when printing.
Direct thermal printing is not permanent with a shelf-life of about 3 months. Thermal transfer printing is far more durable with good black saturated opacity staying visible for many years. Choosing which method of printing you will use is dependent upon the duration the print is required to be legible.
Thermal ribbons come in three flavours: wax, resin or wax/resin. wax is the lowest quality, resin is the highest quality; wax/resin is a mixture of the two and aims to give the best price/quality performance.
Plastic Based Self Adhesive Label Material
The main plastic based self adhesive label material we use is polypropylene. Giving an excellent finish particularly if pre-printed with UV inks, polypropylene is waterproof and durable, being very resistant to physical abuse.
Polypropylene comes in clear, white and metallic finishes. Using our UV digital press, we can overprint areas of clear labels with white ink before laying down the colours required. This allows for quite complex labels to be manufactured.
If polypropylene is to be used in conjunction with a thermal printer, there are very expensive direct thermal materials available with the shorter lifespan of the finished print. Alternatively, thermal transfer ribbons should be used with resin substrate to give a superior finish.