A pressure-based adhesive suitable for applying to a range of materials, including glass, metal, or wood. Somewhat less effective on plastic and can be more expensive than rubber-based adhesive. They are extremely versatile as they are resistant to UV light, moisture, solvents, and extreme temperatures.
Adhesives are used to bond different materials together and can be permanent, semi-permanent, or temporary. They are also often grouped into organic or synthetic categories and then into categories by how they form a bond. Pressure-sensitive adhesive is one of the most common types used in the industry.
A thin layer of material that prevents water condensation from forming small droplets on the substrate surface.
Application temperature refers to the label and substrate temperature and may not be identical at the time of application. All labels have a minimum recommended temperature, which may affect the adhesive function if the label or substrate drops below that temp during application.
Paper that has been chemically lightened or brightened to make it appear whiter or brighter. Paper is bleached during the pulp production process after it has been formed. Bleaching can help prevent discoloration while storing, slow yellowing from sunlight exposure, and preserve the material's strength during the remainder of the manufacturing process.
The area where printing goes beyond the trim edge to ensure complete ink coverage.
Labels made to block out anything appearing on the substrate to which it is applied. The opaqueness may come from the face material, adhesive, an opaque coating, or any combination of the three. Blockout labels are used to hide errors, change graphics, or update existing information.
A tube made of molten resin is extruded through a circular die into a tube, and the resulting plastic film is known as blown polyethylene. This bubble is then expanded ("blown") with internal air pressure into a larger bubble with a thinner wall before being cooled using external air cooling. The bubble is then collapsed to create a flat film or bag for packaging applications.
As defined by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, the brand label must contain the brand name, class or type, and alcohol content for distilled spirits. All information must be on a single side of the container and can be viewed without turning the package.
The thickness of a material, most often measured in mils (one-thousandth of an inch) or microns (one-thousandth of a millimeter).
A process of coating paper with a liquid layer, which is then pressed against the surface of a heated, highly polished metal cylinder or drum (often made of chromium) and cooled. The heat and pressure cause the covering to dry and solidify as it hardens and sets against the cylinder, resulting in a highly smooth and glossy finish.
A type of glossy paper with one or both sides coated with refined clay. The clay fills the spaces between fibers, improving the smoothness of the finished product. Clay also improves a paper's opacity, brightness, and ink receptivity, resulting in higher-quality print results.
Clinical Trial Label
Labels designed to meet the requirements of the Code of Federal Regulations in the US and the Guideline on Readability in the European Union. They are specially engineered to withstand the extreme temperature of testing storage and matching primary packaging. They can have blinding, randomized computerized data printing, code-break scratch areas, and tamper-evident features as needed.
A film made up of one or more layers of film with different characteristics. One example is “chip film,” or a cereal liner, which combines HDPE for barrier protection and LDPE for sealability.
Paper that has been coated with a finishing layer to improve its opacity, printability, and durability. Coatings are also applied to achieve aesthetic effects such as brightness, whiteness, surface smoothness, and matte or glossy textures.
Label cohesion is a measure of the internal strength of a label. It is indicative of the ability of the label's layers to remain bonded under stresses applied during manufacturing and application. Labels with high cohesion are less likely to fail under normal handling conditions making them more resistant to damage and wear.
Cut and Stack Labels
Labels that are printed on large sheets, then cut and bundled into stacks. The alternate format is to leave them on multiple-up sheets or rolls for application.
The separation of a laminate (multi-layered) material into its parts. Delamination is generally an undesirable product failure, and it can occur at the seams of two adjacent layers or across several layers within a laminate. During the manufacturing or printing of a label, delamination can occur in three ways: separating a coating from the face material, separating the face material from the adhesive, and separating a label from its backing sheet.
A piece of equipment used to cut material to a final desired shape. Factors to consider when making dies include the material being cut, the cutting process best suited to the job, and the lifespan needed for that particular die.
Any material, including label stock, cut to shape using a die.
Digitally Printed Labels
Labels that start as digital files which are converted into a dot matrix pattern, usually via a Raster Image Processor. The resolution of the final image is specified in pixels/inch (PPI). Since no plates are involved, variable image printing is an option, where each impression can vary slightly from the previous one, if desired.
Extended Content Label (ECL)
Product labels that extend to multiple pages or layers, allowing for more product information to be printed on the surface area. This type of product label is commonly used on medical or pharmaceutical products but is also used on other types of products, such as food or cosmetics. Extended content labels can also be customized to include various features, such as QR codes or tear-off tabs.
The top layer of material bonded to a layer of adhesive. This top layer may include paper, fabric, films, or foils with or without additional treatments or coatings.
Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FP&L)
An FTC Regulation, enacted in 1967, that is designed to protect consumers from unsafe or deceptive packaging. At a minimum, all household consumer commodities must be labeled with the product type, name and place of manufacture or distribution, and the measure of net contents in metric and inch/pound units.
These containers, when filled, will roughly conform to the shape of their contents. Flexible packaging can be lower in cost due to less material consumption and made from sustainable materials, making it an attractive alternative to rigid packaging.
Flexible Packaging Film
Aflexible packaging structure typically consisting of multiple laminated layers, with each layer playing an essential role in your product's performance and presentation.
Flexographic Image Reproduction Specifications & Tolerances (FIRST)
A set of specifications created and maintained by the Flexographic Technical Association. FIRST defines terminology, workflows, design elements, prepress procedures, and pressrun tools aimed at producing consistent flexographic materials throughout the industry.
Labels created using a flexographic printing process. This process involves passing label stock through a series of flexible printing relief plates, each coated with a single printed color that works in tandem to produce the final full-color label. Flexographic printing can incorporate laminating, folding, or die-cutting into a single pass operation.
A printing process using flexible plates that are inked and then applied to a substrate with pressure to transfer the ink. It works with a variety of inks and can be used on a wide range of substrates from paper to films to plastics.
Fully cover the paper/film with ink or varnish.
This machine uses flexible packaging roll stock to form a premade pouch, fills the bag with the product, and finally seals it.
Four color process
A printing process layering four colors, Cyan (blue), Magenta (red), Yellow, and Key (black), often referred to as the CMYK model, onto a substrate. The final image relies on the combination of these four colors and halftones to create an optical effect appearing as an unlimited range of colors.
A term describing a bright, shiny finish. A look that is considered more popular than a traditional matte one.
A varnish or laminate that distinctly reflects light imparting a shine or luster to the surface.
Labels that come into direct or indirect contact with food and must meet strict government standards for inks and adhesives. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Commission (EC) established and enforced these standards.
High-Density Co-Ex Blend Polyethylene Film
An additive-free bag material providing exceptional strength and clarity, making it an excellent choice for vacuum applications such as food containers or other rigid goods that need protection from damaging airflow.
A printing technique where the background color is "knocked out" of the design, leaving only the foreground color. This technique creates high-contrast prints with a sharp, clean look. It can be used to create labels with multiple colors without the need for multiple print runs resulting in an efficient and cost-effective printing method that is well suited for a variety of applications.
The distance from the top of one label to the top of the next label, including any needed edge space between each label.
The ordered layers of materials in a complete label construction. These typically include release liner, release coating, adhesive, facestock, printing ink, and lamination or UV coating.
Linear Low-Density Polyethylene (LLDPE) Film
LLDPE film is impact and puncture resistant with excellent flexibility. It is used for pouches and stretch wrap and can be recycled into composite flooring, lumber, or new plastic films.
Low-Density Polyethylene Film
Film made from Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) resins and used in applications such as food storage bags, liners, and flexible packaging. It is known for its clarity, density, strength, and printability.
A process used to print labels with a standard layout and placeholders for variable information. The variable information comes from a data source containing individual data for each label, such as addresses or personalization details.
A surface texture usually smooth, even, and free from shine or highlights.
When a completed print must be turned around a central axis so that the text may be read correctly either in a mirror or from the other side of a transparent surface opposite to the printed substrate. The technique of generating a reversed document or template and then printing it is called mirror printing. It's possible to reverse text, pictures, or objects in a model or paper before sending them to the printer, although this isn't always easy when dealing with complicated graphics.
Natural Colored Labels
A label that has not been treated to change its color; the natural color of the face material is the label's color. Kraft labels are one popular example of natural colored labels since the wood pulp used in their production is naturally brown.
A method of printing that does not employ the physical force of impact to transfer a printing medium to the substrate. Impact printing techniques are used to produce text and graphics in great detail. This term encompasses a wide range of printing processes (new and old), with thermal printers, inkjet printers, and laser printers accounting for the bulk of the print work that formerly required impact printing technology.
Also known as an Expanded or Extended Content Label (ECL), an onsert is a booklet or pamphlet style label used to add more information than can fit in a single layer of available space. They require a permanent adhesive to attach to the primary package and a repositionable microsphere adhesive allowing the onsert to be opened for viewing and resealed.
A transparent film applied to the face material to improve its appearance or provide a protective layer. The overlaminate can have a gloss, matte, or textured finish and is generally done on-press during manufacturing or may be completed in a later, separate process.
Label overprinting is the process of printing one or more layers of material on top of a label. This can be done for a variety of purposes, including adding extra durability, creating a more attractive appearance, or changing the function of the label. For example, a clear layer can be printed on top of a label to protect it from abrasion, or a metallic layer can be used to create a shining effect.
The Pantone Matching System (PMS) is the world's most widely used color-matching system and includes both spot and process colors. When selecting colors for a design, use Pantone swatches or find CMYK, RGB, and Hex values for specific Pantone colors when working with digital design tools.
An adhesive with a high initial tack, which adheres securely to a substrate, making it difficult to remove and leaving residue behind. A permanent adhesive will have a “peel adhesion” value of 20-28 N/25mm (1”).
The permeability of a material is related to its porosity and can determine how much ink or adhesive will soak into the material. Permeable paper is ideal for high-speed printing. Poor permeability can result in smudging, poor adhesion, and poor dimensional stability.
Usually associated with flexographic and offset printing and used to transfer one ink color at a time onto the desired facestock. Printing plates are not required with digital printing.
A low-cost thermoplastic of high clarity, high gloss, and good tensile strength.
Referring to labels that only require manual pressure to be applied for adhesion.
Principal Display Panel
The portion of a food or cosmetics package most likely to be displayed to the customer when for retail sale. Various regulations regarding the size, shape, and elements are printed on this panel.
The paper or film bottom layer of a pressure-sensitive label. It is coated with a release agent allowing it to be easily removed when the label is ready to be applied. Typical release liner materials include polyester, silicone- or polyethylene-coated papers, or glassine.
An adhesive with low initial tack. It adheres securely to the substrate but removes easily, leaving no adhesive residue. The “peel adhesion” value for a removable adhesive is less than 19 N/25mm (1”).
An adhesive that allows labels to be removed and repositioned without damaging the substrate and leaving no residue behind. While most adhesives will reach permanent adhesion at some point, these may be treated to extend the time taken to reach permanent adhesion or prevent permanent adhesion from ever being achieved.
Reverse and Subsurface Printing
When the printed surface of a transparent face material is layered with adhesive, trapping the print between the material and the adhesive. The printing often utilizes a reverse or mirror image to have the correct orientation when viewed through the transparent face material.
An adhesive with natural or synthetic rubber as its base material. It works particularly well in low temperatures and adhering to plastics. It is less expensive than acrylic or silicone adhesives, but it is more susceptible to UV light, high temperatures, and moisture.
Rust/Corrosion Inhibitor Film
A film with chemical additives that emit odorless, non-toxic vapors producing a rust-resistant barrier. This treated film protects against dirt, moisture, and corrosion.
Forcing ink through a screen, blocked by design stencils, allowing one color at a time to be applied to a substrate. This process is typically used for durable thick caliper films or textiles.
A 360-degree printed label typically made of plastic or polyester film and can be used on almost any container material and shape as they shrink to conform to the vessel when heat is applied. They are also often used as a built-in tamper-evident solution.
Solventless Adhesive Lamination
Applying a solventless adhesive to one or more substrate layers and then bonding them together with a heated nip roller.
A variety of special-use labels including, but not limited to, magnets, static clings, scratch-off, scratch and smell, glow in the dark, and variable data printed. These labels typically involve unique adhesives, coatings, and cutting or finishing methods.
Taping two rolls together with a clean cut between the labels and a single piece of tape on the back of the liner to form one long, continuous roll.
Varnishing specific label sections, leaving some surface area exposed.
Static Dissipative Film
A coated plastic film used to protect products or environments susceptible to static electricity. They allow electrical charges to flow to ground more slowly, preventing discharges to or from human contact.
Tamper Evident Labels
A label designed to show evidence of any attempt to remove or alter it, making it an essential security measure for many products. They are also known as tamper-proof labels, security seals, security tape, and void seals. They are used in a variety of industries such as food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and electronics for a variety of purposes, including asset tracking, product authentication, brand protection, warranty management, and even crime scene investigation.
The degree to which something deviates from a specified requirement that must be met for an item to attain a certain level of quality. Any measurable quantity, such as the dimensions of an object or the number of items produced in a batch, may be assigned a tolerance.
The cylinders, dies, and plates needed to run each job.
A layer added to film materials to help the ink bond to the film surface. Topcoats can also add sheen or opacity to a label.
Varnish that is cured using UV light. This varnish adds a surface finish and protective coating but does not necessarily protect the label stock from the harmful effects of UV light exposure.