Durable labels are essential to modern industrial environments — ensuring accuracy, security, and longevity under conditions common label constructions cannot withstand. Standards and regulations, such as the Global Harmonized System (GHS), also enforce best-quality results in durable label production.
At Epson, we frequently hear from converters requesting details about the durability of our inks. It’s not uncommon for diligent converters to invest in light, endurance, and weatherability testing for inks and other durable label media. They may subject these materials to harsh conditions for months — the equivalent of years of use among those converters’ industrial clients—to ensure their efficacy.
That’s because durable label converters shoulder the burden of quality for their clients’ unique use cases. They are responsible for combining the right adhesives, substrates, inks, and other materials in a cost-effective way to meet their unique requirements, while maintaining profitability for their own businesses.
Durable label attributes are more important than ever
Durable label converters and their clients can face serious consequences if their labels fail. Sunlight, heat, abrasion, moisture, chemicals, or other elements can tear, smear, or wear down labels so that they lose their efficacy. As a result, safety, productivity, and compliance can become compromised.
In addition to testing label quality, scientific tests can help durable label converters demonstrate to potential clients they are a worthwhile business partner. Modern industrial manufacturers, distributors, and others know it’s less risky and more cost effective to use the right labels from the start.
Master these durable label elements for business success
When durable label converters produce a superior product, they help solve real problems for their clients — helping facility managers save time and money replacing unfit labels, for example, as well as avoiding confusion or even injury among their personnel long term. Here are six qualities of durable labels you can master to become a solid business partner in the eyes of existing or future clients.
1. Solid Total Construction
All materials and components of your labels — substrates, inks, adhesives, topcoats, and other elements — must combine to achieve a total construction that meets clients’ demands. Mastering the total construction of your durable labels begins with the unique requirements of the industries where your clients operate.
In addition to materials, total construction applies to the information your labels deliver. Achieving the right colors, machine-readable bar codes and text sizes depend on your equipment, efficiency, consistency, and expertise. It’s with total construction in mind that you can decide upon all these individual elements of your durable labels.
2. Chemical Resistance
All durable labels must achieve some level of chemical resistance, which depends on the use case. That resistance may be as simple as a protective waterproof topcoat or as complex as protective vinyls that prevent decomposition when durable labels are exposed to industrial chemicals.
For example, incompatibility with chemicals like alcohol and acetone in environments where those chemicals are common can lead to additional costs, safety issues, or compliance violations for your clients.
Even so, it’s critical that converters remain cost effective in their material investments. Highly protective vinyls may be unnecessarily expensive when use cases don’t require those materials. Converters must establish the right storage methods and vendor partnerships to optimize operations with this in mind.
3. Tear Resistance
As with chemicals, certain substrates prevent scuffs and tears with different levels of resistance, quality, and cost. For example, a client whose products are regularly exposed to fast-moving industrial processes may require more tear resistance than a client whose products most often sit on retail shelves.
Tear resistance is often a basic element in durable labels construction. However, clients may look to converters for the latest knowledge and potential upgrades in these areas when new requirements arise. Providing clients with better results at a lower price can reinforce those business relationships.
4. Industrial Adhesives
High-performance adhesives are essential to any durable label, beyond what’s required on common consumer products. The core risk around adhesives is that the label may fall off when exposed to certain environments, substances, or processes over time. Adhesives also have their own chemical, temperature, and other resistance requirements.
One mistake durable label converters can make is failing to store their media rolls properly. When a converter’s warehouse doesn’t have environmental controls that meet the manufacturer’s recommendations for storing their products, performance problems can ensue. For example, adhesives can melt or harden, becoming unusable. Converters must keep in mind these and other requirements to deliver the best results consistently.
5. Consistent Compliance
No matter the industry, some regulations will apply to the total construction of its pertinent durable labels. For example, standards like GHS and OSHA have unique durable label requirements when labels for potentially harmful containers might peel off or otherwise become unreadable.
Converters must remain up-to-date or have access to resources that can guide their decision-making around sourcing media, purchasing equipment, and speaking to clients about these topics. Specific regulations for adhesives, protective vinyls, and barcode readability should be factors in these areas.
6. Value on Demand
As regulations and industry standards evolve, manufacturers and logistics companies may turn to converters for more sophisticated elements of their durable labels’ total construction. Small text that aligns with new serialization standards in healthcare supply chains is one possibility, and embellishments that add a layer of security against counterfeiting in information technology supply chains is another.
Even if clients don’t have these requirements now, they are more likely to partner with durable labels converters who stay abreast of ongoing developments in their industries. Converters who put quality and industry awareness first can be stronger partners, no matter the industrial requirements.
The key is creating value
As mentioned, it’s more cost effective for industrial companies to begin with the right labels. As a durable label converter, you can become part of the solution by mastering the science that makes durable labels lasting, reliable, and cost effective — and communicate that value from the start.
Begin by finding new solutions that can help lower your own total cost of ownership and then extend those savings to clients. Modern printing solutions help ensure you can take on durable label print runs in cost-effective ways, helping you deliver high-quality and on-spec total construction to your clients.
Want to learn more? You can visit Epson.com/SurePress any time or speak directly with an Epson SurePress expert by calling:
Western U.S. (818) 620-2730 | Central U.S. (630) 710-6005 | Eastern U.S. (615) 585-9058