Due to the complexity of each component, there are many variables to evaluate when designing a label (including nameplates). The following five questions need to be considered:
What type of surface is the label being applied to, and will it be permanent or removable? This is probably the most important question to answer. When submitting a request for a quote, you’ll want to specify the type of surface the labels will be applied to. (e.g., metal, wood, high or low surface energy plastic, powder-coated paint, smooth or textured surface, curved or flat surface, etc.). This information will help to determine the type of substrate and adhesive to be used.
What type of environment will the label be exposed to? Consider whether your labels need to be water-, dirt-, or chemical-resistant and/or durable and scratch-resistant. You’ll also want to specify extreme heat/cold, indoor/outdoor environments that your products may be exposed to.
In what format would you like the labels supplied? You’ll want to look at how you plan on dispensing, applying, and inventorying your labels -- the most common formats include: individual parts (with slit backing or on a carrier), in strip form, roll form, or in sets.
Do your labels need to comply with UL, federal, or state laws and regulations? Depending on the application, you may need to submit your drawing to a regulatory agency for approval before it can be produced.
How can I save money? Consider standardizing the sizes and materials for your labels when at all possible. This will save money on tooling costs and allow different labels of the same color scheme to be run together for combined quantity pricing. You can also take into consideration the number of colors to be printed on the label. Each color adds cost to the label, so you’ll want to limit the design to the fewest number of colors required (e.g., warning labels are typically safety orange and black on a white background. If adding a logo or other information to the design, make it orange or black rather than adding another color.)
With these questions, and your relevant answers, along with the size, shape, and number of colors for each label, you’ll be set to initiate the quoting process.
Karen Dieringer manages Mcloone’s estimating and production administration departments.
Usually when there is an issue with a white paper backing left behind the culprit is a low grade rubber based adhesive. These adhesives are an excellent choice from a price standpoint but quickly set up especially when exposed to UV light. An example we can all relate to would be masking tapes that get applied to a window. If left to sit for a few days, they're just about impossible to remove cleanly.
As far as sticky residue being left behind, that is usually one of two issues. The first would be a low grade (rubber or acrylic) adhesive that has been applied to a plastic surface. The same plasticizers that make plastic flexible begin to migrate out of the binder and into the adhesive. A good example would be a clear transparent tape applied to the cover of a vinyl binder. After a while the adhesive becomes gooey and leaves behind a residue when removed. The second issue usually results from achieving a good bond using an acrylic adhesive which simply doesn't allow the label to separate cleanly from the affixed surface.
At Mcloone we generally hear "I want my label to stick no matter what!" but when a customer needs a removable label we utilize 3M adhesives specially formulated for removability without residual residue. If you have any additional questions we would love to discuss them with you! Call 800-624-6641 to speak with a member of our customer care team. --Karen
I always take issue with labels that do not come off cleanly - the ones that leave a white paper backing or sticky residue behind. Is it simply because it's a cheaper label or are their other factors at work here?
Thank you for your comments! At Mcloone, we produce UL and CUL labels on a regular basis and agree with you that each label should be treated with the same importance. Everyone can benefit from designing the label correctly, the first time.
Excellent Post Karen. I retired from the appliance industry a few years ago and mainly dealt with UL and CSA (Canadian Standards Association). Generally, the labels affixed to our ranges were on painted surfaces. Readability and indelibility were the key factors and to your point, both agencies had to approve the material, adhesive and wording for each. Even the format was regulated to a great extent. We gave specific attention to warning and caution labels because they were not detailed in the specifications and yet, we felt, were every bit as important as the name and number plates.
Thanks for your comments Cabe! Mcloone specializes in a variety of labels, nameplates, and decals used for product embellishment. We also utilize quality industrial grade adhesives capable of withstanding harsh environments.
Because material/adhesive choices are so specific to the application they're being used for, it's difficult to recommend something without knowing more details about the sticker. We would be happy to discuss some options and answer any additional questions you may have. Please call 800-624-6641 to speak with one of our customer care representatives. -Karen www.mcloone.com
Perhaps it's an old school approach, but I need a sticker for product embeleshment. Think of the stickers applied to 1980's Transformer or GIJoe toys. Except, I want mine to be impossible to remove. The license plate sticker would be a great choice. Anyone know where I can get stickers made like that?
The license plate year stickers that I must apply each year with my registration renewal are pretty darn impressive. They have to withstand 140 degree temperature swings over time, direct water contact, and they stay on no matter what.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Procurement actually means well. There is no question that procurement can do a better job of phrasing their questions or making connections between engineering’s goals and the processes underway. And if you are using the right deciphering code, the result can live up to -- or surpass -- your expectations.
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