When starting a labeling project, navigating the different materials and features can be a challenge. On top of the seemingly endless amount of options, widespread misunderstandings can also deter you from finding the right materials.
This blog will separate fact from fiction by listing the top material construction myths and debunking them.
Myth 1: When in doubt, use a low-temperature adhesive
At first glance, the benefits of using a low-temperature adhesive seem to be a no-brainer, especially in areas with fluctuating temperature extremes. The outdoor lifespan is comparable to a standard adhesive – but there are setbacks.
Low-temperature adhesives are not a good choice for applications in warmer weather. Higher temperatures can cause the adhesive to bleed (or ooze) from the edges of the label.
Also, there are not a lot of material options for low-temperature adhesives. The costs can be difficult to justify, especially if the application does not require a higher tolerance for lower application temperatures.
Bottom line – don’t waste money on unnecessary features.
Myth 2: A label’s application temperature and service temperature are the same
The application and service temperatures of a label are not the same!
Application temperature is the recommended temperature range that the adhesive be applied to achieve adequate adhesion. In most cases, the application temperature listed will be the minimum application temperature.
The Minimum application temperature lowest point at which your label can adhere. If applied at a lower temperature than that recommended minimum, the adhesive will not set, and the label will not stick.
Service temperature is the temperature range at which the adhesive will continue to perform without failure. Service temperature is a range, and the application temperature is somewhere within it.
As long as the temperature stays within the service temperature range, the label will last over its useful service life without affecting adhesion.
Myth 3: Vinyl is vinyl is vinyl
There are two basic types of vinyl: calendered and cast.
Cast vinyl is a higher quality vinyl than calendered. Mainly because the manufacturing processes for the two are very different. Calendered vinyl is stretched and rolled, and cast is poured into a mold.
Because there isn’t much stress put on cast vinyl, it will also hold its shape/size longer than other vinyl. Calendered is a cost-effective option but has a shorter lifespan.
Myth 4: The tackier an adhesive feels, the better it will stick
A softer adhesive tends to feel like it should be a better option, and sometimes it is! Softer adhesives are better on certain plastics, such as polyethylene or other slicker plastics.
They offer excellent quick-stick properties and set up faster. More rigid adhesives tend to have higher peel and shear values, meaning they will reach ultimate adhesion better than softer options.
Providing as much detail as possible about your application’s surface helps us determine the best option.
Myth 5: Adhesive thickness does not matter
The thickness of your adhesive should make sense for the substrate material/texture that you plan to apply the label.
Substrates that have a lot of texture generally require a thicker adhesive to adhere correctly to the surface. More viscous (thicker) adhesives can fill the high and low points of a surface.
Flat, smooth surfaces without textured points do not necessarily require a thicker adhesive.
The Electromark Difference
A common theme in all of the points listed above is the importance of understanding your application and label durability expectations.
Electromark offers a wide variety of materials, but the right material construction is unique to the customer’s application-specific needs.
Before getting started on your next labeling project, ask as many questions about material characteristics and how they relate to the desired product performance.
We’re committed to finding a solution that makes sense for your application.
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Electromark provides identification solutions for outdoor environments. Over 45 years of electric utility knowledge enables us to create regulation-compliant products that fit your custom or standard needs. We do more than sell durable signs, tags and labels. We are your outdoor identification experts.