Using Inkjet/Laser Labels in Your Custom Label Printer

Printing custom labels has become an easy way to save money and time for busy businesses and individuals. Custom labels can facilitate a variety of tasks, from shipping and organization to product labelling and asset tracking. However, it can be frustrating to find that certain types of labels are not compatible with your laser or inkjet printer. Not all labels can be used interchangeably in these two printer types—which many people find out the hard way when a costly jam occurs.

No Longer One or the Other

The reason many labels are specified for use in either an inkjet or laser printer is that these two technologies employ different printing mechanisms, and many people are unaware of the difference between these two types of printing. Inkjet printers work by spraying ink onto the sheet of paper, and are useful especially in tasks that require excellent quality, such as labels with detailed graphics or rich colours. Laser printers use heat to melt toner into the paper; these printers are generally preferred for high-volume or rushed printing jobs (though, of course, there are exceptions for both types).

Since the laser printing process is so different to the inkjet method, label makers will often tailor their products for use in either inkjets or laser printers. For instance, some metallic or polyester labels are not recommended for use in inkjet printers; while using anything but high-quality label sheets can run the risk of melted adhesives and repeated jams when exposed to the high temperatures of a laser printer.

Fortunately, however, some companies do manufacture labels that are friendly to both types of printers. These interchangeable laser/inkjet labels eliminate the need to squint at the fine print to see what type of printer you need. By balancing the technologies of inkjet and laser printing, these labels provide great results regardless of your printer type (although there are some limitations if using a colour laser printer).

There are many types of inkjet/laser labels on the market to suit your needs, including removable ID labels, media (CD/DVD) and address/shipping labels, as well as a multitude of colours and types from white and pastels to fluorescents. You can even purchase a variety of differently shaped inkjet/laser labels.

Tips for Printing Custom Labels

Using inkjet/laser labels can help you avoid many printing-related issues. However, there are certain things to avoid when printing any custom label job in order to make the task more hassle free. Although the packaging might promise jam-free performance, this will not apply if you are misusing or incorrectly loading the sheets into your printer.

The following are some tips to keep in mind in order to maximise your label printing:

Do not attempt to print multiple times on a single sheet of labels. Every sheet should be fed only once through the printer; attempting multiple passes with the same sheet can cause the adhesive to melt, the edges to curl, etc.—which in turn can lead to costly, aggravating jams. Some companies make mini label sheets for smaller jobs, so you will not feel the need to reprint on a sheet that has only a few labels used.
Fan the sheets before placing them in the printer. Label manufacturers usually recommend placing the label sheets on top of 25 to 30 sheets of plain paper in the tray for the best performance.
Store any unused label sheets in their original box in a cool, dry place. Depending on the temperature and environment, labels can be stored for at least a few years.

Whenever you attempt to print custom labels in your own printer, make sure you carefully follow the instructions on the printer and your design package. If in any doubt, it is often quicker to consult a printing professional for advice than persisting with trail and error.

Factors Which Affect Label Adhesion

Although the stickiness of a label may not be something that is often at the forefront of business owners’ minds, it is definitely an important aspect to consider. No matter what type of security or inkjet label being printed, its stickiness will be affected by several factors. Every label application will be unique to the customer.

The four factors that affect the stickiness of labels are temperature, strength, time and surface.

Application and Storage Temperature

When a label is applied for the first time, a reaction takes place to cause the label to adhere to a surface. The higher the temperature, the faster this reaction will be, which is why labels applied at high temperatures usually stick better than those applied in cooler temperatures.

Attempting to apply a label in cold temperatures can slow the adhesion reaction, which can mean it takes longer for a label to stick. Cold temperatures can also completely prevent the adhesion reaction.

Most all label packages will display a minimum application temperature, which serves as a guide for optimal application.

The storage temperature of new label packages can also affect their stickiness. Any extreme heat or cold that a label comes into contact with during storage can affect its ability to bond once applied.

Adhesive Strength and Tack

Every type of the many adhesives on the market today has been manufactured with specific properties. The permanency of an adhesive is one crucial characteristic. Adhesive permanence will determine whether or not a label is removable.

The tack of a label is what determines its stickiness. The initial tack of a label refers to the strength of the bond when a label’s adhesive first makes contact with a surface. Once it’s been applied, the adhesive on a label will set. Ultimate tack refers to the bond strength between surface and label once the adhesive has set fully.

Those wanting a temporary label that’s easy to remove should look for one with low initial and low ultimate tack. For situations where a strong and permanent bond is needed, the adhesive should have excellent initial and final tack.

Setting Time

Whether a label is temporary or permanent, one fact remains: adhesives become stronger with time. The bond starts strengthening when a label is first applied, and continues to strengthen until the adhesive sets.

Regardless of label type, it needs time to set properly. That being said, you should refrain from trying to test the adhesive by pulling up a corner of a label; this will only weaken that all-important initial bond.

A word about removable labels; if you are considering storing purchased removable labels for future use, remember that these labels are created to have the low initial and ultimate tack so as to make them cleanly and easily removable when they are no longer needed. As such, leaving them for a long period of time in storage will cause the adhesive to harden and set before they can be used. To avoid this, store temporary labels in a cool and dry environment that is out of the sunlight.

Surface Types

How strong of a bond an adhesive will form with a surface will depend on the properties of that surface. The texture of a surface, along with the surface’s construction material and its shape are the most important factors.

A surface with too few troughs or troughs that are shallow will not have enough surface area to adhere effectively. The same is true of a surface with too many deep troughs. A flat surface is best for good adhesion, and any coatings already on a material should also be taken into consideration.

The best way to test the adhesion of a label is to first choose the right adhesive, and then test it in the conditions in which you plan to use it.

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What Are Security Labels Used For?

When it comes to your business related equipment and assets, it is important to be able to track and protect them in as many ways as possible. One of the most simple and effective methods that you can use is security labels. These make it quick, easy and convenient to track and to protect your business equipment and assets. You will find specialist label companies that are able to provide you with high quality asset security labels to suit your specific needs. No matter what sort of product or equipment you want to use the labels on you should be able to get the size and type that are perfectly suited to your requirements.

What can you protect and track with security labels?

Security labels are ideal for protecting a wide variety of items at your place of business, and they can even be used for increased protection in the home. Amongst the items that you can use these labels on are:

  • Laptops and monitors
  • Mechanical and electrical items
  • CCTV cameras
  • Musical instruments
  • DVDs
  • Calibration and box seals
  • Screw covers
  • Door openings
  • Furniture
  • Appliances
  • Car parts
  • Any other valuable equipment and items that you want to protect

Different options when it comes to security labels

When you are purchasing security labels for your place of business or home, you can select from a variety of different options. For instance, you can opt for standard security labels or you can choose ones that offer a temper-proof feature as well. The exact options available will depend on which label company you select for your products. You should make sure you look at the choices offered before you decide which labels are the most suitable for your needs. Also, if needs be ask one of the experts at the company to talk you through the options and provide some advice on the best labels for you based on your requirements.

Which industries use security labels?

Security labels are used by a huge variety of different industries these days. Some of the places where these labels are used in order to enhance protection include:

  • Medical facilities such as doctors surgeries and hospitals
  • School, colleges and universities
  • Equipment manufacturers
  • Retailers
  • Offices
  • Police stations
  • Mailing or mail order companies

Knowing what to look for when you are purchasing security labels for your business

When you are purchasing security labels for your business, it is important that you know what to look for in order to help you to make the right choice. You will find a range of different options available when it comes to security labels and asset labels when you go through an experienced and reputable provider. Some of the factors that you need to take into consideration when you are deciding which security labels to choose include:

  • The size of the labels you want
  • The amount you can afford to spend
  • What the material options are
  • Whether you can select from pre-printed or template options

Looking at these different factors when it comes to choosing the right security labels means that you can boost your chances of selecting the perfect ones.

Weatherproof Label Types

When you need to protect the labels of your products or other items from the weather, there is more than one option. The weatherproof label can withstand differing temperatures and seasons, allowing your laser or inkjet labels to be as readable as the day they were applied.

Weatherproof Polyester

Also known as laser weatherproof polyester, this product offers consistency of ink application. A laser printer applies ink to medium by burning it or fusing it onto the label itself. The laser method of printing offers a higher degree of weather and waterproofing, simply because of the way the ink is transferred onto the medium.

Inkjet Weatherproof Vinyl

This type of material allows for the printing of weatherproof labels with an inkjet printer. Because the material is waterproof, the ink from the inkjet printer will not run. Instead, it will encapsulate into a top coating that is already on the paper. This top coating has been specially formulated to ensure that the ink doesn’t smear if it should become accidentally soaked in water or touched by a wet hand.

Label Sub-Types

Under the general definition of polyester or vinyl label are a few different sub-types. Clear label sheets made of transparent polyester is incredibly water resistant as well as being very durable in terms of tears and scratches. Those wanting a ‘no label’ look would do well to consider this transparent product.

Silver polyester feature a brushed silver finish and a permanent adhesive. Asset tagging is but one of many uses for the silver polyester weatherproof label, which is very difficult to tear and can withstand a wide range of temperatures.

The clear matte variety of weatherproof label is actually translucent, blending well into most surfaces. This is what gives it its professional look. This translucent label is made from polyester material that’s been slightly frosted.

Where Can Weatherproof Labels Be Used?

Weatherproof labels can do much good, and in many space. In the bathroom, a weatherproof label can ensure that all label information can be read even in the container has been dropped in the sink or receives constant humidity as the result of hot showers.

Labels placed on products that sit outdoors will certainly be exposed to all kinds of weather, especially if left outdoors in all seasons. The weatherproof label can protect information from rain, snow, sun and wind.

Food products and sauces represent yet another great use for the waterproof label, because they can withstand condensation which forms after removal from a refrigerator, exposure to heat in the form of sunlight or fire roasting of food, or unexpected inclement weather.

Beverage bottles such as those on wine need to be weatherproof due to the fact that they are often chilled, which, like food products and sauces can result in the creation of condensation once removed from low temperatures.

Benefits of Weatherproof Labels

The durability of both vinyl and polyester make weatherproof labels incredibly useful. With labels made of these materials, there is no need to spray your labels with dangerous waterproofing chemicals. There is also no need to worry about rips or tears, as both materials are incredibly durable.

Any logo or other company information printed onto weatherproof labels remains legible over long periods of time. This can benefit your bottom line, as a label that lasts means that a customer can quickly and easily reorder your product when they need it. Finally, both materials fare well in several temperatures and temperature changes.

Most professional printers will be able to provide you with more information regarding weatherproof labels. However, it’s always a good idea to first conduct some research of your own to confirm you are making the correct choice for your application.

How do you choose a label product?

Labels are used for a variety of different reasons. Announcing sale prices, promoting new products, marking supplies and chemicals, declaring ownership and even to help school children remember which knapsack and hat belongs to them.

Professional printers carry a huge inventory of different labels. If you are just starting a new project and find yourself needing to pick out labels, narrowing down your choices can be difficult.

Here is a handy reference guide to help you pick the label that is most likely to meet your needs.

Things to consider when buying labels

Budget

Do you have specific budget that you need to work within? Keep in mind that labels made from synthetic materials, such as polyester, are often very costly. Plain white, matte finished labels, on the other hand, are considered to be extremely budget friendly. Many printers offer bulk discounts, so if you are able, it might be worthwhile investment to purchase more labels at once.

Quantity

Do you need a certain amount of labels? In order to determine how many sheets you require, simply divide the number of labels you will require by the number of labels per sheet. Check with the printer to confirm their minimum order quantities.

Size

What size of label do you need? Most printers offer more size variety on basic prints like white matte. However customised labels, like those that use special adhesives, materials or finishes might only be available in certain sizes. If you have a specific size that you need to work with, you will need to contact the printer to discuss what label sizes they offer, and under what conditions.

Laser or Inkjet Labels

Are you using an inkjet or a laser printer? Certain types of materials and finishes are only compatible with one type of printer. If you do accidently attempt to use inkjet labels with a laser printer, the print will not adhere to the label or dry properly – meaning that the print will crack or smudge and you will not be satisfied with the end result. Keep in mind that only laser printers can print water-resistant labels.

Special adhesive needs

Do you require the use of a special adhesive? A variety of different adhesives for use with labels is available. Depending on whether or not you need a label that can easily be removed, one that can never be removed or one that will adhere to an unusual surface, a variety of options exists.

Gloss or matte finishes

How important is the finish of your labels? Labels are available in either a gloss or matte finish.

Shapes

Are you looking for a standard rectangle or do you have a specific shape in mind? Labels can come on a variety of shapes like ovals, squares, stars and even hearts. Remember that not all printers offer every shape in every colour and certain shapes might have limited options when it comes to things like size, colour, finish and adhesive.

Remember that not all printers carry huge inventories of labels in specialty shapes, colours, sizes, adhesives or finishes. If your project or product requires a label that is different from the typical, everyday white matte rectangle it might be wise to discuss your requirements with the printer to ensure that they are capable of providing a product that meets your needs, or else you run the risk of leaving label-less and disappointed.

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