Understanding the CLP Regulations

Placed into effect in January 2009, the CLP (classification, labelling and packaging) Regulation replaced both the Dangerous Preparations Directive and the Dangerous Substances Directives. As a means of labelling and classifying chemicals, the CLP Regulation ensures the clear communication of the hazards of particular chemicals to both consumers and workers.

What the CLP Regulation Requires of the Chemical Industry

Prior to placing any chemical mixtures or substances on the market, the potential risks to the environment and human health must first have been established. All substances and mixtures must then be classified according to the hazards that have been identified. This is done via a standardised system which helps individuals understand the risks and potential health effects before these products are handled.

The communication of these hazards occurs via the use of pictograms and standard statements. However, there is a change in the way these pictograms look. Previously, pictograms were square in shape and had an amber background with black images. Current pictograms are in a diamond shape, having a red border and white background, and black images.

Research and Development not Affected

In many cases, the CLP does not apply to R&D activities. For example, any R&D activities involving those mixtures and substances used for scientific R&D that are not going to market and being used under controlled conditions do not fall under the regulations. However, these activities must also be carried out in accordance with environmental as well as community workplace legislation.

The “not going to market” caveat ensures that those companies who are in the business of selling chemicals to research facilities are also covered by the legislation.

Statement Types

There are statement types which can be included on the CLP label: these are the hazard and precautionary statement and the signal word.

The hazard statement lets the user know the immediate effect of misusing the product. “Corrosive to skin” is one potential example. Where the goal is to provide information about what preventative measures can be taken to avoid injury, the precautionary statement is used. An example of this might be “Wear gloves when handling”. Signal words alert the user to hazards in terms of severity, such as “Caution” or “Danger”.

Rules for Labelling

The rules surrounding the labelling of hazardous mixtures and substances apply on both general and specific levels. Generally speaking, health security labels must be firmly affixed to the surface or surfaces of the packaging which contains the mixture or substance. These labels must be able to be read horizontally when the package is placed in a normal position.

More specifically, the pictograms used in the labelling must stand out clearly from the background of the packaging. They must also be able to be easily read. All labels must contain the same elements. They must clearly display the name and address of the supplier, as well as include the nominal quantity of chemical if the product is being made publicly available.

Where applicable, clear hazard statements must be present, as must a relevant signal word when and if appropriate. There must also be a section for supplemental information, as well as precautionary statements, product identifiers and hazard pictograms.

Printing CLP Labels

The pictograms can be downloaded for printing at no cost. There are no specific colour requirements for printing. There are options with regard to the way in which some images can be displayed, however. For example, the border line, number and symbol can be shown in black instead of white on some security labels, and white instead of black on others.

Information that should be Avoided

When considering the phrases and words for a hazard label, there are some which are best avoided, specifically, those which may cause the user to underestimate or be misled by the hazards the label presents. Manufacturers should avoid the use of statements that declare a product to have certain benefits, such as being ecological or non-polluting. These types of statements are inconsistent with the substance or mixture. Trade and product names should also be avoided on CLP labels if the name includes any of the aforementioned phrases.

Getting Custom Labels? Your Printer Will Need Answers

Getting custom labels printed by a printing company is much different than printing labels from home. Because your printer will have so many different product available, they will need to know as many details from you as possible about what you require and will ask you questions about them. Thinking about these questions beforehand can save both you and your printer a lot of time in completing your label printing job.

Custom Means Diverse

One thing to know about custom labels is that the options are virtually endless. From shape to colour to size, and adhesives and coatings to materials, anything is possible. And everything has a different cost. So, to get the most accurate quote possible, you not only need to know what types of labels are out there, but what kind of label you are looking to have printed.

Purpose

The first question your printer is likely to ask is about the purpose of your labels, how will they attach to the object, and will it be handled or manipulated? This helps your printer identify what basic category of label you need. Paper is the most popular and cost-effective choice, but it may not do the job if you are want, for example, a set of security labels.

Beyond the base material will be the manner of adhesion; will your labels be permanently stuck on your items, or do you want them to be removable? You may also want labels that can be repositioned but that are durable, such as static cling labels.

After adhesion comes your label coating. Here, you will need to think about the environment your labels will be in. They may require a UV coating to protect them from fading in the sun. Or, perhaps they need to be laminated to protect them from moisture.

What Will Be Done to your Labels?

Beyond the basic physical characteristics of your labels, your printer will want more information about what else may be done to your labels. For example, perhaps after printing your labels will be marked or written on in some way. The reason your printer will want to know this is because this will tell them in what format to produce them. Formats include labels on rolls, on flat sheets and fan folded.

Your printer will also use this information to determine the durability of your labels. A label that will be written on with a marker will require a different durability than which will be printed on later with the heat of a laser jet printer.

Only after all of these determinations have been made can you concentrate on how you want your labels to look.

Aesthetics

Label looks are just as numerous as label types. Your printer will need to know the shape and size of your label as well as the colours you want included, and any other additions to make your label stand out.

Size and Shape

The size of your label will either be a stock size (already available) or a custom size. If the latter, your labels will need to be specially cut, which will add to the cost of your print job. The corners of your labels will also be a consideration; you will need to tell your printer whether you want them to be rounded, square or sharp.

Ink Colour and Type, Additional Features

Next are the colours you want your labels to have. Depending on the number of colours and whether you need exact shade matches, your labels may need to be printed in spot, full or Pantone colour. Finally, if you need your labels to have any other features, such as numbering, embossing, foil, or glossy finish, these will also be something you’ll need to tell your printer.

Although there are many considerations to be made when having your custom labels, the more detailed you can be, the better.

How Dot Gain Affects Printed Products

The phenomenon of dot gain is prevalent in the printing world. It can wreak havoc on all types of printed materials, causing them to look darker in colour than they were intended to be. Sometimes expressed as a percentage, dot gain is the difference between the size of dots on the source file and the size of the corresponding dots on the printed piece. So for instance, if the source file is at 50% but is at 65% after printing, the dot gain is 15%.

Furthermore, dot gain differs depending on the colour used, and is slightly different between the 4 CMYK colours of cyan, magenta, yellow and black.

Dot Gain Causes

There is more than one cause of dot gain. It can occur as the result of machinery, paper and even light.

Dot Gain via Printing Press

During offset printing, ink gets transferred from a printing plate to a blanket before being transferred from the blanket to paper. Each transfer alters the dot more in terms of increased diameter. But the type of blanket used, as well as the ink type and fountain solution as well as the pressure applied all contribute to the percentage of the dot gain on the printed final product.

Ink Absorption

The absorption of printed ink into paper also causes dot gain. During absorption, ink travels vertically as well as horizontally, which can increase dot diameter. This effect is more easily seen on newsprint and uncoated inkjet labels than on coated paper.

Dot Gain due to Light

Dot gain can also be perceived although it may not actually exist. This is called optical dot gain, and occurs when light makes contact with a printed surface and causes its dots to take on a diffused appearance. The human eye perceives the dot to look darker and larger in size than it actually is.

Computers and other Media

Dot gain can also be caused by imaging media and devices. For example, a computer’s optical system cannot be considered to be linear. This is why, during printing that any laser beams used are wider than necessary; this accounts for any errors in perception of the optical system of the computer. But even these will result in dot gain or loss, however slightly. As far as media is concerned, dot gain can occur via the film or plates used. This is because different media will handle ink differently.

Minimising Dot Gain

Although it is possible to minimise some types of dot gain at the both the prepress and press stages, the phenomenon is typically identifiable at the design stage, Therefore, it is the designer’s responsibility to be aware of it as well as anticipate how it will affect a finished product. The designer can also control dot gain in their image editing program, although this will not necessarily prevent it from occurring later on.

Many photo editing programs compensate for dot gain automatically. This automatic conversion usually occurs during image conversion from RGB to CMYK colour. However, in order for proper conversion to take place, the software must be configured according to the printing process which will be used.

During pre-press, the operator must ensure that any plates are as linear as possible. A tolerance of 2% is typical, and the process of linearisation should be utilised. Another thing to consider at the pre-press stage is that many times, a customer will supply files which have been optimised for a particular printing process, such as sheet-fed offset. This will cause the amount of dot gain to change. However, one print process can mimic the dot gain amount of another with some tweaking.

Although the dot gain phenomenon does have the potential to cause many headaches during the printing process, the fact that it can be addressed during several stages and from early on is a relief, both to customer and operator.

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The Gang Run Process

Some companies require certain items to be printed using full-colour ink. These items can include anything from door hangers to business cards to flyers. One way for companies to save significant amounts of money is by choosing a printing company with the capability to complete a gang run, also known as a combo run.

Multitasking at its Finest

The gang run is known in the printing industry as a process where several smaller jobs are grouped into a single large production run. The gang run occurs with the help of an offset printing press for an incredibly high-quality printing result.

Substantial Cost Savings

An unfortunate reality of offset printing is that there are substantial costs involved to set them up, which can place this printing type out of reach for those who need shorter production runs. However, when the gang run process is used, the printing jobs of several customers can be printed at the same time, which substantially reduces the cost of each job due to the costs for press preparation and plate charges being distributed across several jobs instead of only one.

The offset printing process used in conjunction with a gang run can allow for both sides to be printed on a business card as well as coated with UV protection, where other processes may only be able to print one side of a business card in a single colour without UV coating for the same price.

The Rules of Gang Run Printing

Ideally, saving money by using gang run printing would only require putting several jobs through the offset printing process. However, there are certain rules that need to be followed beforehand for the gang run to be successful and all printing jobs to come in at a lower cost.

One of these rules is that all printing jobs being placed in the gang run must have the same specifications for both ink and paper. For example, business cards, door hangers, postcards and the like are usually ideal candidates for this process, as they are all produced with the same paper and require the same ink.

Colour and other Considerations

Although the gang run is a very effective means of printing several items in very high quality for a very low cost, it doesn’t work for all items that need to be printed. Some items may be better suited to their own press run. The kinds of projects best suited for their own press run are those which require a high degree of control over colour, and that will only be distributed at certain times of the year or on another similar kind of limited basis. Some examples are a brochure for a new launch or an annual report.

Another thing to consider before choosing a gang run is whether or not the project being printed has other special requirements. Some items, for example, may require special effects on the type or an image that offset printing simply is not capable of providing. Others may require a special type of paper that the other items in the gang run simply do not.

The best thing to do when considering a gang run for any printing project is to make note of your colour and paper requirements. Then, you can contact your printer with these specifications and see whether or not they have a planned gang run with room for what you need to be printed.

In some cases, money can be saved on individual offset printing by simply revisiting the documents needing printing and deciding to eliminate those special papers and effects that may disqualify a project from the gang run. However, each project is different, and what is required will depend on the needs and aims of each business.

Asset Tracking – More than just Security Labels

Modern asset tracking offers businesses several ways to overcome their challenges. These solutions provide businesses with a framework they can consult when they wish to increase efficiency and profit. However, with so many available solutions, choosing the right one can seem a difficult objective. The best way to choose the right asset tracking solution is in building a solid foundation. The use of labels is a very good start.

Understand your Tracking Needs

When you know what in your company needs to be tracked, you are in a better position to choose the right asset tracking solution. For example, if you are running a warehouse, you may wish to have magnetic security labels on your racks of products so that you know where certain inventory is at all times. However, you will also want to take your facility’s equipment users into account, as well the up and downtime of your equipment and the maintenance schedule of that equipment. All of these will speak to the overall efficiency of your operation.

Think of all Assets as Projects

Projects have a life cycle, but so do your assets. They must first be designed and built, then used and maintained effectively. They may need to be refitted later on, or the decision may be made to replace old equipment with new.

Integrated Labels with other Tracking Solutions

Once you understand how complex a project tracking the life cycle of each of your assets can be, you can have a better idea of what your requirements are for asset tracking. To start, you will need to form your list of requirements, and then decide which software is best positioned to meet those requirements. Finally, you’ll need to test your short-list of solutions to find the one that fits best before you purchase.

Tracking numbers vs. Serial Numbers

Assuming that your company is already tracking its assets in some way, shape or form, it’s important to aggregate that information. Then, it will become paramount to assign a unique tracking number to each asset and its accompanying label. Although it may seem more logical to track assets via their serial numbers, this can cause issues, especially where the serial number of two assets is identical. In this scenario, using the serial number for tracking will prevent you from knowing which asset is which, causing much unnecessary confusion.

Another problem with using serial numbers for asset tracking labels is that data integrity can become compromised, subsequently causing several inventory inaccuracies, as well as have a negative impact on customer satisfaction.

Among the many advantages to using unique tracking numbers instead of serial numbers on your labels is that should the tracking number be lost, the serial number can offer a way to find the asset and then re-label it.

Assets are not Inventory

Effective asset tracking is a process in which security labels play an absolutely critical part. It must be understood that asset tracking means tracking the location of assets, but also the location of the internal resources required for continued operation. Also, asset tracking means monitoring the depreciation of assets, as well as their warranties.

Tracking inventory involves the management of the products your company distributes and sells by tracking where the products are shipped to, stored and sold. It also entails knowing how long inventory has been sitting on the shelf, as well as tracking availability of products so that they can be reordered.

With the proper identification and security measures in place in the form of labels, employees can scan each asset’s tag. Every time this occurs, the information can be transferred directly to a database, where a history of the product can be built.