Selecting the Right Adhesive for Your Inkjet Label

Inkjet labels are used in nearly every industry and can be found on thousands of products and applications. The use of such labels quickly becomes counterproductive and costly if the label fails to adhere to the surface of the application it was created for.

Choosing the correct adhesive from the get-go is essential to ensuring long-term label adhesions (i.e., making sure that the label stays exactly where it is supposed to.) Not all bonds or glues were created equally; certain products (like books, ice chests, or glass) might require the use of special adhesives.

Important Glossary of Terms in Label Adhesives

1. Permanent:

Permanent adhesives are just as the name suggest – permanent. Meaning that they are neither designed nor intended to be removed once applied. Permanent adhesives will work on most surfaces, however, might experience some difficulty bonding to certain materials such as damp plastics. These types of labels are not removable or repositionable once applied and will leave a tacky residue on most surfaces if they are removed. These are amongst the most commonly used adhesives and the ideal choice, cost-wise, if the ability to remove the label is not a necessity.

2. Peelable Labels:

Labels with peelable adhesives are designed to be removed easily. However, they may leave a residue on the surface of the application. In most cases, the longer the label has been on the surface, the more difficult removal will be.

3. Ultra-Peel Labels:

These types of labels are typically the weakest and are most often used in retail situations where the label must be capable of being quickly and easily removed from the product (example glass, china, books, etc).

4. Freezer Labels:

Freezer labels are ideal for use on products that are going to be stored at freezing temperatures.

5. Marine Labels:

Marine labels use adhesive materials that are capable of withstanding submersion and are most often used to label chemicals

6. Security Adhesives:

Security labels use special adhesive compounds that can indicate if a label has been tampered with.

Tips for Successful Label Adhesion

Most of the labels that come from professional printers are sensitive to things like moisture and temperature. Therefore, it is necessary to take a few precautions when applying them.

Verify that the surface the label will be applied to it smooth, clean, dry and free from elements like water, dust, oils, waxes and other contaminants. It may be helpful to carefully clean the surface with alcohol prior to application of the label.

Verify that the application and service temperature and the humidity levels are compatible with the type of label adhesive that is being used. Most labels, if correctly stored, should have an average shelf life of 2+ years. If incorrectly stored, or kept in temperatures that are too cool, the label adhesive will begin to deteriorate. Generally speaking, warm storage nets better results.
Remember that at least twenty-four hours is needed in order to a label to fully ‘set’ and for the adhesive to reach peak strength. If the label does not set, or stick, then go back and ensure that the surface of the application has not gotten wet, dirty or has some other contaminant preventing the label from sticking.

Do not, under any circumstances, clean the label with organic solvents, cleaners or soaps. Labels should only be cleaned with a slightly damp cloth. Cleaners and chemicals have been known to damage the label material, remove label print and alter the bonding capabilities of the label adhesive.