Custom Label Adhesives: Basic Classifications and Main Pros/Cons

After finishing the detailed process of designing a products packaging and custom label, some businesses may tend to rush the last steps to printing. However, there are a lot of important considerations to make sure you’re choosing the label features that will work best for your product. One of these main considerations is the adhesive, because choosing the wrong adhesive could extremely hurt the presentation and shelf life of the product packaging.

When requesting removability for a label, we tend to ask lots of questions and then ask the customer to test recommendations for suitability in that application. There are many things to consider choosing the right adhesive, here we will explain the main items to keep in mind.

Removability. It is hard to define this category, because there are certain products that are considered removable, however this ability declines over time and if enough time has elapsed, then they permanently attach to the substrate. Masking tape is a good example in this case, which is easily removable for a few hours, but the longer it’s left on the surface the harder it is to peel off. Besides time, temperature and the quality of the meeting materials are important factors that are decisive of how removable the adhesive should be.

It is very important that you don’t mistake removability with repositionability, the latter meaning that the label can be repositioned on the packaging for 20 to 30 minutes, without damage being done. Only after the passing of this short period of time does it permanently adhere.

The key to helping your label supplier make a good recommendation for your removable label is to advise them of the substrate to which the label is being applied.

Temperature. It’s very important to know what temperature the adhesive will be applied to the packaging, because under different circumstances different needs must be met.

  • Service temperature is defined in a range where the adhesive can function properly after being applied, this is a wide range from about -65º F to +200º F. (specialty products can go beyond these ranges)
  • Minimum application temperature is the range of temperature when the adhesive can be affixed to the packaging. The adhesive is to some extent a liquid; therefore, it needs to be able to flow. In cold temperatures (e.g. frozen goods) special adhesives are needed, because an ordinary one will freeze, which would reduce the adherence of the label. The first 24 hours are crucial, this is roughly the time interval when minimum application temperature affects an adhesive. “All temperature” adhesives are available, however due to its high price, you should only use it when specifically needed.

While labeling may not be rocket science, it can have its nuances. You’ve invested your time and energy into your product, do you really want or need to be a label connoisseur as well? Let our experts guide you through the labeling process to help ensure that you’re making the best decisions. Request a free quote for your custom label project.

Quality. Acrylic adhesives have high temperature and solvent resistance; however, silicone adhesives have a higher resistance in both areas, but is more expensive. Choosing the best quality label for your budget will be considered during a consultation.

Application and removability of an adhesive. There are a few tricks that can improve your use of adhesives. First you should clean the surface that the label will be affixed to; make sure it isn’t wet or doesn’t have any contamination (dust, oil, etc.). Use pressure when applying the adhesives; this will provide a stronger bond.

Unfortunately, not all adhesives can be removed cleanly and there isn’t a chemical that works for all. Carefully test these different solutions that have been known to remove adhesive residue; for example: citrus based cleaners, vinegar or Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

Keep these aspects in mind and choose an adhesive that fulfills your specific needs, from the never-ending selection the industry can offer. A conversation about the conditions the label will be subject to, including application temperature, service requirements, quality and your definition of removability, is a must.