What is the Process for Applying Self-Adhesive Labels?
Self-adhesive labels are often used in product design and packaging, simply because they are very cost-effective.
It is much easier to buy empty, unmarked cans, jars or bottles, fill them with the product in question, and then affix labels than it is to make printed products.
Applying labels by hand is error-prone and can lead to the labels being out of alignment, or having bubbles or creases on them.
That's why many labels are applied by a machine. What's the best way to apply labels to products? Here are a few tips.
Applying Labels With a Machine
Many companies use labelling machines, and these are available in huge 'production line' models, as well as in smaller scale designs which are ideal for smaller operations.
Even the semi-automatic bottle labelling machines that are used by independent brewing companies can label 40 bottles per minute.
With these machines, you load a reel of label onto the device, and as the bottle passes over the roller, the label is applied smoothly and cleanly.
These applicators use peel and stick labels, and when you buy a roll of label you can specify right-hand feed or left-hand feed.
It's important that you choose correctly to ensure that you don't end up with the labels being upside-down on your product.
Applying Labels by Hand
While applying labels with a machine is the most efficient way of doing so if you have a lot of products to work with, there are instances where you will want to apply labels by hand.
Perhaps you need to re-label existing products for a seasonal promotion, or because of a pricing change or a legislative change to how ingredients must be marked.
In these instances, sticking new labels on old stock could be warranted. It's important that you work carefully, to reduce the risk of errors.
We recommend that if you are applying labels by hand you choose a label with repositionable adhesive.
This kind of adhesive takes a few moments to set, so if you make a mistake then you can peel the label back up and re-stick it without worrying about ripping the label or it losing its tack.
This will save you a lot of money in wasted labels, and reduce your stress levels too. Make sure that the surface you are applying the label to is smooth, clean and moisture-free.
Try to do your work in a room that is at a moderate temperature. If the labels are cold then they will not be as sticky as they would be at room temperature.
If you make a mistake when you are applying a label and you end up with a bubble on them, don't panic.
It is usually possible to remove air bubbles, especially if you have a glossy or 'vinyl-like' sticker. The best way to avoid bubbles is to put the sticker on slowly, applying even pressure.
Label machines essentially flatten the label onto the product and eliminate bubbles as they go. That's exactly what you should be trying to do with your hands when you apply a label.
If you do end up with a bubble, then you can press the bubble towards the edge of the label and slowly and systematically push the air out the sides.
If the bubble is in the middle of the label, then a small pinprick to remove the air is an option.
Another option is using a hairdryer to soften the glue before working the bubbles towards the edges.
Rather than applying labels by hand, however, we recommend that for anything other than small batch work that you use the services of a professional labelling and packaging company, or get the correct equipment to do the job in-house!
OnPack Australia is a leader in digital printing. We have a wide variety of clients in the food, beverage, consumer goods, health, logistics, and sports nutrition industries who are more than satisfied by our precision printing.
Call us now on +61 3 8388 8100 for all your printing needs.