Add Value By Affixing Solutions
Applications determine whether affixed or integrated products are indicated.
The demand for value-added products has resulted in some innovative applications that combine multitasking convenience with aesthetic impact. This is certainly true of affixed and integrated products, which offer customers effective, streamlined approaches to sending, receiving and processing information. Add to this the tamper-proof/tamper-evident features that can be incorporated, and it's not surprising that these products are flourishing within the health-care, direct mail, manufacturing and retail industries.
As single products that break out into individual components, there are clearly similarities between affixed and integrated solutions. However, affixed products involve joining two separate pieces of media together, while integrated products use a single base material that's punched or perfed to create the label, card or decal. Intrinsic differences in the manufacturing of these products impact the effectiveness of—and appropriateness for—particular applications.
According to Peter Kvam, director of marketing for Bertek Systems, Swanton, Vt., integrated products were introduced to the market as a cost-saving device eliminating the need to use costly piggyback, pressure-sensitive stock or card stock.
The streamline design of integrated products offers certain advantages, especially when it comes to processing in a laser printer. But Kvam pointed out that there are also limitations—particularly with regard to adhesives. For instance, specific adhesives are
required for many UL/CSA label/forms, as well as several health-care products.
"There is a latex impregnated paper label stock frequently used for lab applications that necessitates a pressure-sensitive material," he said. "The label must be flexible enough to go around a glass vile, and has latex introduced into the slurry for more durability and chemical-resistancy. While it's not impossible to create this product using an integrated format, it is highly unlikely considering the high cost of the specialized stock and the waste that would be involved."
Questions of perceived value can also come into play, observed Kvam. He noted that while integrated cards serve many applications, it's important to know what the end-user thinks is acceptable. "Paper cards are used by many organizations and can last a fair amount of time, but in cases where the end-user desires higher perceived quality and long-term life expectancy, plastic cards prevail," Kvam said.