Piggybacks Hold Their Ground
Adding to linerless label potential at Chicago Tag & Label is the company's development of a permanent adhesive.
"A lot of companies use removable, not permanent, adhesive," he said. "So it sticks more like a Post-it note, which can be a problem. If you put ours on a product, it won't come off unless you tear it off."
Chicago Tag & Label's liner-less product also offers a wide variety of face stocks and base stocks, said Skuros. "For standard piggyback labels and other standard EDP, specialty face stocks often mean long delivery times. With our linerless labels, just about any facestock can be used."
Linerless labels, however, do have limitations. For example, Shanley noted that they can limit base material options. "A silicon or other material must be applied under the label, and some materials may not accept it as easily as others," he warned.
And Skuros noted that piggyback labels still maintain a slight advantage over linerless on short runs. "With short runs," said Skuros, "the cost of the make-ready on the linerless labels outweighs the benefits reaped."
Cost is also a reason why Sal-omon believes that thermal-transfer and thermal-direct products have offset some of the business that once belonged to piggybacks.
"There was a time when one of the big selling points for piggybacks was the fact that you could print a label once and end up with two copies," he noted. "People have come to realize that you can get a thermal label—or any variable printing method for that matter—and print out two copies a lot cheaper than with one write of a piggyback."
A drawback, he cautioned, is that there may not be the range and flexibility in materials. Said Salomon, "There is most likely a materials combination out there that isn't readily available for a thermal printer." Shanley also cautioned that while the initial cost to variably print products may be lower, print times are doubled.