What's Hot & What's Not About Laser Labels
They take a lot of heat, yet remain a cool solution for variable imaging and product identification.
Persnickety is a word that comes to mind when discussing laser labels—annoyingly exacting in production and handling requirements. Make no mistake, they're a great product and the demand is certainly there, but if an application can be met using a different type of label, at least consider the alternative.
One problem is excessive heat. Fusers on laser printers heat up to 250 degrees and 300 degrees Fahrenheit, making the proper combination of substrate, adhesive and liner essential for the labels to emerge unscathed. Even with the right mix of materials, labels moving too slowly through the printer are subject to heat damage.
Then there is the bent edge issue—the bane of laser label applications—resulting in damaged product and costly printer repairs.
And even before the product gets to the end-user, paper suppliers and manufacturers have issues to grapple with.
Laser labels are typically processed on rotary flexographic equipment, and according to Tony Heinl, vice president of sales and marketing for Repacorp Label Products, Tipp City, Ohio, "They're a difficult product to manufacture on press."
Paper suppliers need to understand moisture content requirements for laser applications to help minimize curling problems and press jams. And depending on whether the curl runs on the 8.5 inch or the 11 inch die cut, the manufacturer can have a tough row to hoe attempting to remove it.
Adhesive is another factor. "If it gets too oozy," continued Heinl, "it builds up on the drum, which is expensive to repair." And unless the proper blade is used when trimming, dust builds up on the drum causing the printer to jam.
In addition, special care must be taken in packaging the finished product to avoid bent edge/jammed printer syndrome.