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Commentary & Analysis

Avery Expands Its Reach in GHS Labels

Embracing international standards, OSHA now has a new set of rules for designing labels used with hazardous materials. Label giant Avery offers tools to make compliance easier.

By Bob Leahey
Published: August 16, 2016

Avery Products Corporation, a major manufacturer of printable labels and cards, recently made two announcements regarding Globally Harmonized System (GHS) labels:

• Avery’s custom label printing service, Avery WePrint, now offers on-demand printing of GHS labels for use with chemical drums and other containers.

• The company announced Avery UltraDuty GHS Chemical Labels for use with pigment-based desktop inkjet printers. These labels are in addition to the Avery GHS labels designed for laser printers, which were launched in 2015. 

This news calls attention to Avery, one of the biggest label converters in North America, and to the GHS label application, which has been a label industry focus over the past two years, due to government mandates. As to Avery, it’s now offering businesses two options for GHS-compliant labeling solutions—custom-printed GHS labels and blank labels for in-house printing on many common office printers. 

For custom printing, Avery WePrint is a web-based label printing service that provides templates, an encompassing design tool, and media options. All of the Avery WePrint offerings are packaged in a web-to-print storefront that lets customers design sheeted GHS labels and have them delivered directly to their businesses, ready for use. For customers that prefer to print in-house, Avery’s UltraDuty label materials let them print GHS labels on many office inkjet printers that use pigmented inks.

These announcements come at a time when GHS label printing is a prominent news topic. By mandate of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), chemical producers and distributors in the U.S. should already be using GHS labels, and workplaces must get their own chemical and secondary container labels into compliance this month. The OSHA mandate is ultimately driven by the United Nations’ initiative on GHS labeling as a means of ensuring the safe international transport of dangerous chemicals.

Thus in the U.S. and other countries that support the United Nations initiative, many manufacturers, distributors, and users are now buying new labels or printing them themselves, and many makers of tabletop color label printers have qualified their roll-fed label printers and inks for the GHS application. Meanwhile, the printing of GHS labels on sheetfed office printers has also been growing in the U.S. and other countries as pressure for GHS compliance has increased.

In other notes on Avery and GHS, the company offers with its UltraDuty labels a design tool called GHS Wizard, which contains templates, pictograms, and other required features to simplify composition of GHS labels and their in-house printing. Avery’s UltraDuty label media is also certified as meeting the durability requirements of the key British Marine Standard for seawater immersion, BS5609, both for blank labels and for labels printed on many sheet-fed models that use pigmented inkjet inks. 

According to Avery, the GHS labels printed on over 20 inkjet printers are BS5609 Sec. 3 certified for overseas shipping of hazardous chemicals. In addition to being waterproof, the company says these labels are resistant to sunlight, abrasion, and harsh chemicals (e.g., MEK and acetone).

Avery’s announcements highlight the company’s role as a resource for digitally printing a key industrial label application, and they also underscore the company’s wider role in the label industry. For background, Avery invented the print/peel/stick label category decades ago when copiers were first introduced. In 2013, CCL Industries (a label converting giant based in Toronto, Canada), purchased the Avery Office & Consumer Products (OCP) and Designed & Engineering Solutions (DES) businesses from Avery Dennison for $500 million. The Avery OCP business is now known as Avery Products Corporation (Avery).

Avery is currently a leader for software-driven digital printing solutions using cloud-based systems and templates for printing labels, tags, and cards. Avery WePrint, the web-to-print business described earlier, is just one part of Avery, which is ultimately one of North America’s biggest converters of blank labels for digital and conventional printers in the office and industrial environments.

A final note is that Avery’s focus on GHS label printing is just one of many initiatives at the company that involve digital print. For example, Avery launched new materials for AveryPRO, a line of full-sheet and pre die-cut label stock available in 12"x 18" format, during the 2016 edition of DSCOOP, the tradeshow and conference for HP Indigo users.

While HP Indigo is best known in the label converting market for its roll-fed presses (e.g., WS 4600 and WS6800), its products for commercial printers and in-plant print shops include multiple sheetfed models (e.g., HP Indigo 5600 and 7800), for which AveryPRO label media will be well-suited. Given Avery’s qualifications and the market’s need for media options, InfoTrends expects more news over time from Avery in the field of industrial label printing.

Robert Leahey of InfoTrends has many years of experience in consulting to the peripherals and supplies industries. He is primarily responsible for conducting custom research projects, most often on inkjet, thermal, and color laser technologies used for commercial and industrial applications. He is also the manager of InfoTrends’ Color Digital Label and Packaging Service.


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