Labels printed by MD Labels on Mark Andy Digital Series HD
To many people, a label is purely a decorative item used to convey information and draw attention to a product. We are used to using labels to influence our purchasing decisions in a variety of places like supermarket shelves and pharmacies. But what about the environments through which these labels must travel? The label has to be able to withstand different conditions, without compromising quality. According to Mark Andy, growing expectations and requirements for the durability and strength of a label, including those made by climate change, have become an increasingly important issue in many markets worldwide. Brand owners challenged by high temperatures of up to 40C/104 F are a prime example. These labels need to be manufactured with special printing and finishing equipment. Mark Andy has been a long-term producer and supplier of presses offering inline, single-pass label production that meet the highest standards of consumers and brand owners.
Climate-related challenges include all types of weather, with temperatures ranging from freezing to hot and arid, and high humidity as evident in equatorial regions. Labels must also withstand abrasion which may occur during transportation or by coming into and contact with sea water, blood, chemicals, and more. Mark Andy’s view is that, considering all these factors, a label has become much more than a decoration and means of imparting information on packaging - it must also be durable and resistant to many different external conditions.
The foundation of a durable label is a stronger and heavier gauge substrate than that of a standard label. And if they are pressure sensitive, the adhesive will need to be very aggressive to cope with sub-zero or beyond boiling point temperatures. Ink must also be a consideration; it should be lightfast and suitable for harsh conditions with good adhesion, rub and scuff properties.
Phil Baldwin, Sales Manager for the UK, Ireland, and Scandinavia outlined the background to Mark Andy’s involvement with the sector: “The company has long supplied technology to this market and has extensive experience of applications from oil drum labels, wrist bands, and tree tags to animal carcass straps. Mark Andy’s chill drums not only chill the web but allow it to be heated, which improves handling when running aggressive adhesive material. The pre-tension web transport and Oldham coupling drives also ensure the press can handle special materials like Tyvek for wrist bands and plastic plant pot inserts. If required, it can also supply inline spot hot melt glue heads, laminators to apply glassine strips or protective films, RFID insertors and many other options.”
On the consumable side, Mark Andy digital inks have high lightfastness ratings and excellent adhesion, scuff, and rub properties. The ink used on the Mark Andy Digital Series HD hybrid press is also autoclave and boiling-water safe, tested for solvent resistance to ASTM 5402-06 for solvents, grease, oil, fats, alcohol, and blood, tape test approved to ASTM 3359, has 7-8 on the blue wool scale, meets rub, scuff, and abrasion tests to industry standard ASTM 5264-98, and carries UL 969 certification for durable label applications.
When discussing hardworking and durable labels, RFID tags are a good example, especially with its growing popularity and implementation to meet the evolving requirements of different worldwide markets. Speaking for the company, European Sales Manager Lukasz Chruslinski explained how Mark Andy became involved with this sector: “We started with logistics, shipping companies, and pharmacies, which were all areas that have thousands of different factors and where precision was the number one criterion. To meet these growing needs, we have designed and built presses equipped with RFID modules that enable the application of tags. As far as label durability and structure complexity are concerned, we offer many other solutions that extend and upgrade the entire configuration, streamline the manufacturing process, and offer better control. We invite every company looking for a solution to producing durable labels to contact Mark Andy. We’re very keen to share our extensive knowledge and rich experience in this area, as well as offer a suitable, appropriate press configuration”.