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Pressure sensitive adhesive labels are so thin and flat, it might be odd to think of them as having layers, but they do. It takes experience to select the proper components for a pressure sensitive adhesive label to then build up the layers for optimal performance. Printers and converters creating pressure sensitive adhesive labels for the automotive, electronic, and health & beauty markets encounter environments, applications and specifications that can vary wildly.

There are three basic layers for pressure sensitive labels, including the facestock or the label material, the adhesive and the release liner.

Finding Facestock

Facestock selection depends on printability, appearance, processing parameters and environment.

  • Aesthetics — Corporate branding, colors and quality level are a start for selecting the proper facestock, but only a beginning.
  • Processing — Flat lay or roll stock impacts selection.
  • Printability — We match topcoats to ink varieties to help increase facestock printability.
  • Environment — Temperature, potential moisture exposure and other elements, such as sun or UV rays also play a role dictating the right material for facestock.
  • Lifespan — Thicker paper stock or alternative materials will create a more durable label, designed to last the lifespan of a product.

The Critical Middle Layer

The adhesive, sandwiched in between the facestock and the release liner, is a key factor in label success or failure. Proper selection can depend upon the multiple variables, all of which we explore with our customers who are experiencing difficulty with standard, off-the-shelf adhesives.

The following factors all impact proper adhesive selection:

  • Temperature
  • Surface substrate
  • Surface shape
  • Intended lifespan
  • Surface preparation
  • Application method
  • Intended purpose

Why a Custom Adhesive?

Oftentimes customers come to Ameri-Cal when the catalog or standard adhesives fail. Catalog or off-the-shelf adhesives will suit 70% of most general application situations, but we develop adhesive for the other 30%.

We understand the balance between performance and price for a solution that can not only help prevent future failure, but also save your business time and money. While the artwork, information or branding on the front of the label are what first attracts the eyes, label performance hinges on proper adhesive selection.  These high-performance adhesives are produced as transfer adhesives, or as part of a pressure-sensitive solution, and not as a stand-alone product.

What is the Intended Purpose?

The intended purpose for an adhesive can be the most important consideration. Yet, occasionally a customer might make assumptions about an adhesive based on its primary application purpose and start trying to use it everywhere. This is known as proliferation failure or misapplication.

An adhesive designed for one particular surface, such as wood bonding for example, isn’t intended for optimal performance on a different surface or in a different environment, with temperature or conditional variables. The intended purpose and environmental conditions are important considerations for practical, successful application of a pressure sensitive adhesive label.

How to Find a Balance

There is a tension to balancing the performance characteristics of a proper adhesive. Increasing the stickiness of an adhesive by making it softer or more viscous, or by over-applying the adhesive, also makes it more prone to oozing. On the other hand, creating an adhesive that is harder and less viscous can result in a label that isn’t sticky enough.

Trust Ameri-Cal to help find that perfect balance. We’ve been supplying high-quality, custom transfer adhesives and pressure sensitive products to multiple industries for more than 50 years, domestically and overseas. Our technical support is unparalleled. We look forward to being your partner for your pressure sensitive adhesive labels and related projects. Contact us or give us a call at 330-725-7735.

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