Packaging Label Stock Types
- Puffy labels are made of either water, gel, foam, or air.
- Litho are one of the most common label stocks available.
- Latex Of the litho stock with some added latex, these labels are flexible and form perfectly around certain curved objects. They do this better than most standard litho labels.
- Foil – has the shiny properties of a metalfoil.
- Thermal – direct thermal label stock will change color (usually black) when heated. A heating element in the shape of letters or images can be used to create an image on the label. Custom labels can be easily be made on location in this way. A disadvantage is durability, because another heat source can ruin or obscure the image, or it may fade completely over time.
Thermal Transfer Ribbon Types
- Wax is the most popular with some smudge resistance, and is suitable for matte and semi-gloss paper labels.
- Wax / Resin is smudge resistant, suitable for semi-gloss paper and some synthetic labels.
- Resin is scratch and chemical resistant, suitable for coated synthetic labels.
Thermal Transfer for applications that cannot use Thermal (Thermal Direct) label material because of heat source proximity or short label life, a more widley used material is Thermal Transfer Label printer. This material has the advantage of a much longer readable life and does not fade with time or heat. Most major manufacturers of Thermal Printers can be used for either Thermal Transfer (TT) or Thermal (DT) labels. A thermal transfer ribbon will be required to print the labels. The cost of the ribbons + TT labels is similar to that of the DT labels on their own.
Various plastics such as acetate, vinyl, and PET film allow a variety of features, such as greater strength, flexibility, transparency, resistance to tearing, etc. They typically require special equipment and printing methods (ultra-violet curing is common) as they do not normally print well with conventional ink. A bumper sticker is usually a vinyl label with a very strong, durable adhesive and Lightfast Inks.
The stock type will affect the types of ink that will print well on them. Corona treating or flame treating some plastics makes it more receptive to inks and adhesives.