When choosing labels to apply to cylindrical objects (such as pipes and tubes or bottles and jars), you need to take the shape of these objects into account.
The key issue is one of memory; all materials have a degree of “memory”, which is a property that causes the material to try to return to its original dimensions after being distorted – for example, by winding the material around a cylindrical object. This property exists in all kinds of materials, although it is stronger in some materials compared to others. In terms of materials used to make labels, memory is commonly seen in polyester, polyethylene, silicone, and vinyl, as well as paper.
When you apply a label to a cylindrical object, the memory of the material will try to restore the label to its original flat state and – if the memory of the material is the strongest force acting on the label – this will cause the label to peel up from the surface it has been applied to and may even cause the label to fall away entirely.
So, what sort of label do you need to use if you want to label a cylindrical object?
Essentially, what you need to do is use a label that will ensure that the opposing forces will be stronger than the memory of the label. Here are a few suggestions to help you find the perfect label for a cylinder:
Size & Shape
There are a few sizes and shapes that can help to overcome (or avoid) issues of memory.
- Big Labels: a big label means that the adhesive has a larger surface area over which to act. If an adhesive is able to form a strong bond over a large surface area, this can provide a stronger force than the memory of the material.
- Long Labels: a long label means that you will be able to wrap your label around the object being labelled and – most importantly – OVERLAP THE EDGES of the label. This will prevent one edge of the label from peeling up AND provides the other edge with an area that is smooth and easy to adhere to.
- Small Labels: given that our first suggestion is “big labels”, this one might be a bit of a surprise BUT sometimes smaller labels can provide a means of avoiding the issue of memory. For example, depending on the shape of the item you are labelling, there may be an area of the item that has a less severe curvature or (especially in the case of bottles and jars) that is completely flat. Using a small label (or a series of small labels) that will fit into these areas will allow you to avoid the issue of memory altogether, simply by being a bit creative with the shape and positioning of your label(s).
Material & Adhesive
Where possible, choose a label that is made of a flexible, pliable material and a strong, permanent adhesive. A flexible material will wrap around the cylindrical object much more efficiently than other materials, and the memory of the material is likely to be weaker. A strong adhesive will also provide a strong opposing force to any level of memory that a material has.
For example, our Matt White Polyethylene Labels were designed with curved storage barrels in mind; the polyethylene material is soft and pliable AND the labels use a Marine Standard Adhesive that is manufactured specifically for use in outdoor and/or marine conditions where a strong, permanent bond is required to keep a label in place, even in more extreme outdoor conditions.