There are four key factors that influence how well a label adheres to a surface.
You will need to account for all of these factors when you choose and apply your labels.
The Strength Of The Adhesive
A stronger adhesive will almost always bond more successfully than a weaker adhesive, so if it is essential that your labels remain fixed firmly in place you should choose a stronger adhesive, where available. For example, the majority of our labels are made with a standard permanent adhesive that offers good adhesive strength. If you’re after labels that will really remain firmly in place, you may want to opt for our High Tack labels, which offer excellent adhesive strength.
How Long A Label Has Been Applied To A Surface
The adhesives used to make our label products have both an “initial tack” and an “ultimate tack”; initial tack describes the strength of the adhesive bond at the moment a label is applied, while the ultimate tack refers to the strength of that bond once the adhesive has fully set – meaning that these adhesives strengthen over time.
Even if you choose an extremely strong permanent adhesive with a high level of initial tack, if you apply your labels and immediately start tugging or picking at the corners to test the strength of the adhesive you will find that it will be quite easy to pull the labels off. You need to allow time for your labels to set and reach their ultimate tack to get the best possible bond strength out of the adhesive you have chosen.
The Temperature During (And After) Application
Both high AND low temperatures can interfere with adhesives and influence how well an adhesive bond forms (if at all). High temperatures tend to speed up the process of adhesion, causing the adhesive to set and reach its ultimate tack much sooner than it would at “normal” or room temperatures. Low temperatures, however, will slow down or even prevent the process of adhesion taking place at all, which would result in a poor bond or no bond forming at all when you attempt to apply your labels.
Any extremes of or fluctuations in temperature while a label is in use can also have an effect on how efficiently an adhesive bond performs during its lifetime (especially if the item is used and/or stored in conditions that are very different to those that occurred during application), and may even cause the adhesive to fail and the label to fall off.
All adhesives have both a recommended “Application Temperature” and “Storage Range”; you should take note of these guidelines and take steps to ensure that you don’t expose your labels to temperatures outside of these ranges either during application or when the labelled item is in use.
This information can be found on our Material Specification Sheets.
The Characteristics Of The Surface Being Labelled
Equally significant is the type of surface that you are labelling; all surfaces have their own characteristics and properties, some of which may influence how effectively an adhesive bonds with that particular surface.
The most important characteristic is the amount of surface area provided by different materials. The best possible surface for a successful adhesive bond is one with peaks and troughs of a moderate size, which offers a larger surface area than extremely smooth surfaces with very few or extremely shallow peaks and troughs. While you might think that a very rough surface with a lot of deep peaks and troughs would therefore be the best surface (because it offers the largest possible surface area), this isn’t the case because label adhesives aren’t capable of moving far enough into these deep peaks and troughs before they set.
Another factor to consider is the presence of “other” elements on the surface, such as any particles of dirt, water, or even air. You should ensure that the surface of your item is clean and dry before you start applying your labels; if any other particles are present, an adhesive may attempt to bond with these particles instead of the surface of the item you are labelling. This can cause a weaker bond to form and may result in specific areas of your label not bonding with the surface, which can cause the label to peel up or fall off.
The Extra Factor(s)
Our labels are named “Self-Adhesive Labels” after the adhesives used to make them; “Self-Adhesive” or “Pressure Sensitive” adhesives are tacky in “normal” conditions, which means that they need only the pressure of a finger or hand to be applied – which in turn means that the pressure you use when applying these labels can also influence how well your labels adhere to a surface.
You should apply firm pressure evenly across the entirety of each label, checking for air bubbles as you go; applying your labels by working from one side to the other is the best way to deal with air bubbles and to ensure that the whole of the label has been smoothed down flat against the surface to provide the adhesive with the best possible chance of adhering firmly across the entire surface area available.
We would also point out that the efficiency of an adhesive is also reliant on how well you store your labels. You should make sure that your labels are stored in their original packaging, at room temperature in a dark secure place, so the adhesive cannot be affected by light, fluctuations in temperature, or exposure to other environmental factors, such as damp conditions.
TOP TIP: Request A Sample
If you have any concerns about how efficiently a particular label will adhere in your intended label application, we would highly recommend using our free sample service to request a sample of the product(s) you are interested in so you can test them out in the exact conditions and environment in which you need them to work. You can either fill in our online Request A Sample form or contact our Customer Service team for advice on choosing the right label for your requirements.
You can also view a full list of all the different types of adhesives we supply (along with a brief description of each) on our List Of Adhesives page.