Here's a guide to the permanent adhesives and removable adhesives used to make our label products.
Some customers are concerned about whether our permanent labels will be permanent enough or whether our removable labels will be removable enough. Here’s a short guide to the different adhesives we have available and how they will behave in typical label applications.
Permanent adhesives are designed to create a strong adhesive bond that will hold a label firmly in place and will prove difficult to remove. They are not, however, “impossible” to remove; if someone is absolutely determined to remove a permanent label, they will be able to do so. Removable adhesives, on the other hand, are designed to provide a light adhesive bond that is strong enough to hold a label in place while it is needed but that will allow the label to be removed quickly and cleanly with little to no adhesive residue being left behind.
The strength and success of the adhesive bond will depend on four factors: the length of time the label is stuck onto an item, the temperature during application, the surface onto which the label is applied, and the strength of the adhesive used.
TIME: adhesives used to make self-adhesive labels will “set” over time, meaning they have both an “initial tack” (i.e. the strength of the initial bond when a label is applied) and an “ultimate tack” (i.e. the strength once the adhesive has fully strengthened and set). If you apply a label and then immediately pull up one of the corners to test the adhesion without allowing the adhesive to set, the label is likely to come away quite easily.
TEMPERATURE: a higher temperature will quicken the process of adhesion, while lower temperatures can slow down or even prevent an adhesive from working altogether. All adhesives have a recommended application temperature (or range), but as a general rule it is best to avoid applying labels (and storing them) in extremes of hot and cold temperatures. You can find the recommended application temperatures for our products on the Specification Sheet for each product.
SURFACE TYPE: some surfaces are more conducive to a successful bond than others; the texture, shape, and material type of a surface will influence how well a label remains in place.
Surfaces have varying degrees of smoothness, from flat surfaces that have no peaks and troughs to rough, uneven surfaces that have extreme peaks and troughs. The best adhesive bond usually occurs where there is a regular pattern of shallow troughs as this provides the adhesive with the largest surface area over which to bond. If there are no troughs or very shallow troughs an adhesive may not have a large enough surface area to bond with. Alternatively, if there are too many troughs or if the troughs are too deep, an adhesive will not be able to reach the full surface area available and a weaker bond will form.
Stronger bonds also occur on flat surfaces in comparison with curved surfaces. If you apply a label to a curved surface, the adhesive bond has to be strong enough to overcome the “memory” of the face material of the label, which will try to return to its original flat state. To avoid this issue, you should opt for a larger label, a more flexible label material, a stronger adhesive, OR use a long thin label that can be wrapped all the way around an object (e.g. a cylinder) so that the ends overlap.
Finally, different materials will interact with adhesives in different ways – particularly if a material has had any special treatments or coatings that can cause the adhesive bond to fail if the treatment or coating changes or disintegrates over time.
ADHESIVE STRENGTH: most adhesives fall into the categories of permanent or removable; they will be designed with one of these types of adhesion in mind, with most adhesives being developed with a range of additional beneficial properties that will allow them to perform effectively in a range of label applications or in a more specific kind of environment. Adhesive strength ranges from high tack labels that offer extremely strong initial tack and ultimate tack, through to low tack labels that offer a gentle initial tack that will barely strengthen at all before reaching a low ultimate tack.
Here at Label Planet, we offer a range of adhesives as follows:
MEGA TACK ADHESIVE: our strongest adhesive; this product offers strong initial and ultimate tack. It is most commonly used for labelling unusual surfaces (such as fabric samples or building materials) that other adhesives struggle to adhere to OR for adding a simple paper label that is very difficult to remove. It is only available to order over the phone, with a minimum order quantity of 500 sheets.
HIGH TACK ADHESIVE: this adhesive offers strong initial and ultimate tack on a wide range of materials and surfaces. This adhesive is popular with customers who have tried standard permanent adhesives but have found that they don’t work well with the material or surface they are trying to label. They are also effective for use as labels that should be difficult to remove, in applications where it is vital that the information printed on the label remains with the item, even if it is moved around a lot or left in storage for long periods of time.
MARINE ADHESIVE: our MWP and MWPE products are made with a waterproof permanent adhesive that has been tested according to the BS5609 standard for marine adhesion. This adhesive has been tested extensively in marine conditions, including immersion in sea water for three months, and is ideal for use in label applications that will involve exposure to or immersion in water or storage/use in outdoor conditions.
STANDARD PERMANENT ADHESIVE: the majority of our label products are made with a standard permanent adhesive, which provides a good level of initial and ultimate tack on a range of materials and surfaces. These adhesives will hold labels firmly in place on most surfaces and will usually fragment and/or leave behind adhesive residue if an attempt is made to remove them.
REMOVABLE ADHESIVE: we have both paper (REM) and polyester (GTR) labels made with a removable adhesive; both of these product ranges are designed for use as “Temporary Labels”. They will remain in place while needed before removing easily and cleanly (i.e. there is no adhesive residue left behind and the surface of the item is left undamaged) when the label is out of date or no longer needed.
SUPER REMOVABLE ADHESIVE: we also have a super removable adhesive, which provides a very light initial and ultimate tack. This adhesive is designed specifically for use on more delicate items, such as those made of paper or glass.
This year, we have also introduced two security products, which use special adhesives to provide visual evidence of tampering. Our Void Labels use a special adhesive that divides when a label is removed, creating the message “VOID” on both the label and the item that it was applied to. Our Tamper Evident Vinyl Labels are made with a fragile cast vinyl and a very strong permanent adhesive so that if an attempt is made to remove one of these labels it will disintegrate into tiny pieces making it impossible to remove it in its entirety.
For a complete list of our label products along with the type of adhesive used for each product, please visit our Complete List Of Label Materials page.