Troubleshooting Common Label Application Issues

Troubleshooting Common Label Application Issues

High-quality automatic labeling systems make it easy to apply eye-catching labels to all of your products. However, sometimes labels and containers aren’t compatible. If you run into problems with your labels, there are some easy fixes to try.

Label adherence

One of the most common label defects is labels not adhering properly to containers. Several factors play a role in promoting label adhesion.

Always use an adhesive compatible with the container’s temperature and environment, including its surface. High temperatures can increase tackiness. In contrast, cold temperatures can make adhesives brittle. To reduce temperature-related problems, store labels as close to ground level as possible. Heat rises, which can make high shelves in your warehouse significantly hotter. In high-humidity areas, you can store labels in sealed containers or wrap them in plastic to prevent moisture contamination.

Surface contamination can prevent label adhesives from bonding with the container’s surface. For instance, condensation is a common issue for beverages. In most cases, this can be resolved by using an air knife to blow off surface moisture before labeling. Similarly, oil on the container’s surface can also hinder adhesive contact. Have your workers wear gloves when handling products to avoid transferring skin oil to the container.

Die-cut issues

Check whether your labels were cut correctly. Poor die cuts can cause problems when removing the label from the backing. Deep strikes can push the adhesive into the liner, while shallow strikes don’t cut through the face stock. Cutting with a dull die can push the adhesive off the label’s sides onto the untreated edge of the label liner.

Curing time

Adhesives need time to cure, which can vary from two to 48 hours depending on the formula. Containers should not be shipped until the adhesive has fully cured to prevent labels from peeling off during handling.

Other issues

Label defects like skewing, wrinkling, peeling, air bubbles and flagging are often caused by application issues or material problems.

  • Air bubbles: When labeling plastic containers, account for off-gassing. All plastics release small amounts of gas over time, leading to bubbles under the label. Use a face stock and coatings that are permeable to allow these gases to pass through, without peeling up the label.
  • Flagging: Choosing the right label size is crucial to prevent flagging. Leave 1/8-1/4 inches of space around the edges of the container side. For wrap-around labels on rectangular containers, add blank space to the edges to accommodate minor imperfections.
  • Skewed labels: Ensure that your label design accounts for the slight taper on containers, even if they appear flat. The label may need a slight curve to compensate for the container’s shape.
  • Wrinkle concerns: Cheaper containers may have surface defects, leading to skewing, flagging or wrinkling upon label application. If you can’t replace the containers, consider switching to a flexible face stock that can conform to uneven surfaces.

For more information about our high-quality labeling systems and troubleshooting tips, reach out to Quadrel today.