THE NEW WAVE OF LABELLING MATERIALS
It's always, Labelexpo ’96 produced a rich crop of label laminates and non-adhesive products. Essentially, they reflect the wider diversity of products that we have come to expect from narrow-web label technology. Most of the developments centred on the new breed of engineered films based on polyethylene, polypropylene and polyester constructions. Also shown were base papers for self adhesive labels, liners and coated label papers.
For the first time, several manufacturers featured specially-coated labelstocks optimised for digital colour printing, particularly for Indigo’s E-Print 1000 and web-fed Omnius, MACtac, 3M and Fasson added extra interest by running Indigo units on their booths.
Other Indigo-optimized substrates –around 40 in total – have been developed by such suppliers as S D Warren, Mobil, Folex and Hanita Coatings. The OEM link between Nilpeter and Xeikon – joining those of Gallus and Comco with Indigo – underlines the potential of digitised production for short-run, on-demand label and packaging markets.
Fasson naturally featured its Digital Print Media paper and film facestocks in both sheets and reels, which were among the first introduced. They are optimised for Indigo and Xeikon print engines and have Sapphire and Topaz topcoats.
Other products from the Films Division and Roll Division included Crustal FasClear TC. Intended for conventional prime labels, it is an extruded polyolefin material for labels that must conform to irregular-shaped containers. It joins the established FasClear 250 and 350 ranges. Collector’s Reserve, a family of wine labelling facestocks, now include metallised polypropylene and metallised silver and gold papers.
Fasson also showed Natural Kraft Liner as a lower-cost alternative to bleached liners. HS-1 is a new adhesive, claimed to combine the best performance characteristics of emulsions and hot-melts, while giving faster running speeds.
For direct-thermal desktop printers, Fasson has introduced MultiTherm Linerless, for a shorter reloading time. MultiTherm 100HS is new ultra-sensitive facestock for bar code scanning performance with a general-purpose permanent adhesive. The NIR1 version is designed for automatic systems with visible laser diode (VLD) scanners.
For non-adhesive applications, the Avery Dennison Engineered Films Division launched Primax NA, a matte white opaque polyolefin material. Supplied with a corona-treated surface, it is printable by all label processes and comes in several thicknesses. Main non-laminate applications include tags, cards, food branding and other applications where durability or moisture resistance are essential.
Other new three-layer polyolefin derivatives are Primax IM 1000 for in-mould labels on HDPE containers and Primax IM 2000 for large container applications. The Division also launched FasClear IM 1000, a matte clear polyolefin in-mould label for the ‘no-label’ look.
3M promoted its films and self adhesive identification materials designed to enhance printing from Indigo digital presses. The clear, white and silver polyester films are suitable for rating plates, nameplates, bar code labels and graphic overlays.
The new identification materials, also made from modified polyester in clear, white and silver, feature a proprietary polymer system. This forms a tight bond with liquid digital ink, allowing immediate handling durability. The bond is said to give good abrasion and chemical resistance and provides a basis for overlaminating, using 3M’s Lexan film. This factor could help Indigo users identify new on-demand markets.
MACtac featured two Accraply automatic labelling systems applying Allure, Opticlear, Opticlear-Plus film labels and the new White Gold high-gloss paper label on to HDPE bottles. A third Accraply station with a Zebra 170 thermal-transfer printhead and an ink jet printer combined print, apply and scan technology on the new and improved Optiscan Gloss labelstock.
Other practical demonstrations comprised a Lexmark laser printer printing the new Dual-Web DW 2141 labelstock, and an Indigo Omnius printing MACtac’s IMAGin, a premium gloss white paper stock. Also featured were labelstocks with the new 1001 Ultra removable acrylic emulsion adhesive that allows repositioning without trace. Various other adhesives shown highlighted special formulations for cold temp/freezer labelling applications.
FLEXcon and Van Leer Strength Films jointly launched Valeron/PS facestocks intended for high-performance and speciality applications, such as steel marking and drum labels, that need good printability, tear resistance and outdoor durability. They come in several thicknesses with a variety of permanent and removable adhesives; top-coated for conventional processes and non-impact printing. Van Leer separately showed its line of HDPE and Valeron Strength top-coated film and paper tag and label stocks.
FLEXcon introduced THERMfilm Select 21940 and 21860 for thermal-transfer applications requiring permanent high-tack adhesives, such as nameplates. The white polyester films perform with resin and wax/resin ribbons using either solvent or water-based inks. The coating is said to minimise static and reduce print voids caused by static generated by the printhead. A 50-pound bleached kraft liner is common to both, but 21860 has a special coating to prevent pick-off and is suitable for label sensing equipment.
OptiFLEX EZ is the latest film in this range, intended for primary and secondary applications requiring squeezability. Clear and white EZ is top coated and has a permanent acrylic adhesive called V-32. It is available with FLEXcon’s 150 Poly H-9 premium polyester liner at no additional cost over the standard 44 PP-8 liner. The 150 Poly liner offers improved adhesive wet-out and protects against web breaks.
Squeezability is also a feature of Squeezlabel, a new film facestock from Ritrama Duramark. It comes in white or matte clear and is top-coated for good printability. The white facestock is additionally coated to resist abrasion.
Label-Lyte 302 and 344 are the latest opaque oriented polypropylene (OPP) facestocks from the Films Division of Mobil Chemical Company. Both are said to offer good ink adhesion for all processes on fast-running presses. Label-Lyte 344 differs by having a specially-formulated top coating for extra flexibility and design support.
Another OPP with similar properties is Label-Lyte 534: a clear top-coated grade for beverage, pharmaceutical, health and beauty applications. Mobil highlighted Label-Lyte ROSO (Roll-on, Shrink-on) for either hot-melt or heat-seal labelling equipment, also Proliner 100 an enhanced OPP liner.
Smooth-surfaced filmic liners like these, with their reduced adhesive coating weirhts and good on-press and applicator performance, have quickly become an established part of the labelling scene. BOPP liner base films, called Rayowed, form a large part of production at UCB Films’ multi-million dollar expansion at its Wigton site in England. Rayoface facestock films are also made there.
Another sizeable film liner player is Rexam Release. It featured clear polyester and BOPP products within a new Converter’s Choice line, which also includes siliconized papers. The British company, API Coatings, promoted Releaseflex BOPP liners, available through its New Jersey sales office. The 30-micron version is for paper facestocks, while the 50-micron film complements clear and other filmic facestocks.
Leonard Stace, an API associate, lunched the UltraSil range of release papers with smooth primer coatings on one or both sides for siliconizing. Another super-calendered base paper supplier, Nicole Paper, launched Nicolet-Natural made from unbleached pulp.
Appleton Papers promoted the latest Optima range of thermal papers and the Speciality Coated Products line of coloured label papers with aqueous coatings. Another line is coloured label plates with a groundwood basestock. A low tear strength makes the product ideal for tamper-resistant labels and lottery pull tab tickets.
A new line of destructible vinyl films for tamper-resistant labels were featured by Madico. Destrukt comes in white, yellow, black, silver and clear for thermal-transfer imaging. ‘They tear on the product, not on the press’, is the sales pitch.
Meyercord was another vendor promoting new retail security products. Sentinel includes a white film that leaves a blue ‘void’ signature, or custom trademark when removing the seal or label. Like its other ‘void’ films, the new product is formulated to deter counterfeiting, tampering and pilfering.
Hanita Coatings introduced a line of polyester films treated to accept either electrophotographic toner inks or liquid inks used in digital printers. It also showed conventional white, matte, metallised and clear polyester films for all label print processes, also non-impact printers. New products from Wausau Coated Products included a recycled semi-gloss facestock, a 7-mil Teslin facestock and the Ultra-Removable/Ultra Repositionable adhesive.
To end on an exotic note, DuPont showed their XM020LS, made from polyethylene naphthalate. As a high-temperature polyester film it resembles Mylar, but has superior mechanical, dimensional and thermal properties. Very low machine/-transverse shrinkage at 230ºC (446ºF) and a UL Class F thermal rating of 155ºC (compared with 105ºC for PET) puts it into a separate class for the more demanding industrial applications.