Tips, Helpful Hints

Common terms used in the label industry…

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Acrylic Polymer base for pressure sensitive adhesive
All-temp Adhesive that adheres permanently to surfaces at room temperature and also at colder temperatures
Anti-Block Coating (ABC) Coating that may be applied to the back of a label to improve anchorage of adhesive to the label
Auto applicator Machine used to remove labels from liner and dispense them onto a product or carton
Bleached Kraft - BK Material that was whitened in the paper making process
Bleed Ink that extends beyond the cut edge of a label
BOPP Polypropylene used for face material or liner
Butt cutt Corners on labels – usually no space or waste between labels
Calendared Passed over a series of very smooth rollers to improve the surface of material
Caliper Thickness
Coat weight Typically refers to the thickness of adhesive on a label
Coated Smooth surface of paper that has an additive to fill in the natural pores – may be shiny or matte
Carrier Material that holds labels until use (aka liner)
Core (Usually) fiber tube that holds roll labels – label cores typically have 1/8” thick “walls”
Cross-grain Opposite of machine direction, refers to across the grain of material vs in the direction of the grain (aka cross-web)
Cross-web Opposite of machine direction, refers to across the grain of material vs in the direction of the grain (aka cross-grain)
Cusps Rounded corners on labels that have been butted together
Cut Portion of a perforation that have been cut on press
Die Cut 1.  Rounded corners on labels
2.  Any cut through the label material
Digital Method of printing that uses computer generated graphics
Direct Thermal Computer generated printing process characterized by electronically heated printhead that activates the surface of a specially designed label material to create an image
Dot Matrix Computer generated printing process characterized by electronically activated pins striking an ink soaked ribbon against a label surface to create an image – typically requires labels mounted on a pinfeed carrier
Emulsion Label industry, refers to a mixture that suspends adhesive components for ease of coating to the label material
Face Label material portion of a label
Film 1.  Any synthetic polymer (plastic or vinyl) material used as a face material
2.  Thermal transfer ribbon
Flagging Edge of a label that lifts off the surface after application
Flexo Flexographic printing process
Fluorescent Bright color (aka radiant or neon) – does not indicate ability to glow in the dark
Freezer Adhesive that adheres permanently at very cold temperatures
Gloss Very smooth, very shiny surface of a label (aka high gloss)
Grain Orientation of fibers in paper, typically in the direction of the web
Halo Faint outline around edges of a printed image
High Density Paper extremely compressed to become harder
High Gloss Very smooth, very shiny surface of a label (aka high gloss)
Hot Melt 100% solid adhesive is heated to ease coating to label material
ID Inside diameter – refers to the inside dimension of a core or roll of labels
Ink Jet Computer generated printing process characterized by liquid ink dispensed onto a label surface to create an image
Initial Tack Degree of adhesion developed immediately after application
Label Refers to the face material and adhesive (combination)
Label Presenter Machine designed to remove the liner from the leading edge of a label making it faster and easier to lift the label by hand
Label Repeat Measurement that includes the label and space between (measure from the top of one label to top of next label)
Laser Computer generated printing process characterized by finely ground particles attracted and adhered to a label surface to create an image
Layflat LF Paper liner with critically controlled moisture content to improve flatness characteristic
Letterpress Method of printing –  thick ink is applied to metal or hard polymer type (letters) which strike a label surface to create an image
Line Color Single color (no screens)
Liner Material that holds a label until use (aka carrier)
Litho Out-dated term originating in the sheet-fed printing industry that describes paper – does not have a clear meaning in the label industry
Machine Finished MF Refers to a liner that has been calendared to improve density and stability
Mandrel Hold Ability of a label (combination of face material and adhesive) to stay adhered when applied around a small diameter
Matte Non-shiny appearance of surface of label – may or may not be coated
Matrix Face material around a label – usually removed (aka waste)
MD In the machine direction, ie. paper machine or press
Memory Property of a material that attempts to return to its original configuration – this is what causes flagging when a label is applied around a small diameter
Metallic Appearance of label material that resembles metal
Multiple Lots More than one “copy” within a label order
OD Outside diameter – refers to the diameter of a roll of labels
Offset Method of printing – uses metal plates that transfers paste-like ink onto a rubber-like roller (blanket)  which then offsets the ink onto a label surface
Olefin Family name for a group of synthetic polymer materials used for face materials
Opaque Non-transparent – often a gray coating on the adhesive side of a label to prevent show-through after a label is applied
Over-Impression Act of squeezing a plate during the flexo printing process which often creates a halo around a printed image
Overlamination Typically the application of a clear film over the printed surface of a label
Pattern Area that does not contain adhesive and/or silicone
Perforation Cut and hold pattern that allows labels to be neatly torn or burst apart
Permanent Adhesive that will adhere to a surface for an extended period of time – not intended to allow removal of label – does not imply “forever”
PET Polyester ie used for face material or liner
Pinfeed Holes on left and right edges of liner that are used to transport labels through dot matrix or continuous laser printers
Plate Changes
Number of times a new plate is required within a single order – if an order includes multiple lots, either one or more plates will change between copies and/or one or more colors will change between copies
Polycoated - PK Paper with a thin layer of film permanently laminated to it
Pt - Point Used to describe thickness – typically of tag materials or of printed lines
Radiant Bright color (aka fluorescent or neon)  - does not indicated ability to glow in the dark
Ream 500 sheets of a set size of paper – resulting weight is typically used to describe face material
Release Force required to remove a label from the liner
Removable Adhesive that will adhere to a surface but will allow the label to be removed intact later
Repeat 1.  Any subsequent printing of a label after the initial press run
2.  Measurement that includes the label and space (measure from top of     one label to top of the next label)
Repositionable Adhesive that adheres to a surface but can be removed and reapplied
Residue Evidence remaining after a label has been removed – may be pieces of face material or just traces of adhesive
Rubber-Based Adhesive made from natural or synthetic rubber
Screen 1.  Method of printing – uses mesh plates through which thick ink is squeegeed onto label surface
2.  Printed dots that create a lighter shade of color
SC Super-calendared
Semi-Gloss Smooth, somewhat shiny (but may be mottled) surface of a label
Sheer Force required to slide label in a parallel direction from an application surface
Silicone Slick coating applied to liners that allows labels to be removed
Solid Color Color (no screens)
Substrate Surface to which a label is applied
Super-calendared kraft - SCK Generally refers to the liner – a paper material that has been passed over a series of very smooth rolls to make it more dense
Tear Measurement of force required to tear a label (aka tensile)
Thermal Transfer Computer generated printing process characterized by electronically heated printhead that melts wax or resin onto a label to create an image
Throat Typically the width of the opening in a thermal printer for the label to pass through (aka media width)
Tie Uncut portion of a perforation (aka hold)
Tensile Force required to break a given width and length of paper when pulled in a parallel direction
TPI Teeth per inch – refers to the number of cuts on a perforation
Uncoated Porous surface of paper
Ultra-Removable Adhesive that adheres to a surface but can be easily and cleanly removed at any later date
UV Ultra-violet – often refers to varnishes or ink that are cured (dried) using ultra-violet light
Vinyl Specific material used for labels – often misused as a generic term to describe a non-paper label
Wash Ups Number of times a color changes within a single order, after the first copy
Waste Label material removed from the liner (aka matrix)
Wind Direction Orientation of printing on a roll label – referenced by corresponding number on label industry standard wind direction chart
Winged Up Edges of labels that lift off the surface after application – often when applied around small diameters
4 Color Process Printing with yellow, magenta, cyan and black, using screens to create all other colors
#40 General designation for approximately .002+ thick liner material commonly used for roll labels
#50 General designation for approximately .003+ thick liner material commonly used for pinfeed and sheeted labels

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