Label applications are a simple add on for many sign shops printing with wide format devices. The opportunity is ripe for those interested in providing samples, mock ups, presentations, or other short-run jobs—from 50 to 500 pieces.
There is an apparent merge between label print houses and shops with a core focus on wide format output. The trend also crosses into narrow format labels, meaning digital is a viable solution for almost any small- to mid-run need.
Wide format printer/cutters are ideal for label creation. Shops utilizing this technology are looking at a minor investment, such as new media options from trusted, familiar vendors.
3M Commercial Graphics offers a variety of films with different adhesives and liners. For the most basic label, it recommends 3M Scotchcal Graphic Film IJ35. This product features a blended calendered film with a gray, permanent adhesive. For more challenging label applications, 3M offers 3M Controltac Graphic Film with Comply v3 Adhesive IJ180Cv3. It is a high-performance cast film with a strong adhesive and features that include slideability and repositionability as well as air release channels for virtually bubble-free applications. The company can add air release technology to help with the installation of labels and match some of 3M’s proprietary adhesives to films to stick to low surface energy plastics and other difficult label applications.
LexJet Simple Multi-Textured Surfaces (MTS) Adhesive Vinyl is a 3.5-mil opaque, bright white matte vinyl with a 2-mil high-performance, aggressive adhesive. MTS solves the challenge of posting temporary advertising graphics and wraps on rough-textured concrete walls, construction barriers, vending machines, and other surfaces that don’t form a secure bond with conventional removable adhesives. It is also ideal for more permanent product identification labels and safety signs on industrial equipment. The bright white surface of MTS supports exceptional, high-contrast graphic reproduction on printers that use low-solvent, solvent, and UV-curable inks. The vinyl itself is opaque to hide existing wall markings and durable to resist most incidents of scuffing, tearing, and abrasion. MTS is easily removed for up to a year, but holds graphics permanently in place for up to five.
FLEXcon partnered with Roland DGA Corporation to offer label media for the VersaUV LEC series printers. Standard FLEXmark products include PP20CPLEC, PP23WPLEC, and MPP20SPLEC. FLEXmark PP20CPLEC is a top coated 2-mil clear polypropylene film coated with an aggressive, permanent acrylic pressure-sensitive adhesive and backed with a sheet-form liner. FLEXmark PP23WPLEC is a top coated 2.3-mil white polypropylene film coated with an aggressive, permanent acrylic pressure-sensitive adhesive and backed with a sheet-form liner. FLEXmark MPP20SPLEC is a top coated 2-mil silver metalized polypropylene film coated with an aggressive, permanent acrylic pressure-sensitive adhesive and backed with a sheet-form liner. All three media rolls are 30 inches by 150 feet—available in single roll shipments.
Proofing Technologies, Ltd.’s JetComp product line is a collection of nine different materials, all targeted at the label and packaging industry. For labeling applications, the company offers high-shrink shrink sleeve film in addition to three pressure-sensitive adhesive products, a 2-mil transparent poly film for no-label-look labels, a 2-mil white poly film for all types of white labels, and silver metalized label stock for metallic labels.
There is little media currently on the market available specifically for wide format label printing. Many print providers are repurposing substrates for this niche. As interest grows manufacturers may look to creating targeted label media, but for now it is important to know what is out there and what works.