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Following on from my visit to the equipment manufacturer with a colour match issue I recently visited a customer looking to find a solution to his vinyl labels adhering inconsistently and having problems with wash-down causing labels to start to peel away from the material surface.
As ever it seems that the simple questions are the ones to begin the conversation.
Are you having problems applying the labels all the time, all year around and have you specified any changes to the material the labels are applied to were my first questions?
As I started to delve a little deeper into the areas of concern we found that there were 2 distinct areas to consider.
The first area that came into view was the design of the label itself. A rectangular safety label, manufactured to their drawing with square cut corners.
My first advice was to update the drawing to a specification that included a radius on the corners . Very simple but a radius to the corner is a great way to stop labels lifting during wash-down and to deter users picking at the corners of the label in an idle moment.
Now to the second question of the general adhesion of the labels, digging deeper it seems that the peeling had only started in the last 3 months, across the board and however carefully applied lifting occurred.
OK, now the question was asked by the customer have you changed your adhesive specification?
A quick call to the team back at base confirmed that no changes had been made.
Next question from me was, have you made any changes to the finish of the body of the machine . Well no, not really, er um, we did change the powder coat specification to a water based version for environmental reasons .
It transpires that the changes to powder coat formulation removing the solvents has changed the surface properties of the material, which in turn affects the adhesion of the labels.
Having checked back on the specification of the powder coat, upgrading the adhesive specification to match could solve this problem.
New samples were produced and fitted and testing proved that the adhesion is good eliminating the areas of concern on wash-down.
It just goes to show its the simple communication flow that is so important, the small detail is often overlooked and is always worth looking a little more closely into.
Now I hear you ask, nearing 100% success rate . Yes, always bear in mind the ambient temperature of both the storage areas for your label stock and the temperature of the surface the label is applied to.
The customer did occasionally store the label stock in a cold stores area and had recently been affixing labels to a steel chassis in temperatures below 2 degrees C its worth remembering that to get good adhesion, the temperature of the label and the surface to which it is being affixed should be a minimum of 10°C with the application temperature being an entirely thing than the range of temperature that the label will withstand in service.
The result a consistent product, a happy customer and repeat business for MTM.