Color Label Solutions

Color Label Solutions

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Inkjet Coated Gloss-Clear Labels

Over the past couple of years, I’ve had many customers ask me about inkjet coated gloss white poly and clear film.  However, I’ve not been able to find materials that seemed sufficiently durable; even to withstand water.  But let me tell you about 3 new materials and other ways for you to get durable gloss and clear printed labels.

If you have followed my posts, you’ve seen me write about the very durable matte poly labels.  You may remember this post comparing different technologies for GHS labels:

Prior to my tests of these new materials, here is a matte poly label that I soaked in water, alcohol, hand sanitizer and acetone.  The printed label was durable to all of these materials.

To start, I printed two new gloss and one clear film label with the TM-C3500 and the TrojanOne label printers.  I hope you can see how great these materials printed using these two different types of ink.  I think these labels look great.

After printing these new labels, I ran water over the labels to see how they would perform.  Surprising, I found all seemed relatively water resistant; especially when printed with the TM-C3500:

Water did not seem to bother any of these materials with the encapsulated pigment inks from Epson.    One thing I did notice was the Gloss 2 material had a “rougher” feel after the water; but the ink did not run.

With the Memjet dye-based inks in the TrojanOne printer, I did see some slight discoloration with water:

In the Gloss 1 sample, I only noticed a difference around the red ink.  In the Gloss 2 sample, I saw some of the black ink migrate in the barcode.  Please know; I not only soaked these samples, but wiped them with my fingers as well.

On the clear sample, you saw a very limited ink migration with the Memjet printed sample:

Overall, I thought the clear film performed pretty well considering the ink is a dye.

Next I tested the samples with alcohol and hand sanitizer.  The Gloss 1 and clear performed well with the alcohol.  But you can see some of the ink ran on the Gloss 2 sample treated with alcohol.

Hand sanitizer took the ink off all of these samples.

With the Memjet ink, both alcohol and hand sanitizer made the ink run.

If your requirements are only water resistance, I do believe we can get you both gloss and clear film that works; especially if you can use the print quality from the TM-C3500.  Please know; these materials cost more than matte poly; and may require higher minimum purchases.  In some recent quotes, the cost of this gloss label material was approximately $0.004 to$0.0047 per sq inch.

If you need either durable gloss or clear film as well as very high print quality, then you’ll need to add a post printing step; either laminate or coat. 

Concerning laminating, you may have seen my earlier post on using the Rotary Wizard: 

Or may find the new promotion video from Trojan Color Systems of interest:

Here is a scanned image of a basic matte label printed with the TrojanOne laminated with a gloss film.  These 100% coverage labels look great! 

Plus, you can save money on label materials using an inexpensive matte paper direct from the label factory and then laminate and die-cut post print. It’s a very affordable way to produce high quality prime labels that are resistant to water and many chemical compounds.  Recently, I complete cost estimates for TrojanOne printed labels with the laminate.  The cost of the label, ink and laminate totaled $0.0014 per sq inch (70% less than the gloss poly label along); making this option the least expensive way to get durable gloss labels.

If you want a somewhat similar secondary process step, you can also consider a UV coating process.  “UV coating" refers to surface treatments which are cured by ultraviolet to protect the underlying material.  You can learn more here from Wikipedia:

Trojan has been working with the EZ Coat 15; a simple way to coat even die-cut labels.  Here is the Trojan video using this post printing process:

Recently at Label Expo, Trojan launched their own coater, the TCS Elite.  This device coats up to 10” wide labels at speeds up to 80 feet per minute; yet costs much less than the EZ Coat 15.  Here is the video of this new tool:

And here is a picture of basic matte paper labels, one on the right coated with a UV varnish.

By using different coatings and settings in the coater, you can add more or less gloss as well as durability to the labels.  With the new coater, adjusting the coating is easy; as is change over and clean up.  Check out my video on the durability tests using hand sanitizer.

Using the coating, the cost per sq inch will equal approximately the cost of laminating; $0.0014 per sq inch.

If you need gloss or clear labels, we can help you at Color Label Solutions.  Contact us to discuss your requirements and the option that fits your label printing situation the best.

Guy Mikel

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