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Explore the limitations of commodity labels in conveying safety messages and discover how switching to durable label manufacturing can offer cost-effective solutions for indoor and outdoor applications. Learn about pressure sensitive adhesive technologies can help provide a seamless transition to durable label manufacturing.

In the label manufacturing industry, commodity labels have been a popular option to convey product safety messages due to their cost effectiveness and versatile use. 

You’ve likely been using them for label applications that require consumers to be aware of: 

  • Food allergen warnings 
  • Medication safety 
  • Personal protective equipment instructions 
  • Fire safety 

Commodity labels, however, may not supply the necessary performance levels needed for applications that require safety messages that are also exposed to the outdoor elements, including lawn mowers, marine or power tools. Therefore, if you manufacture them for safety message labels, you may be limiting your portfolio capabilities. 

Fortunately, durable labels can be purchased in North America for cost effectiveness while providing the necessary performance features to meet brand owner needs for both indoor and outdoor safety messages. Learn how commodity labels may be limiting you and how switching to durable label manufacturing can help you achieve high performance still in a cost-effective manner.  

Why Commodity Labels May Not Be Right For Your Safety Message Label Applications 

Overall, commodity labels are intentionally designed to provide cost-effective solutions with: 

  • High volume processing: Commodity labels are typically printed on paper or other low-cost materials using standard printing processes, making them affordable for large-scale production. 
  • Market versatility: Commodity labels are designed to be easily customized with product information, branding elements, and regulatory compliance details to meet different labeling requirements across industries. This versatility allows for streamlined processes and reduced inventory complexities.  

However, commodity labels are not designed to last in long-term, harsh conditions that end-use applications such as those mentioned above may endure. This is because they lack: 

  • Enhanced strength levels: Because commodity labels are intended to be low cost and for general applications, it is not always beneficial to formulate them to capabilities that help enhance durability such as chemical, moisture and UV resistance, as well as protection in cryogenic conditions. This can be a limitation if you want to expand into label applications that require it. 

Therefore, commodity labels may prevent you from being able to manufacture labels for all safety message applications. 

Durable labels, however, can offer sufficient performance for both indoor and outdoor safety message labels while still helping you provide a cost-effective solution by offering: 

  • Customizable protection: Durable labels allow you to design a label with specific resistance factors, such as chemical, moisture or extreme temperature resistance. They are often made from specialized materials such as polyester, polypropylene, vinyl, or metalized films, which offer superior resistance to these elements compared to paper-based commodity labels.  
  • Overall longevity: The materials listed above are also intended to provide protection against regular wear-and-tear during the application’s usage. This helps ensure the label itself provides longevity, while also contributing to the prolonged functionality and performance of the application it’s bonded to. Additionally, durable labels often include protective coatings or laminates that maintain legibility and aesthetics over time. 
  • Standard compliance: Durable labels are designed to meet industry standards including BS5609 to help ensure safety, especially if the label is adhered to a container with a flammable or hazardous substance. This also includes compliance regulations such as UL969 to ensure the end user cannot scrape off the label when it is intended to provide an important message about the product.  

Along with these capabilities, durable labels can be manufactured for both outdoor and indoor applications like commodity labels. This allows you to change out your production to manufacturing all durable labels if desired.  

How You Can Produce Cost-Effective, Durable Labels 

In order to produce durable labels in a cost-effective manner like commodity labels, it’s important to be strategic about your adhesive supplier and label layers. Particularly for your label adhesive, choosing a North American adhesive supplier will provide cost-saving benefits. Working with an adhesive supplier in your region can help you receive materials at a faster rate while also having technical support nearby for any troubleshooting compared to relying on a supplier overseas. This can help reduce transport holdups or operation complexities that could lead to production delays and increased costs. This will also eliminate international shipping costs that would be required with purchasing commodity labels overseas. Relying on a North American adhesive supplier can help provide the following to your durable label manufacturing: 

  • High-quality print processing: A reliable adhesive supplier will show you how the right adhesive technology makes durable labels compatible with thermal transfer printing, digital printing or screen printing. This gives you options to use equipment you already own to design important branding or identification for industrial equipment, machinery, outdoor signage and more. Further, it enables you to begin durable label production sooner with equipment you’re already familiar with, eliminating additional training that would be required with new equipment and take away from production time.  
  • Compatible adhesive technology: Like the versatility provided by commodity labels, the right adhesive supplier will help you customize an adhesive formulation that specifically caters to your durable label application. While the adhesive will allow you to continue providing important product information, branding and regulatory compliance details, it will also be designed to provide substrate versatility for streamlined processes and simplified inventory. 

When considering making the switch to durable labels so that you can manufacture labels for indoor and outdoor safety messages, it’s also good to know about the different adhesive technologies that they can be based on to further understand performance capabilities. 

Like commodity labels, durable labels can be based on hot melt pressure sensitive adhesives (HMPSAs). 

HMPSAs enable high processing volumes for durable labels just like commodity labels. However, they also have high strength and excellent, adjustable tack levels, allowing you to address different application specifications for enhanced durability. Additionally, they offer fast setup times to streamline automated assembly processes and help decrease production costs. HMPSAs are solventless, comprised of 100% solids, and they can be formulated with bio-based raw materials to increase overall sustainability if desired. 

Additionally, solvent-based acrylic and UV acrylic PSAs offer opportunities to expand into new safety message label applications:  

Solvent-based acrylic PSAs provide high strength, chemical, moisture and UV resistance across several substrates such as aluminum, steel and LSE plastics. These capabilities help extend the label’s overall lifespan, so that the safety message can be conveyed throughout the product’s life.  

UV acrylic PSAs offer similar performance capabilities as solvent-based but are 100% solids to reduce carbon emissions, costs and safety issues that solvents pose. While there are upfront costs to replace solvent-based equipment with HMPSA equipment and UV coating lights, UV acrylic PSAs can help you reduce energy usage by approximately 85%*, which results in less production costs overall. Additionally, you will get more usage out of a single drum supply with UV acrylic PSAs, because you do not have to evaporate a portion of the supply like you do with solvent-based solutions; this will result in reduced supply and transportation costs as well.  

How Bostik Can Help You Move Towards Durable Label Manufacturing 

With technical experts located all over North America, Bostik can help you move away from commodity labels into durable label manufacturing. With the most robust PSA portfolio in the market, we offer the technology options you need with the assistance in determining what will be most suitable for high application performance. Our PSA technologies are formulated to be safer, more sustainable solutions than competitive options, helping to reduce your environmental footprint and find ways to keep costs down in your processing steps.  

  • HMPSAs: Our formulations enable high strength performance to difficult substrates while using a solution comprised of 100% solids. With low VOCs, you can also increase the end-use product’s overall sustainability by incorporating bio-based raw materials into your formulation. 
  • Specialty Solution Acrylic PSAs: Formulated with high solids content, we help you reduce overall solvent usage to decrease carbon emissions while extending product longevity with high strength adhesion. 
  • UV Acrylic PSAs: Comprised of 100% solids, we can assist you with our pilot coating capabilities in determining how to utilize UV acrylic PSAs to replace solvent-based acrylic or hot melt processes, helping you move towards a sustainable future. 

As you work with us to determine the right PSA technology for your durable label needs, you’ll also receive: 

  • Technical support: Our team of experts will help determine the right PSA technology based on your substrates and processing capabilities, helping you explore new opportunities such as UV acrylic PSAs or increase confidence about your specific formulation decisions. We offer pilot coating capabilities that can help you test materials outside your own facility, allowing you to continue regular production until you are sure about the right solution. 
  • Troubleshooting: We are here to help you address any issues that may arise on your coating lines after the testing phase, helping you identify places where improvements can be made to streamline production.  

Are you ready to move away from commodity labels and expand into durable label manufacturing? Contact a Bostik expert to learn how our PSA technologies can help you design cost-effective durable labels with the desired performance levels.  

*based on internal testing 

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All information contained herein is believed to be accurate as of the date of publication, is provided “as-is” and is subject to change without notice. To review our full U.S. Legal Disclaimer, visit:

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