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When Labels Don’t Stick

What are the main reasons product labels do not stick?

Here are the most common that Marking Systems Inc. has found for product labels not sticking over our last 40 years of experience:

  1. Using the wrong adhesive on the application surface. Even the best adhesives can fail if they are used on the wrong surface.
  2. Product labels have always worked before but now they are falling off (typically something has changed with the paint or plastic ingredients).
  3. Is the surface clean, dry, and free of contaminants?
  4. Did the person applying the product labels use good firm pressure to help the adhesive make contact and flow on the surface?
  5. Is the adhesive designed for the temperature operating range?

Want help fixing product labels that are falling off?

  • Send us a piece of the plastic or metal you are adhering the product label to and we will test and find the appropriate adhesive. We can typically have you a sample to test/approve within 48-72 hours.
  • Call and request our Label Adhesive Test Kit. This kit has adhesives for all different types of surfaces that you can use to test in your facility. Testing is easy, just clean the surface (typically with isopropyl alcohol) and apply firm pressure to the label. After 48-72 hours, you will be able to see the results.

Below are some fundamentals of label adhesion. Please do not hesitate to call your representative at MSI for all of your product label/overlay/nameplate problems.


Surfaces

Label adhesives are typically designed for three different types of surface applications.

  • Metals: The easiest surfaces to adhere to. Very high surface energy
  • High-Surface-Energy Plastics: Materials such as Kapton, polycarbonate, nylon, polyurethane paint, ABS, and epoxy paint.
  • Low-Surface-Energy Plastics: Materials such as polystyrene, polyethylene, polypropylene, and powder coat paints. These are the most difficult surfaces to adhere to.

Notes: The surface must be clean and dry. You must also use firm pressure to apply the product labels. Time/temperature will increase adhesion.

Below we will show you two types of adhesives. Adhesives that come on .002 polyester and .004 vinyl as well as laminating adhesives that are designed to be used on sub-surface printed polycarbonate/polyester.

Standard Adhesives for .002 Polyester or .004 Vinyl

Label adhesives are typically designed for three different types of surface applications.

.002 polyester/.004 vinyls:

  • Metals: .001 DPM V-344 permanent acrylic
  • High-Surface-Energy Plastics: .002 RTS V-644 permanent acrylic (also good for powder coat paints)
  • Low-Surface-Energy Plastics: 3M350 (Product #7871) .002 white polyester with .002 #3M350 adhesive

Note: The .001 thick version is designed for smooth or very lightly textured surfaces and the .002 is designed for more heavily textured applications.

* .002 thick adhesive is typically the thickest adhesive you can get on a .002 polyester or a .004 vinyl.

Adhesives for sub-surface printed polycarbonate/polyester

Sub-surface printed polycarbonate/polyester:

  • Metals: 3M467MP (.002), 3M468MP (.005)
  • High-Surfac- Energy Plastics: 3M467MP, 3M468MP or 3M9471LE (.002), 3M9472LE (.005)
  • Low-Surface-Energy Plastics: 3M9442 (.002), 3M9445 (.005) or 3M9471LE or 3M9472LE

Note: The .002 thick version is designed for smooth or very lightly textured surfaces and the .005 is designed for more heavily textured applications.

Want More Information?

Call MSI at 972-895-3433 and let our product label experts help.

WHY MSI.