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Choosing the Right Labels for Cold Temperature Application

freezer labelsIf you've ever purchased anything from Etiquette Systems, you might have noticed that we ask quite a few questions about what you intend to use the product for as we take your order. This is especially true for freezer labels. We're not just being nosy; the reason we ask is that we want the products we make for you to "stick around" as long as possible, meeting your needs for the long term and providing the maximum quality possible.

This is especially true for our freezer labels. You can't just slap any label on a package and toss it in the freezer. Not only are the label stock, descriptive and legal material, and logo important, the adhesive is especially so. After all, some adhesives lose their tack (stickiness) once the temperature falls below a certain point, and just slide right off the package. This leads to confusion, which can be bad enough when you're trying to tell beef from pork, and catastrophic when you can no longer distinguish between biological samples you've been entrusted with.

There are basically three types of low-temperature adhesives used in the business: All Temperature Adhesives, Cold Temperature Adhesives, and Freezer Adhesives. All of them have to be impervious not only to cold (to a specific limit) but also to moisture, which can also deaden adhesives. You might have noticed this with duct tape when trying to repair a leaky pipe. It's not made for moisture adhesion.

All Temperature Adhesives, which are usually made of emulsion acrylics, stick from temperatures below freezing (32° F) to around 200° F. That may seem impressive, but it's not good enough; All Temp adhesives aren't really "all temp," not from a freezer perspective. They're sufficient for storing stuff in refrigerator, but not a freezer, and are really intended for items that experience a range of normal temperatures, including high-end summer heat. But they also tend to lose tack if taken below their low temperature, can't handle moisture as well as true cold-temperature labels, and can't stand up to flash-freezing or repeated thawing.

That's where Cold Temperature Adhesives come in. Labels with these adhesives are designed to handle cold temperatures down to about -65° and beyond. Most are made of hot-melt rubber. They can usually handle moisture much better than All Temp adhesive labels; all of our standard freezer labels, for example, use this type of adhesive. Multiple freeze-thaw cycles and flash-freezing won't faze these labels, either, which makes them idea for refrigerated and frozen foods. Many, if not most, of the labels you'll see on frozen food are specially formulated with Cold Temperature Adhesives.

Freezer Adhesives are just that: they're specially designed for very low temperature use, and are used on the types of labels you turn to when regular Cold Temp labels aren't enough. They use a specialized adhesive with a high tack and high moisture resistance, and can even be attached to a package that is already frosty, moist, or greasy. So that lard you plan to use for next summer's refried beans? These are the perfect labels. It's best to use them only in cold temperatures, as they do not handle room temperature well. They're great for hard-frozen products, frosty items like ice cream and popsicles, processed poultry, and the like.

In addition, there are specialized labels for supercool temperatures like those used in cryogenics labs. Their adhesives can maintain tack to as low as about -200° F, enough to handle liquid nitrogen. We don't often provide this type of label, but we can.

So there you have it! If you were wondering the difference between the types of common freezer labels, now you know—and now you understand why we always ask lots of questions when an order for freezer labels comes in.

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#VegasStrong

VEGASSTRONGLas Vegas in Mourning

It's been ten days since Stephen Paddock broke out the windows of his top-floor hotel suite at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, and started firing into the crowd at the nearby Route 91 Harvest Festival. As Vegas favorite Jason Aldean performed, the wealthy gambler used a literal arsenal of guns, purchased over a decade, to perpetrate the deadliest mass shooting in American history. For reasons known only to him, he proceeded to gun down hundreds of innocent people, killing 58—some of whom died heroes while protecting others from the gunfire. 

The events of October 1, 2017 will never be forgotten in Las Vegas. Residents and frequent visitors alike are still in shock. For those of us who live in the Entertainment Capital of the World, this event quite literally struck close to home. I myself can see the Mandalay Bay from my patio. I know of other residents who were close enough to hear the gunfire.

We still don't know why Paddock decided to shoot all those people, who were strangers to him. He wasn't terminally ill, and apparently had no financial or relationship problems. Terrorist group ISIL (a.k.a. ISIS) has claimed responsibility, saying they "converted" Pollock months ago, and that this was a result of him following their orders. Maybe. But there's no indication that's true.

Whatever its cause, Paddock's shooting was a senseless occurrence—an act of pure evil.

But we must remember this: the good people of the world far outnumber the evil ones, and while those evil people may hurt us terribly sometimes, we can't afford to give up. Ever. Nor can we allow ourselves to overreact, and hurt others based on what we think happened or might have happened. So we, the good people of Las Vegas, must pick ourselves up, hold our heads high, and rebuild. We will take precautions to make sure this never happens again. As we move forward into our bright future, we do so knowing that while the Mandalay Bay tragedy will be permanently etched on our memories, we can get past it—as individuals, as a community, and as a state. We will hold these 58 victims and all the many wounded in a special place in our hearts, and do our best to live good, honest lives in an effort to honor their memory as well as ourselves.

At Etiquette Systems, we mourn for all of you who lost friends or loved ones to the tragedy. As painful as it may be, just know that they are now watching and loving you from a better place, cheering you on toward a successful, happy life. For those who were injured but survived, we send you our prayers and positive thoughts, and our support. To all those sick at heart because your city was violated, and who feel frightened for the future, we're there for you, too.

Some people call our hometown Sin City, perhaps for good reason. But right now we are a city that has been sinned upon in a most egregious way. We're still collectively stunned, and angry, and our grief is still palpable. But don't give up. Las Vegas is known for its tough, resilient, and above all optimistic populace. Don't lose that. As Jason Aldean went on to sing in his recent Saturday Night Live appearance, WE WON'T BACK DOWN.

Stay strong, keep your chin up, and keep moving forward into the sunshine of a new day.

Bogdan

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The Enduring Value of Durable Labels

caution labels 2All labels are NOT created equal. While it's true that many, if not most, roll and sheet labels are used in what amount to dry shirt-sleeve environments, sometimes labels with a little something extra are required—and we don't just mean style and flair, though we can do that too. Durable labels are meant to be applied in and last through all kinds of harsh environments: severe heat, severe cold, excessive moisture, chemical contact, corrosion, abrasion, deliberate defacing, and any mixture of the above; basically, long-term exposure to elements natural and unnatural. Your plain non-gloss paper labels, as useful as they are, just aren't enough to handle all those.

 

Durable labels tend to be made of coated paper or plastics like biaxial oriented polypropylene (BOPP), vinyl, and polyolefin. Many also have specially formulated adhesives, as required by the environment. For example, cryogenic labels need resin-based adhesives that remain sticky down to -300° or even lower, while everyday frozen-food labels rarely have to adhere at temperatures below -65.

 

Squeeze bottles for food and other products need deformable, durable labels, usually of plastic. Oil drums require special adhesives that aren't loosened by oil spillage, and tough stock materials that can be cleaned up without eroding or smearing. Other labels require inert stocks that won't react to acids or caustic solutions, as well as tough, inert adhesives. Meanwhile, labels used in warehouses, outdoors, on machine parts, on tires, or on wooden pallets need to be super-tough so they don't get abraded away during normal operation, or melted by heat—either natural heat or that found in high-performance and industrial machines. In that case, we recommend metallic labels, sometimes with additional overlays for ever more protection.

 

We can make these types of durable labels and more in the colors, materials, and adhesives you need. Whether they're for shampoo bottles, acid carboys, oil decanters, petroleum barrels, gasoline pumps, danger awareness, parts inventory, or frozen foods, Etiquette Systems can handle it. Contact us with your specs, details, and art, and we'll shoot you a quote you'll find quite competitive.

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Why Our Sheet Labels Are Cool

freezer sheet labelsYou may be wondering about the title. You see, our sheet labels are so cool they make Absolute Zero jealous, and they're cool in more ways than one. First of all, they're cool because they can handle the cold. All our sheet labelsinclude freezer-grade adhesives, so they're perfect for labeling refrigerated food, popsicles, ice cream, those catfish you caught last weekend, even your homemade frozen dog treats (plain yogurt, peanut butter, and mashed banana = Yum). Our plain paper sheet labels adhere at temperatures down to -40° F, and the coated paper and vinyl labels can handle down to -65°—or the height of North Dakota and Yukon winters, respectively. But more on that on our sister Freezer Labels site.

What's cooler about sheet labels is that they exist at all. For those of you belonging to the Baby Boomer and X Generations, cast your minds back to the time before 1981. You Millennials, imagine that CDs and DVDs hadn't been invented, much less decent cell phones and desktop computers. Yes, it was that scary back in the Dark Ages, when the only way to do DYI labels was to roll them into a typewriter and hope you could keep the lines even... unless you decided to hand-write every single one. The horror!

Then Jobs and Gates started competing to see who could make the best computer, the desktop industry was born, and someone invented laser printers that produced sharp, beautiful pages. Later, inkjets got just as good. Now there was a perfect reason to expand the world of 8.5" x 11" sheet labels, to make them in all sizes and shapes, and to create software to make it easy to print them on desktop printers. Now that's cool.

Need some blank sheet labels? Check our Sheet Labels page. If you're not fond of DIY labels, call us, and we'll print them for you for a reasonable fee. Let us know what you need and when, and we'll get a quote to you stat.

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