Cold Weather Label Problems

As the temperature drops in the winter, cold weather label problems start to rise. It’s directly proportional. From adhering to a surface, to curl, puckering and wrinkling, weather impacts the performance and reliability of a label.

So when it’s cold outside or cold inside, take these steps to prevent unwanted outcomes!

Common Cold Weather Label Problems

There are three common label problems associated with cold temperatures:

  • Labels fall off or don’t effectively adhere to a surface
  • Labels curl
  • Labels pucker and wrinkle during shipment

Although these issues can be quite frustrating, they are often easily solved. Take the following steps to prevent label problems and ensure they work the way you expect.

1. Labels Fall Off Or Don’t Adhere To A Surface

Labels for most applications use a general purpose adhesive. Although that type of adhesive works effectively in all temperatures, you do need to take steps to ensure proper performance in cold conditions. Labels using a general purpose adhesive should be applied in an environment that is 40 degrees or warmer. If not, the label won’t adhere properly. So be aware of your label surroundings!

 Cold temperatures may impact labeling even when you apply them at room temperature. If labels are stored near a shipping dock or in an unheated room, the temperature can easily drop below 40 degrees. So can the inside of a delivery truck when it’s been sitting in freezing temperatures for hours. If you try to apply labels that are kept in cold temperatures, you’ll experience issues.

The Surface Temperature Matters

Another common label problem involves the surface which the label is applied to. A surface below 40 degrees will make label application problematic. For example, if your labels are stored at the right temperature but you are applying them to a surface that isn’t, the label likely won’t adhere. 

Bottom line, when you control your environment and maintain the proper temperature to store labels and then apply them under similar conditions, you will eliminate problems.

Temperature Fluctuations After Proper Application

If both the label and the surface are climate controlled, a general purpose adhesive should work effectively under the vast majority of conditions. It’s only under extreme situations that you will need a special adhesive.  

Under Extreme Conditions

You may have applications where a label needs to adhere to a cold surface. There are cold application adhesives that work in extreme conditions. They have a unique chemistry that is designed for cold or even freezing surfaces. If your application calls for this adhesive, a United Ad Label customer service rep can provide you with the specific material details you’ll need to manufacture a label that works.

2. Label Curl

Controlling humidity is another common cold weather challenge. The dry conditions common in cold weather contributor to label curl. Ideal humidity levels are between 35% and 65%.

It’s hard to keep your home at these levels in the winter let alone a workplace environment but, storing labels at reasonable temperature and humidity levels are essential to prevent labels from curling.

3. Label Wrinkling Or Puckering

When shipped in cold weather it’s not uncommon to find that labels arrive wrinkled or puckered. Similar to the adhering and curling challenges, the cold and low humidity can cause short term changes in the face stock, liner and adhesive that cause the wrinkling and puckering.

Acclimation Matters

Although you may warm up in only a few minutes after coming in from the freezing cold, it takes labels more time to adjust. Before printing or applying, give them 24 - 48 hours to adjust. A gradual and complete acclimation of the paper, silicone and adhesive will remedy the wrinkling and puckering. It will also ensure that the application, printing and other processing works as you expect.

A simple, inexpensive label is one of the least expensive parts of most processes. Taking a few cold weather precautions will ensure that it doesn’t derail your performance.  

United Ad Label specializes in developing labels that meet your needs in cold weather and warm. Browse our website or contact us to learn more.