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  • ABC (Anti-Block Coating): Applied to the back side of the liner to prevent label transfer to the liner back when rolls of labels are unwound. This is generally used with film facestocks or heavy adhesive coat weights.
  • Abrasion Resistance: The degree to which a label surface, including printing and protective coatings, is able to resist rubbing or wearing away by friction.
  • Accelerated Aging: This is a test procedure for subjecting PS label stock to special environmental conditions in order to predict the course of natural aging, but in a far shorter period of time.
  • Acrylic Adhesive: PS adhesive base on acrylic polymers. This can be coated as a solvent or emulsion system. This type of adhesive is noted for excellent stability in outdoor exposure.
  • Adhesion: A measurement of the force required to remove a label from a substrate. Several test methods normally characterize this force at various time intervals after application to multiple substrates.
  • Adhesive: Pressure-sensitive or heat-activated coating used to bond the film to the application surface.
  • Adhesive Failure: A partial or total lifting of the label from the substrate.
  • Adhesive Residue: The adhesive remaining behind on a substrate when a PS label is removed.
  • Adhesive Transfer: The transfer of adhesive from its normal position to the surface from which it was unwound. Transfer tapes demonstrate this phenomenon because of the differential release on the release liner.
  • Adhesive Types:
    • Cold/Freezer Temperature: Enables a pressure-sensitive label to adhere when applied to refrigerated or frozen substrates generally +35 F or colder.
    • Permanent: High adhesion; usually cannot be removed without destroying the label.
    • Removable: Low adhesion; can usually be removed from the substrate without pieces remaining on the surface. May cause damage to the surface of some materials. After a period of time or exposure to weather, the removable label will become permanent.
    • Textile: An adhesive that removes cleanly from fabric. If left on the fabric for extended periods of time, staining may occur. Should not be used on velvet, fur, suede, leather or plastic.
    • Ultra Removable (Repositionable): Adhesive that allows a label to be reapplied in another area and is not limited to the number of times it can be repositioned. Repositionable adhesive does not gain permanency over time.
  • Application Temperature: Temperature of a substrate or label material at the time the label will be applied. Testing is recommended when approaching minimum application temperature.
  • Barcode: A pattern of vertical bars and spaces which represent characters of data that is readable with optical scanning devices.
  • Barcode Verification: Tests the quality and readability of printed barcodes.
  • Basis Weight: The weight of a ream of paper. Traditional version is given in pounds per ream. The modern version is given in grams per square meter.
  • Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene (BOPP): A film which is extended and stretched in both the machine and cross direction. This stretching improves physical properties over non-oriented polypropylene.
  • Bleed: When the printed image extends beyond the trim edge of the labels.
  • Bond Strength: The amount of force required to separate the joined surfaces.
  • Butt Cut Labels: Labels separated by a single cross-directional cut to the liner. No matrix area exists between labels. Butt cut labels are not suitable for automatic dispensing.
  • Carrier/Liner (Backing): The backing material pressure-sensitive labels are carried on. Also known as liner.
  • Cast Coated: Coated paper dried under pressure against a polished cylinder that produces a high-gloss finish to the paper.
  • Chemical Resistance: The resistance of a material to the deteriorating effects of exposure to various chemicals under specified conditions.
  • Coated Paper: General term applying to all papers which have been surface coated with pigments.
  • Coater: A machine used to apply adhesive to backing and/or carriers to produce a pressure-sensitive tape. A coater is composed of an unwind stand, coating devices, rollers, ovens and a wind-up stand.
  • Coating: A material, usually liquid, used to form a film that covers a surface. Its function is to decorate and/or protect the surface from destructive agents or the environment.
  • Cohesive Strength: The internal strength of an adhesive and its ability to resist splitting caused by external forces. It is measured by its resistance to forces parallel to the surface. Good cohesion is necessary for clean removal.
  • Cold Temperature Application: Typically when an adhesive will enable a PS label to adhere when applied to refrigerated or frozen substrates, generally +35 degrees F or colder.
  • Conformability: The ability of a PS material to yield or conform to the contours of a curved or rough surface.
  • Continuous Label: Fan-folded labels manufactured from a continuous web of label stock which is not cut into units prior to execution. Continuous labels are mostly used for data processing applications.
  • Coupon Base: A 2 layered film product with an adhesive and protective liner. When used in combination with another pressure-sensitive coated facestock, it affords the label converter the capability of manufacturing a redemption coupon that has a lift tab and is printed on both sides. A clear film remains on the labeled item after the coupon has been removed.
  • Cross Direction (CD): In paper, the direction across the grain. Paper is weaker and more sensitive to change in relative humidity in the cross direction than in the grain direction.
  • CSA (Canadian Standards Association): A widely respected authority on safety and performance standards, and certification.
  • De-lamination: The separation of a material into layers, in a direction approximately parallel to the surface. For instance, if a facestock was to separate from the liner during processing.
  • Destructible Label: A pressure-sensitive construction made with a low strength facestock so that attempted removal usually results in the destruction of the label.
  • Die: Any of a variety of tools or devices used for cutting material into a desired shape.
  • Die Cut Label: Pressure-sensitive labels mounted on a release liner from which the matrix has been removed.
  • Die Cutting: The process of using dies or sharp steel rules to cut labels into various shapes.
  • Die Lines: A hand drawn or computer-generated layout of the die cut shape(s).
  • Die Load Monitors: Gauges that indicate the amount of pressure exerted on rotary dies.
  • Direct Thermal: A specialized printing technology that forms images by using rapidly heated pins which selectively activate a heat-sensitive coating applied to the facestock.
  • Doctor Blade: An adjustable knife-like bar which controls the amount of adhesive on the glue wheel.
  • Dwell: The time during which a PS material remains on a surface before testing is performed.
  • Edge Curl: The peeling back or lifting of the outer edge of a tape which has been applied in a curve.
  • Edge Lift: The tendency of the edge of a label to rise off the surface of the substrate. This condition occurs most frequently on small diameter curved surfaces. Resistance to edge life is dependent on the bond strength of the adhesive and the flexibility of the facestock.
  • EDM (Electronic Discharge Medium): An electronic discharge method of manufacturing rotary dies.
  • EDP (Electronic Data Processing): Data processing by electronic equipment. Pressure-sensitive labels produced for imprinting on this equipment incorporate line hole punching and perforations.
  • Elongation: The increase in length of a material produced by extending it to the point of rupture.
  • Embossing: Impressing an image to achieve a raised surface; either overprinting or on blank paper (called blind embossing).
  • Emulsion Adhesive: An adhesive in which a polymer resin is dispersed in water. These adhesives are more environmentally friendly than solvent base adhesives.
  • Exposure Temperature: The temperature that a labeled product is exposed to.
  • Extrude: To expel or force through a measured orifice to apply a molten thermoplastic adhesive onto a web.
  • Face Slit: A slit in the face material of a pressures-sensitive product to facilitate removal of the liner/carrier.
  • Facestock: Film or other specialty paper, fabric, or membrane to which the topcoat and adhesive are anchored. Carries graphics to the application surface, functions as a protective laminate, provides a barrier to moisture or vapor, and also functions as a spacer material in a layered construction.
  • Fan Fold: Sometimes referred to as "zigzag fold." The put-up of pressure sensitive labels on a continuous backing in such a way as to form a flat pack.
  • FDA (Food and Drug Administration): Regulations for PS applications apply to the following:
    (1) Direct food contact, such as labeling of fruit and vegetables with an edible skin; (2) Indirect food contact, where incident between an adhesive and food may be possible.
    Facestock: (1) Contact between paper and dry foods; (2) Contact between paper and aqueous and/or fatty foods.
  • Film: Acetate, polyester, polyethylene vinyl and other polymeric. Face material manufactured from synthetic high molecular weight polymers.
  • Finish: The surface property of a paper or film determined by its texture and gloss. A gloss finish, for example, can be shiny and highly reflective, while a matte finish is generally dull and reflects little light.
  • Flame Resistant: The ability of a tape to withstand exposure to a flame. Flame resistant (fire-retardant, self-extinguishing) materials will burn when exposed to a flame, but will not continue to burn after the flame is removed. Burning rate, smoke density, toxicity of fumes and melt drippings are important factors in assessing flame resistance.
  • Flammability: Measures the ability of the label to resist flammability or burn at a specified rate.
  • Flexographic Printing: A method of rotary printing which employs flexible plates, rotary die cutting, rapid-drying inks, in-line lamination and other converting operations.
  • Fluid Immersion: Tests the ability of the label to resist the effects of a wide variety of chemicals.
  • Fogging: Tests the ability of the label to maintain a specified gloss level under the influence of fog and moisture.
  • Four-Color Process (CMYK): The process of reproducing full-color printed images. The image must be converted to a set of halftone screened negatives which are a series of dots of various sizes. A halftone negative is made for each of the separate color components of the image (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black). These color separations are made into printing plates, one for each color, and when printed, the overlapping dots of the color components reproduce a full-color image.
  • Gravure Printing: A printing process that employs minute engraved wells. Deeply etched wells carry more ink than a raised surface and print darker values. A doctor blade wipes excess ink from the cylindrical printing surface.
  • Heat Activated: To soften a dried thermo-plastic adhesive film to a sticky stage by applying heat. After bringing the adhesive to its melting point, the process of bonding can then take place.
  • Heat Aging: A controlled environment is used to provide an indication of any deterioration of an end use or finished product.
  • Heat Resistance: The property of a material which inhibits the occurrence of physical or chemical changes caused by exposure to high temperatures.
  • Heat Transfer Decoration: Used for the decoration of containers and bottles to provide colorful, crisp, high impact graphics. The process uses reverse-printed colors from a web to decorate glass, metal and plastic containers with a so called “no-label” look. End user sectors for heat transfer decoration include personal care, household products, food & beverage products, and industrial sectors.
  • High Temperature Application: Typically when an adhesive will enable a PS label to withstand sustained elevated temperatures (+200 degrees F or higher).
  • Hot Melt: A pressure-sensitive adhesive applied to the liner or backing in a hot molten form which cools to create a conventional pressure-sensitive adhesive.
  • Hot Stamping: A decorating process in which the desired image is transferred to a substrate by a heated, positive copy die. Images are normally limited to one color positive copy line.
  • Impregnated Paper: This is a general term for soft porous papers which are permeated, instead of simply coated, with solutions or compounds of various types.
  • Impression Cylinder: The cylinder on a printing press against which paper picks up the impression from the inked plate in direct printing, or the blanket in offset printing.
  • Initial Tack: Adhesives usually have two adhesive stages: (1) Initial tack at which time it is sticky enough to hold parts together; (2) Set at which point the adhesive has firmly bonded them.
  • Inkjet: A method of printing using liquid ink projected a drop at a time against a substrate.
  • Label: The functional portion of a pressure-sensitive construction comprising of the face sheet and adhesive, die cut into various shapes.
  • Laminate: A web material formed by bonding two or more materials together.
  • Laser Printing: A non-impact electrophotographic process utilizing a laser beam to scan the surface of the drum which creates a latent image and attracts toner. The toner is then transfer fused into the print surface.
  • Latex Paper: Impregnated Paper / Saturated Paper. Paper manufactured by two major processes: (1) The latex is incorporated with the fibers in the beater to the formation of the sheet; (2) A performed web of absorbent fiber is saturated properly with latex. The papers are characterized by strength folding endurance, resistance to penetration by water, flexibility, durability and resistance to abrasion.
  • Lay Flat: Typically refers to a liner or the entire construction of a label material that is good for sheeted applications, or has good non-curling characteristics.
  • Lexan™: A polycarbonate film material that comes in velvet embossed and a gloss finish.
  • Liner: Supports the product through manufacturing and life of use. Protects adhesive until it is applied to the end use surface.
  • Matte Finish: A dull finish or deglossed surface.
  • Metalized Film: A plastic or resinous film that has been coated on one side with a very thin layer of metal. This is usually a vacuum metalized processed film.
  • Metallic/Foiling Decorative Labeling: Make your products packaging stand out on store shelves by adding metallic paper or films, inks, or hot/cold foiling to your label design.
  • Mils: Used in describing the thickness of films, adhesive, liners, or the entire material construction. The term means thousandths of an inch. (2 mils =.002")
  • Minimum Application Temperature: The lowest temperature at which an adhesive will function.
  • MSI: Abbreviation for one thousand square inches. This is a unit of measurement that label material is purchased and sold in. (1,000 S.I.)
  • Mylar™: A polyester film material.
  • Offset Printing: A process of indirect printing in which an impression of type or a design on a flat plate is printed on a rubber blanketed cylinder from which it is impressed.
  • Oozing: A "squeezing out" of the adhesive from under the backing. Occurs when the tape is in roll form and the edges of the roll become tacky.
  • Opacity: The property of a paper or film which prevents "show through" of dark printing on or in contact with the backside of the sheet. This is opposite of transparency.
  • Opaque Ink: An ink that conceals all color beneath it.
  • Overlaminating: This is an application of clear film to a graphic for the purpose of protection or to enhance the quality of the graphic.
  • PCW: Post Consumer Waste.
  • Peel Adhesion: Adhesion strength. The force required to move a pressure-sensitive label from a standard test panel at a specified angle and speed after the label has been applied to the test panel under specified conditions.
  • Peel Strength Testing: Tests the amount of force required to remove a label from a wide variety of surfaces.
  • Perforation: Series of small cuts made in labels and/or their release liner to facilitate tearing along a predetermined line.
  • Pigment: In printing inks, the fine solid particles used to give color, body or opacity.
  • Pin Feed: Evenly spaced holes that are punched into the left and right margins of a continuous form. Used at the collator to guide the paper through and align each part.
  • Plastic: One of many high-polymeric substances, including both natural and synthetic products, but excluding rubbers. Plastic is capable of flowing and pressure or tensile stress, if necessary, into the desired final shape.
  • Plasticizer Migration: Loss of plasticizer from an elastomeric compound, such as vinyl, that is absorbed into the adhesive. The result is a softening of the adhesive to the point of adhesion failure. Plasticizer can also migrate to the surface of a material and adversely affect top coats.
  • Plasticizer Softener: A substance added to materials to impart flexibility, workability and elongation.
  • Plate Cylinder: The metal cylinder of a press on which the plate is mounted.
  • Polyester: A strong film that has good resistance to moisture, solvents, oils and many other chemicals. It is usually transparent.
  • Polyethylene: An extruded, tough, and stretchy film having limited temperature resistance but good moisture barrier properties.
  • Polypropylene: A polyolefin plastic similar in properties to polyethylene but with higher temperature resistance and greater strength.
  • Polystyrene: A water-white or clear thermoplastic produced by the polymerization of styrene. The electrical insulation properties of polystyrene are outstandingly good and the material is relatively unaffected by moisture. This film has limited temperature resistance and tears easily.
  • Polyvinyl Chloride: A versatile resin with good resistance to water, fire, and some acids. This can be made into a film that comes in clear and opaque white. It can be rigid, hard, and flexible.
  • Pre-Mask: Pressure-sensitive tape (application or transfer tape) used to transfer a cut graphic from its liner to the substrate.
  • Pressure-Sensitive: A term used to designate a distinct category of adhesive which, in dry (solvent free) form, is aggressive and permanent or removable at room temperature. Adheres to a variety of surfaces without the need of more than the touch of a finger or hand pressure. Adhesive requires no activation by water, solvent or heat.
  • Prime Label: Label that acts as the main identification of a product. Often designed to attract attention, contains information to appeal to a buyer, and is usually applied at the time of its manufacture.
  • Register: The exact corresponding placement of successively printed and/or successively die-cut pressure-sensitive labels.
  • Release: The force required to remove the release liner from the facestock at a specified speed and angle.
  • Release Liner: The portion of the label that receives the release coating. Prior to application, it protects the adhesive, provides support for the facestock during the die-cutting operation, and allows the label to be transported to a label applicator or through a computer printer.
  • Residue: Adhesive left on a substrate when a label is removed.
  • Rewinder: A machine that takes rolls from the winder and slits or rewinds them into smaller rolls.
  • Roll Labels: Pressure-sensitive labels that are produced in a continuous roll form.
  • Rubber Base Adhesive: A pressure-sensitive adhesive based on natural or synthetic rubbers.
  • Salt Spray Testing: Tests the ability of the label to resist the influences of salt and water as would occur on the exterior of an automobile.
  • Score: To make an impression or a partial cut in a material for the purpose of bending, creasing, folding or tearing.
  • Screen Printing: Method of printing in which the ink is forced through a design on a tout screen and onto the object to be printed. This process results in a heavy ink deposit that provides excellent outdoor durability.
  • Self-Wound Overlamination: This is typically a clear film with adhesive on one side and no liner. This is a lower cost alternative to liner over laminates. Sometimes there is a release coating on the top side of the film to allow for smooth and easy unwinding.
  • Service Temperature: The temperature range that a PS label will withstand after a 24 hour residence time on the substrate. The range is expressed in degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Shear Adhesion: The time required, under specified test conditions, to slide a standard area of pressure-sensitive label from a standard flat surface in a direction parallel to the surface.
  • Shear Strength: Internal or cohesive strength of the adhesive.
  • Shear Test: A method of separating two adhesive bonded materials by forcing (either by compression or tension) the interfaces to slide over each other. The force exerted is distributed over the entire bonded area at the same time. Strengths are recorded in pounds per square inch.
  • Sheeting: Process whereby rolls of pressure-sensitive base stock are converted into sheets of finished labels by cutting them to the desired length in the sheeting stations on a rotary press.
  • Shelf Life (Storage Life): The period of time during which a product can be stored under specified conditions and still remain suitable for use (normally one year).
  • Silicone: A unique polymer system which can be a very effective release coating, or pressure-sensitive adhesive capable of functioning effectively at extreme temperatures.
  • Slitter: A sharp disk which cuts paper into pre-determined widths.
  • Spot Color: Refers to a method of specifying and printing colors in which each color is printed with its own ink. In contrast to process color printing which uses four inks (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) to produce all other colors.
  • Static Cling: An induced property of a film which enables it to grab onto a smooth clean surface without using a pressure-sensitive adhesive. Static cling is a phrase applied to grabbing as a result of electrical static.
  • Substrate: The surface to which the finished label is applied.
  • Subsurface Printing: Printing on the underside of a clear film then laminating a layer of transfer adhesive to the printed side of the film. This is a very durable construction.
  • Tack: Quick adhesion. The property of a pressure-sensitive label which causes it to adhere to a surface instantly with a minimum amount of pressure and contact time as measured by TLM Tester or equivalent equipment.
  • Tag: A label attached to a product without the use of an adhesive.
  • Tamper-Evident Label: A pressure-sensitive construction made of materials which will partially destruct upon removal, indicating that a package, label or container has been tampered with.
  • Tape Test: Tests the ink adhesion to any given label material.
  • Tear Strength Test: Tests the strength of the label material and its ability to resist tearing.
  • Tensile Strength Test: Tests the strength of the label material under the influence of bending and stretching.
  • Thermal Cycle: (Oven, Freezer, or Humidity)
    Tests the ability of the label to withstand various environmental conditions in a cyclical format.
  • Thermal Transfer Ribbon Testing: Tests the adhesion and quality of thermal transfer ribbon to any given label material.
  • Thermal Transfer Ribbon Types:
    • Wax is the most popular with some smudge resistance. Suitable for matte and semi-gloss paper labels.
    • Wax / Resin is smudge resistant. Suitable for semi-gloss paper and some synthetic labels.
    • Resin is scratch and chemical resistant. Suitable for coated synthetic labels.
  • Thermal Transfer Technology: Utilizes a ribbon and matching label, ticket or tag stock material to transfer an image onto the label material. For the best solution with long life requirements or harsh environments, ask one of our experts to recommend an optimal thermal transfer ribbon.
  • Tooling: Rotary dies used to cut out label shapes.
  • Topcoat: A physical surface coating applied to promote or increase ink adhesion with conventional and digital print technologies, or to modify gloss.
  • Tyvek™: A spunbound polyolefin material.
  • UL: Underwriters Laboratories.
  • UV Resistance: The ability of any material or ink to withstand extended exposure to sunlight or ultraviolet light without degradation, discoloring, fading, or discoloration.
  • Varnish: A thin, liquid protective coating (either matte or gloss) that is applied to the product. It adds protection and enhances the appearance of the product. It can be applied as an all over coating or it can be applied as a spot coating.
  • Vinyl: A film that is highly durable and resistant to chemicals and moisture. It is high in conformability and is excellent for outdoor use.
  • Weatherability: The ability of a label to withstand the effects of outdoor weathering, sunlight, heat, cold, humidity, rain, snow, and time.
  • Wind Direction: Position of the printing as it comes off the finished roll.
  • Xenon: Tests the ability of a label to endure ultraviolet exposure without fading.

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