Buyer's Guide to Warehouse Freezer Labels

Finding effective labeling solutions for warehouse freezer locations can be a real challenge. There are numerous environmental factors that affect performance, from the installation conditions and service temperature to the adhesives and materials used to manufacture the barcode labels.

Standard do-it-yourself labels are not likely to perform reliably. Conventional adhesives will harden in the frigid environment and the labels are likely to peel and fall from their rack beams in short order.

The condition of the surfaces to which the labels will be applied and the temperature at the time of installation are also critical factors.

man scanning warehouse freezer label
Finding effective labeling solutions for warehouse freezer locations can be a real challenge. There are numerous environmental factors that affect performance and must be considered.

Kristen Howard, ID Label“Using poorly constructed labels—perhaps in hopes of minimizing costs—can end up being the most expensive option if your freezer labels quickly curl, crack or encounter frost build up.”

– Kristen Howard, ID Label

“There are a lot of variables that have to be considered,” said Kristen Howard, an ID Label business development manager. “As we’ve learned from working with thousands of companies, many environments are unique. It’s critical to understand all the conditions. We typically recommend testing several options before proceeding with a full-on installation.”

In this blog post, we look at some of the key factors warehouse operators should consider. And we provide a convenient product grid that highlights proven combinations of materials, adhesives and performance attributes.

Key Considerations for Cold Storage Warehouse Label Applications

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1. What is the service temperature of the freezer area?

Understanding the operating temperature is an obvious but important item to address with your label manufacturer.

“There are several different permanent adhesive options to consider, depending on the service temperature,” Howard said. “Some are rated at minus 20 Fahrenheit, while others will perform well all the way to minus 65.”

2. At what temperature will the labels be applied? On what surface type?

Another important item of consideration on the buyer’s checklist is understanding the application (i.e., installation) conditions.

“If the facility is new and the freezer area temperature has not yet been drawn down, the range of adhesive options is fairly wide,“ Howard said. “If, on the other hand, you’re labeling or relabeling a live facility at sub-zero temperatures, you’ll want to make sure the label adhesive is rated for application under those conditions.

“Magnet-backed labels are a very reliable choice for this scenario,” she added.

Another important factor is the surface on which the labels will be applied. Many adhesives will bond well with painted metal, powder coatings, plastics and other surfaces. For upright racks with “teardrop” holes, magnetic labels are highly recommended.

For maximum adhesive bond strength, surfaces should be clean and dry, free of moisture and frost.

3. Is your facility a controlled environment?

The quality of warehouse barcode labels is especially important in today’s cold and freezer logistics environment.

Moisture and frost build-up will affect warehouse freezer location label performance. Facilities in humid environments without any air conditioning outside of the freezer area are particularly susceptible.

“Using poorly constructed labels—perhaps in hopes of minimizing costs—can end up being the most expensive option if your labels quickly curl, crack or encounter frost build up,” Howard said. “Any of these scenarios are likely to cause failed scans.”

A poorly controlled environment can affect magnet labels, too. Frost can build up between the magnet and beam, making it more likely that the label can fall or be knocked to the ground – potentially cracking on impact.

With workers who are probably wearing bulky gloves, being forced to manually enter data due to failed scans is particularly inconvenient and time consuming. Not only is this a drain on productivity, there is greater opportunity for costly mistakes due to human error.

workers in a warehouse freezer

Moisture and frost build-up will affect warehouse freezer location label performance. Facilities in humid environments without any air conditioning outside of the freezer area are particularly susceptible.

4. Should you opt for a magnet or adhesive-backed location label?

The answer to this question is a firm “it depends.”

Labels constructed with pressure-sensitive film and freezer-grade adhesives – with a protective laminate coating – perform quite well.

“They’re resistant to moisture, chemicals and abrasions,” Howard said. “And as noted earlier, some are rated to perform up to minus 65 Fahrenheit.”

Magnet-backed labels are always a popular choice for warehouse freezer locations.

“Magnet labels are durable, scan reliably and are easy to install and move—especially in live facilities where the temperature has been drawn down,” Howard said. “For upright racks with ‘teardrop’ holes, we highly recommend magnetic labels,” Howard said. “The surface area of uprights isn’t suited to tacky adhesives.”

Magnetic rack labels are typically more costly than adhesive labels, but they offer high return on investment.

magnetic warehouse rack location labels

Magnet labels are durable, scan reliably and are easy to install and move—especially in live facilities where the temperature has been drawn down.

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Download: “Buyer’s Guide to Warehouse Freezer Labels”

Finding the most effective labeling option for your freezer storage needs can be a challenge. Download our free buyer’s guide to learn more. We include a convenient grid comparing a variety of label material options and performance factors.

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The ID Label Advantage

To learn more about your warehouse freezer barcode label choices and to request samples for testing in your environment, contact ID Label today.

ID Label manufactures extremely durable warehouse rack and bin location labels. Our materials have been tested and used in warehouse operations around the globe.

We also provide warehouse signage and turnkey nationwide installation services to provide a complete solution to our many clients who rely on us for all their warehousing needs.

Interested in learning more? Contact us today.