Four Key Considerations When Selecting Outdoor Labels
Outdoor barcode labels must be able to perform for an extended period of time—often for years—despite weather conditions and other factors. It’s essential that the barcodes consistently scan to meet application requirements. But how can you find the best outdoor labels that will last in the elements season after season?
“It’s critical that a barcode label vendor understands the environmental conditions of your application before they recommend an appropriate weather-resistant label solution for your needs,” said Ken LeBlanc, an ID Label senior business development manager.
“Outdoor label applications require special considerations,” he said. “Poorly designed outdoor labels may quickly degrade, fade, lose their adhesive values or become unusable.”
Outdoor label applications require special considerations for adhesives, inks and weatherproof materials. Poorly designed labels may quickly degrade, fade, lose their adhesive values or become unusable.
“It’s critical that a barcode label vendor understands the environmental conditions of your application before they recommend an appropriate weather-resistant label solution for your needs.”
Four Considerations for Outdoor Labels
Different applications and conditions will dictate the optimum label construction and materials to ensure peak performance. According to LeBlanc, it’s imperative to answer the following questions to determine the best weatherproof labels for you:
1. What kind of surface will the outdoor label be applied to?
While outdoor labels must survive extreme temperatures and moisture, they also have to perform on the surface they’re being applied to. Varying substrates like plastics, painted metals and fiber drums each require the proper adhesive and label material to ensure long-lasting performance. ID Label’s polyester labels and anodized aluminum tags are often recommended for long-term durability in these instances.
The wrong label construction can lead to flagging, wrinkling, fading or failure. And that can mean the difference between durable, long-lasting outdoor labels and labels that trigger scan or readability errors.
2. Will the label be used in a cold climate?
For labels in cold climates, effective adhesion is a key concern and top priority as frost and subzero temperatures can cause labels to lose their adhesive values. To help address this, ID Label developed two state-of-the-art solutions:
- Arctic Xtreme™ freezer-grade labels feature an advanced cold-weather adhesive that is rated to perform in temperatures as low as -65°F.
- Outdoor Xtreme™ barcode labels and asset tags are durable, all-weather labels engineered for years of long-lasting performance. They’re able to withstand everything from intense heat and ultraviolet sun rays to rain, hail and subzero temperatures. They also have excellent resistance to harsh chemicals and abrasions.
3. How much ultraviolet light will the label be exposed to?
The mix of weather conditions and the sun’s ultraviolet rays can cause the barcodes and graphics on untreated labels to quickly fade so they are no longer scannable.
For outdoor environments exposed to the sun, barcode labels with UV-resistant inks offer durability and performance. ID Label’s advanced digital inkjet technology uses specialty inks that help to protect printed images and barcodes from harsh sunlight and conditions. This cutting-edge digital print technology ensures greater UV-resistant labels without yellowing or fading.
4. Will the label be exposed to chemicals, cleaners, pollutants or fuels?
There are several chemical- and solvent-resistant labels for harsh environments. For instance, polyimide (Kapton) labels are WEEE and RoHS compliant and can withstand sustained temperatures up to 750°F and flash temperatures up to 1000°F. They can also withstand harsh thermal and chemical exposures and still provide reliable read rates.
Anodized aluminum barcode tags are also an excellent choice for ultra-harsh outdoor applications. They are resistant to abrasions, salt water, industrial solvents and extreme temperatures, and feature high-tack adhesives for excellent bonding and durability.
The Best Outdoor Label Will Perform in Virtually Any Environment
It’s critical to understand the above environmental factors to ensure your labels will perform to your requirements. Poorly designed outdoor labels that use the wrong materials and don’t consider your environmental conditions are likely to be highly ineffective, adversely impacting your day-to-day operations.
There is no one-size-fits-all test for weatherproof labels. The label construction must be specified, tested and approved separately for each application. At ID Label, we first work with our customers to understand their application, environment and use. This knowledge allows us to identify the best custom weatherproof labels to ensure durability and performance.
The ID Label Advantage
ID Label’s high-quality, durable outdoor labels are an ideal way to ensure that your assets are properly tracked and inventoried throughout their useful lives. We offer custom labels for virtually any type of asset, environment, and industry.
Interested in learning more? Contact us today.
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