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11 Reasons Warehouse Rack Labels Can Lose Adhesion

Properly and safely installing rack labels on warehouse beams is a task best left to professionals.

“It typically requires specialized equipment, detailed planning and careful preparation to avoid any issues or errors,” said Brian Blair, ID Label’s manager of installation services.

Nonetheless, there may be times—such as relabeling a section of racking—when managers opt to perform the installation in-house with your own warehouse personnel.

To help you avoid any installation issues, we put together this short primer on the key factors that can lead to rack labels that curl, peel or fall following a do-it-yourself installation project.

Warehouse rack location label

Do-it-yourself warehouse label installations don’t always go as planned. Read this primer to avoid some of the key factors that can lead to rack labels that curl, wrinkle or fall off beams. 

ID Label Inc. Logo“Humid conditions create condensation on warehouse beams. Labels applied in this environment can easily curl, crinkle, peel or fall off the beams.”

– Brian Blair, ID Label

warehouse label installer

Avoid These Issues on Your Next Label Installation Project

1. Dusty, dirty or grimy beams. “Dirt and dust can quickly accumulate during rack storage and installation, which can significantly diminish a label’s adhesive values,” Blair said. If the back of a peeling label is dotted with dirt, it likely means the beam wasn’t wiped clean prior to applying the labels. “It’s best to wipe down the surface with a clean, damp rag and some isopropyl alcohol. This cleans the surface and removes any moisture to ensure optimal adhesion.”

2. Beams were treated with improper chemicals or solutions. Cleaning solutions must be free of oils or citric acids. “Harsh chemicals and detergents do not interact well with some label adhesives,” Blair said. He cited an instance in which workers treated beams with an oily polish prior to labeling and assumed the label’s adhesive had failed.

3. Paint outgassing. Newly painted beams can emit fumes (outgassing) for several weeks, which can diminish the adhesive values of some label constructions.

4. Moisture. Humid conditions create condensation on warehouse beams. Labels applied in this environment can easily curl, crinkle, peel or fall off the beams. As noted above, wiping beams with isopropyl alcohol helps to wick away moisture and prepare the surface for labeling.

ID Label Inc. Logo“Dirt and dust can accumulate during storage and installation, which can significantly diminish a label’s adhesive values. It’s best to wipe down the beam surface with a clean, damp rag and some isopropyl alcohol. This cleans the surface and removes any moisture to ensure optimal adhesion.”

– Brian Blair, ID Label

5. Application over layers of old labels. “Scraping off old labels is time-consuming,” Blair said. “But simply applying new labels over multiple old ones is a recipe for inaccurate scans and labels that curl and peel.” ID Label’s Beam Renew™ is an excellent solution for easy beam relabeling.

6. Wrong label construction for operating environment. “If you’ve got a freezer environment, for instance, it’s critical to use an adhesive specified for those temperatures,” Blair said. “Even if you’re using the right freezer label, it might require installation in an ambient setting before the temperature draw down.”

7. Rough beam surfaces. If the beam surface isn’t smooth, labels may not stick. “I’ve seen instances where weld splatter on the beams was an issue,” Blair said. “And other times where poorly painted refurbished beams were left with rough surfaces that over time allowed air to get behind the label.”

8. Structural steel beams. Structural pallet racks are made from heavier steel and can have a slightly less smooth finished surface than roll-form steel. “Labels applied to structural steel should have an aggressive adhesive for best performance,” Blair said.

beam renew warehouse label cover up
Beam Renew™ is ID Label Inc.’s popular warehouse rack cover-up solution. Its durable construction and advanced adhesives allow for seamless application over old warehouse beams and barcode labels without the time and expense of cleaning, scraping or painting.
Warehouse label installation crew on scissor lifts

9. Beams or labels not acclimated to environment. Be sure to give new racking time to get acclimated to the operating environment before labeling, especially in winter months. “In one instance, the racking was delivered in frigid conditions and installed as it was brought off the trucks,” Blair said. “Workers immediately began placing labels as sections were completed, but the steel was so cold it didn’t allow for proper adhesion.” Likewise, for maximum bond strength, make sure your labels have fully acclimated to room temperature before installing. And don’t store them near dock doors that frequently open and close!

10. Labels are the wrong size. Make sure the labels are the right height and width for your beams. “If your beam is four inches high, don’t order four-inch high labels,” Blair said. “You’ll need to accommodate for any welds, wire deck overhang, and the like.”

11. Poorly applied labels. Although rudimentary, it’s worth noting that proper pressure must be exerted to allow for the best surface adhesion. “Warehouse racking comes in a variety of shapes and sizes,” Blair said. “The best application method is to use your full hand, including adequate palm pressure, to apply a label smoothly and eliminate any air bubbles.”

Learn More

For additional information, we recommend reviewing our post: “5 Essential Planning Steps for a Successful Warehouse Label and Sign Installation.”

5 Essential Steps Install - full
ID Label Inc. Logo

The ID Label Advantage

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.

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