The Willington Advisor | 8 Tips for Application of Pressure Sensitive Labels

April 29, 2009
by Wil Lington
In order to apply pressure sensitive labels correctly, you must make sure the adhesive you select is appropriate for your application. One advantage of ordering your PID from a custom manufacturer such as the Willington Companies rather than a catalog house is we can make sure your label or decal has been constructed properly, before you order them.
1. A pressure sensitive label or decal will last longer according to a few variables. These include the selected material and the conditions of the surface of your application. It also depends on what kind of adhesive is applied to the label.
2. If your application is subject to harsh conditions, selecting a thin foil Metal Photo label with a strong adhesive will help the durability of your label. They can also be used in inclement weather with resistance to sunlight, wind, water and salt water, as well as withstanding chemicals, fire, rust and abrasion.
3. Adhesives are commonly known for their ability to stick to metal. However, metal is commonly powder coated or painted and in these situations your label or decal will be adhering to the paint and not the metal surface. Most common adhesives do not bond well with these surface coatings but there are special adhesives that are designed to be used in these situations. (See our article on Getting All the Right Info to read more about helping us, help you choose the right materials for your nameplate or labeling requirement.)
4. You must pay attention to how you apply your pressure sensitive label or decal. If your surface is not prepared well for the application process, the label may adhere only for short periods of time and possibly even fall off.
5. The area in which a label or decal is applied should be free of all dirt and oils. If you have a problem applying the label(s) try using a cleaning solution or a 3M™ Scothbrite pad.
6. A rough surface will sometimes make the application area more difficult to adhere to. You might find it helpful to smooth these out with an emery cloth or a fine sand paper, but the opposite can also be true. If an application surface is too smooth, you could have issues with adhesion as well. In these cases you might need to rough up the surface slightly with a 3M™ Scothbrite pad. To avoid these problems we always emphasize to our customers that we need to know what your product identification is being applied to so we can specify the appropriate adhesive to use.
7. Use a roller or a squeegee to make your pressure sensitive label or decal stick. They will also help to get rid of any air bubbles that may form during the application process.
8. Please note that it can take up to 72 hours before the adhesive application is completely cured.
Labels or decals that are left on surfaces for less than half an hour can usually be removed, depending on the adhesive. However, if left on for more than a day, you will find that it will be much more difficult to remove.
A Final Note on Removal:
If you ever find that you are having difficulty removing an affixed label or decal, an easy solution is to find the nearest can of WD-40. This common household/shop item is the proverbial “anti-adhesive”. However, this is NOT TO BE USED as repositioning tactic and you should know that the functionality of your label WILL BE RUINED as soon as the WD-40 solution comes into contact with the labels adhesive backing.
Try peeling up the corner(s) and spraying a generous amount of WD-40 around your pressure sensitive label or decal and after a minute you should notice the outside edges starting to separate from your application surface. This happens as a result of the reaction from the oil based lubricant bonding with the adhesive on the back of your label. This should help you break the bond between the label and your application surface enough for you to start removing the label. There are other products available that will have similar effects including Goo Gone™ or 3M™ Adhesive Remover (Please follow manufacturer’s instructions for use).
After removing an old label using one of these products, be sure to carefully clean any remaining oily residue left on the surface, as this could hinder any further application of a new label or decal.