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UPM Raflatac Unveils Durable Labels for Tough Conditions

Published on 2015-11-26. Author : SpecialChem

Durable goods such as electronics and electronic components, automotive parts and domestic and industrial appliances place high demands for self-adhesive label materials.

These applications have widely varying requirements for resistance to exposures such as heat, chemicals and solvents, water, mechanical strain and outdoor conditions including UV light. The substrate to be labeled places exacting demands particularly on the adhesive, and from this perspective there are two main types: polar surfaces like glass, metals, ABS plastic, polycarbonate and polyester, and non-polar surfaces like PE, HDPE and PP plastics.

Durable labels for tough conditions
Fig. 1: Durable labels for tough conditions

Non polar (low surface energy) surfaces are particularly challenging due to the basic principle that good adhesive wet-out and bonding requires the surface energy of the adhesive to be equal to or lower than the surface energy of the labeled substrate. For bonding on low surface energy materials, additives are incorporated into adhesives to reduce their surface energy. However, these additives plus tackifiers reduce the adhesive’s cohesion – the property which provides the resilience required for durable labeling.

UPM Raflatac’s durable labeling products incorporate UV-acrylic adhesives cured by ultraviolet light. The cure initiates a ‘cross-linking’ reaction, which locks together the molecules in these adhesives, increasing their cohesion and therefore their resistance to durable labeling exposures. Adhesives such as RC 15, RC 18 and RC 20 provide options optimized for polar, non-polar smooth and rough surfaces. They are available with a variety of films such as heat and chemically resistant PETs and mechanically strong Tyveks. RC 35 is designed for bonding over-lamination films used to protect the printed image. Various combinations are UL-approved for the North American marketplace.

‘RX’ series marks a durable solvent-free breakthrough

The most extreme durable labeling applications have traditionally required a solvent adhesive. UPM Raflatac’s latest breakthrough, RX 15, finally makes it possible to go solvent-free in highest performance applications like high-temperature automotive labeling. Remarkable cohesion provides extreme resistance to chemicals, UV light, and shearing at high temperatures. RX 15 is the first of a new ‘catalyst activated’ adhesive series onto the market. A very high density of cross-links is achieved following the introduction of a catalyst after the adhesive is coated during label stock manufacture. The catalyst is water vapor.

About UPM Raflatac

UPM Raflatac is a leading global supplier of pressure sensitive labeling solutions. Its films and papers are used for product and information labeling across a wide range of end-uses – from pharmaceuticals and security to food and beverage applications.

UPM Raflatac paper and film laminates are delivered in rolls and sheets. UPM Raflatac's customers include large and small label printers who focus on roll-to-roll printing, and packaging providers. UPM Raflatac also provides sheet products for offset and screen printers in the graphics industry, which are distributed by paper merchants in Europe.

Source: UPM Raflatac

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