From Deep Freeze to Full Sun: How Does Temperature Affect Thermal Labels?

Date Posted:1 January 2021 

From Deep Freeze to Full Sun: How Does Temperature Affect Thermal Labels? main image From Deep Freeze to Full Sun: How Does Temperature Affect Thermal Labels? image

If your printed labels are likely to be exposed to extreme temperatures of any sort, it’s worth thinking about how this these might affect your labels before investing in new labelling products. After all, the last thing you’ll want is for hundreds or even thousands of labels to fade, darken, smear or fall off completely.


There are two points in time where temperature can really affect the durability and legibility of labels: both during application, and during use.


Application temperatures: consider the right adhesive

The temperature of the environment you apply the label in can certainly have an impact on how it sticks and stays in place. Standard label adhesive will stick well when applied in the range between -18°C and room temperature, however you might like to ask us about speciality adhesive if you’re planning to label anything that’s already frozen. These speciality adhesives can be applied in temperatures down to and including -40°C.


Environmental temperatures: consider the right printing method and substrate

It’s also important to consider the temperatures that each label might be exposed to as it’s scanned, stored and/or transported over time.

  • Heat: Extensive exposure to heat and UV light can fade or discolour the print on heat-reactive direct thermal labels, so if heat will be a factor you might consider using the thermal transfer printing method instead. This method applies wax or resin to the label, and will retain a crisp and clear print. Ribbons range from wax, to wax/resin to resin options, offering a range in durability. 
  • Cold: There are printing considerations for the other end of the temperature range too. Direct thermal labels are often used for meat packaging and other deli items without any issues, but if the label and item will be stored in deep freeze conditions then you might consider using thermal transfer labels instead.


Synthetic label material is a wise choice for very extreme temperatures or where moisture will be present. Polypropylene is suited for applications between -25°C and 50°C, for example, while polyester heat resistant thermal transfer labels have an intended range of between -40°C and 150°C. Specialty labels and adhesive are further required to maintain quality in conditions below -40°C.


Arranging custom labels

Our Sydney team at Thermal Labels manufactures direct thermal and thermal transfer labels in Australia, and we regularly produce custom options to suit specific environmental conditions. We work with all industries, whether you require synthetic barcode labels for deep freeze conditions or labels that can withstand searing outback conditions. If you have a specific application in mind like custom printed roll labels, simply get in touch with the team and we will respond quickly to discuss your requirements.

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