The use of linerless labels has increased steadily in recent years. The variety of application possibilities is developing all the time and the growth potential for these labels is massive. Based in Sursee, Switzerland, artimelt AG has 20 years of experience and thus knows what counts in this application field. As a manufacturer of high-grade hot melt adhesives, the company developed artimeltlinerless as a dedicated product line offering a range of solutions in this area.
Traditional laminat vs. linerless
Most of the self-adhesive labels available on the market are made from traditional self-adhesive laminate. Here, the release liner is created by first applying a thin layer of silicone to a special paper or plastic foil. Adhesive is then applied to the release liner before the label material – also paper or plastic foil – is laminated immediately.
Labels produced using conventional methods have the advantage of a variety of different label formats and the high production speeds that can be achieved nowadays – the self-adhesive laminate, for example, can be manufactured at speeds of 1,000 m/min and more. However, a major disadvantage is the non-recyclable material waste. This relates in particular to the matrix that accumulates during label production and is usually disposed of, and also to the release liner. All in all, the proportion of waste that cannot be recycled – or can only be recycled with great difficulty – thus reaches 50% or more.
The perfect solution are therefore labels which do not have to be punched and do not need a backing. Alongside the many tons of waste that would then no longer occur, this would also mean a reduction of material costs by up to 30%.
In addition to the aforementioned material savings, this label type also has other advantages:
- 50 to 60% more labels per roll
- Less storage space required for the same number of labels
- Fewer roll changes
- Variable label length and flexible print format
- No matrix waste
- No release liner waste
- No storage space required for release liner waste
- No transport and disposal costs for release liner and matrix waste
- Saves resources
- Environmentally friendly
- Up to 30% reduction in material costs
- Up to 15% savings in total costs
3 components are needed to manufacture a linelress material: Thermal Paper, Silicone and Adhesive. The thermal paper must be such that good anchorage of the adhesive to the reverse side is possible. At the same time, it must also be impermeable so that no part of the adhesive can penetrate through the paper into the thermal layer and render the printed information illegible. The surface must be such that good anchorage of the silicone is guaranteed without the silicone being absorbed into the surface and eliminating the release effect. The silicones used are usually UV-curing. The correct viscosity is important here. When the viscosity is too low, the silicone can penetrate the surface of the paper and then no longer be cured sufficiently. There is a particularly high risk of this when using papers with a porous structure and without a topcoat.
GeBE cutting test
When using linerless material, the adhesive is in direct contact with rollers and cutting knife during the printing and cutting process. An adhesive is thus required here that causes minimal contamination of the cutting knife from the outset. artimelt L1 945 and artimelt L3 913 have been certified as suitable adhesives for such applications as part of extensive testing carried out by GeBE Elektronik and Feinwerktechnik. On the GeBE test bench, linerless rolls were tested over a period of several weeks with artimelt L1 945, artimelt L3 913 and other adhesives. It was possible to print and cut more than 1 million labels without interruption using artimelt L1 945. According to Klaus Baldig, Head of Development at GeBE, artimelt L1 945 thus sets the benchmark for linerless adhesives.
To sum up, linerless labels are currently a cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional labels. The selected components must be of the very highest quality in order to avoid nasty surprises during the printing and cutting process. The potential for growth is immense, and anyone investing in this technology today will be well set for the future.