How to Choose the Best Pressure Sensitive Adhesive (PSA) for Printing

Print customers have a wide range of labeling needs, and they may not always understand the options in pressure sensitive adhesive (PSA) substrates. Here are some questions to ask your customers to help you uncover their label needs and provide the best substrate solution.

How will the customer use the label?
Will the label be placed on food packaging?
How long does the label need to stay in place?
Will the label be taken off and reapplied to another surface?
What kind of environment will the label be exposed to and for how long?
How will the label be applied?
Will the label need die cutting? (If so, the type of liner is critical.)

The Right Adhesive Makes All the Difference

Though the adhesive in a label may not be the first consideration, it is vitally important. The adhesive is the behind-the-scenes workhorse.

There are two main types of adhesives: rubber-based and acrylic-based. Though there are certainly others, rubber and acrylic are the most common due to the lower cost. Rubber-based adhesives are water-resistant, have good initial tack, and adhere well to substrates like plastics. Rubber is also an option if your labels could potentially come into direct contact with consumable items. Acrylic-based adhesives offer chemical resistance, a wide range of temperature uses, and archival properties. Acrylics also have good chemical resistance, UV resistance, and flexibility.

A more recent type of adhesive is modified acrylic. Modified acrylic adhesives possess better initial tack and adherence to low surface energy materials. In some cases, modified acrylic can diminish resistance to UV exposure, plasticizers, and solvents. However, depending on the desired use, modified acrylics can be tailored to fit the application.

There are three main factors to consider when choosing an adhesive: environment, surface, and application.

  • Environment:  Presence of humidity, chemicals, and extreme temperatures that the label will encounter in its life cycle.
  • Surface:  A substrate’s surface energy, surface, and contour are deciding factors in how the adhesive performs.
  • Application:  Since some adhesives require more time, pressure, or higher temperature to be applied, consider if the labels are to be applied by hand or by a machine. Distribution of pressure is an additional factor to consider.

For a label to be successful, there are a lot of important factors to consider. Whether you need a label to last weeks or years, our Digital Material Specialists can help you choose the best label solution for your customer. Masterpiece Graphix offers a wide range of pressure sensitive materials as well as the option to create custom combinations of adhesives, face-stocks and liners. Give us a call today or follow this link to request a quote on one of our in-stock pressure sensitive substrates.