While we endeavour to make our products available for both a speedy despatch and delivery, we know that sometimes it’s more practical (and financially wise) to purchase a larger amount of labels that you can store and dip into as and when you need them – rather than using up all of your labels in one go and having to wait for your next order to arrive.
Our pricing system actually works in our customers’ favour if they choose to do this; ordering in bulk means that you can get a lower cost per unit price than if you order smaller quantities more frequently.
However, if you do want to create a stockpile of labels for future use, you do have make sure that you store them properly to avoid reducing the efficacy of the labels that you’ve got in stock. The main concern is making sure that your labels are stored in a neutral, constant environment.
Adhesives can be affected by a number of environmental factors (especially extremes of or fluctuations in temperature); if these environmental factors cause any sort of change in the adhesive, then the labels may not adhere properly (or at all) when you come to use them. Likewise, the face material of your labels can also suffer if exposed to extreme or fluctuating environments, which can cause problems with the quality of print that you can achieve.
With this in mind, here’s our advice for storing your labels away safely, so they’ll be perfectly fine for future use:
- Maintain a constant neutral temperature
The most common cause of adhesives degrading in quality is exposure to extreme or fluctuating temperatures. Temperature is one of four factors that determine how well a label adheres to a surface (along with the strength of the adhesive used, the length of time the label has been applied for, and the characteristics of the surface). Any exposure to high or low temperatures while your labels are in storage could alter the adhesive (preventing it from working properly) or even start the process of adhesion (causing the adhesive to set before you’ve had chance to use the labels).Excessive or fluctuating heat can also cause problems for the face material of your labels – especially when dealing with paper laser labels. Paper labels made specifically for use with laser printers have higher moisture content to ensure that the paper survives the printing process (where heat and pressure are used to bond toner to the surface); exposure to heat can reduce the moisture content of your labels, which can prevent toner from bonding fully in place, leaving your print to crack and flake away.
If you know that the “room temperature” of your environment is actually higher or lower than a generic “room temperature” you should try to find a suitable alternative. We also recommend taking into consideration any objects that might cause temporary fluctuations in temperature that you might not otherwise notice; for example, labels often end up being stored next to printers and/or computers, which can generate a lot of heat while they are in use. You should also take into consideration any fluctuations that may result from exposure to an air conditioning unit or fan heaters and radiators.
- Avoid exposure to light
We also find that exposure to light can have a detrimental effect on both the face materials and adhesives used to make labels (regardless of whether it’s natural sunlight or an artificial light source). While light will usually do most damage to the face material (usually by causing discolouration or fading), it can also cause problems with your adhesive - especially if the light becomes an additional source of heat. Placing your labels in a dark place or simply placing a solid cover over your labels should help to prevent problems caused by exposure to light.
- Protect your labels from exposure to damp conditions
While it’s particularly true for labels made of paper, it’s a good idea to ensure that any labels stay clean and dry if you want them to be at their best when you come use them later on. Paper labels will be irreversibly damaged by exposure to water and other liquids, but there can be problems even if you’ve bought waterproof labels. While liquids can obviously damage the face material of your labels, they can also reduce the efficiency of the adhesive bond that forms when your labels are applied – if water is present when you apply a label, the adhesive may try to bond with the water instead of the surface being labelled, which reduces the surface area available and so weakens the bond that eventually forms (if any bond is formed at all).
- Keep your labels in their original packaging
It’s not a new concept and it’s repeated here for good reason. Keeping your labels in their original plastic packaging (and indeed the rest of the packaging if appropriate) provides your labels with a decent amount of protection from a variety of environmental factors, which will allow your labels to retain their original quality and efficiency while in storage.