Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Label Planet: MWP vs MWPE vs MWPO – Which Waterproof Labels Will Win?

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If you’ve been searching for waterproof labels, you may have noticed that we supply three marine labels that are very similar. Our polyester labels (MWP), polyethylene labels (MWPE), and polyolefin labels (MWPO) ARE very similar. They all have a matt white finish, are all waterproof labels, and all have a marine standard permanent adhesive. So how do you know which waterproof label is the right one for you?

The answer lies in your label application. Each material has its own properties and characteristics that are better suited to certain applications compared to the others. It just depends on what you need your waterproof labels to be able to do…

Waterproof Labels That Will Stay Stuck

While all three have a marine standard adhesive, the different materials cause slight variations in the level of tack (stick). This is most noticeable when labelling more unusual materials and surface types.

For example, if you apply all three onto a completely flat, clean metal surface you would see very little difference. On rough materials or curved surfaces, the polyethylene would cope the best with any surface variations. The polyolefin would be next best, followed by the polyester.

If your label application involves a curved surface or unusual materials (such as fabrics or building materials) you may wish to choose polyethylene

Waterproof Labels That Will Bend & Stretch

One of the most notable differences between these three materials is how well they bend and stretch. Polyester is a rigid material and will not stretch at all. Polyolefin offers better flexibility and stretch, while polyethylene is the most flexible and stretchy material of the three.

The material you choose depends on whether you need waterproof labels that ARE flexible or ARE NOT flexible. For example, to label curved surfaces you need waterproof labels that will conform to the shape of your items. If you apply a rigid label material to a curved surface, one of two things will happen:
  • Your sticky labels won’t conform to the shape of your items. You may find areas where your labels aren’t stuck to the item. Alternatively, there won't be sufficient contact to allow a successful adhesive bond to form at all and your waterproof labels will fall off immediately.
  • You will be able to temporarily force your sticky labels to conform to the correct shape BUT the memory of the material will cause them to return to their original flat state – overcoming the strength of the adhesive bond and resulting in your waterproof labels slowly peeling away from the surface.
Alternatively, you may be looking for waterproof labels that won’t tear or deform easily, even when used as long life tracking labels on items that are regularly moved or handled a lot. In this case, you will need waterproof labels that offer good resistance to tearing and stretching.

If your label application involves curved surfaces you may wish to choose polyethylene (as the most flexible option), while polyester is the best bet if you need tough and durable waterproof labels that will resist the wear and tear of long term applications. 

Waterproof Labels That Will Print Out Perfectly

While all three printer labels are suitable for use with standard desktop printers, some are easier to print than others.

First you need to consider whether you have an inkjet printer or a laser printer. MWPE and MWPO are laser labels and inkjet labels; they can be printed with a laser printer or an inkjet printer. MWP are laser labels and can ONLY be printed with a laser printer.

Next you need to take into consideration the specification of your printer. Waterproof labels are thicker than standard paper labels and so you need to check that your printer has a media bypass tray (a secondary tray designed specifically for thicker materials) as well as the weight of materials that your printer will accept. If your printer cannot handle heavier materials, you will need to choose a thinner material to ensure that you can print your waterproof labels.

Polyethylene is a VERY thick material and requires careful handling; if your printer is not designed to handle very thick materials, you may find that you struggle to produce a consistent print quality on your waterproof labels (if you manage to print them at all). Polyester, however, is much thinner making it a much easier and more reliable material to print. Polyolefin is a thicker material BUT not as thick as polyethylene, which makes it a perfect compromise between MWP and MWPE.

Waterproof Labels That Will Fit Into Your Budget

If you’re ordering fewer than 500 sheets there is absolutely no difference between the three options. If you’re looking to buy in bulk (and on a budget) there is a difference in cost; MWP is the most expensive option, followed by MWPE, and then MWPO.

Waterproof Labels From Label Planet

To find out more about any of our waterproof labels – or to place an order – simply visit our List of Waterproof Labels page. You can also request a sample of our waterproof labels (to test them out for yourself) or get in touch with our Customer Service Team for further advice. If you need a label template, visit our Label Templates Home Page, or take a look at our Help Section, which contains links to our label templates, step-by-step guides, and troubleshooting tips.

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