Labels: Versatile Communication for a Variety of Industries

May 14, 2015 at 11:38 AM

Industries use labels not only for marketing purposes, but also to provide important directions and safety information about their products. Differing environments and surfaces require different label types, and label makers accommodate these needs with a wide range of label materials, including metal name plates, UID tags, and more. Knowing the different label types and how different industries make use of them can help product managers choose the right labels for their products.


Types of Labels

  • Pressure sensitive labels – These labels bond to the surface of a product when pressure is applied. They’re typically made of a face stock and a liner. The back of the face stock is treated with an adhesive and placed on a silicone-treated liner that it can be easily removed. The amount of pressure applied to the label influences how well it adheres to the surface, as well as other factors such as smoothness of the surface, temperature, and whether the surface is free of debris when the label is applied.
  • Injection molded labels – Injection molded labelling causes the label to become an integral part of the product. The labeling is done during the manufacturing process for the product. In injection molded labelling, a label is inserted into the mold of the product. The product fuses with the molded label, with the end result being a decorated packaging part. This process cuts costs, but increases production time.
  • Metal nameplates – These sturdy tags are often used for products operating in harsh environments or when you are seeking an industrial look. They typically carry safety or warning information and are made of aluminum or steel but are also very popular for marketing your product. There are many options available for metal nameplates, such as embossing, debossing, and more.
  • Domed labels – These are pressure sensitive labels that have a polyurethane coating that gives them a three-dimensional appearance. This appearance is considered appealing by many consumers and is used to give products an added tactile value.
  • Combination labels – These labels use a variety of label-making techniques to devise a customized label. Some examples include combining injection molded labels with dome labelling techniques or injecting metal nameplates into plastic molds.
  • UID Labels – UID labels are used to give military equipment a unique identification. They identify the product with a unique serial number, bar code, or QR code. These tags can be made from a variety of materials, including metals, vinyl, polyester, etc., but must comply with military standard MIL-STD-130.
  • NFC Labels / Tags – These tags contain small microchips that store information and can transmit it over a very short distance utilizing a smart phone or reading device.
  • Printed Grip Tape – Printed grip tape is traction tape with a logo or other illustration printed on the outside and is utilized for safety purposes but also gives you the ability to add a safety message or your logo.
  • Graphic Overlays / Membrane Switches – Graphic overlays / membrane switches create a temporary electrical contact that activates or deactivates an electric circuit. They’re made by screen printing a circuit onto a plastic substrate with conductive ink. When the label is pressed it activates the electric circuit. Flat keypads on microwaves or gas pumps are examples of membrane switches.

Industries & Labels

The following is a list of industries that make frequent use of labels and the types of labels they most often use.

  • Automotive – The automotive industry has some specialized requirements for labels. Because products in the industry often operate in harsh environments and are exposed to extreme temperatures and corrosive chemicals and materials, many automotive labels need to be tough. The automotive industry often uses metal nameplates on many mechanical products. These nameplates are difficult to destroy and often include information such as the manufacturer’s mark or logo, serial numbers, or directions for installation and safe use.

Nameplates aren’t the only labels the automotive industry uses, however. Domed labels may be used for some interior labeling, and pressure sensitive labels are often found inside vehicles. Some electronic functions of automobiles may use graphic overlays/membrane switches.

  • MilitaryUID labels were developed specifically for the military and have wide use throughout the armed forces. The military requires certain mission critical equipment to be tagged with these labels, which meet very specific requirements.
  • Appliances and equipment – Appliances and equipment use a wide variety of labels. The appliance industry makes great use of pressure sensitive labels, which can contain everything from safety information to product directions. These labels may also be used as decorative decals. Electronic appliances often use graphic overlays or membrane switches. Metal name plates bearing company logos are often found on refrigerators, stoves and other high-dollar appliances. Domed labels are also widely used for company branding and logos.
  • Marketing – Marketing also makes wide use of just about every label conceivable. Pressure sensitive labels often make their way onto promotional materials of all types. Domed labels may be seen on promotional products or other advertising materials. NFC tags can be used in stores attached to products to direct customers to websites or provide them with important messages. The possibilities for labels in marketing are nearly endless.
  • Medical – Labels are important to the medical industry as they often provide critical information about equipment and drugs. Pressure sensitive labels can be found on just about everything, from instructions on the side of medical devices to product labels on medicine bottles. Injection molded labels are integral parts of many medical products. Graphic overlays / membrane switches provide safe interfaces for many electronic medical devices.

When choosing labels for your company’s products, consider the environment in which the product will operate, the information the label should carry, and the cost of manufacturing the labels before making a decision. Label-making professionals can help by providing advice on the best fit for your products.

Southern Coating & Nameplate, Inc. is a Little Rock, AR-based label-making company. Established in 1970, the company has grown to be one of the most trusted names in printing and labeling. Recently ISO certified, Southern Coating & Nameplate continually seeks new technology and printing techniques to provide high quality labels at competitive prices to clients. For custom labels that relay the message you want, consider Southern Coating & Nameplate. 


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