The Different Types of Pressure Sensitive Label Adhesives

When people think about labels, they often consider what goes on the front. A great label design is critical, but it won’t do much good without a good adhesive on the back.

Types of adhesives for pressure sensitive labels are generally soft, viscous substances that are sticky to the touch. As you’d expect, these adhesives are applied to a surface—in this instance, a label material (paper, polypropelene, vinyl, etc.)—which will then adhere to the surface after pressure is applied, causing the label to stick to its intended container.

There are a variety of factors that can differentiate label adhesives. These include what it’s made of, how it’s applied, and if it’s permanent or removable.

Digital labels with rubber adhesive.

Adhesive Bases

There are two primary bases that are used to make label adhesives: rubber and acrylic. Rubber labels offer excellent long-term adhesion and pair very well with plastic surfaces. However, a rubber base can feature a yellowish tint that may not work with see-through containers and isn’t as suited for hot or cold temperatures and environments where it will see a lot of sunlight.

Acrylic labels offer a much better temperature range and good resistances to UV light. Like rubber, acrylic also provides great long-term adhesion, but it’s not well-suited for plastic surfaces and is better for use with other types of materials.

Coating Technologies

Different types of pressure sensitive labels have three options for liner application. Hot melt application is a lower-cost solution that coats rubber-based adhesives in a molten state, basically covering the liner with hot, liquid adhesive. Emulsion technology is the primary method for coating with acrylic-based adhesives. This option suspends the adhesives in water and then lets them emulsify on the liner.

Solvent coating technology is an option that works for both rubber and acrylic bases. It applies the adhesive as a solvent solution and provides a high level of clarity and performance. However, solvent coating may have some additional environmental costs.

Beer bottle label with a removable adhesive.

Permanent or Removable

The most important difference in adhesives is an important one; permanent versus removable. Permanent labels are generally a lower-cost solution that should adhere for good once placed on a surface. Removable labels allow you to reapply them if they’re crooked or if you want to try a peel-away promotional item.

Find a Printing Partner

When it comes to label adhesives, you have several options. Of course, it may be difficult to narrow down which exact choice is best for your labels without the assistance of a good digital printing company.

Adhesives are only one part of a quality, eye-catching label. At Blue Label, we have the knowledge and experience it takes to execute high-quality digital labels that meet your needs and budget. Contact us today to talk to one of our experts about your next label project.