All You Need to Know About Applying Labels in the Cold

Whenever you’re using packing, shipping or product information labels, it’s important that they adhere well to the intended surface and stay put. Good quality labels will never let you down, but it’s essential you choose the right equipment for the job.

When you’re applying labels in the cold, you’ll need to ensure that you’re using the right type of labels. In the same way, your packaging supplies need to stand up to colder. With that in mind, here’s some information I’ve found helpful for choosing the right labels for any task…

Packing and shipping in cold environments

Preparing, packing and shipping goods in cold environments require some forward-thinking and a bit of prep. Before you can consider which labels are the right for the job, you’ll need to determine just how cold the temperature is likely to get. 

Every product, such as Zebra compatible thermal labels and Dymo compatible labels, which you can buy from, has a range of temperatures they can be used at. Known as an application and service temperature, it’s important to understand what these figures mean. 

Firstly, the application and service temperature may not be the same. I’ll take a look at the application temperature first. As the name implies, this gives you a range at which the label can be applied to the intended surface. When you’re sticking your labels on to packages, for example, you’ll need to ensure you stay within this temperature range, or you may see a deterioration in the level of stickiness you get. 

However, the service temperature may be quite different from the application temperature. The service temperature refers to the temperature at which the labels can be in use. Once they’re fully applied and adhered to the product or packaging, you can rely on your labels to stay put, providing they stay within the service temperature. 

Why are application and service temperatures different?

Service temperatures usually have a wider range than application temperatures. This is because the application process is a little more sensitive. When you’re applying a label to its intended surface, it will adhere most effectively when it is within a certain temperature range (the application temperature). 

Depending on the type of labels you choose, they may adhere straight away, or they may require a few minutes until a strong bond is formed. Once the adhesion process is complete, the strength of the bond means the label can now withstand a wider range of temperatures, hence the variable service temperature. 

Specialist low-temperature labels

When you’re sticking product information labels on to items that are stored in a freezer, for example, they may be exposed to temperatures as low as -65°F, for example. This means you’ll need a label and adhesive that can withstand these extremes. Furthermore, cold temperatures can often meet moist and damp and conditions. 

As well as choosing labels which can cope with low temperatures, you’ll also need to choose a product which can withstand water and even frost. 

What is the storage temperature?

Just to make things a little more confusing, there’s a third temperature you’ll need to keep in mind. As well as having an application and service temperature range, labels and packing products will also have a storage temperature range. 

As the name implies, this is the temperature range at which you should store these items prior to use. Although many shipping labels can be used in low temperatures, storing them at these temperatures prior to use could affect their performance. 

By keeping them at a slightly warmer temperature, you can protect the integrity of the product and ensure that it adheres well and stays put when it’s used in a lower temperature. 

People often assume that only specialist producers and manufacturers need to consider low-temperature labeling issues, but this isn’t the case. Warehouses and storage facilities are typically cold environments and you would be surprised how low temperatures can get. 

Taking regular temperature readings throughout your supply chain will help you to establish the temperature range your products or packages will be exposed to. Once you have this information, you can choose from a wide range of high-quality, cost-effective labels to ensure they will stand up to cold temperatures and meet your needs.

Now you know everything there is to know about applying labels in the cold, you should be able to do so more efficiently and effectively. This will make life far easier for you, your employees and your customers and clients.