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Glossary

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ABRASION RESISTANCE

This is a measure of the degree that a surface is able to resist degradation from rubbing upon it.

ACETATE

A plastic synthesized from cellulose dissolved in acetic acid which exhibits rigidity, dimensional stability, and ink receptivity. Transparent or matte finish available.

ACRYLIC

A family of thermoplastic resins based on acrylic acid and its derivatives. A basis for many adhesives used with pressure sensitive labels.

ACRYLIC ADHESIVE

Adhesive based on high-strength, acrylic polymers. Can be either a solvent or emulsion system.

ACRYLIC EMULSION

A water-based latex made with acrylic polymers, used in coatings and adhesives.

ADHESION

A measurement of the force required to remove a label from a surface.

ADHESIVE

A substance capable of holding materials together by surface attachment. Available adhesives include permanent, removable, freezer-grade, and many more.

ADHESIVE RESIDUE

This is a term for the adhesive remaining behind on a substrate when a label is removed.

ADHESIVE SPLITTING

Condition when part of an adhesive layer remains on the face stock and part on the substrate when a label is put under stress or removed.

ADHESIVE, COLD TEMPERATURE

This is an adhesive that will adhere a label to a substrate when applied at temperatures near freezing.

ADHESIVE, FREEZER GRADE

See Freezer Adhesives.

ADHESIVE, HIGH TEMPERATURE

An adhesive that will adhere at a sustained elevated temperature ( 200 F or higher).

ADHESIVE, PATTERN

See Pattern Coated.

ADHESIVE, PERMANENT

See Permanent Adhesive.

ADHESIVE, PRESSURE SENSITIVE

An adhesive that, in a dry form, is aggressively tacky at room temperature. It has the capability of promoting a bond to dissimilar surfaces on contact, with pressure.

ADHESIVE, REMOVABLE

See Removable Adhesive

APPLICATION TEMPERATURE

The temperature at the time that a substrate or label material is applied.

BACKING

Refers to the carrier sheet (liner) of material in a pressure sensitive lamination as opposed to the face material. Typically having a release coating applied enabling the adhesive to be removed easily.

BAGGINESS

A slack area within a roll of material caused by thickness variation.

BASIS WEIGHT

The weight in pounds of a ream of paper cut to a given size.

BLEED

The printed area that extends beyond the trimmed edge of the design.

BLEEDTHROUGH

Migration of materials from an adhesive or substrate into a face material, resulting in a mottled appearance of the face stock and possible detrimental effects to the adhesive.

BLOCKING

Condition where roll labels stick to the backside of the liner above them. This is typically caused by adhesive cold flow, incomplete die cutting of the adhesive, improper drying of inks or improper drying of coatings.

BUTT CUT LABELS

Rectangular labels in continuous form separated by a single knife cut to the liner across the web.

CALENDAR FINISHED

A term applied to any paper with a surface glazed by means of a calendar stack.

CALIPER

Thickness, usually measured in mils or thousandths of an inch. A mil is sometimes called a "point." A 10-mil tag might also be called a 10-point tag.

COATED PAPER

General term applying to papers that have been surface coated with pigments.

COATING

In printing, an emulsion, varnish or lacquer applied in-line or off-line, often over a printed surface to give it added protection.

CORNER RADIUS

The arc or curvature of the die blades where they meet so that they can impart a rounded corner within a die.

CURL

The tendency of material by itself or in a laminate to bend or partly wrap around the axis of its directions. Curl is often caused by humidity or improper tension.

CYLINDER

In flexography, most rollers in the printing press are called rolls with the exception of ones on which the rubber plates are mounted, and the one which receives the impression. These are usually referred to as cylinders, i.e., plate cylinder, impression cylinder.

DIE

Any of various tools or devices used for imparting or cutting a desired shape, form or finish to or from a material. A device in converting machinery used for cutting only the face material of a pressure sensitive laminate or for punching out shapes from the entire laminate or any other material.

DIE LINES

A hand drawn or computer generated layout of the die cut shape or shapes on a clear or matte finish acetate or Mylar.

DIE-CUTTING

The process of using dies or sharp steel rules to cut shapes in materials.

DIRECT THERMAL PRINTING

A printing technology that uses specially coated, heat sensitive media. Heat from the printhead is applied to the media, turning the media black, creating an image on it.

EDGE LIFT

The tendency of the edge of a label to rise off the surface of the substrate. This condition occurs most frequently on small diameter curved surfaces. Resistance to edge lift is dependent on the bond strength of the adhesive and the flexibility of the face stock.

FACE MATERIAL/FACE STOCK

Any paper, film, fabric, laminate or foil material suitable for converting into pressure sensitive label stock. In the finished construction, this web is bonded to the adhesive layer and becomes the functional part of the construction.

FACE SLIT

A slit in the face material of a pressure sensitive product to facilitate removal from the backing.

FACE-CUT LABEL

Any pressure sensitive label where the face material is cut to the liner.

FAN FOLD

Labels that are folded into a stack rather than rolled onto a roll.

FILM

Acetate, polyester, polyethylene, polypropylene, vinyl, and other polymeric materials used as face stocks.

FINISH

The surface property of a paper or film determined by its texture and gloss. A gloss finish can be shiny and highly reflective, while a matte finish is generally dull and reflects little light.

FLEXOGRAPHIC (FLEXO) PRINTING

Method of rotary printing that employs flexible plates, rotary die cutting, rapid-drying inks, in-line laminating and other converting operations.

FLOOD COAT

The coating of an entire surface with ink, adhesive, coating, etc.

FLUORESCENT PAPER

A paper that is coated with fluorescent pigment, which not only reflects a visible wavelength, but also is activated, by most of the remaining absorbed light to re-emit it as color of a longer wavelength which results in reinforcement of the reflected color.

FOIL

A very thin metal sheet that can be used as a face stock material in label production.

FOIL PAPER LAMINATE

A foil laminate to a sheet of paper used as a face stock. The foil is usually top coated to improve ink receptivity.

FOOD CONTACT ADHESIVES

Adhesives meeting specified sections of the US Food & Drug Administration Code of Federal Regulations. These regulations cover direct food labeling as well as incidental contact. Special product recommendations are necessary for specific applications.

FOUR-COLOR PROCESS

Printing with yellow, magenta and cyan inks plus black, using screens to create full color images.

FREEZER ADHESIVES

Adhesives that can be applied and will function at temperatures below the freezing point. They are usually removable at room temperature.

GLASSINE

Super calendared, smooth, dense, transparent or translucent paper manufactured primarily from chemical wood pulps, which have been beaten to secure a high degree of hydration of the stock. Sometimes used as a backing paper.

GLOSS

Characteristics of the surface that causes it to reflect light at a given angle.

HANG TAG

A term used to describe fold-over labels generally used for product identification.

HEAT RESISTANCE

Property of a material that inhibits the occurrence of physical or chemical changes caused by exposure to high temperatures.

HEAT SEAL

Label paper that has a plastic coating that melts under heat to form the bonding agent.

HEAVY COAT WEIGHT

A higher-than-standard weight of coating per unit area.

ID

This is an abbreviation for inside diameter. This is frequently referred to when describing the inside dimension of a core.

IMPRINTING

Technique that applies variable copy to blank or pre-printed labels with a secondary device.

ITEMS PER ROLL

The number of labels, tags, wristbands, and so on that are on a roll.

LABEL

The functional portion of a pressure-sensitive construction composed of the face material and adhesive, cut into various shapes.

LABEL STOCK

Pressure-sensitive laminate from which labels are produced, usually refers to roll stock.

LAMINATE

A web material formed by bonding two or more materials together as in pressure-sensitive construction. This also refers to the applying of one layer of material over another..

LAMINATION

A plastic film bonded by heat, adhesive, and/or pressure to a printed web for protection or appearance. Two or more materials bonded together functioning as one.

LINER

The component of the pressure sensitive label stock which functions as a carrier for the pressure sensitive label. Prior to application, it protects the adhesive and readily separates from the label immediately before the label is applied to the substrate.

MASTER ROLL

A full width roll that has finished the primary manufacturing process and is usually untrimmed.

MATERIAL SPLICE

This is the area where tape has been used to attach the ends of two rolls of material together to form one continuous web.

MATERIALS

The main component of a label. Available materials include paper synthetics like vinyl, polyester, cardstock, foil, and many more.

MATRIX

The face material and adhesive surrounding a self-adhesive label, usually removed after die cutting.

MATTE FINISH

This refers to a material with a low-gloss or no-gloss finish. A UV-curable clear coat may also be used to produce a matte or textured finish.

METAL FOIL

Thin, flexible layer of metal, such as aluminum, used as face materials. Thinner gauges are often laminated to paper for strength.

MIL

One thousandth of an inch, the unit of measure used for the thickness of paper and film.

MYLAR

Dupont's trademark for clear, tough polymeric polyester film.

NEOPRENE RUBBER

A polymer of chloroprene, it is used as an adhesive base. Commonly used where oil and gasoline resistance is required. Resistance to swelling action of aromatics (pure and fuels) is poor but much better than natural rubber. Also used to coat doctor or metering rolls.

NUMBER UP/ACROSS

The number of items (labels or tags) across the web width. They can also be described as the number of items per row.

OD

Outside diameter of a cylinder, roller or roll of labels.

OFFSET PRINTING

Process of indirect printing in which an impression on a flat plate is printed on a rubber-blanketed cylinder, from which it is impressed, i.e. offset, upon the surface to be decorated.

OPACITY

This is the property of a substrate material that minimizes show-through from the backside or the next sheet. This is the percentage of reflectance with a black backing to the reflectance with a white backing. Ink opacity is the property of ink that prevents the substrate from showing through.

%h3.collapsebottom OPAQUE INK

Ink that is not transparent and reflects only its color regardless of what colors it overprints.

OPTICITE® FILM

Trademark of a label film supplied by Dow Chemical (polystyrene).

OVERLAMINATING

Applications of a clear film to a label stock for the purpose of protection or to enhance graphic quality, usually done in-line on the press.

PATTERN COATED

Refers to the width and spacing arrangement of strips of adhesive laid down parallel to machine direction and across the width of pressure sensitive label stock during its manufacture. Also refers to adhesive coating applied in a pattern that is not related to web direction.

PEEL ADHESION

The force required to remove a pressure sensitive from a standard test panel at a specific angle and speed after the label has been applied under specified conditions. The strip of test material is usually one inch wide, and the angle of measurement can be 90 to 180 degrees from the surface.

PERFORATED

Refers to a series of small incisions make in laid-on labels and/or their release liner to facilitate tearing along a pre-determined line, or for fan folding.

PERMANENCY

A measure of an adhesive's ultimate holding power or bond strength. A permanent adhesive will develop a bond that makes label removal difficult or impossible without distorting the face stock.

PERMANENT ADHESIVE

An adhesive characterized by having relatively high ultimate adhesion to a wide variety of surfaces.

PHOSPHORESCENT FACE

A face material coated with phosphorescent ink that emits light in a visible spectrum.

PIGGYBACK

This is a multi-ply pressure sensitive laminate consisting of a face stock, a layer of adhesive, a standard release liner, a layer of adhesive, and a standard release liner. This type of product provides a single label that can be applied to a substrate using the adhesive on the middle liner; then the top ply is removed and applied to a different substrate using the adhesive on the face stock.

PIGMENT

Finely ground, solid particles used to give color opacity to printing inks and coatings, usually insoluble in such a mixture.

PLATE

The image carrier in letterpress and flexographic printing.

POLYCARBONATE

A high clarity film having the versatility of acetate with the durability of polyester.

POLYESTER

A strong film having good resistance to moisture, solvents, oils, etc. Usually transparent, although available with opaque ester formed by polymerization or condensation. It has excellent strength, clarity and dimensional stability.

POLYESTER LINER

A polyester film that is silicone release coated. It provides an excellent die cutting surface and is also used on over laminating films to provide a smooth, glass-like surface of adhesive.

POLYESTER OVERLAM

A clear, glossy polyester film coated with clear acrylic adhesive. Can also be supplied with a matte surface.

POLYETHYLENE

A tough, stretch plastic film having very good low temperature characteristics, also frequently used for producing semi-rigid recyclable bottles.

POLYMER

A compound formed by the reaction of simple molecules called monomers, having functional groups that permit their combination to proceed to high molecular weights under suitable conditions. It is a long-chain molecular structure.

POLYOLEFINS

A group of unsaturated hydrocarbons of the general formula CnH2n, and named after the corresponding paraffin by the addition of 'ene' or 'ylene' to the stem.

POLYPROPYLENE

This is similar to polyethylene but stronger and having a higher temperature resistance. Various thermoplastics are polymers of propylene exhibiting excellent clarity. Also used in various thickness in the printing of labels as well as backing or liner materials.

POLYSTYRENE

A thermoplastic produced by the polymerization of styrene. The electrical insulating properties are outstanding and the material is relatively unaffected by moisture.

POLYVINYL

Refers to a group of resins formed by polymerizing various vinyl monomers.

PREPRINTED SYMBOL

This is a symbol that is printed in advance of application either on a label or on the article to be identified.

PRESSURE SENSITIVE LABEL

A label product that is processed through roll or sheet fed equipment utilizing a face stock, adhesive and liner components. The manufactured product is generally in the form of rolls, sheets, or fan folded packs.

PRINTABILITY

Refers to surface characteristics on the face stock that relate to printing quality and is an indication of which face stocks are the best choice for the print quality desired.

RADIO FREQUENCY IDENTIFICATION (RFID)

This refers to the ability to identify products through the use of small radio transponders, activated by a transmitter, to identify products. The transponder can carry a unique ID code or other information in its memory, and can be read at a distance without line of sight.

RECEIPTS

A roll of paper, usually continuous, without a liner. They are often used in retail applications.

REGISTER

A term in pressure sensitive label production that describes exact, corresponding placement of successively printed images and/or successively die-cut pressure sensitive labels.

RIBBON, RESIN

A ribbon commonly used in thermal transfer applications. It has a resin coating applied to a polyester base film. Resin ribbons provide the highest scratch and smudge resistance, but must image at slower speeds and higher temperatures. Results are best on synthetic substrates.

RIBBON, WAX

A ribbon commonly used in thermal transfer applications. It has a pure wax coating applied to a polyester base film. Wax ribbons are typically soft and allow printing at high speeds and at lower temperatures. Wax ribbons are best for paper labels or tags.

RIBBON, WAX/RESIN

A ribbon commonly used in thermal transfer applications. It has a combination of wax and resin coatings applied on a polyester base film. Wax/Resin ribbons offer more durable print results that wax ribbons and can image on a variety of paper and synthetic substrates. The more resin in the blend, the higher the scratch resistance.

ROLL LABEL

Pressure-sensitive labels that are produced in a continuous roll form.

ROLL-TO-ROLL

This is a method of running materials through a printing machine. A roll of material is fed into a printing unit, is printed, and then is rewound into a roll as it exits the machine.

ROLL-TO-SHEET

This is a method of running material through a printing machine in which you begin with roll material and sheet it at the end of the press. A roll or material is fed into a printing unit, and then is sheeted as it exits the printing machine.

ROTARY PRESS

A press that in normal use features a roll-to-roll operation.

ROTARY PRINTING

Accomplished by means of a cylindrical impression cylinder and a cylindrical printing plate.

RUBBER-BASED ADHESIVE

This is a pressure sensitive adhesive with a natural or synthetic rubber base. Can be coated as a solvent, hot melt or emulsion system.

SCORE

To make an impression or a partial cut in a material for the purpose of bending, creasing, folding or tearing.

SCREEN PRINTING

Method of printing in which the ink is forced through a design on a taut screen and onto the object to be printed. This process results in a heavy ink deposit that provides excellent outdoor durability.

SELF-WOUND

A roll of material with a single liner, which is coated on both sides with a release coating and a carrier having a pressure-sensitive adhesive on both sides. This also refers to a material that has pressure sensitive adhesive applied to one side and then rolled upon itself (no liner).

SHEETING

Process whereby rolls of P.S. base stock are converted into sheets of finished labels by cutting them to the desired length in the sheeting stations on a rotary press.

SLIT

To cut rolls of stock to specified widths. Either rotary or stationary knives or blades are used with mechanical unwinding and rewinding devices.

SOLVENT ADHESIVES

Adhesives' components are dissolved in a variety of organic solvents for coating. Rubber or acrylic-based systems can be coated this way.

SPLIT BACK

Slits in the release liner to facilitate its removal by hand.

SPLIT FACE

Slits in face or pressure-sensitive product usually for facilitating removal from the release coated backing.

STATIC CLING

An induced property of a film that enables it to grab onto a smooth clean surface without using a pressure sensitive adhesive. Static cling is a phrase applied to both mechanical grabbing and grabbing by electrical static.

SUBSTRATE

In printing, this is referred to as the material being printed and/or processed, or the surface on which a bar code symbol is printed or surface on which a label is affixed.

TACK

The property of a pressure sensitive label that causes it to adhere to a surface instantly with a minimum of pressure and contact time.

TAGS

Tags are non-adhesive labels. Tags are generally run on card stock, although other materials and films are sometimes used.

TAKE UP CORE

Mechanism to rewind a thermal transfer ribbon after it has been used.

TAMPER-EVIDENT LABEL

A pressure-sensitive construction made of materials that will partially destruct upon removal, indicating that a package, label or container has been tampered with. Can be made from a destructible material or a security die – see standard label section for details.

THERMAL

A printing system where dots are selectively heated and cooled and dragged upon heat-sensitive paper. The paper turns dark in the heated areas.

THERMAL PAPER

A label paper having a heat activated coating that will accept an image from a thermal graphic printer.

THERMAL TRANSFER

A printed system like thermal except a one-time ribbon is used and common paper is used as a substrate; eliminates the problems of fading or changing color inherent in thermal.

THERMAL TRANSFER PAPER

A face paper specifically designed to accept heat-activated ink from the ribbon of a thermal-transfer printer.

TOOLING

Usually refers to die cutters, butt cutters, etc., used to cut out the labels.

TYVEK®

DuPont's trademark for spun bonded polyolefin material frequently used as a face stock where very high tensile strength is required.

ULTIMATE ADHESION

The resistance to removal of a label after adhesion has been allowed to build for a period of time. The time required to reach ultimate adhesion varies with the adhesive, substrate and labeling conditions, but is approximately 24 hours.

ULTRA-VIOLET RESISTANCE (UV)

This is a measure of the ability of a material to withstand extended exposure to sunlight (ultraviolet) without degradation, hardening, or excessive discoloration.

VARNISH

A clear protective coating, usually glossy, applied to a printed we in-line on a label press just prior to die cutting.

VINYL

Also known as PVC or polyvinyl chloride. This is a tough durable plastic film having excellent resistance to oils, chemicals and many solvents. It has excellent abrasion-resistance, and can also be colored. They can be manufactured in rigid or flexible constructions. They are generally more flexible and formable than polyesters.

WEB

The paper, foil, film or other flexible material, from a roll, that moves through the machine in the process of being formed, converted, and printed, etc.

WRAP-AROUND LABEL

Label that extends completely around the labeled surface.

WRISTBANDS

Bands that can be wrapped around the wrist and affixed with a snap or adhesive closure, depending on the particular type of wristband. They are often used in medical and recreational applications.

YELLOWING

Gradual color change in the original appearance of a P.S. label, characterized by the development of yellowish and brownish hues.