Converters today are faced with distinctive and specific challenges. In an effort to meet the need for sustainable products that offer durability, compatibility with multiple print technologies and reliability, suppliers have significantly expanded their portfolios. What follows is a description of available paper substrates and the recent developments made by key suppliers in the industry.
In an effort to broaden its reach and better serve converters and brand owners, Avery Dennison Label and Packaging Materials, North America, has introduced an assortment of paper label materials targeted to specific applications. These materials mirror a growing, industry-wide focus on greater sustainability, increased digital printing and exceptional applications.
Avery Dennison’s new North American Price-Neutral Forest Stewardship Council-certified (FSC) portfolio contains 20 specifications and three coated paper facestocks designed to improve sustainability options for converters, as well as brand owners, who have been requesting more sustainable solutions.
According to David Collins, director, prime papers and specialty, Avery Dennison Label and Packaging Materials, North America, sustainable labeling and packaging are on the rise. “Driven by eco-conscious consumers and corporate initiatives for environmental health, there is a growing demand for sustainable solutions,” he says.
“Our new price-neutral FSC-certified label portfolio can help converters meet that demand. The papers have been chosen for their economy, consistency of results and sustainability, as well as their viability for key label applications in the wine, dairy and food markets. What’s more, we have priced the portfolio comparable to non-FSC-certified alternatives to encourage the use of sustainable materials.”
Reflecting the growth of digital presses and their impact on the labeling industry, Avery Dennison says it has aggressively added to its offering of digital topcoated facestocks. Avery Dennison now offers an HP Indigo portfolio of more than 70 constructions, including uncoated papers, textured papers, specialty coated papers, and clear and opaque films. The company says its most interesting additions to the portfolio are the birch and cherry wood veneer facestocks. These papers are “excellent for contemporary designs and label shapes critical to brand differentiation,” the company adds.
UPM Raflatac has introduced a range of products featuring a 1.7 mil White Glassine paper liner designed to lighten the load from label converters’ production floors to end users’ operations. This new liner offers a 30% lighter and 12% thinner full labelstock product construction when compared to the current industry standard. Additional benefits include larger rolls, which the company says translates to fewer roll changes and splices and increased production efficiency. Larger but lighter rolls also mean more material in the same storage space and decreased transportation costs.
End users can now to order standard 8" OD (outside diameter) rolls that allow for up to 50% more labels, again reducing the amount of roll changes and increasing productivity.
“I am really excited about the outstanding performance that we have seen on press with our 1.7 mil White Glassine liner products,” says Megan Letarte, product manager, VIP. “These materials can be run at normal or high speeds, for longer runtimes with fewer splices. Press operators are truly impressed with the functionality of these labelstocks and have noted improvements to their process up time. Whether they are running roll-to-roll or roll-to-fanfold, this liner works well.”
Currently, UPM Raflatac offers several direct thermal and thermal transfer products constructed with a 1.7 mil White Glassine liner.
Verso’s Aspect line of label and release papers “leverages generations of paper making expertise to create specialty paper solutions that deliver the aesthetics, strength and performance required for quality and efficient label production,” the company says. This product line-up includes bright white pressure sensitive and cut and stack label papers that are designed to be stable, smooth and strong, and consistent SCK release base papers that possess excellent hold-out properties.
“We continue to enhance the wide range of specialty papers that Verso offers converters, printers, and end users. With our growing line of Aspect Label and Release Papers, Verso continues to expand our ability to serve customers for pressure sensitive and glue applied label technologies,” says Mike Weinhold, Verso’s senior vice president of sales, marketing and product development. “Each product delivers outstanding quality and exceptional performance and is supported by an experienced team of customer and technical support professionals.
“All of Verso’s mills have a strong manufacturing focus on producing consistent, quality products and our Aspect Label and Release Papers are no exception,” Weinhold adds. “We understand our customers want a product and a supplier they can rely on, and Verso delivers on both of those needs.”
Wausau Coated Products
Wausau Coated Products (WCP) says that, in its early years, its pressure sensitive offerings included essentially three paper substrates: thermal transfer, direct thermal and semi-gloss. Today, labels have advanced beyond product identification bar codes and mailing labels to point-of-sale labels designed to complement home décor and premium decorated labels to enhance brand image and recognition. To fulfill the needs of brand owners and the sophisticated role of labels, WCP has built a full menu of paper stocks: colors, including a deep rich black with wet strength, a variety of uncoateds, premium uncoateds with texture and wet strength properties, metalized, foil laminates, high gloss, various weights of semi-gloss for enhanced performance or reduced costs, matte, inkjet, laser, photo gloss, DT and TT, tag, and board stocks. A few recent “heavy hitters” for the company are the Forest Stewardship Council Certified materials with 10-100% PCW, 55# Recycled Natural Kraft with 100% PCW and seamless holographic paper.
“The role of labels has again been expanded with the advancements in digital print technologies allowing personalization, versioning, brand variation, accelerated time to market, at an economical per label price,” the company says. “For well over a decade, WCP has delivered value to the digital print market by significant investment in technologies to manufacture technically superior label stocks that are then qualified by the OEM or other certifying body. Our paper labelstocks are available in stock or custom build pressure sensitive constructions for all digital technologies – HP Indigo electroink, water-based and UV inkjet, and production laser.”
WCP says it will continue to expand its broad portfolio of paper-based pressure sensitive materials by listening to customers’ needs and wants, and by working with vendors from around the world. “Our key objectives are to source and develop papers with alternative or sustainable materials, improved or new print enhancements, enhanced durability for post-print finishing process, and special performance properties to meet the demands of an ever-evolving label marketplace,” the company says.
Spinnaker Coating offers specialty papers including laser latex, nearly a dozen cover-up constructions, and a half dozen piggyback constructions with both standard and specialty adhesives on its Trimless program. The company says it also has industry standard facestocks such as semi-gloss and matte papers in a variety of adhesive and liner combinations.
Tamper evident paperstocks, SafeTE C1S and SafeTE C1S Cover-up, were designed to provide a cost-effective security option for many end users. SafeTE C1S tamper evident paper, specifically, was designed to provide a high level of destructibility when paired with an aggressive adhesive, but still offer the strength properties needed for good on-press performance. The Cover-up version provides greater than 95% opacity for hiding underlying text or graphics to cover up errors, old bar codes or for use as blind study labels.
Spinnaker also offers the 40# Semi Gloss, which it describes as an excellent choice for pharmaceutical or health and beauty applications requiring adhesion to small diameters such as test tubes, syringes and lip balm. It can also be helpful with its increased flexibility relative to standard 54#-60# Semi Gloss products.
Spinnaker Coating’s Trimless program includes a number of materials that are approved for the HP Indigo and EFI Jetrion presses, helping converters with small runs in the growing area of digital printing, The latest addition is iGO Metallized Paper that was released this past summer for HP Indigo roll-fed presses.
“The key is always selecting a paper facestock with not only the aesthetics that the end user wants, but the label properties that the application needs to be successful, keeping in mind factors such as whether the label will be wet or dry, what temperatures it will be exposed to in its life, and how it will be dispensed, just to name a few,” the company says. “Spinnaker provides full technical consulting support for this reason.”
According to Spinnaker, a major trend in the industry has been doing more with less. As a result, some papers have been designed to be used for multiple print technologies, which streamlines inventory and allows for printing at multiple points in the workflow. The company is seeing increased interest in its Semi Gloss Layflat products. Those products, the company says, “print beautifully via flexo for roll-to-sheet jobs such as kiddie stickers or other prime label applications, and are also appropriate for commercial and desktop laser printing.” Logos and other prime markings can be flexo printed, essentially making a base label template; end users can then add other information such as bar codes, ingredients, or dates with a standard laser printer. This can be especially helpful for an end user needing a lot of similar but not identical gloss labels for boutique health and beauty or food items.