Winter weather impacts both our personal and professional lives — frozen water pipes, school closures, icy streets. And if you live in an area where freezing temperatures are the norm, you can add labeling problems to that list. Labels that apply and perform perfectly during summer months will fail when the temperature drops if you don’t take the proper precautions.
In this post, we’ll explain how to diagnose and fix common storage and shipping problems (peeling, curling and wrinkling) by making minor modifications to your label construction or application process. If you’d like further assistance with cold-weather application problems, check out this article.
What do I do if my labels are peeling or falling off?
Labels with general purpose adhesives need to be stored at room temperature and applied at temperatures no lower than 40° Fahrenheit. If your labels are peeling or falling off as the temperatures drop, it probably means the facility where you’re storing and applying labels is too cold.
How to stop your labels from falling off in winter months
- Make sure your labels are being stored in an environment that is at least 40° F. Although your facility may be conditioned to an appropriate level, double check that open doors and windows aren’t causing the temperature to drop.
- Check that your container’s surface is an appropriate temperature prior to application. Applying labels to a surface below the 40° F threshold can cause your labels to fail.
- If you have to store, apply or ship your labels in conditions below 40°, talk to your label converter. They can help you find a cold-temp adhesive that will perform in conditions as low as -20° F.
What do I do if my labels are curling from the liner?
Relative humidity (RH) tends to drop as it gets colder. Labels should be stored in facilities with RH levels somewhere between 40 and 55%, according to Spinnaker Coatings, and facilities can drop as low as 20% in the winter. This can cause paper labels and liners to lose moisture, causing the label to curl. Even film label constructions will curl, as the paper liner loses moisture and shrinks.
How to prevent label curling during the winter
- Measure the RH in the facility where you are storing your labels. If it is below 20%, consider investing in a humidifier.
- Store your label rolls in airtight bags, monitoring them closely to ensure no condensation forms on the inside of the bags as they acclimate to your facility’s temperature. Only remove rolls when you are ready to apply your labels to the container.
What do I do if my labels are wrinkling during transport?
Labels and their containers often shrink at different rates when subject to extreme cold, which can cause the label to pucker. This is especially a problem if labels are applied to empty plastic containers, and then transported in cold weather.
How to stop your labels from wrinkling during winter
- Let your labels and containers acclimate to your facility conditions (which should be within 40 to 50% RH and above 40° F) for at least 24 hours prior to label application. This will help to prevent temperature fluctuations after application.
- If possible, don’t ship your products over holidays or during the weekend, when they’re liable to be left outside in the truck for extended periods of time.
Need more help troubleshooting label problems?
We’ve helped brands engineer label solutions and troubleshoot label problems since 1990, and we’ve seen it all. If you have any questions about your unique labeling challenges, feel free to reach out to our team directly.