Glossary

A


ABRASION RESISTANCE
The degree to which a label surface, including printing and protective coatings, is able to resist rubbing or wearing away by friction.
ACCELERATED AGING
Procedures for subjecting pressure sensitive label material to special environmental conditions in order to predict the course of natural aging.
ACETATES
Transparent and cellulose films used as face materials; cellulose is a plant product.
ACROSS WEB
The direction opposite the machine direction of the web.
ACRYLIC ADHESIVE
Pressure sensitive adhesive based on high-strength, acrylic polymers. Can be coated as a solvent or emulsion system.
ADHESION/ADHERENCE
A bond established upon contact between two surfaces.
ADHESIVE
A substance capable of holding materials together by surface attachment.
ADHESIVE ACRYLIC
A pressure sensitive adhesive based on high strength, acrylic polymers. It can be coated as a solvent or emulsion.
ADHESIVE ACRYLIC BASED
A pressure sensitive adhesive with an acrylic polymer base.
ADHESIVE AQUEOUS
A water-based pressure sensitive adhesive.
ADHESIVE BLEED
The adhesive migration from pressure sensitive material and labels. Note: Especially critical in laser printing.
ADHESIVE COLD TEMPERATURE
An adhesive that adheres to refrigerated substrates. Has an application range of -20° and a service range of -65°.
ADHESIVE DEPOSIT/ADHESIVE RESIDUE
The pressure sensitive adhesive remaining on a substrate when a label is removed.
ADHESIVE DRY GUM
An adhesive that adheres by getting it wet and then applying it to the substrate.
ADHESIVE FREEZER TEMPERATURE
An adhesive that adheres to freezer substrates. Has an application range of 0° and a service range of -65°.
ADHESIVE HEAT SEAL
An adhesive that has a coating which melts under heat to form the bonding agent.
ADHESIVE HIGH TEMPERATURE
An adhesive that withstands sustained, high temperatures (+200? F or higher).
ADHESIVE HOT MELT
A pressure sensitive adhesive that is applied to the release liner at an elevated temperature and then cools into a conventional, highly-tacky pressure sensitive adhesive.
ADHESIVE OPAQUE
A darkened adhesive that restricts printing from showing through the adhesive-coated side of a label.
ADHESIVE PATTERN COATED
Refers to the spacing arrangement of areas of adhesive on the face material that are coated parallel to the machine direction. Also, referred to as dry lap, strip coated, or zone coated adhesive.
ADHESIVE PERMANENT
A pressure sensitive adhesive characterized as having relatively high ultimate adhesion to a wide variety of substrates. The label either cannot be removed intact or requires a great deal of force to be removed.
ADHESIVE PRESSURE SENSITIVE
A type of adhesive which in dry form is aggressively tacky at room temperature. It has the capability of bonding to surfaces on contact with pressure.
ADHESIVE REMOVABLE
A pressure sensitive adhesive characterized by low ultimate adhesion. The label can be removed from most substrates without damaging the surface or leaving adhesive residue or stain.
ADHESIVE RUBBER BASED
A pressure sensitive adhesive derived from natural or synthetic rubbers.
ADHESIVE SPLITTING
A condition in which portions of pressure sensitive adhesive remain on the face material and portions remain on the substrate when the label is placed under stress or removed.
ADHESIVE STRIKE-THROUGH
When adhesive penetrates through the face material of a pressure sensitive lamination.
ADHESIVE WATER-BASED
A pressure sensitive adhesive derived from water based materials.
ADHESIVE WATER SOLUBLE
A pressure sensitive adhesive in which all components are water soluble.
AGE RESISTANCE/SHELF LIFE
The resistance of deterioration from air, heat, moisture, light or chemical action.
ANCHORAGE
The specific adhesion of a pressure sensitive material to a substrate.
ANCHOR COAT
A coating applied to the substrate to increase the adhesion of other coatings.
ANILOX LINE SCREEN
Dots per square inch on an Anilox Roll.
ANILOX ROLL
Ceramic or chrome plated steel rolls which have been engraved with cells that carry and transfer liquids (varnishes, adhesives, inks, scents, etc.).
ANTIFOAMING AGENT
An additive that prevents or eliminates foam in inks.
ANTIOXIDANT
Prevents or reduces the rate of oxidation from exposing the material to air.
ANVIL
A hardened steel roll upon which the bearers of a rotary die cutter ride, which also provides the hardened surface to support the die cutting.
ANVIL CUT LABELS
Pressure sensitive labels that are die cut through all components of the label stock, including the liner. Also called steel-to-steel, zero tolerance, punched out, or blanked out labels.
APPLICATION
1) Placement of a label on a substrate.
2) The conditions under which a label is to be used; the life-cycle of the label.
APPLICATION TEMPERATURE
Temperature of a label material at the time of application. All adhesives have a minimum application temperature rating. Testing is recommended in minimum and maximum application temperature situations.
APPLICATOR
A device that automatically feeds and applies pressure sensitive labels to a substrate or product.
ARTWORK
The design including the text, produced by the artist.
Automatic Application
A stipulation made by our customers whereby the finished labels will be applied by machine, so it is important that the labels are positioned uniformly on the reel and can be easily extracted.

AXIS
The line in which the roll or cylinder rotates.

 

B


BACKING
Refers to the carrier sheet of material in a pressure sensitive lamination as opposed to the face material. Usually has a release coating applied so that the adhesive will not stick too tightly to it. Also known as release liner, backing paper, carrier, etc.
BACK SPLITS
Linear cuts put in the liner during the coating process, or while on press, to meet special application requirements.
BARCODE/BARCODE SYMBOL
A specific pattern made of lines (or bars) and spaces, of varying width, which represent alpha or numeric data in machine-readable form. The most general format for a barcode consists of: a lead margin, a start character, data or message characters, a stop character, and a trailing margin. There are over 30 barcode symbols.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ON BARCODES, PLEASE CLICK HERE
Bar Code Check Digit
A check digit is a verifying character at the end of a bar code which is derived by means of a calculation of the other digits, e.g. "12348". The "8" is the result of a mathematical algorithm of the digits "1234". With some barcode types, the check digit is optional.

BARRIER COAT
A coating applied to a face material on the side opposite the printing surface that lies between the material and the adhesive coat. It provides increased opacity to the face material; prevents migration of adhesive to the face material; and/or improves anchorage of adhesive to face material.
BASIC SHEET SIZE
The size of a sheet of paper which is used to determine paper weight. Sizes vary depending on the type of stock.
BASIS WEIGHT
The weight in pounds of a ream of paper cut to a given size. Most backing papers used in pressure sensitive laminations are based on a ream size of 24" x 36"/500's. Face papers are more typically 25" x 38"/500's.
BATTERY LABEL STOCK
A durable, acid-resistant label material designed for the demanding environment associated with automotive batteries.
BEARING BLOCK
A device that holds the die in place in the die station.
BLEED
When the printed image extends beyond the trim edge of the label.
BLISTER
A bubble that forms from gas or fluid that is trapped under the surface.
BLOCKING
Adhesion between sheets or rolls of pressure sensitive labels usually due to cold flow, improper drying of inks, or improper curing of coatings and adhesives.
BLOWN-ON LABELS
A method of label application that uses air pressure to remove the label from the carrier and position it on the substrate.

BLUSHING
Ink that is milky, foggy or flat in appearance. Usually caused by humidity in the air.
BOLD FACE
Darker and heavier face than regular type face. Stands out more.
BOND
1) Paper that has no fuzz.
2) To stick materials together with adhesive.
BOUNCE
Rotational movement of the cylinders caused by compression.
BREAK
A tear in a roll of face material or release liner. Such defects are generally splices and marked by a flag during printing.
BREAKING STRENGTH
The measure of strength a product has.
BRIGHTNESS
The (blue light) reflectivity of a sheet of paper measured under standardized conditions on an instrument designed and calibrated specifically for that purpose.
BRILLIANCY
The brightness or intensity of a particular color.
BRITTLENESS
That property of a material which causes it to break or fail when deformed by bending.
BULK
Thickness of a sheet in relation to its weight. A bulky sheet would be lighter in weight because it is lacking compactness.
BURSTER
A mechanical device used to separate cross-web perforations at intermediate locations between labels.
BURSTING STRENGTH
The pressure required to rupture a paper specimen when it is tested with a Mullen instrument under specific conditions. It is largely determined by the tensile strength and extensibility of the paper. Also referred to as Mullen.
BUTT-CUT LABELS
Rectangular labels in continuous form separated by a single knife cut to the liner across the web. Also referred to Kiss Cut Labels.
BUTT ROLL
A roll of pressure sensitive label stock that is very short in length.


C


CAKING
Build up of dried ink.
CALIPER
A precision tool used to measure thickness, depth, inside diameter, and outside diameter. The measuring units are called mils or points.
CAMERA-READY ART
Black and white or color-separated artwork supplied in its final form for printing preparation. Typically, it requires no modification other than photo enlargement or reduction.
CARRIER
A paper or film for pressure sensitive labels. Typically, it has a silicone coating to allow easy removal of the label.
CAST COATED
A high-gloss enamel finish.
CAST-COATED PAPER
A paper coating which is allowed to harden or set while in contact with a finishing surface. In general, cast-coated papers usually have a high gloss finish.
CAVITY
Usually refers to the engraving on a rotary die cutter that die cuts a single shape.
CENTRAL IMPRESSION
A press with a number of printing units around a large cylinder that serves as the impression cylinder against which the substrate rides.
CHALKING
When the ink was not properly printed and can be rubbed off like a powder.
CHARACTER
Each individual letter, punctuation or symbol of any typeface.
CHEMICAL DRUM LABEL
A label of durable material (like vinyl or polyester) which resists adverse conditions associated with chemical drum containers.
CHEMICAL RESISTANCE
The resistance of a pressure sensitive label to the deteriorating effects of chemicals, under specified conditions.
CHOKE
A slight reduction of items from which color is knocked out of a background.
CIRCUMFERENCE
The length around a circle.
CLEAR COAT
A coating that protects the printing and surface of a pressure sensitive label from abrasion, sunlight, chemicals, moisture, or any combination of these. Varnish and lacquer are examples of clear coats.
COADHESION
The ability of an adhesive to stick to itself.
COATED PAPER
General term applying to all papers which 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.
COAT WEIGHT
The amount or weight of coating per unit area. This is expressed in various units including grams per square meter or pounds per ream. Applies to adhesives, primers,
varnishes, and lacquers.
COHESION
The internal strength of a pressure sensitive adhesive, its resistance to cold flow, and its resistance to failure (or splitting) when labels are removed of placed under stress.
COHESIVE FAILURE
The breakdown of molecular bond by which particles of a body, or bodies, are united.
COHESIVE STRENGTH
The internal strength of the adhesive. The measure of a label's resistance to removal.
COLD FLOW
Steady deformation of a pressure sensitive adhesive under stress.
COLORFASTNESS
The ability of a pressure sensitive label to retain its true color under normal conditions and/or to resist change in color when exposed to light, heat, or other influences.
COLOR MATCHING
To duplicate the sample of the color given.
COLOR OVERLAP
When one color is slightly covering another.

COLOR OVERLAY
Transparent sheet that lays on top of the black & white which indicates the colors of the artwork.
COLOR PROOF
A printed copy of the artwork which gives a simulated impression of the final printed product.
COLOR SEPARATION
The process of separating a color image into its individual printing colors.
COLOR STATIONS
There is one station or set of rollers for each individual color on press.
COMPOSITE ART
Black and white art in which all colors are illustrated on one piece of paper; not color separated.
COMPUTER IMPRINTABLE LABELS
Typically, pre-printed or imprinted utilitarian labels carrying variable information, such as a barcode and price.
CONFORMABILITY
The ability of a pressure sensitive label to yield to the contours of a curved or textured surface.
CONTINUOUS LABEL
Fan-folded labels manufactured from a continuous web of label stock which is not cut into units prior to packaging. Continuous labels are mostly used for data processing applications.
CONVERTER
Refers to that type of manufacturer who produces plain or printed rolls, sheets, bags or pouches, etc., from rolls of film, foil or paper, including pressure sensitives.
CORE/CORE SIZE
Refers to the inside diameter of the (cardboard) core in a roll of labels.
CORNER RADIUS
Describes the arc or curvature of the die blades where they meet so that they can impart a rounded corner to a die cut label.
COUPON BASE
The clear base in a dry peel label construction. Usually used for instantly redeemable coupons. The clear base is combined with a face material in a specialized laminating process. When the printed face material (or coupon) is removed, the clear base remains on the substrate.
COVERAGE
The degree in which a base material is covered. The mileage of an ink or coating.
CRAZING
The network of small cracks that can appear in a varnish coat or plastic face material. They are usually caused by expansion and contraction during weathering, or by excessive solvents in an ink system.
CREEP
The lateral movement of a pressure sensitive label on a surface due to low cohesive strength.
CROP MARKS
Marks made on the outer edges of artwork to designate the areas to be printed or trimmed off.
CROPPING
Cutting off unwanted areas of any artwork or photograph.
CROSS-DIRECTION/CROSS-WEB
The direction perpendicular to the machine direction in the plane of a printing material.
CRUSH CUT
A cut made by a rotary blade in contact with an anvil or base roll.
CURE
The step in which you treat plates with heat to make them infusible.
CURL
The tendency of paper to bend or warp, either by itself or because of a coating or laminate.
CURVE DIRECTION
The direction of the web on press.
CUT-OFF
In web printing, the cut or print length corresponding to the circumference of the plate cylinder and/or die cutter; repeat length.
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.

 

D


DEBOSS
Condition in which an image is depressed below the normal surface of a material. Embossing has the opposite effect, creating a raised image.
DESTRUCTIBLE LABEL
A pressure sensitive construction made with a weak face material so that (attempted) removal of the label usually results in its destruction.
DIAMETER
The length from one side to the other of a circle or sphere.
DIE
The tool or device used for imparting or cutting a desired shape, form, or finish from a given material.
DIE BLADES
Sharpened, thin steel blades used in flat or rotary dies. Also refers to blades on machine engraved or EDM manufactured rotary dies.
DIE CUT
The actual shape of a pressure sensitive label made by the cutting edge of a die.
DIE LIFE
Mileage (number of impressions) expected from a new die and expected following a resharpening of a die.
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.
DIRECT THERMAL PRINTING
A specialized printing technology that uses rapidly-heated pins that selectively activate a heat-sensitive coating inherent in the face material, thus forming the desired copy or images.
DISPENSER
A device that feeds pressure sensitive labels, either manually or automatically, in pre-determined units. Dispensers in box form can serve as containers for a roll of labels.
DISTORTED
Intentionally shrinking artwork a particular way to compensate for stretching of plates on press.
DOCTOR BLADE
A thin flexible blade used to scrape off excess ink on an anilox roll.
DOT
Many individual dots make up a halftone.
DOT MATRIX PRINTING
An economic and versatile method of printing that produces images by printing tiny ink dots closely together. First, a computer sends data which determines the arrangement of pins that are to be fired against a ribbon. These pins are in horizontal and vertical rows on the printing head. As the printing head moves back and forth across the page, the pins fire (many times per second), forming an image.
D.P.I.
Dots per inch; a measure referring to dot resolution in images created by dot matrix, laser, and thermal printers and imprinters.
DRAWDOWN
A swatch of color or coating used for testing. It's done by spreading a couple of droplets of ink or varnish across a sheet of stock.
DRY PEEL
A type of label construction in which two materials are bonded together with a dry adhesive. The top ply of the construction can be removed with no adhesive residue. The bottom ply is typically made of clear material, so the substrate can be seen through it. Commonly used to produce instantly redeemable coupons or for promotions.

 

E


EDGE LIFT
The tendency of the edge of a label to rise off the substrate. This condition occurs most frequently on small diameter, curved substrates. Resistance to edge lift depends on the bond strength of the adhesive and the flexibility of the face material.
EDP/ELECTRONIC DATA PROCESS
Data processing by electronic equipment. Pressure sensitive labels produced for imprinting on EDP equipment incorporate in-line hole punching.
ELECTROSTATIC PRINTING
A method of printing in which the ink is affixed to the face material by electrostatic methods.
ELMENDORF TEST
A standard test for determining the tearing strength of paper.
EMBOSS/EMBOSSING
A condition in which an image is pressed into a material to create an image that is raised above the normal level of the material. Debossing creates the opposite effect.
EMULSION SYSTEM
A dispersion of fine particles or globules in another liquid. Many pressure sensitive adhesives are emulsion system adhesives.
EXPOSURE TEMPERATURE
The temperature to which a label product is exposed.

 

F


FACE CUT LABEL
A die cut or square cut label from which the matrix, or waste between labels, has not been removed.
FACE MATERIAL/FACE STOCK
Any paper, film, fabric, foil or plastic material suitable for converting into pressure sensitive labels. In a finished construction, the face material is bonded to an adhesive layer and carried on a liner. It is 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 SPLIT
A linear cut in face material during coating or converting to meet special application requirements.
FADE/FADING
A gradual decrease in brilliance of color; often applies to the change in color produced by prolonged exposure to light.
FAN-FOLD/FAN-FOLDED LABELS
Pressure sensitive labels on a continuous backing that are perforated, then folded back and forth along the perforations to create a flat pack.
FEATHERING
A defect in printing which is characterized by ragged, uneven, or coarse edges.
FEED SLOTS
Round or rectangular holes punched into the edge of a liner to maintain the register of computer imprintable pressure sensitive labels during imprinting. Holes can be cleanly cut or in a starburst.
FILM
Plastic face material manufactured from synthetic high molecular weight polymers. Examples are polyester, polyethylene, and vinyl.
FINISH
The surface property of a paper sheet determined by its surface contour and gloss. Terms referring to paper finish include: antique, eggshell, vellum, machine, English, super-calendered, and plate.
FISH EYES
Round or eye-shaped deformations in a coating.
FIXER
Chemical used to stop film from developing.
FLAG
A marker, usually made of strips of colored paper, placed in rolls of pressure sensitive materials during printing (converting) to designate a deviation from a standard-such as a splice, defect, or specification change. It can also mark a specific length.
FLEXIBILITY
A property of face material, measured under specified conditions, that indicates how readily it will conform to curved surfaces.
FLEXOGRAPHY
A rotary web letterpress method of printing characterized by raised-image, flexible rubber plates and fast-drying inks.
FLUORESCENT PAPER
A paper coated with a pigment which reflects light in such a way that it has a glowing appearance or effect.
FOIL
A thin metal sheet used as a face material.
FOIL PAPER LAMINATE
A face material consisting of metal foil laminated to paper. The foil usually carries a clear coat to improve ink receptivity.
FOOD CONTACT ADHESIVES
Adhesives meeting specified sections of the Food and 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.
FONT
All characters of a particular type.
FOUR COLOR PROCESS PRINTING
Printing and reproduction of full color images using the four process printing colors—yellow, cyan, magenta, and black—to create an image with an indefinite number of colors.
FROZEN EDGE
The inability to separate a pressure sensitive label from its liner along one edge. This is generally caused by an absence of silicone on that edge.

 

 G

Gaps
The spacing between labels, both horzizontally and vertically.

For a visual guide and explanation, please click here.


GEAR MARKS
A defect in flexographic printing. Usually appears as uniform spaces, lateral variations in tone exactly corresponding to the distance between gear teeth.
GEARE STREAKS
In printing, parallel streaks appearing across the printed web at the same interval as the gear teeth on a cylinder. Same as gear marks.
GHOSTING/GHOSTS
Indistinct image patterns appearing as solids or reverse printing, typically caused by poor ink distribution, inconsistency in plate and/or substrate thickness, and/or poor base ink formulation.
GLOSS
Characteristic of the surface which causes it to reflect light at a given angle.
GRAIN
In papermaking, the direction in which most fibers lie and correspond with the direction of the paper traveling through the paper machine.

  

 H


HALFTONE
A method of screening a continuous tone image (like a photograph) for printing or reproduction. The dots in the screen vary in size and density, so as to recreate the complete range of highlights, lowlights, and mid-tones in the original image.
HALOS
Lines around print caused by excessive ink, or excessive plate impression.
HANG TAG
A term used to describe fold-over labels generally used for product identification. These products usually "hang" in the retail marketplace.
HEAT SEAL LABELS
Label paper that has a coating which melts under heat to form the bonding agent.
HEAVY COAT WEIGHT
A higher-than-standard weight of coating per unit area.
HICKEY
A piece of foreign matter in paper, or a similar defect. A burr or defect on the printing plate.
HIGH GLOSS PAPER
A cast-coated gloss paper that features high strength material and excellent ink receptivity.
HOLDING POWER
The ability to withstand stress, involving both adhesive and cohesive strength. The term usually refers to rigid label materials on small diameter cylindrical objects.
HOT MELT ADHESIVE
Thermoplastic materials with 100% solids that liquefy when heated and re-solidify when cooled to form a bond with the face sheet that the adhesive was applied to. Also forms a pressure sensitive lamination which includes a release coated backing sheet. Also see Adhesives: Hot Melt.

 
I

 

ID: Inside diameter.
IDLER ROLLS
Roller mechanisms on converting machines used to support, smooth or direct the web in its course of travel through a machine not driven.
IMAGE AREAS
The portions of the printing plate which pop up and print the ink on the substrate.
IMPRESSION
The image transferred from the printing plate to the substrate or the adjustment required to effect the same.
IMPRESSION CYLINDER
In printing, the cylinder on a printing press over which the material feeds to pick up the impression from the inked plate.
IMPRINTING
Technique in which copy is applied to blank or previously printed labels with a secondary printing device such as an imprinter, computer printer, or typewriter.
INKJET PRINTING
A non-impact printing process whereby fluid ink is projected from a nozzle directly onto a material to form the desired image.
IN-LINE PRESS
A press coupled to another operation such as sheeting, die-cutting, creasing, etc.
INVERTED FACE MATERIALS
A facestock that has the adhesive applied to the printable surface.

  J


JUSTIFY
To arrange copy so that it lines up vertically on the left, right or both sides.

 
K

 

KEY LINE
In artwork, an outline drawing of finished art for labels to indicate the exact shape, position, and size for all
elements.
KISS CUT
A die-cutting operation which cuts through the face sheet to a liner, but not through the liner.
KNIFE-CUT LABELS
Rectangular labels in continuous form separated by a single knife cut to the liner across the web.
KNOCKOUT
A colored area that has been removed so another color can be printed in that area. This keeps the first layer of ink from overprinting the other.
KROMECOTE
A highly polished finish on paper.

 

 L

 
LABEL
The functional portion of a pressure sensitive construction, comprised of the face material and adhesive, cut into various shapes.
LABEL HEIGHT/LABEL LENGTH
The vertical measurement of a label (from top to bottom) when the label is traveling in the machine direction.
LABEL STOCK
Pressure sensitive laminate from which labels are produced; usually refers to roll stock.
LABEL WIDTH
The horizontal measurement of a label (from side to side) when the label is traveling in the machine direction.
LAMINATE
A web material formed by bonding two or more materials.
LASER PRINTING
Also known as electrophotographic printing, a process where light, generated from either a laser or diode, creates a static charge on a photographically-sensitive cylinder. The charged cylinder attracts toner, which is subsequently transferred to a printable surface, creating an image.
LATEX PAPER/LATEX-IMPREGNATED PAPER
Paper saturated with latex during its formation making it (durable=stronger) more resistant to moisture and abrasion, more flexible, and more durable.
LEADING
Measured in points, it is the vertical space between two lines of type.
LEADING EDGE
This refers to the orientation of the labels on the roll.  Narrow Edge Leading (NEL) sees the labels positioned with their narrower edges perpendicular to the sides of the roll.  Wide Edge Leading see the labels with their wider edges perpendicular to the sides of the roll.
  NEL          WEL

LIFE CYCLE
The length of time that a label is to be used before it is ultimately discarded.
LINE GROWTH
Pressure between the printing plate and substrate that may cause the printed line to grow.
LINER
A paper or film that is a carrier for pressure sensitive labels. Typically, it has a silicone coating to allow easy removal of the label.

 

 M


MACHINE DIRECTION
The direction of paper in its forward movement through a paper handling machine or printing press.
MACHINE FINISH
A term applied to a paper with a glazed surface finish created by means of calenders (cast iron rollers with chilled, hardened surfaces).
MACHINE READABLE
Refers to the scanning of a barcode symbol by a laser scanner or similar device.
MAGNETIC CYLINDER
A cylinder used in die-cutting that is magnetized to accept and hold flexible steel dies in place. Also used for metal-backed printing plates.
MAGNETIC DIE
A thin, flexible, steel cutting plate that is held onto a base cylinder magnetically.
MAKE-READY
On printing presses, all operations prior to running: mounting plates, adjusting the in-feed, setting the edge guide, putting ink in the fountain, adjusting the impression, setting up the die cutting, color matching, etc.
Margins
On sheeted labels this is the spacing around the perimeter of the page.


MASTER ROLL
A full width roll that has finished the primary manufacturing process and is usually untrimmed and unslit.
MATERIAL
Usually refers to unconverted stock, pressure sensitive or not.
MATERIAL SPLICE
An area where tape has been used to attach two rolls of material together to form one continuous web.
MATRIX (WASTE SKELETON)
The face material and adhesive layers of a pressure sensitive construction surrounding a die cut label which is typically removed after die cutting.
MATTE FINISH
A low-gloss or non-gloss finish. A UV-curable clear coat may also be used to produce a matte or textured finish.
MATTE LITHO
A litho paper with a satin finish between high gloss and dull finish that is ideal for barcode printing.
MEMORY
The property of a material that causes it to shrink or return to its original dimensions after being distorted, die cut, or subjected to temperature change.
METAL FOIL
Thin, flexible layer of metal, such as aluminum, used as face materials. Thinner gauges are often laminated to paper for strength.
METALLIZED FILM
A plastic or resinous film that has been coated on one side with a very thin layer of metal.
METALIZED PAPER
Paper that has a thick deposit of metallized particles that resemble a layer of foil. Metallized paper offers reduced stiffness and better flexibility than metallized film, and has an appearance similar to laminated foil papers.
MOIRE
An undesirable pattern that occurs when screens are out of register or the wrong screen is used.
MOISTURE CONTENT
The moisture present in a material. This is particularly important in liners.
MOISTURE EQUILIBRIUM
The condition reached by a material when it shows no change in weight, in relation to the amount of moisture absorbed by the material.
MOISTURE-PROOF
The property of a material which makes it virtually impervious to moisture.
MOTTLED SURFACE/MOTTLING
Non-uniform appearance of coloring or blotching of a face material.
MOUNTING
Placing the plates on the cylinders so that the colors line up correctly.
MULTIPLE-WEB CONSTRUCTION
A construction consisting of two or more face materials and/or adhesives on the same liner.

 

N


NEGATIVE
A photographic image of originals on paper, film or glass in reverse from that of the original copy. Dark areas appear light and vice versa.


O

OD
Outside diameter of a cylinder, core, roller or roll of labels.
OFFSET/OFFSETTING
The partial transference of ink from a freshly printed surface to an adjacent surface—as that of another sheet of paper.
OOZE
Adhesive moving out of ends of rolls or stacks of sheets, causing ends to feel sticky and possibly causing material to block.
OPACITY
The measure of the amount of light that can pass through a material.
OPAQUE INK
An ink that is not transparent and reflects only its color, regardless of what color overprints.
OVERCOAT
A coating that protects the printing and surface of a pressure sensitive label from abrasion, sunlight, chemicals, moisture or any combination of these.
OVERLAMINATE/OVERLAMINATION
Applying a clear film to label material to protect or enhance visual quality.
OVERPRINT
Printing one color over another.

 

 P

PEEL ADHESION
The force required to remove a pressure sensitive label from a standard test surface at a specified angle and speed, after the label has been applied according to specified conditions.
PENETRATION
The change in appearance of the face material due to movement of one or more components from the adhesive or substrate.
PERFORATION
A series of small incisions made in a material to facilitate tearing or folding along a pre-determined line. They are measured in TPIs (ties per inch).
PERMANENCY
The measure of an adhesive's ultimate holding power or bonding strength. A bond that makes label removal difficult or impossible without distorting or destroying the face material.
PERMANENT ADHESIVE
An adhesive characterized by having relatively high ultimate adhesion to a wide variety of surfaces.
PHOTOPOLYMER
Plate material that is photosensitive and upon exposure, its compounds polymerize to form a tough, abrasion-resistant surface that becomes the inking media.
PIGGYBACK
A type of pressure sensitive label on a pressure sensitive liner. The double-ply label is carried on a standard release liner. Once the double-ply is applied to a substrate, the top ply can be removed and applied to yet another substrate.
PIN-FED HOLES
Round or rectangular holes punched into the edge of a liner to maintain the register of computer imprintable pressure sensitive labels during imprinting. Holes can be clearly cut or in a starburst.
PINHOLING
Unwanted holes in the printed areas.
PLASTICIZER
A substance added to polymeric materials to promote flexibility, workability, and elongation.

PLASTICIZER MIGRATION
The movement of plasticizers from a plastic into an adhesive, face material, or both. This can cause degradation of the adhesive and bleed-through of adhesive components into the face material.
PLATE
The image carrier in letterpress and flexographic printing.
POLYESTER
A strong film that is resistant to moisture, solvents, oils, and chemicals. It is usually transparent, but is available with a metalized finish.
POLYETHYLENE
A tough, stretchy film suitable for use in low temperature applications. It is frequently used for labeling semi-rigid 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. A long-chain molecular structure.
POLYPROPYLENE
Similar to polyethylene but stronger and having a higher temperature resistance. Various thermoplastics are polymers of propylene; this material has excellent clarity. Also used in various thicknesses to print 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.
POSITIVE
Corresponds with the original artwork in all aspects.
PRESS PROOFS
Checking of the printed product before the production run is made.
PRESSURE SENSITIVE LABEL
A self-adhesive label that is the usable part of pressure sensitive material.
PRESSURE SENSITIVE MATERIAL/PRESSURE SENSITIVE STOCK
The combination of face material, pressure sensitive adhesive and release liner from which pressure sensitive labels are manufactured. Colloquially referred to as a "sandwich."
PRESSURE SENSITIVE TAPE
A combination of a pressure sensitive adhesive with a carrier. Tapes are either self-wound, or use release liners or films.
PRICE MARK LABELS
Labels for retail and/or wholesale use that normally carry alpha or numeric character information such as: unit price, lot number, style number, and SKU number.
PRIME LABEL/PRIMARY LABEL
Usually a descriptive, decorative product label; the label is typically on the front of the container.
PRIMER
A coating applied to face material, on the side opposite the printing surface, to improve anchorage of the adhesive and to prevent migration of adhesive components into face material.
PRINT RESOLUTION
The quality of print; the level of detail achieved by a printer. Measured in dpi (dots per inch), typical capabilities are 200 dpi for a thermal transfer printer and 300 dpi for a laser printer. It is particularly critical in barcode printing.

PROCESS COLORS
Colors that are created by mixing halftones of the four process colors (cyan, magenta, yellow and black).
PROTECTIVE COATING
A coating that protects the printing and surface of a pressure sensitive labels from abrasion, sunlight, chemicals, or moisture.

 
Q

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

 

R


RADIUS CORNERS
Also known as Rads, these are the corners of the label.  For a chart of the various corner measurements, pleas click here.
REGISTRATION MARKS
Symbols attached to original copy prior to photography, used for positioning films in register, or registering two or more colors when printing.
RELEASE/RELEASING
1) The act of freeing or separating a pressure sensitive label from its liner.
2) The force required to free or separate a pressure sensitive label from its liner.
RELEASE COAT
The (silicone) coating on a liner that allows pressure sensitive labels to be easily removed or dispensed.
RELEASE COAT TRANSFER
A defect resulting from the transfer of the release coat from the liner, to the pressure sensitive adhesive during release.
RELEASE LINER
The component of the pressure sensitive label material which functions as a carrier for the pressure sensitive label. Usually silicone coated, it readily separates from the label when the label is removed for application.
REMOVABILITY
A relative term applied to pressure sensitive labels to describe the force or condition under which they can be removed from a substrate. A removable label would be one in which little or no damage occurs to the substrate or the label upon removal.
REMOVABLE ADHESIVE
A pressure sensitive adhesive characterized by low ultimate adhesion and clean removability from a wide variety of surfaces.
REPEAT
The printing length of a plate cylinder, determined by one revolution of the plate cylinder gear.
RESIDENCE TIME
The time during which a pressure sensitive material remains on a surface before testing for adhesive permanence or removability.
RESOLUTION
Measured in dpi (dots per inch), typical capabilities are 200 dpi for a thermal transfer printer and 300 dpi for a laser printer. It is particularly critical in barcode printing.
REWIND
After printing the roll, it is wound up to the original unprinted form.
ROLL LABELS
Pressure sensitive labels that are packaged in continuous roll form.
ROLL-TO-ROLL
A method of running materials through a printing machine. A roll or material is fed into a printing unit, is printed, then is rewound into a roll as it exits the machine.
ROLL-TO-SHEET
A method of running materials through a printing machine. A roll or material is fed into a printing unit, is printed, then is sheeted as it exits the printing machine.
RUBBER-BASE ADHESIVES
Pressure sensitive adhesive based on natural or synthetic rubber. Can be coated as a solvent, hot melt or emulsion system.
RUNNING REGISTER
The control on a flexographic press which accurately positions, while in the run mode, the printing of each color station in the direction of web travel. Also called circumferential register or longitudinal register.

 S


SATIN FINISH
Smooth finish.
SATURATED PAPER
Paper saturated with latex during its formation to make it stronger, more resistant to moisture and abrasion, more flexible, and more durable.
SCANABILITY
The quality of a material that allows for precise printing of barcodes, so as to ensure accurate reading or scanning of the barcode data. Readings (called percent decode ratings) are usually measured as a percentage indicating the number of successful scans out of 100.
SCORE
To make an impression or a partial cut in a material for the purpose of bending, creasing, folding or treating.
SELF-ADHESIVE LABEL
The combination of face material, pressure sensitive adhesive and release liner from which pressure sensitive labels are manufactured.
SELF-IMAGING LINER
A specially-coated, pressure-activated liner that reproduces an exact image of information printed or imprinted on its corresponding face label. Requires an impact printing method.
SELF-IMAGING PIGGYBACK
A piggyback label material that can be imprinted; creating a duplicate label from the second ply of this double-ply construction. Requires an impact printing method.
SELF-WOUND
A roll of material with a single liner, which is coated on both sides with the release coating and carrier having a pressure sensitive adhesive on both sides. Also, a material that has pressure sensitive adhesive applied to one side and then rolled up onto itself (no liner).
SEMI-GLOSS
Coated one-side litho.
SHEETED LABELS
Finished labels furnished in cut, singular sheets. This format is most popular for laser printing.
SHELF LIFE
The period of time during which a product can be stored under specified conditions and still remain suitable for use—normally 6-9 months.
SKELETON
The face material and adhesive layers of a pressure sensitive construction surrounding a die cut label which is typically removed after die cutting.
SLIT BACK
Slits in the release liner of a pressure sensitive label to facilitate its removal by hand.
SLIT FACE
Slits in face material of a pressure sensitive product for easier removal.
SLITTER
Blades that cut stock in the long direction; razor blade slitter, shear slitter or score cutter.
SMUDGE RESISTANCE
The quality or characteristics of a paper (or plastic) to resist ink smearing immediately after printing or imprinting; directly related to the absorption level of the paper.
SPECIFIC ADHESION
The force required to remove a pressure sensitive label from a particular substrate under specified conditions.
SPLICE
A method of joining paper or plastic webs within a pressure sensitive roll to produce an operational continuous web.
SPLIT BACK/SPLIT LINER
Slits in the release liner of a pressure sensitive label to facilitate its removal by hand.
SPLIT FACE
Slits in face material of a pressure sensitive product usually for the purpose of facilitating removal.
SPOT COLOR
Requires that separate plates are made for each color being printed.
Sprocket Holes
Holes punched by the sides of the labels to enable use with dot-matrix or other tractor-fed machines
STACKER
Device on the take-off end of a press that automatically stacks sheeted labels.
STATIC CLING LABEL
A label that adheres to a substrate by static electricity—no adhesive is necessary.
STEEL-TO-STEEL
Pressure sensitive labels that are die cut through all components of the label stock, including the liner. Also called anvil cut, zero tolerance, punched out, or blanked out labels.
STEP AND REPEAT
The copying of the same images with exact spacing to fit the die.
STEPPED ANVIL
An anvil which has had either the bearer or body area reduced in order for die blades to cut to a different depth than originally intended.
STICKYBACK
Double-faced adhesive coated material used for mounting printing plates to the plate cylinder.
STORAGE LIFE
The period of time during which a product can be stored under specified conditions and still remain suitable for use—normally 6-9 months.
SUBSTRATE
The surface to which a pressure sensitive label is applied or adhered.
SUNLIGHT RESISTANCE
The ability of a material to resist the deteriorating effects of sunlight, especially ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths. Also referred to as being "fast to light."
SUPER-CALENDERED
A term applied to a paper with a glazed surface finish created by means of calenders (cast iron rollers with chilled, hardened surfaces). Semigloss litho and high gloss paper are examples of calendered paper.

 

 T


TACK
The property of a pressure sensitive label which causes it to adhere to a surface instantly with minimum pressure and contact time (measured by TLMI Tester or equivalent equipment).
TAMPER-RESISTANT LABEL
A pressure sensitive construction made with a weak face material so that (attempted) removal of the label usually results in its destruction.
TEAR-STRENGTH/TEARING STRENGTH
The force required to tear a label specimen under standardized conditions. Determined by using an instrument designed to simulate the tearing encountered under general use conditions.
TENSILE STRENGTH
The force parallel to the plane of an applied label required to break a given width and length of paper under specified conditions.
TENSION
The mechanical control of unwinding or rewinding paper, film, foil and other roll materials. The stress caused by a force operating to extend, stretch or pull apart.
THERMAL TRANSFER PRINTING
An imprinting method that uses heat and pressure to melt a wax or resin based ink onto a label.
THICKNESS
The thickness of a sheet of paper or plastic measured in units of one thousandth of an inch; the measuring units are called mils or points.
TIPPED-ON LABELS
A method of label application in which the carrier is peeled back and labels fall or "tip" onto the substrate.
TLMI/TAG AND LABEL MANUFACTURERS' INSTITUTE
A trade organization in the pressure sensitive label industry.
TOOLING
Usually refers to die cutters, butt cutters, etc., used to cut out the labels.
TOOTH COUNT
Refers to the actual number of teeth on the gear attached to the dies and printing cylinders. Each tooth count refers to a separate and actual repeat length.
TOP COAT/TOP COATING
A substance coated onto a label material that will enhance printing or the appearance of the finished label. For example, some films are top coated to ensure better ink anchorage to the surface of the material.
TPI/TIES PER INCH
In perforations, the number of material ties that exist between each hole.
TRACTOR FEED
Round or rectangular holes punched into the edge of a liner to maintain the register of computer imprintable pressure sensitive labels during imprinting. Holes can be cleanly cut or in a starburst.
TRANSPARENCY
That property of a material which transmits light rays so that objects can be clearly seen through the material.
TRANSPARENT LABEL
A pressure sensitive label inwhich the face material, adhesive, and protective coatings transmit light so that objects can be seen through it.
TRAPPING
Overlapping colors to allow for slight misregistration on press without losing color integrity.
TURNING BARS
Stationary bars on a press which guide the web in a manner that it is turned front to back, and will be printed on the reverse side by the printing units.

 

 U


UV COATING
A clear varnish that is cured by ultraviolet light that provides a glossy appearance and some protection of the label.


V

VARNISH
A heat-cured coating of one or more materials applied to a face material for protection and/or decoration.
VINYL
Synthetic plastic products which can be made in film, sheet, or other forms. Vinyls can be manufactured in rigid or flexible constructions. Generally more flexible and formable than polyesters. Also known as PVC or polyvinyl chloride. A tough durable plastic film having excellent resistance to oils, chemicals and many solvents.


W

WASTE
The face material and adhesive layers of a pressure sensitive construction surrounding a die cut label that is typically removed after die cutting.
WEATHERABILITY
The capability of a material to withstand the effects of weather.
WEB
A continuous sheet of pliable manufactured material.
WEB DIRECTION
The direction of any material parallel to its forward movement on the press.
WEB TENSION
The amount of pull or tension applied in the direction of travel of a web of paper through a web press.
WEB WIDTH
The measurement of the web that is perpendicular to the machine direction. Typically refers to the width of the liner or carrier.

 X


There are no terms in the Label Glossary that begin with the letter "X".

 Y


YELLOWING
A defect characterized by a gradual color change in the original appearance of white paper; the development of yellowish or brownish hues.


Z

There are no terms in the Label Glossary that begin with the letter "Z
 

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