Download: eDossier “Outgassing – an obstacle to high quality label applications”
Download: eDossier "Outgassing – an obstacle to high quality label applications"
Pressure sensitive labels have to stick onto the surface of products throughout their entire lifetime. However, particularly in the automotive sector, ambient impacts like increasing temperature or relief of pressure may cause outgassing of the labelled object. To avoid bubble formation or the delamination of labels, the use of special face stocks and adhesives is required.
You may have come across plastic crates – also known as tote boxes – or differently engineered plastic applications where the label is being affected by small bubbles. The main cause of this label damage is outgassing, a process whereby a gas is dissolved, trapped or absorbed by a material before being released, resulting in tiny bubbles appearing in the surface of the substrate.This is one of the most common issues in manufacturing industries, as the outgassing characteristics of the products are increasingly sensitive to those of adhesives and sealing compounds. Read the full article in our eDossier “Outgassing – an obstacle to high quality label applications.“
But where do these bubbles come from? And what is ultimately responsible for them? The problem originates from the source material, as any solid can release gas. With regards to plastics, from the moment a plastic based substrate – such as a polycarbonate, acrylics or ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) – is manufactured, it releases large volumes of gas. Closed environments, such as factories, also elevate the initial amount of gas released immediately after the product’s been produced. And, while the outgassing eventually dissipates, this process can last for days, weeks, months or even years.
A thread for industrial processes
Due to the different variations of outgassing, this problem affects a wide number of industries. For instance, it presents a challenge in high-vacuum environments, such as in space. NASA maintains a list of low-outgassing materials to be used for spacecraft, as outgassing products can condense onto optical elements, or solar cells, and obscure them. Materials like sealants, lubricants and adhesives can release enough light-weight molecules to interfere with industrial or scientific vacuum processes.
In the fast-moving consumer goods industries, products are reeled off, tagged, packaged in tote boxes or plastic crates, and dispatched as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, when these boxes are then labelled with a pressure sensitive adhesive, the gas easily becomes trapped or encapsulated. Tiny bubbles can quickly appear – the label might even fall off completely – before the products can be transported to their destination, which will naturally cause major tracking, tracing and identification issues.