Trends and Predictions for the Industrial Labels Market

Close-up image of two blue chemical barrels with warning labels.

Used to provide important information to users and consumers alike, industrial labels may caution, advise, and even entertain while presenting directions or branding for a specific machine or product.

A universally recognized symbol for poison may be included, for instance, or an amusing image that peaks customer interest and engagement. Or, clear, easy-to-follow directions and warnings may be outlined to ensure proper use and optimal safety. In short, industrial labels are crucial for avoiding human error and misinterpretation.

The Composition of Industrial Labels

In general, industrial labels are constructed of four basic layers.

The bottom layer is called the liner. This is pulled off to reveal the adhesive that sticks the label to the object. A liner may be made of paper, film, or plastic. It’s crucial to consider the thickness of the liner so that it can be easily fed through the printer.

The next layer is adhesive. This coating is like the filling in a sandwich. It keeps the liner below it connected, as well as the image above it. The proper adhesive for a specific job will depend on the surface at hand and what material it is made from — such as glass, cardboard, rubber, or silicone.

The next layer is called facestock. Facestock conveys the message and the medium. Custom requirements will determine what is actually possible once the design is underway. Variables may include end-use environmental requirements and the demands of the print machine utilized. Facestock can employ paper, plastic, and polyimides.

The topcoat is the final clear layer, which protects and enhances the facestock. For this element of the label, both aesthetic and practical considerations should be taken into account.

Common Industrial Label Applications

Industrial labels must ensure longevity while resisting exposure and deterioration caused by light, chemicals, water, and oils. All industries have specific label requirements. The demands of a chemical lab drum label, for instance, will inevitably differ from those of an automobile factory line sticker.

Not just for use in product branding, labels are also needed for parts inventory, preventative and security warnings, maintenance information, chemical hazards in conjunction with MSDS/SDS and GHS, and even staff IDs.

Labels can also be adapted to stick to wet surfaces, high heat areas, and other harsh applications. Durable inks and tough materials can be used to ensure legibility throughout the product’s life cycle, and labels can even be inlaid with RFID tracking programs or the universally recognized UL safety symbol.

Industrial Label Trends and Market Driving Factors

North America is currently driving the growth of the industrial label market, primarily due to consumer awareness. China and India, however, hold the largest share of the market, due to the size of their consumer bases. All regions of the world, however, play a part in the demand for industrial labels.

The automotive industry, in particular, is seeing increased demand. Accessible online designing tools are also being used more and more often to reach markets that demand originality, such as the craft beer and brewing sector. And in 2017, several small, easy-to-use printers came on the market; these products are able to meet the high demands of industrial print runs.

Functionality, sustainability, and digital identity imprinting are all important factors in the label industry, and manufacturers continue to look for ways to improve and innovate overall packaging design.

Below are a few of the most popular trends in the industrial label sector.

FDA Labels

The U.S. food industry is transitioning to new FDA guidelines for nutrition labels. Other countries are seeing rising demand for Extended Content Labels (ECLs); these are small in size, but have multiple pages to easily show all the required information.

Waterproof Labels

Various materials can be used in waterproof labels, making this new trend accessible to every industry. These labels are made from adhesive and non-adhesive materials, and can include cutting-edge printing designs.

Waterproof labels can be used for nutritional information, pharmaceutical packaging, bath products, and occupational hazard warnings. Chemical companies originally held the market here, but waterproof labels are now being used on many kinds of consumer goods and prescription drugs, and are also in high demand by the food and beverage industry.

Craft Market Industry Labels

Expansions in the global trends toward premium and locally made products are driving another area of labeling, with a focus on unique, eye-catching design. Using digital printers, for instance, labels may be printed on unusual surfaces such as veneer or holographic facestock.

The Evolving Industrial Label Industry

The industrial label sector must be able to meet the rising demand for creative, engaging aesthetics, while also meeting stringent application standards and industry regulations.

To ensure you choose the right type of label for your application, be sure to carefully research all available options and partner with a trusted label provider that will work to meet your unique needs.




Image Credit: nhumster/

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