BY GRAPHIC PRODUCTS STAFF
Product identification is a broad category of labeling that includes functions such as product traceability, brand protection, and various information labels. With a rapidly changing business environment and constant threats from theft and counterfeit products, product identification labeling is critical.
Product Identification for Product Traceability
Product traceability provides the ability to track a product through the manufacturing process and to the end user. In a perfect system, a product in the hands of a customer can be traced backward through the delivery, shipment, manufacturing, and raw material purchasing process such that the supplies of the original raw material can be identified.
Product traceability labels are used to improve quality and identify the source of a problem should there be a recall or other issue.
Product traceability requires product identification labels, usually incorporating an identification number or barcode. Identification labels may be used to identify batches or individual items. A variety of labeling technologies is available to accomplish this.
Vinyl or polyester labels are at times used for product identification labels and are excellent for tracking products where security is not a major issue. A variety of labels for numerous application may easily be made using an industrial label printer.
In some cases, a specialized supply is needed to address industry-specific product identification needs. For example, DuraLabel Metal Detectable labels are often used in the food processing industry where detecting contamination is critical. Should a label be damaged or misapplied, even if small parts of the label get into the product, they can easily be detected.
At times during some manufacturing processes, a temporary label may be needed. It is beneficial to have labels that can be used as needed and then easily removed such as with the DuraLabel Repositionable Tape or DuraLabel Magnetic Supply.
However, all of these types of labels may easily be removed or counterfeited. So a different type of label needs to be used for product identification when brand reputation is a concern, or if the product is a high-value product that may be stolen or counterfeited.
You can make custom product identification labels that incorporate a watermark that is only visible under UV light, making these labels hard to duplicate.
Tamper-Evident "VOID" and Tamper-Evident Destructible Labels
These labeling supplies make product identification labels that cannot be removed and reused.
Variable Information Labels
Variable information product labels provide product identification plus additional information such as use-by dates, batch ID codes, production date, manufacturing location or lot numbers. This information may be in the form of text and numbers, barcodes, or both.
When handwritten information needs to be added to a label in a secure manner. To ensure handwritten information is embossed and cannot be erased or changed, Embossable Poly Tape is the solution.
Variable information labels may also be traceability labels or brand reputation labels, and all of the label material options listed above are often also used for labeling that requires variable information.
Durable Goods Labeling
Sometimes called "name plates" product identification labels on durable goods must be tough and able to withstand sometimes harsh conditions. All of the labeling options listed above are used for product identification labels on durable goods. In addition, there are other options that are frequently used:
Metallized Poly Tapes are sometimes used for product identification labels because they are easy to make and provide a brushed metal look.
When an extra strong adhesive is needed, Ultra-aggressive Adhesive Vinyl has an implausibly strong adhesive. It sticks to wood, fabric and other complex surfaces.
When product identification labels must survive harsh chemical environments such as machines that are subject to wash-downs, you can protect your visual communication with DuraChem Chemical Resistant Tape. Machines and equipment used in the food industry as well as in many industrial applications need to be regularly cleaned. Wash-downs can use harsh chemicals and involve abrasion.
Product identification of electronics and electrical components require unique labeling materials. Supply with high dielectric strength with temperatures ranging from -40°F to 356°F is possible with Circuit Board Polyimide Tape. These heat accepting characteristics make polyimide tape an ideal supply for electrical component labeling used in high-tech manufacturing and provide the necessary durability to survive applications around electrical and thermal insulation.