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Which Adhesive is Best Suited for My Container Labeling Needs?

Posted 10/20/2016 by Sascha von Keitz, Application Specialist

Beverage manufacturers have a lot to consider when labeling their glass bottles, including everything from application conditions to the life cycle of the product. When it comes to selecting the right adhesive to get the job done, they are flooded with choices in the market, which beckons the question, which adhesive is the best?

That all depends on the application and end-use requirements. Learn more about traditional casein-based, synthetic polymer-based, and hybrid adhesives, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of each, below.

Traditional Casein-Based Adhesives

Strengths.

Traditional casein-based adhesives perform extremely well on cold and wet surfaces, making them an ideal choice for cold-filled returnable glass bottle labeling. They are also reliable in the wash-off process and are flexible (even on high-speed machines).

Weaknesses.

The adhesive consists of casein, a milk protein, which makes them susceptible to heavy price fluctuations and more prone to bacterial contamination and thermal instability, limiting their normal shelf life to six months. 

Synthetic Polymer-Based Adhesives

Strengths.

Polymer-based adhesives offer very good thermal stability and have a longer shelf life. Furthermore, preheating is not always necessary because they work well at moderate room temperatures, and they have excellent ice water resistance. Additionally, they offer a great mileage, a fast setting time and have clean running properties and easy dosing, especially on very high-speed machines. 

Weaknesses.

Polymer-based adhesives, however, fall short to casein-based adhesives when it comes to very cold and wet labeling applications, as manufacturers continue to have reservations because of their wash-off properties. The early days of this technology’s introduction to the world were marked by wash-off problems and by foam building in the caustic bath.

Hybrid Adhesives

Strengths.

Hybrid adhesives use a mix of natural and synthetic raw materials. They come closest to the excellent wet tack properties of casein-based adhesives, and combine that with a faster setting time. Furthermore, the hybrid adhesive has a condensation water resistance that is higher than that of purely synthetic adhesives, and it has a wider application range. 

Weaknesses.

Hybrid adhesives fall short to casein-based adhesives when it comes to a wide application range, though they outperform synthetic adhesives in this regard.

No one adhesive is best in all circumstances; rather, there are adhesives that are ideal given a specific application and end-use requirement. In order to assess whether a particular adhesive is suited for a product, a detailed evaluation of the given requirements and end-use expectations is needed to best identify the one most suited.

Learn more about our container labeling adhesives, read our previous labeling blogs or fill out the contact form.

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