the tag and label industry is the largest segment for the synthetic market

the tag and label industry is the largest segment for the synthetic market.

As a matter of fact, Giblin says the tag and label industry is the largest segment for the synthetic market. “These include wrap-around labels, in-mold labels, tags, and a multitude of pressure-sensitive products,” he says. 

In-mold labeling (IML) is a good example of what synthetic papers bring to the table. With IML, the labels are positioned on the containers at the time they are being formed (either blow-molded or injection-molded). They have to withstand the rigors of the high heat of molten plastic, without burning and without distorting. Synthetics have proven a more reliable substrate than paper.

In addition, David Hoag, national converting manager for Arjobex, says that when paper substrates are used in these applications, problems can arise in the recycling stream. The paper label must be removed from the container to allow the plastic container to be recycled. The reality is that there ends up being a certain amount of paper residue in post-consumer resin that inevitably causes a “leaker” when the residue burns a pinhole in the wall of a newly formed container, says Hoag.

Michael O’Connell, brand manager of Neenah Paper Inc., notes that one of his company’s strongest positions stems from the use of synthetic substrates to print variable images or bar codes.

“Our proprietary coating enables end users in the labeling marketplace to employ various means of variable imaging,” he says. “These would include thermal transfer printing, dot matrix, ion deposition, and also inkjet.”