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What Is A Release Liner And Why Is It Important?

When it comes to deciding on your labels and your labelling machinery, the last thing most manufacturers think about is the bit you throw away. These remnants or backing of the labels are known as the release liner, and they are more important than you might first think. Many businesses fail to realise that release liners can actually make a big impact on the quality of the labels and the application process. Today, we are looking at what a release liner is and why it is so important for your products.

What Is A Release Liner?

A release liner is the backing used to carry and store labels. They are usually made from either a coated paper or a type of film, so that the labels can be easily removed either by hand or by labelling machinery. Release liners are used as a way of carrying and storing the labels, allowing them to be efficiently boxed, shipped, and moved. Not only that, but release liners also provide protective covering for adhesives. This means the adhesive on the labels does not become damaged, which is essential for a high quality label.

Most labels are made up of four main layers, although this will vary depending on the label type. First there is the decoration or finish, which sits on the top of the label. Next is the label material, usually made of paper or film, followed by the adhesive. The release label is the final part of the label, making the base layer. Because they are discarded when the label is applied, many people dismiss the liners as being unimportant.

Why Are Release Liners So Important?

Most release liners are made from paper, although sometimes they are made from a polypropylene film. They are then coated in a release agent on either one or both sides, which prevents the adhesive from sticking. There are many reasons why release liners are so important and ways they can affect the final quality of the label. Some label printers will use high heats during the printing process, and this can cause thin liners to cockle. Thicker, PE-coated liners work to keep the material flat during printing and eliminate these issues.

Not only does the material and thickness of the release liner matter, but also the colour. Clear label materials must have a white or opaque liner in order to allow the labelling machine to see the design clearly. A release liner which impairs the view of label design can cause issues with advanced labelling systems. Different release liners can also impact the stability during cutting, as a thin layer might not give accurate cut lines.

When choosing your release liners, you need to consider your labelling machine, your product packaging, your label design and much more. Labelling machines need to be able to read the gaps around labels on the liner, otherwise they cannot apply them properly. This kind of equipment uses a sensor in order to read the gaps and dispense the labels in the correct position on the product. For advice and help on choosing the right release liners for your labelling equipment, contact us today.