Written By: Noelle Daigle
Polymer Fusion Labels for polyolefin plastics are in a class of their own. Their super-power lies not only in what they do have, but what they don’t have. They do not use inks, substrates, or even adhesives.
“No adhesive?” You say. “So how do they stick?”
The answer? They don’t. They fuse.
Invented and patented by my grandfather, Michael Stevenson in the 80’s, Polymer Fusion Labeling is a technological labeling solution he was inspired to create specifically to solve the problems that inevitably arise when trying to decorate plastics.
Not only for branding, but especially if what you require is a safety, warning, informational, or any type of imperative label that just cannot fail.
Polymer Fusion Labels are comprised of what their name suggests, polymer.
“A Polymer is a chemical compound containing large numbers of identical molecular repeating units. Plastic is a repeating polymer, which can be molded or shaped under conditions of pressure and temperature.”
Polymer Fusion Labels do what their name suggests, they fuse molecularly, under pressure and temperature, into the subsurface of a polymer or plastic component.
Because they are structured the same way as plastic and were designed without the use of inks, substrates, or even a hint of adhesives, the two separate materials become one solid piece that are now bonded for life.
A Polymer Fusion Label possesses and takes on the same attributes that plastics possess. Durability, strength, chemically inert, and environmentally resistant. Their bond, the label and the plastic surface, will create enhanced structural strength and integrity for the lifespan of the part.
In fact, we have customers who use our polymer labels exclusively for their “essential, cannot fail” labels because they must, by law, use a label that will not degrade or fall off.
Trust me, we’ve tried to outright destroy them within several tests!
While the plastic itself can be destroyed; a properly fused Polymer label cannot ever be separated from the plastic.
My grandfather’s invention works because he realized that the reason so many typical labeling technologies fail is because they are designed for materials such as steel or other metals, which means their construction and many layers are comprised of materials that are incompatible for plastics.
For your reference, steel and metal has a high surface energy. That means typical labeling technologies will adhere to those surfaces with no problems. In fact, the globally recognized adhesion testing for standard requirements are all done using steel surfaces (per ASTM D6252).
There aren’t any done with plastic. Again, trust me, I’ve tried to find them! (I challenge you to look for yourself, if you can find any, please let us know)!
Picture it like this: Plastic surfaces have a surface energy level similar to Teflon.
Absolutely nothing wants to stick to them. In fact, plastics are used precisely because of their characteristics that make adhesion impossible. Their resistance to adhesion and degradation make them durable, strong, environmentally resistant, and chemically inert (meaning they reject substances that would otherwise degrade or erode them, such as gasoline, or the fact that plastic is the material used to hold glue, because the glue and the plastic surface are incompatible and therefore do not “stick” together).
So when you take a typical label, such as a sticker, or a hot stamp, heat transfer, or an In Mold Label, you’re taking a label that is constructed of incompatible materials, that would perform phenomenally on a steel surface, and attempting to make them stick to a surface that inherently rejects them.
The battle for a sticker is two-fold. Not only does it have to fight to stay adhered in any capacity to a plastic surface that will continually reject it, but it also must be able to withstand a barrage of potential contaminants and attacks.
It must withstand repeated chemical cleanings (think medical labels or any surface that must be sanitized), it must be able to withstand environmental exposure or UV light (think branding, safety, informational labels on kayaks, boats, vehicles), and must be able to hold up under repeated use (think a child safety seat flap in a grocery store).
When your label cannot fail, you need the only label in existence that redefines what the industry thinks of as “adhesion.” Adhesion for plastics is always temporary.
The difference a Polymer Fusion Label provides is found within the combination of its makeup (polymer) and its function (Fusion).
Those attributes combine to form its super-power. Fusion is for life. Fusion will never fail.
In fact, I dare you to try to destroy a Polymer Fusion Label by succeeding in separating it from the plastic it’s fused into. Like a tattoo, it can be scarred or wounded…but it can never be separated from the plastic it’s fused into.