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The global linerless labels market is estimated to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.6% between 2017 and 2023.

With such steady growth projected, how can linerless labels benefit your business and what are the key considerations for implementation? This guide is intended to help you understand linerless label solution, and navigate as associated pros and cons.

What are Linerless Labels?

Unlike standard labels, linerless labels do not have a liner with a release coating that enables the label to peel away and separate the adhesive from labels underneath it on the roll. Similar to a roll of tape, linerless labels feature a silicone release coating on the top layer of the labels and special adhesive that enables them to peel away from labels underneath.

Key Benefits of Linerless Printing

Incorporating a linerless printing solution has many advantages:

  • Reduces waste to positively impact the environment
  • Improves productivity as media rolls contain 50% more labels and require fewer media changes
  • Supports waste-reduction efforts and compliance with government environmental directives
  • Reduces workplace slip hazards from liner piles that collects beneath printers
  • Decreases weight in mobile printers and reduces label roll shipping as linerless rolls weight up to 40% less than traditional, pressure-sensitive labels with a liner
  • Enables flexibility for printing varying label lengths

Linerless labels are successfully used for a wide variety of applications in several industries ranging from food and beverage to pharmaceutical labeling to retail to parcel delivery.

Disposing of liner material continues to be an environmental challenge. More and more countries are requiring organizations that use media with a liner to take steps to reduce waste. A recent European Union directive, for example, has reclassified label liner material as “packaging waste” and has set targets to recovery and recycling. This increase in strict regulation is driving businesses to look for alternate, more environmentally friendly options such as linerless to comply and continue to meet their operational objectives.

What are the Challenges to Linerless Solutions?

With all the advantages, implementing a linerless solution can be tricky. First, you need to ensure that your printer and linerless labels are compatible with each other. One key factor is to ensure your linerless labels have been fully tested with your specific printer.

Regular thermal desktop and mobile printers cannot accommodate linerless labels. Desktop and mobile linerless printers feature a special platen roller with a non-stick surface to reduce the instances of the label adhesive sticking to the platen roller. As labels are printed, the adhesive comes into direct contact with the platen roller because there is not a liner to serve as buffer. Also, desktop linerless printers feature a special cutter to cut the labels to size as they are produced.

Lineless materials perform much different in desktop printers than in mobile printers, and in printers from varying manufacturers. Printer brands have differences in form factor and mechanical design, requiring specific formulations in the adhesive and label coating.

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