To Laser or Not to Laser: That Is the Lab Question!

To laser, or not to laser: that is the question.
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous lab requirements,
Or to take arms against a sea of cryo-chemical troubles,
And by opposing end them? To laser and have labels fail;
Or to switch to thermal transfer: perchance to succeed?:
ay, there’s the rub . . .

Almost every lab these days has a laser printer, to print forms or documents of some sort. Naturally—since your lab has already made the investment in a laser (or inkjet) printer—your first inclination is to source labels suitable for this type of printer. Flexibility and low cost generally make sheet-form labels an excellent choice for on-site, on-demand laser printing.

We Are Not Your Big Box Store!

Electronic Imaging offers labels that are not available at your favorite office superstore. Our years of research and development make us leaders in

White Moisture-Resistant Paper Laser Label

This paper product is stringently coated to offer good moisture resistance. This strong—yet flexible—paper material provides excellent toner anchorage for smudge-proof printing. It is designed to work in a wide range of medium to high-speed laser printers.

Its multi-purpose, aggressive adhesive features good room- and cold-temperature performance when applied to a variety of substrates, such as glass or plastic vials. Several major laboratories report that it even works in some cryogenic applications.

Opaque White Laser CryoLabel®

Our Opaque Laser CryoLabel® was specifically designed to withstand a wide range of temperatures (including liquid nitrogen temperatures) and to provide excellent opacity for cover-up applications. This durable, waterproof and abrasion resistant synthetic is ideal for Virology, Genetics, Microbiology, and other related fields.

Combining great flexibility with a super-aggressive adhesive, this proprietary product bonds extremely well to most surfaces—including small-diameter test tubes and flat surfaces, such as microtiter plates. Unlike many synthetic laser films, this material has been specifically designed to work under the high temperatures of laser printers, which is the typical cause of annoying printer jams and other malfunctions.

Laser PrinterWhen Is Laser Not Always the Best Choice for Your Lab?

In a word, chemicals. We’re talking about pernicious and poisonous, deleterious and dangerous, venomous and virulent, noxious and nasty. Stuff like alcohol, xylene, DMSO, acetone and more.

If you work with these substances, you know full well that all the components of a label (the stock, the adhesive and the printing) will have to withstand some serious toxicity. Unfortunately right now, there simply aren’t many choices of laser materials and adhesives to fit lab applications. There’s also a limitation on how thick or aggressive an adhesive can be without oozing as the sheets feed through the printer. We’re talking about serious, costly jamming―or even worse―dreaded damage to the drum and other internal components.

If your laser labels have been failing under the chemical onslaught, we really suggest switching to thermal transfer printing. Thermal transfer (TT) technology uses printing ribbons that come in a wide range of formulas and colors to match label materials and to suit demanding label applications. With thermal transfer you can achieve high-quality, very durable images that withstand an assortment of nasty chemicals, staining processes, reagents, solvents, cryogenic temperatures and other demanding conditions.

Your laboratory may also need a highly unique adhesive suitable for temperature extremes, for resistance to noxious chemicals or for multiple freeze-and-thaw cycles. This is only possible with the thermal transfer technology. Thermal transfer printers do not require print temperatures as high as laser printers and hence there is a much wider selection of label materials and adhesives available. That’s important news for laboratories, clinics, hospitals and research facilities which typically have highly specialized application requirements.

As an added bonus, many people actually prefer the roll-form labels used in thermal transfer printing. This allows you to print one label at a time instead of full sheets, thus realizing economies both in time and cost.

For some economical and easy-to-use thermal transfer printing systems, check out our QuickStart Label Systems. You get your Lab Manager off your back and become a money-saving lab technician in one fell swoop. What could be better?

Electronic Imaging Materials