What do Telescopes and Labels Have in Common?

When someone mentions a telescope, your mind probably conjures up a cylinder-shaped device that is used to observe objects at long distances. This could be one you put on your deck or something found in a huge astronomical observatory to magnify and view celestial bodies.

Telescoping Label RollIn the label world, we see a different type of “telescope.” This is what happens to rolls of labels when they are wound either too loosely or too tightly:
• If labels are wound too loosely, they are apt to slip when you go to pick them up. The outer edge of the roll moves away from the center of the roll and feels like the roll will come completely apart. If there is not enough tension on the rolls when they are wound, they can also go out of shape. When they run through a printer, the tension will vary from tight to slack and can cause registration issues. The only way to minimize that problem is to operate the printer at a lower speed.

• When labels are wound too tightly, and the roll is laying on its side, the center of the roll starts to move upward to create a cone shape, much like when a camera lens is extended. This effect is caused by the adhesive on the labels, minor material imperfections and the tension used to wind the labels. Heavy tension seeks to be released and escapes at the core first.

In the summer particularly, there is a lot of heat and humidity which can effect labels, causing them to expand, the adhesive to ooze and increase tension. It will definitely help to store your labels in an air-conditioned environment – if possible – and if not, at least try to keep them in a low place to avoid the heat that naturally rises. It would also help to store them in plastic bags that seal out humidity exposure. To offset any telescoping that has occurred, periodically turn the rolls over so that the centers start to work the other direction. Another option would be to have them totally unwound and rewound with less tension. Best of all… be sure to rotate your inventory using the oldest rolls first.

Electronic Imaging Materials