Home Identification Solutions Labeling What to Look for in a Custom Label

What to Look for in a Custom Label


Custom Label Manufacturing

It is possible that, when initiating a new laboratory application or SOP, current methods of sample identification do not meet the new requirements of the technique. At this point, a custom label may be necessary to address these potentially stringent conditions adequately. Here are several key things to look for when searching for a provider of custom labels, all of which can ultimately decide how effectively samples are tracked throughout the new workflow.

Address specific laboratory needs

The search for a custom label will usually arise because there is a specific need within a given workflow that traditional identification strategies cannot solve. Though they are plentiful, it is possible that within the selection of currently available cryogenic, autoclave, and chemical-resistant labels, there is no adequate label tailored to the SOP at hand.

To fully address specific laboratory needs, it is essential to first verify what is currently available and assess whether a unique solution is necessary. For instance, while most cryogenic labels are explicitly intended for storage in cryogenic temperatures, cryo labels designed for additional purposes, like affixing to already frozen or metal surfaces, are also available. Thus, it is always helpful to consult with an identification solutions expert in order to understand how best to address the need and whether a customized label should be manufactured.

Work with an experienced manufacturer

If a novel label is required, it’s helpful to describe the protocol in as much detail as possible, as well as the issues surrounding the proper identification and tracking of the samples. To this end, partnering with a label manufacturer can be invaluable, as the design specifications can be meticulously recorded to the exact laboratory need with the help of identification solution experts, who will perform a complete evaluation by asking several key questions:

  • What chemical solutions will the labels encounter?
  • Is it incidental exposure, or will these labels be immersed for an extended period?
  • What temperatures will the label be exposed to?
  • What surfaces or containers will the label be affixed to?
  • Will any special features be necessary (e.g. tamper-evident, piggyback)?
  • What size and shape will the labels need to be?
  • What color will be needed for the label and printout?
  • Will barcodes or RFID be necessary?
  • Are there regulatory requirements that must be met?

They will also determine potential fail points throughout this process, which may require gathering specification data and drawings while also ensuring workflow compatibility. Once these conditions have been thoroughly analyzed, an R&D team can then begin to develop a solution that fully matches the application.

Test before and after

When partnering with a label manufacturer to design custom labels, it is recommended that free test samples of the prototype be provided in order to test the new solution and ensure it meets all the necessary requirements of the workflow in question. In-house, the manufacturer will often attempt to optimize the solution by simulating the workflow conditions; however, this will only simulate the actual lab conditions it will encounter, serving as a test of the label’s overall durability.

As such, once the samples are received, they must be tested in the exact conditions they will be used in prior to full integration. Troubleshooting can then be performed by communicating the test results with the manufacturer. If an error occurs, such as the labels falling off during testing, this data can be relayed to the R&D team so they can improve the solution further.

Note that it is also recommended to test the solution over the long term once it has been fully integrated and personnel are trained to use it. It is possible that an issue may occur months or years later or that the solution requires an update to match more recent laboratory conditions. By contacting the label manufacturer, if these occur, more efficient strategies can be implemented, particularly as the manufacturer’s in-house technology expands over time.

LabTAG by GA International is a leading manufacturer of high-performance specialty labels and a supplier of identification solutions used in research and medical labs as well as healthcare institutions.



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