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inotag Customised Labels for Harsh Environments

Artikel | von inotec | 15. Januar 2016
The inotag Flip Tag is pre-coded and printed or delivered as a blank label. The label is perforated lengthwise: one side serves as an adhesive surface, the non-adhesive side includes the label which is folded open when applied. When it is attached to metal, failsafe identification is also possible. The inotag Flip Tag is pre-coded and printed or delivered as a blank label. The label is perforated lengthwise: one side serves as an adhesive surface, the non-adhesive side includes the label which is folded open when applied. When it is attached to metal, failsafe identification is also possible. BILD: inotag

From the automotive industry to chemical and pharmaceutical applications – special features are required of inotag Smart Labels in harsh environments or outdoors

In harsh environments special features are required of smart labels, such as heat, scratch and chemical resistance. They should also be easy to handle and affordable. The label manufacturer inotag is constantly pushing the development of labels for use in container logistics and in the automotive, chemical and pharmaceutical industries – they can also be used for applications where an alternative to adhesive labels is needed.

From Marcus Muschke, Senior Sales and Christoph Reill, International Sales Director, inotag

High-Volume and Special Solutions

There is a strong market for smart labels within logistics in Europe, according to Christoph Reill. “Millions of labels are now used in RFID projects. For high-volume applications such as container management, thermal transfer labels are mainly used, as they are easy to print and can be programmed. Our manufacturing division is prepared for the production of large quantities of labels for high-volume markets,“ says Reill. “In order to produce them more efficiently, we have invested in new equipment.“ This also underlines the fact that RFID labels are more and more in demand: “About 30 per cent of our completed projects are already based on RFID. And the percentage continues to grow,“ adds Marcus Muschke, explaining: “High-quality labels belong to standard products just as much as customised ones.“ This includes scratch- and smudge-resistant labels, chemical-resistant labels as well as on-metal tags.

Labels – simple and easy to handle, but robust

There are certain applications, particularly those outdoors, when RFID labels cannot be stuck on but must be attached in other ways to avoid scratches when objects are stacked, such as when they are used in harsh environments. “Using RFID cable ties or seals means that the labelling will suit a variety of applications,“ said Christoph Reill. Security seals are suitable, for example, for use with containers, trucks or trolleys. With RFID, cable straps, metal boxes, small containers or items such as bulk plastic (recycled material) – all of which cannot be provided with labels – can be identified.

Special RFID labels are being used across various industries

Pallet and Container Management

“Container and pallet production is, for us, an extremely fast-growing market,“ explains Marcus Muschke. In addition to simple label designs applied to thermal transfer film, the demand for in-mould barcode labels for containers is on the increase. Container manufacturers still rely on a combination of barcode and RFID labels, since not every end user is equipped with RFID technology. “Plastics manufacturers are the biggest customers for RFID adhesive labels, because they have very strong adhesion and chemical resistance.“ For labelling fish crates and other extreme environment items, highly adhesive labels are required, which are impact, UV-radiation and seawater resistant.

Automotive Industry

inotag has noted an increased demand for UHF high temperature labels in the automotive industry. These applications require three key conditions for the label: first, it has to be adhesive, so it is easy to attach and cannot fall off at other stages. It has to adhere to metal, a car body or parts, and be capable of withstanding coating processes. Secondly, the adhesive label has to resist temperatures of up to 230 degrees Celsius for several hours. Thirdly, the reading range of the label has to be several metres. “What started as a customer-specific development, has now become a general requirement in the automotive industry. We have organised our business around this requirement,“ explains Marcus Muschke.

Chemical Industry

Labelling bulk containers using metal has specific requirements within the chemical industry. To detect individual barrels or liquid tanks piled up high in the warehouse, a Flip Tag can be used, which pops up by itself. “This solution has already been used in several projects,“ says Christoph Reill. In 2014 inotag implemented HF labels for plastic containers used by the chemical industry. The container management is controlled by the stored serial number, explains Marcus Muschke: “The resistance of the label to chemicals is a crucial element, in case chemical residues spill from the canister during washing procedures.“


A major airline had a quite different requirement for using RFID with metal. They were looking for a labelling solution for cans so that the inventory could be carried out in the cabinets in which they are stored. The developed RFID solution also included Flip Tags that the airline can print „in time“ on a daily basis.

Medical and Pharmaceutical Industry

“In the pharmaceutical industry, especially, the identification of ampoules is a fast-moving market. Special labels for health-care products are now available in the UHF range,“ says Christoph Reill. The latest of inotag’s projects involves the smart labelling of kits for prosthetic implants. An RFID solution is used to ensure all of the 70 to 100 parts required, arrive at the hospital complete and on time ready for the next operation.

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