Why Zebra is the Best Choice for Labels and Printing Supplies

Choosing a barcode label or a printer ribbon can seem like a simple choice. Many buyers just choose a standard paper label or go with the least expensive option.

But things aren’t that simple when it comes to most real-world labeling use cases, where you need specialized labels with the right materials, adhesives, and printer ribbon to ensure that your labels stay adhered and readable in your environment.

For example, if you’re labeling utility equipment that’s stored or used outdoors, you need high-quality synthetic labels that can withstand sunlight, moisture and extreme temperatures, so your labels stay adhered, don’t fade, and you can still scan, track and read warnings and other critical information printed on them.

Similarly, if you’re labeling chemical drums, you need labels with highly durable yet flexible materials and the right adhesives so they remain adhered to curved surfaces. And your labels might also need to withstand harsh outdoor exposure, a rugged indoor environment, or even the chemicals your drums contain.

This is why our label experts at Tri-State Business Systems always recommend Zebra labels for virtually every barcoding and labeling application. Zebra has been the global leader in barcoding and labeling for over 50 years, and it has earned that reputation by innovating and manufacturing labels of the highest quality and durability.

Zebra has over 1,000 different label and supplies combinations, and each matches the right label materials, adhesive, and printer ribbon to deliver unsurpassed print quality, adhesion, durability and performance in specific real-world applications.

Zebra produces labels and printing supplies for everything from the simplest warehousing and packaging needs, to the most challenging and brutal outdoor or industrial environments. From value-range solutions to UL and CSA-approved polyester labels and resin ribbons for cryogenics, Zebra’s portfolio offers the most comprehensive range of high-performance labeling solutions you’ll find anywhere. And they all undergo extensive research and development, quality assurance, and pre-testing to ensure you get the results you need.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what sets Zebra apart in these and other areas:

Zebra’s Label and Supplies Quality Assurance

Zebra has quality processes and pre-testing in place to ensure the highest print quality and performance of all its labels and supplies. Its quality standards include:

  • ISO 9001:2008 certified quality processes
  • Consistent label materials with absolutely no substitutions
  • Computerized vision inspection systems
  • Color matching software and equipment

The Zebra Pre-Testing Process

Zebra’s supplies research and development team pre-tests all of its label materials and supplies, putting labels through stringent tests and analysis. This includes:

  • Extensive pre-testing on Zebra Printers
  • Assessment of printhead wear
  • Verification of adhesive strength specifications
  • Pre-tests for different environmental factors
    • Indoor/outdoor
    • Low/high temperatures
    • Abrasion
    • Chemical

Unsurpassed Label and Supplies Selection

When you purchase Zebra labels and supplies, you have access to a large selection of quality, pre-tested supplies manufactured by the thermal industry experts. Zebra offers more than 1,000 combinations of labels, tags, receipts, wristbands, and ribbons, including over 500 stock products. And sample rolls are available for all stock Zebra labels.

Custom Label and Supplies Solutions

If there isn’t an existing Zebra label and supplies combination that fits your exact application, Zebra’s R&D team can quickly specify, develop and produce the right solution based on your needs.

Prompt and Reliable Production and Shipments

Zebra is one of the largest thermal converters in North America and has extensive manufacturing capabilities and automation. With multiple supplies facilities across the U.S., Zebra ensures reliable and quick delivery, and the company even has full contingency/disaster plans to ensure uninterrupted shipments.

There’s also a ZipShip program for all stock Zebra labels and supplies, where products are on the shelf and ready for immediate dispatch, with a minimum order quantity of just one box.

Blanket and Make-and-Hold Orders

Since Zebra has such extensive and expansive manufacturing capabilities, you have a number of options for how you can order and receive your labels and supplies. For example, you can buy your supplies with a single, annual make-and-hold order through our Tri-State and Zebra “stock and ship” program.

Through this program, you order once per year and we’ll send your supplies on a fixed schedule. If your demand is suddenly higher, you can just contact us and we’ll ship your next supplies sooner.

Ultimately, we can work with you to set up the exact label ordering or re-ordering process that suits your needs, where it’s a bulk, blanket order for an entire year or a phased system with regular shipments on demand or on a regular schedule.

Guaranteed Printhead Protection

If you use Zebra printers and agree to use genuine Zebra supplies exclusively, you get guaranteed protection against unexpected printhead replacement costs. Zebra replaces your printheads at no charge, which can add up to thousands of dollars in savings!

Exploring and Ordering Zebra Labels and Supplies

To learn more about Zebra labels and supplies, download our Zebra labels and supplies selector guide, and contact our team at Tri-State Business Systems for recommendations, guidance, and to learn how to order Zebra products at great prices. Contact us now through our https://tri-statebussys.com/contact-us/ , or call us at 908-359-8001.




Autoclave Labels: Best Options for High-Temp Resistance and Adhesion

Steam autoclave sterilization is critical to ensuring that lab and surgical equipment is cleaned of all potential microbial contamination. But the extreme heat, moisture, vacuum and pressure of autoclave sterilization isn’t just tough on bacteria, fungi and viruses. It can also remove or do damage to the labels we use to identify and track labware, surgical instruments, trays, and other equipment.

This is why it’s important to choose the right autoclave-resistant labels. When you use labels with the right materials and durability, they’ll easily withstand the extremes of the autoclave, even across repeated sterilization cycles, and specialized labels can even withstand additional conditions such as cryogenic storage, dry heat ovens, gamma irradiators, or ethylene oxide gas treatments.

For the best results in applications such as these, Zebra’s Z-Xtreme and Z-Ultimate labels are the top recommendation for their extreme temperature resistance, scratch and smear resistance, their ability to withstand harsh chemicals such as isopropyl alcohol and bleach, and their unparalleled resistance to the harshness of the steam autoclave process.

Why Zebra Z-Xtreme and Z-Ultimate Labels Are the Best Option

Z-Xtreme and Z-Ultimate labels have a minimum application temperature of 50°F (10°C) when first applying your label to your labware, instruments, or other items. But once they’re applied, they can be exposed to temperatures of -40°F (-40°C) to up to 302°F (150°C) and still remain adhered and easily readable or scannable.

Both types of labels are great for labeling stainless steel and aluminum metal surfaces as well as Pyrex glass. There are specific label model numbers that are also quite good for labeling most plastics and even rough and moist surfaces.

Z-Xtreme labels have a white, matte polyester facestock that provides outstanding print quality and good smear and scratch resistance, along with excellent resistance to chemicals. If you need maximum smear and scratch resistance, then Z-Ultimate labels are recommended. Their white, gloss polyester facestock offers enhanced durability against smearing and scratching beyond what the Z-Xtreme offers.

Typically, you will want to use Z-Xtreme or Z-Ultimate 2000T or 4000T labels and pair them with Zebra’s 5095 or 5100 resin ribbons for high durability to abrasion, harsh chemicals and the environmental stresses of the autoclave.

With both the Z-Xtreme and Z-Ultimate, there are versions with removable acrylic adhesives, and the rest are UL-approved and CSA-compliant labels with permanent acrylic adhesives for long-term labeling.

Zebra PolyPro Labels for Curved Surfaces

One special consideration in labeling labware or instruments for autoclave sterilization is the curvature of the surface. If you’re labeling a curved surface and it will be exposed to the autoclave, Zebra’s PolyPro 4000T labels are typically your best choice.

The PolyPro 4000T comes in a standard, high-tack or removable version, and it has a matte Kimdura® polypropylene facestock with a permanent or removable acrylic adhesive. The Kimdura polypropylene material is more flexible than a polyester label, so it’s better for adhering to curved surfaces.

The PolyPro 4000T offers outstanding operating temperature resistance of -40°F (-40°C) to up to 250°F (121°C), and it can be applied at temperatures as low as 10°F (-12°C) if you’re using the standard label within this type. When applying a version with high-tack or removable adhesives, then the application temperatures need to be higher, and the operating temperature ranges learn more toward the colder side and don’t offer as much high-temp resistance.

Finding the Right Autoclave Labels for Your Needs

To get more details and to match up the right label and specs with your autoclave application, download our Zebra label and supplies selector guide and check out pages 14-16 for information on Zebra’s PolyPro, Z-Xtreme and Z-Ultimate Labels.

Or feel free to connect with our autoclave labeling exports at Tri-State Business Systems, so we can provide you with an exact recommendation along with great pricing and support for your labeling and printing needs. Contact us now www.tri-statebussys.com , or call us at 908-359-8001










Zebra Labels Are The Best Choice for UL-Approved Product and Component Labels

UL-approved labels are an essential part of manufacturing many products because these labels are used to convey safety-related information to consumers and other end users. Each label might contain information on the product’s safety certification as well as warnings, hazard indicators, ratings, instructions, or graphics designed to help ensure safe use or operation of the product.

UL designation comes from Underwriters Laboratories Inc., a private, non-profit certification and consulting company that tests and approves products to ensure that they meet specific safety standards. Typically, UL approval involves electronic devices or components as well as fire safety products. But the company has become increasingly involved in testing and certifying for a wide range of issues including hazardous substances, water quality, food safety, performance testing, and environmental sustainability.

Products or components that are UL-approved can be labeled as such after being submitted to UL, going through its testing and evaluation, and receiving official UL certification. Importantly, many customers and companies will not purchase goods that don’t meet UL safety standards and certification because insurance companies typically won’t insure non-UL-approved devices. Additionally, local laws prevent many businesses from using non-UL approved electronics.

Once you have UL certification and are approved to apply the UL mark to a product or component, you then need to submit a design of your UL certification label to a UL label center to verify that all required information is in an acceptable format.

However, a UL-approved label isn’t just a matter of product certification and communicating required safety information. The label itself must meet the UL 969 standard for permanence and durability. This standard tests and certifies that the label remains adhered and readable, even in conditions such as outdoor exposure, sunlight, extreme heat, high humidity, the presence of water or oils, and other factors.

To be certified and UL-approved, labels are tested and reviewed for numerous environmental, exposure, and durability factors that can impact how well the label withstands the conditions of use in the marketplace. Since factors such as sunlight, heat, humidity and oil or water can potentially cause labels to fade, become unreadable, or even fall off a product or component, specialized label materials and printing ribbons are required for UL approval.

Ultimately, UL tests and reviews labels for a number of factors, including:

  • The materials used in the manufacturing of the label
  • The label’s endurance through natural wear and tear
  • The label’s resistance to conditions such as heat, humidity and oils
  • The measurable area of the label where printing can occur
  • The appearance, legibility and prominence of the printing.

Fortunately, product manufacturers can easily meet these standards and ensure UL label compliance by working with UL-approved labels and printing supplies from a UL-certified manufacturer. UL-authorized label manufacturers use the right materials and supply the proper printing ribbons to meet Underwriters Laboratories’ stringent standards for long-term label legibility, adhesion, and performance.

One of the world’s top UL-approved label suppliers is Zebra, a global leader in barcoding and labeling since 1969. Zebra manufacturers UL-approved thermal transfer labels that withstand environmental stresses better than any other products on the market.

For example, Zebra’s Z-Ultimate 3000T labels are pearl white, gloss polyester thermal transfer labels with permanent acrylic adhesives, and when paired with compatible Zebra resin printer ribbons, they offer UL-certified extreme resistance to chemicals, UV exposure, smears, scratches, and conditions as extreme as water immersion, contact abrasion, and more.

Zebra’s Z-Ultimate labels are also designed to withstand indoor and outdoor conditions and temperatures such as extreme cold or heat, high humidity and moisture. Print quality and durability are outstanding, and there are no fading, damage, or readability issues from outdoor exposure.

The key to this performance is Zebra’s stiffer, polyester label material with gloss finish, plus a resin printing ribbon, which ensures that thermal-transferred information and graphics remain readable for many years. The stiffer polyester of the Z-Ultimate 3000T is a great choice for labeling flat surfaces, but if you need to label round surfaces, a variant with a matte finish would be ideal since it will help the label adhere better over surface curvature.

Ultimately, the right UL-approved label will depend on your application requirements as well as the conditions and how your product or component will be used by the end user out in the marketplace. However, there are two great ways to quickly and easily narrow down your choices.

  1. Contact TSBS for the Zebra certified labels and supplies selector guide and check out the page on Zebra’s UL-recognized labels and corresponding ribbons. This will give you a quick rundown of each product, its core label material, compatible ribbons, and its specific UL recognition.


  1. Contact our UL labeling experts at Tri-State Business Systems for personalized recommendations and guidance. We’ve been helping manufacturers specify and choose the right labels for decades, and our partnership with Zebra allows us to bring you its best label and supplies products at the best prices and with outstanding support.

Contact us now www.tri-statebussys.com , or call us at 908-359-8001