Given how many different things must be considered when choosing printing/labeling supplies, it really is best to enlist the help of experts who literally spend all day focused on ensuring …

  1. Label adherence. Adhesive performance can vary based on the surface type and shape. A Supplies expert can tell you quickly which labels are designed, pre-tested and certified to adhere directly to various materials. In turn, you can be confident that the labels you affix to your products, packages or pallets will remain secured for years.
  2. Print and label durability. Each thermal material and ribbon on the market today has a different temperature, environmental and chemical resistance, and it can be hard to know a label’s resistance and tolerance to various elements without an expert’s assistance. Fortunately, they’ll be able to help you confirm whether or not the label can endure exposures or contacts with certain chemicals, fluids, radiation, weather elements and more.
  3. Label compliance with industry and customer compliance requirements. It’s not always easy to confirm which labels are suitable for use on electronics, food and beverage items, medical devices, automobile components and other products where ID labels are required to have special markings. Our Supplies team experts can help you quickly identify which labels are compliant with UL/cUL, FDA 175.105, UID, Globally Harmonized System (GHS), Unique Device Identification (UDI) and GM 14573 mandates, for example.
  4. Label security. Tamper-evident labels are often demanded by retail customers and others who are prone to losses from counterfeit goods, product contamination or even “clearance fraud”.
  5. Printer ribbon compatibility with the various product ID labels. Not all thermal ribbons are compatible with all thermal materials.  When the ribbon is not compatible with the material, the print easily rubs off or disappears when subjected to abrasion, making the product unidentifiable. 
  6. Label quality and authenticity. This isn’t broadly advertised, but many supplies manufacturers will substitute materials used to produce labels, ribbons and other components, and that can severely impact the quality and performance of your labels. (For the record, Zebra never substitutes materials or ribbon formulations for any reason once we spec them in. You will always get the exact same supplies at the exact same quality. All of our supplies are also ISO 9001:2015 certified via strict quality control processes to ensure reliable, consistent performance.)
  7. Customization flexibility. It’s important to work with a Supplies manufacturer that can create labels in any size and configuration and, if needed, pre-print static information and branding. Zebra is authorized to pre-print the UL mark.  This will help you reduce waste, (again) ensure compliance and reduce labeling-related delays when you’re trying to go to market with new products.



Key Considerations When Choosing Cleanroom Labels.

Factors to consider include customization options, strategic pricing, and eco-friendly choices, among others.

Cleanroom environments demand meticulous attention to detail and adherence to stringent protocols to maintain optimal cleanliness and safety. Cleanroom labels are crucial in identification, organization, communication, and maximizing efficiency. This article will explore the key technical and business considerations for selecting cleanroom labels while considering these important factors.

Technical considerations

Material compatibility

One of the primary considerations when choosing cleanroom labels is material compatibility. Cleanroom label construction materials withstand the unique environmental conditions within and outside a controlled environment. Cleanroom designs minimize contamination, and labels should resist chemicals, solvents, and cleaning agents commonly used in cleanroom

maintenance. The labels should not generate particulates or shed fibers that could compromise the cleanliness of the environment.

Adhesive properties

The adhesive properties of cleanroom labels are equally important. Labels must adhere securely to various surfaces, including equipment, containers, and packaging materials while remaining easily removable when necessary. Labels with inadequate adhesion may peel off or become detached, leading to confusion, misidentification, and potential safety hazards. Conversely, labels with excessively strong adhesion may leave residue or damage the surface when removed, compromising the cleanliness and integrity of the cleanroom environment. It is essential to select cleanroom labels with specialized adhesives that balance secure attachment and clean removal.

Resistance to environmental factors

Cleanroom labels experience exposure to extreme temperature gradients, moisture, aggressive chemicals, and unique sterilization methods. Labels must withstand these conditions without degradation or loss of legibility. High and frigid temperatures, frequent sterilization cycles, and exposure to harsh chemicals should not compromise adhesive or printing quality. Choosing labels designed to resist environmental factors prevalent in cleanroom settings is crucial.

Legibility and print quality

Clear and legible labeling is essential for efficient operations and accurate identification in cleanroom environments. Cleanroom labels’ print quality should be high resolution and durable, ensuring critical information remains readable throughout the label’s lifecycle. The labels should be compatible with the appropriate print method of the user, including direct thermal, thermal transfer, inkjet, and laser printers. Selecting labels with smudge-proof, fade-resistant, and solvent-resistant printing capabilities will help maintain visibility and readability, even under rigorous environmental conditions within or outside the cleanroom.

Business considerations

Customization for brand communication

In an increasingly competitive market, labels create brand differentiation, identity, and product appeal. High-quality print and customization options enable businesses to create visually striking labels that capture the target audiences’ attention while communicating key information effectively. Labels should support high-resolution printing techniques, such as thermal transfer or digital printing, to ensure the clarity and durability of text, barcodes, and graphics. Moreover, labels should allow for customization, enabling businesses to incorporate logos, branding elements, and product-specific details. As consumer preferences continue to favor personalized experiences, labels offering customization options will remain a valuable asset.

Pricing and buying strategies

While choosing cleanroom labels, pricing and buying strategies are vital in optimizing budget allocation without compromising quality. Factors such as label material, size, quantity, customization options, and supplier relationships impact the overall cost. Businesses should consider obtaining multiple quotes, evaluating the labels’ long-term durability and performance, and balancing cost and quality. Adopting a strategic pricing and buying approach ensures that cleanroom labels meet required standards within budgetary constraints.

Customer-facing labels vs. process labels

Cleanroom label categorization has two main branches: customer-facing labels and process labels. Customer-facing labels are visible to external stakeholders and play a significant role in brand representation and customer experience. These labels require a higher aesthetic appeal and should align with the brand identity. On the other hand, process labels are primarily utilized for internal operations, providing crucial information for identification, safety, and process optimization. Understanding the distinction between these label types helps businesses prioritize their labeling needs and make informed decisions about label design and customization.

Understanding current cleanroom label technologies and embracing future trends

Advancements in cleanroom label technologies are revolutionizing the field, enhancing efficiency and traceability. Future cleanroom label trends encompass advancements catering to efficiency, sustainability, and customer expectations. Some of the notable trends include:

  • Smart labels: Smart labels, equipped with RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) technology, enable real-time tracking, data capture, and inventory management within cleanroom environments. These labels provide enhanced visibility and automation, improving process efficiency and reducing errors.
  • Linerless labels: Linerless labels eliminate the need for liner waste, offering a more sustainable solution with significantly less carbon footprinting. These labels are adhesive-coated on both sides and can be dispensed without a liner, reducing environmental impact and improving operational efficiency.
  • Label automation: Automation of labeling processes streamlines operations and reduces manual errors. Label automation allows for automatic label printing, application, and verification, ensuring consistency and accuracy while saving time and effort.
  • Auto-applied labels: Auto-applied labels design allows for automatic application to products or surfaces, eliminating manual application. This trend enhances efficiency, reduces labor costs, and ensures consistent label placement within the cleanroom environment.
  • Dissolvable labels: Dissolvable labels dissolve or disintegrate upon contact with water or other specified substances. These labels are particularly useful in applications where residue-free removal is critical, minimizing the risk of surface contamination or damage.
  • Adhesive technologies: Adhesive technologies are evolving to meet specific cleanroom requirements. Manufacturers are developing adhesives that adhere well to cleanroom surfaces and resist chemicals, moisture, and temperature fluctuations, ensuring label longevity and reliability.
  • Customer expectations: Customer expectations are increasingly shaping cleanroom label trends. Customers demand high-performance labels that can visually display clear, concise information. Labels that align with brand image and provide ease of use and procurement contribute to overall customer satisfaction.

These future trends for cleanroom labels focus on improving efficiency, and sustainability, meeting customer expectations, and enhancing overall operational effectiveness within the cleanroom environment. By embracing these advancements, cleanroom operators can stay ahead of the curve and ensure optimal performance and compliance.

Sterilization indication and regulatory compliance

Sterilization indication is vital when choosing cleanroom labels, especially in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. Labels should indicate whether a product or equipment has undergone sterilization, ensuring proper handling and adherence to safety protocols.

Maintaining regulatory compliance is also essential to meet industry standards and safety requirements. Cleanroom  operations must often comply with specific industry standards, regulations, or quality management systems. It is crucial to choose cleanroom labels that meet these requirements. Labels manufactured by reputable suppliers with a track record of adherence to regulatory standards are more likely to ensure compliance and provide the necessary documentation, such as certifications and test reports. Compliance with standards such as ISO 14644 and cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practices) should be verified before selecting cleanroom labels.

Choosing the right labels involves careful consideration of the latest cleanroom label technologies and future trends of an evolving customer landscape. By embracing the latest technologies and considering advanced customization and environmental-friendly choices, businesses can enhance efficiency, brand identity, and sustainability. Strategic pricing and buying strategies ensure that labels meet required standards without exceeding financial constraints. Distinguishing between customer-facing labels and process labels facilitates effective communication in both external and internal contexts. Emphasizing sterilization indication and cleanroom regulatory compliance safeguards against contamination risks and ensures adherence to industry standards. 

By considering these key factors, businesses can make informed decisions and choose labels that meet their specific requirements while upholding cleanroom.

Labeling Laboratory Products With Armor Iimak Ribbons!

Labels ensure accuracy in collecting, processing, and storing specimens for diagnosis, clinical trials, and research. Printed barcodes identify and track samples and must withstand harsh conditions, including stain protocol, solvents, autoclave sterilization, and cryogenic freezing. With its ability to print single labels, Thermal Transfer printing offers the flexibility required for marking, identification, and traceability data on products used in laboratories.

Thermal Transfer ribbons offer precise printing of barcodes and identification data on even the smallest of labels which are frequently used for test tubes, microscope slides, and flasks. Labels are critical in processing and storing tubes, vials, and slides. Printed barcodes must withstand harsh conditions, including stain protocol, solvents, autoclave sterilization, and cryogenic freezing. Labels are generally small scale and can be 2-part. Sometimes, clear over-lamination tape is built-in to the label.

Proper labeling contributes to increasing lab safety. An unlabeled or mislabeled tube or specimen could contain something dangerous to your health. For example, some samples can include poisonous substances, radioactive material, or infectious agents. Use labels of different colors to identify different categories of hazards.

Thermal transfer printing is also ideal for long-term applications. The samples will be conserved for extended periods of time or exposed to harsh conditions such as chemicals, light, high temperatures, or water. For this reason, thermal transfer printing is the technology of choice for asset tracking, laboratory specimens, and cold and freezer storage.

The wide variety of thermal transfer inks enables each laboratory to find a tailor-made solution in print quality and durability. Thermal transfer offers a large variety of printing material compatibility, including paper, plastic, and polyester. These materials have varying levels of longevity, with polyester being the most durable with the most extended lifetime. Label materials can be carefully matched with different ribbons for maximum durability. In addition, thermal transfer printers provide the option of using colored ribbons and colored materials to improve label appearance or streamline operation with color-coded labels.


  • Diagnostic Clinical Labs
  • Biomedical Research Labs
  • University Labs
  • Pathology Labs
  • Veterinary Clinics
  • Hospitals

Why using thermal transfer technology for this application ?

Laboratory labels help medical professionals and scientists track and trace samples and specimens on flasks, seals, tubes and more. Printed labels need to withstand repeated handling and temperature extremes due to the variety of harsh conditions that such samples are exposed to. Don’t take chances, use thermal transfer printing for all your laboratory labeling needs.

For this application, we recommend the following products: