Vulcanized tire barcode labels are used to track WIP tires throughout the manufacturing process, whilst a tire tread label is meant for product identification throughout distribution and retailing. Although some people assume a label is nothing more than a sticker, there are many different materials, adhesives, and laminates suited for a variety of different applications, environments, and processes. Especially in the competitive tire manufacturing and logistics space, ensuring the right labels can make a world of difference as it relates to costs associated with throughput, scrap, liability, and brand.
There are various topics that can be helpful to discuss with your label supplier, and having the checklist in advance to the conversation will give you a head start to ensure a productive meeting, and that you receive a solution that best suits your process and goals.
7 Topics To Discuss With Your Tire Label Supplier
- Application Description
- Adhesive Requirements
- Type of Surface
- Shape, Size, and Aesthetics
- Application Conditions
- Regulatory/Specification Requirements
1. Application Description
What is the intended end use of this product?
The strategies behind a vulcanized barcode label and a tread or marketing label are very different, therefore so are the conversations behind them. A few things to consider as it relates to both that will help in your conversation with a label supplier:
- How are you currently handling tire labeling/ tracking/ product identification?
- What challenges or goals would you like to accomplish with a new or improved tire labeling strategy?
- How does tire labeling affect other areas or automation associated to the process?
- What do you need your labels to withstand? (IE the curing process)
Taking a deeper look into how tire labels affect and work with the rest of your process is a great start in achieving a solution that is best suited for you.
2. Adhesive Requirements
How long is this label required to adhere to the surface you are applying it to?
In terms of time, bead barcode labels typically only add value throughout manufacturing process, while the tread label may need to remain affixed for a longer duration throughout shipping, warehousing, and retailing. That being said, what the actual labels need to withstand throughout those periods of time also need to be considered.
Bead barcode labels are often applied to green tires and will need to endure more extreme exposures. That’s not to say though, that what a tread label may need to withstand shouldn’t also be considered, as sometimes tires are stored on outdoor racks and exposed to elements like rain and sunshine. Thinking through the degree to which you are relying that label to remain stuck is helpful for label engineers to ensure the proper adhesive is selected based on your unique process.
3. Type of Surface
What is the surface like?
This one might seem crazy to even put on the list because obviously the surface is a tire…but as it relates to bead barcode labels, the point at which application takes place is important. Applying the label to a tire that has already been molded and shaped may require a label that is slightly curved so as to best accommodate the shape of the tire.
Applying bead barcode labels to a flat sheet of rubber prior to molding means that the label might be better off as a perfect rectangle. Some of this also depends on preference, but thinking through the stage in your process at which you’ll apply the bead barcode label will help determine the surface formulation & associated label design.
4. Shape, size and aesthetics
What should the shape of the finished label be? The dimensions? What do you want the label to look like? Do you want it to match a specific brand color?
While the shape and size of a bead barcode label is important for ease of downstream scanning, this topic mostly relates to the discussion of tread labels. The size and shape is an important factor especially when utilizing automated systems, as the labels themselves will need to integrate properly with the equipment.
Besides marrying with automation though, thinking through the colors and branding that will need to comprise the physical layout of the label is also something that should be discussed early on in the design process so you’re ensuring a label that meets the needs of both the manufacturing plant and the corporate marketing team.
How do you plan on applying your tire labels? By hand or via automation?
Both bead barcode and tread marketing labels can be applied to tires either by hand, or via automatic labeling systems. A good place to start when thinking through your goals is with your current process. Regardless of how you’re accomplishing labeling today, there is likely some room for improvement as it relates to factors like throughput, accuracy, or data connectivity. Taking a step back and thinking through what you’d like your labeling strategy to entail can help determine the best method of label application for your unique process.
6. Application Conditions
Does the label need to be applied under specific conditions? If so, what? What temperatures and humidity levels fit under these conditions?
This point is especially true for tire manufacturers who need to store labels in humid environments. Documenting the temperature and associated conditions of the location at which labels will be both stored and applied is important in ensuring the solution you receive will remain in optimal condition. Not all adhesives, liners, or facestocks are created equal, so discussing this point with your label supplier can help avoid potential future issues.
7. Regulatory/Specification Requirements
Are their regulatory or specification requirements that these labels need to follow? If so, what are they?
Specifically as it relates to tread marketing labels, you may need to comply with consumer safety awareness regulations. Deepening on where you’re manufacturing or shipping tires, your tread labels may need to include colorful elements that communicate product specific information to retailers; this dramatically affects the design and layout of the tread labels themselves, as much of the real estate of each label is now already accounted for. Its nothing that can’t be overcome, but should be discussed early on with your label supplier to ensure you’re getting labels that meet legislation requirements and brand standards.
These are a variety of topics that you should discuss with your label supplier. Although you may not have answers to all or even most of these questions, having thought through some this information prior will help make the conversations with your label supplier more effective and productive.