If you regularly require large quantities of stickers, and are currently printing them on traditional paper mediums, you should really consider making use of Tyvek.
Whilst you may not have heard of Tyvek, it is more than likely that you have seen it. It was originally designed as a hard-wearing, waterproof material for use on construction sites, but in the meantime has found a vast variety of uses. Nowadays, it is used in everything from medical packaging to clothing, and Tyvek stickers are becoming more and more common.
Tyvek Stickers – Built to Last
It is not hard to see why – Tyvek is significantly stronger than paper, and therefore bale to put up with rougher treatment. If your labels are designed for an industrial environment, or even for the surprisingly intense world of fashion retail, this can be a real advantage. Tyvek stickers are also waterproof as standard, and in many cases easier to store and adhere, than their paper competitors.
If you are looking to start using Tyvek stickers, you essentially have two options – contract a printer who is able to produce them, or invest your own printing machine that is able to handle Tyvek. For most commercial clients, we would recommend the latter – getting your own machine – for a variety of reasons.
Why You Should Consider Getting Your Own Printer
If you are printing large numbers of labels, it almost goes without saying that investing in a printer able to handle Tyvek material will quickly pay for itself. In addition, having your own device in-house means you are not reliant on outside contractors for your workflow – there is nothing worse than your printer delivering your stickers late, and messing up your entire workflow.
Having a Tyvek printer for stickers in house also has advantages in improving the types of stickers you can produce. This is because, after only a few weeks spent working with your new printer, you will understand what it can do and what it cannot.
Most modern Tyvek printers come with a vast range of design, color, and font options, and being able to see these will allow you to design better stickers. If you are printing your own stickers for a client, they will really value your knowledge and flexibility when it comes to producing branded stickers.
And last but definitely not least, having a Tyvek printer for stickers improves your cost efficiency. This is not only because you are not paying for external printers’ profit margins, as we already mentioned, but because transportation costs are greatly reduced – you do not need to ship huge number of stickers around the country if they are being printed in your own office or workshop.
What is Tyvek?
For those new to Tyvek, it might be worth a short explanation of what this material is. Tyvek is a registered trademark of Du Pont, who first discovered the material in 1955. It was trademarked in 1965, and released for general use two years later. Since then is has become ubiquitous in many industries, and is now used extensively in packaging.
Though superficially similar to paper, Tyvek is completely synthetic. It consists of spunbound Olefin fibers, each between 0.5-10 µm in width, which are bonded together using heat and pressure.
Tyvek has many useful properties. It is extremely lightweight, and yet also tough. It resists tearing very well, and yet can be cut easily with scissors. It is not flammable, has good opacity, and a neutral PH level. Perhaps most usefully, it is breathable, being permeable to water vapor but not liquid water.
Printing on Tyvek
For the printing of stickers on Tyvek, Flexographic printing is most often used. Typically, batch production of stickers requires that each item be uniquely printed, for instance with a unique bar-code. In addition, printing information onto small items necessitates good print quality for the label to be read easily, especially if the package is destined for medical use.
Unfortunately, Inkjet methods are not suitable for printing on Tyvek. It is possible, with the correct set-up, to obtain reasonably good quality images. However, the non-permeability of Tyvek means that even with the perfect system, Inkjet ink is slow to dry on the substrate. This makes these methods unsuitable for large-scale batch production of labels.
It is difficult to find a reliable thermal printer that can work with Tyvek, but overall this is the optimum solution for batch production of packaging with the material. The ThermaPrint 64 can produce labels and packaging quickly, and have good enough resolution for medical environments. In addition, many systems can now automatically generate unique bar-codes and other information for each package.
What to Look For in a Tyvek Printer for Packaging
Choosing a Tyvek printer for stickers depends on your own requirements, and the types of orders that you are processing. However, no matter the type of printing you are doing, some things should always be taken into account when choosing a Tyvek printer:
One of the most important considerations is speed. Print orders for stickers are often of very high volume, and so a printing speed of at least 5 inches/second is a must. In addition, some Tyvek printers now have a slew capability, allowing them to quickly skip over non-printed sections of the substrate, greatly improving overall speed.
Print quality should also be a major consideration. Often, packaging and labels require that very small writing be reproduced precisely. Nowadays, the best thermal Tyvek printers are able to print at up to 300 DPI, which is more than sufficient for these purposes.
If you are dealing with extremely large orders, an automated and motorized sorting module is also extremely useful. In many cases, an order for Tyvek packaging will contain several varying types or sizes of package, and a motorized sorter means that each type will be automatically stacked in the correct pile.
Another consideration should be the adaptability of the printer. A good Tyvek printer will be able to deal with a wide range of thicknesses, offer several different fonts, and even cut packaging into a variety of formats and shapes.
The cost of consumables should also be considered. Whilst most Tyvek printers use thermal printing techniques, some now come with advanced features that significantly improve efficiency, meaning that consumables will last longer.
Last but not least, of course, the ruggedness of the printer should be assessed. Tyvek printers, like a lot of industrial printers, often need to work reliably in quite difficult environments, and the printer should be able to deal with heat, dust, and other complications.