Friday, November 11, 2011

Flashing Labels

A long time ago in a state far, far away, I worked on making polypropylene (PP) films, some of which went into making labelstock. One of the films we made was white, the white coming from white minerals that were mixed in with the PP. It actually was a three layer composite with a calcium carbonate in the middle layer and TiO2 in the outer layers. (TiO2 is a more effective whitener than the CaCO3, but it costs more. The three layer approach let us economically make a very white label.) One problem that we would occasionally have in the product were "shiners", small little patches that were shiny, almost iridescent. If I still recall correctly, they were the result of moisture in the base resin. By themselves, I actually thought they were not bad looking - my wife suggested that we offer the material up as a winter or Christmas product since they could pass as snowflakes of a sort. I would have proposed that to the company if only we could control their production but unfortunately, we could not.

Any chance of going back to recreate that product is now dead, as PragmatIC Printing (yes, the company spells "pragmatic" just that way) has announced that they have incorporated printed ICs with light displays into BOPP (biaxially oriented PP) labels. (Sorry, there doesn't seem to be any video yet showing the prototypes.)

Flashing labels vs. labels with "shiners" on their surface? Given the Powerpoint presentations that I've we've all seen marketers put together incorporating every bit of animation and zing that Microsoft can imagine, I've got to believe the marketers will pick the former.

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