Drums containers are used to carry and store different kinds of often hazardous or flammable material (petroleum, chemicals, flammable solvents, oil, alcohol, paint, etc.). There are numerous rules and requirements when it comes to the labels that must be adhered to the drums. The United States Occupational Safety and Health Organization requires that all drums containing hazardous materials be labeled appropriately. They should have a warning label that shouldnt be removed until the drum is emptied. Aside from the warning, drum labels include information about the content of the drum, handling instructions and the suppliers information. In addition to this, the Department of Transportation regulates the application of mandatory labels on hazardous materials.
There is also an international system of identifying hazardous materials. It is called a Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) and it uses the same criteria world-wide for labeling hazardous materials. Though GHS classification is not mandatory, most manufacturers comply with its regulations, because it uses easily understandable symbols and forms called material safety data sheets that include all information on the drums content and handling instructions.
Since drums mostly store dangerous substances, the manufacturers are well aware their drum labels cannot be ordinary paper labels.
Drum labels need to be durable, permanent and capable of withstanding the harshest transportation and storing conditions.
Drum labels need to be extra durable because they are applied to rough surfaces: painted steel, metal or plastic containers that most of the times carry hazardous materials. These drums are transported and stored in very harsh conditions, so labels need to be permanent in order to stick to the drum at all times.
Some of the most commonly used drum label materials are:
Polyester - is among the most durable label materials. It is also more expensive than most. If you need labels that are weather/abrasion/puncture-resistant and suitable for extreme conditions, polyester is your choice.
Polypropylene - is less expensive than polyester. It is durable, moisture-resistant and tear-proof. However, it has a low heat resistance.
Vinyl- is one of the best solutions for rough surfaces and extreme weather conditions. It is more flexible than other materials and is suitable for round surfaces.
Drum label materials need to be top-coated for protection against the extreme conditions drums are exposed to. These labels can be any size you want and can be die-cut into your desired shape.
Drum label adhesive should be permanent in order to adhere to the drums rough surface during shipping and in extremely cold or hot environments. It is important to know ahead of time what temperatures your drums could be subjected to. This will help the label manufacturer recommend the best adhesive. Permanent self-adhesive labels are designed to stick to the product in all conditions and it is impossible to remove them without tearing them and leaving sticky residue on the surface of the product. For drum labels it is best to use aggressive high-tack permanent adhesive because the adhesive sticks to the surface quickly and tightly. If the drum will be subjected to freezing temperatures, it is important to order labels with freezer grade adhesive. Some manufacturers prefer removable self-adhesive labels. Removable adhesives are also supposed to have a very powerful adhesive capacity, but they are designed to be removed from the products surface without tearing or leaving any glue or marks on it. This ensures that the label will be removed without any problems upon drum recycling.
When it comes to constructing your drum label, seek out a printer that has the skill and expertise to advise you properly. A label manufacturer that has ISO 9001 2008 certification will follow the most current and stringent quality standards in the printing industry.