What’s Sexy About Outdoor Power Equipment Labels? Profit!
What’s sexy about an outdoor power equipment label? Profit. While industrial labels like those that go on outdoor power equipment may not be sexy, profit always is.
What makes industrial labels so profitable? They are custom products that your customers can’t buy “just anywhere.” They require a precise match between the label material and the substrate (in this case, metal), and must withstand often harsh and challenging environmental conditions. It takes know-how and experience to get that combination right.
Your customer likely does not have that knowledge, and as a distributor, you may not either. But your industrial label supplier should. By working with the right supplier, you can position yourself as a problem-solver for challenges your customers can’t fix on their own.
The result is a labeling solution that is sticky (once you have the solution in hand, the customer isn’t likely to switch suppliers) and that repeats month after month, year after year, often with little to no change. We call these label solutions print “annuities,” or products that provide ongoing revenue with little to no effort over time once they are sold.
What might this look like on the ground? Take the example of a manufacturer specializing in pressure washers built to weather tough conditions and heavy-duty work environments. These products need to be supplied with industrial labels (also called “durable labels”) that not only look good but provide key product and manufacturing identification information.
More Challenging That It Seems
This situation is more challenging than it might seem. By definition, durable labels need to remain adhered for the lifetime of the product. On a pressure washer, they need to withstand a particularly harsh weather conditions and environmental factors while remaining legible and functional.
Here are some key conditions that these labels should be able to withstand:
- Water resistance: Pressure washers are designed to work with water, so labels on them must be highly water-resistant or waterproof. They should not peel, fade, or become illegible when exposed to water, whether from rain, splashes, or the outdoor power equipment itself.
- UV exposure: Labels on pressure washers are often exposed to sunlight. They should be resistant to ultraviolet (UV) radiation to prevent fading and degradation over time.
- Extreme temperatures: Pressure washers may be used in a wide range of temperatures, from cool fall evenings to blistering summer days. Labels should be able to withstand extreme temperatures without cracking, peeling, or losing adhesion.
- Chemical resistance: Pressure washers often use pure water, but they can use cleaning chemicals and detergents, as well. Labels should be resistant to these chemicals so they don't degrade or lose their adhesion when exposed to such substances.
- Abrasion resistance: Labels may come into contact with abrasive surfaces or materials during operation or maintenance. They should resist abrasion and not wear off easily.
- Humidity and moisture: In addition to direct water exposure, labels must withstand high humidity and moisture levels without wrinkling, bubbling, or losing adhesion.
- Oxidation and corrosion resistance: Some pressure washers may be used in corrosive environments or areas with high levels of oxidation. Labels should be resistant to corrosion and oxidation to maintain their integrity.
- Outdoor exposure: Pressure washers are often used outdoors, so labels must withstand outdoor elements, including wind, dust, and dirt.
- Vibration and mechanical stress: Pressure washers can produce significant vibrations during operation. Labels should adhere firmly and resist peeling or coming loose due to mechanical stress.
- Mold and mildew resistance: In humid environments, labels should be resistant to mold and mildew growth, which can otherwise deteriorate the label material.
To achieve durability in these conditions, labels are often made from specialized materials such as weather-resistant vinyl, polyester, or other synthetic materials. They may also be coated with protective layers or laminates to enhance their resistance to the above-mentioned factors.
To ensure that the labeling solution will hold, clients may conduct a variety of performance testing before applying them to their pressure washers. Bonus if your label supplier has already conducted tests so your client doesn’t have to.
What’s the Answer?
Suppliers specializing in industrial labels will have materials that are highly durable, weatherproof, and UV-resistant, and pre-tested to hold up under the wide range of other environmental conditions described.
In many cases, these labels are made from matte film laminate, polyester face stock, and permanent acrylic adhesive. When printed with the right inks on the right printer, they will last the life of the tool come rain or shine.
As a distributor, you can offer to produce the labels pre-printed (typically on a flexo press, but increasingly on highly specialized digital label presses like the new HP 6K Digital Label Press that allow short and ultra-short runs), but many manufacturers will want to print their own labels in-house. In this case, you have the opportunity to sell them a package of printer, ribbon, and label stock, with the label stock being an annuity that brings you income over the entire lifetime of the account.
Bob Saunders is vice president of Wise, one of the top manufacturers in traditional forms, tags and labels, and digital printing solutions to the reseller market. Wise has been in business for more than 55 years and is a highly trusted resource for customers’ most challenging custom forms and industrial tag and labeling jobs. Wise purchased its first digital press more than 25 years ago and is continuing to invest in the future of digital label printing with the purchase of its new HP 6K Digital Label Press earlier this year.