CLP Label Printing
A CLP label can either be printed directly onto a package, or onto a label, although most CLP labels are printed onto a label which is then fixed onto the package.
CLP does not specify any details for the type of label paper to be used (the “substrate”), and no requirement is given on the type of inks or glue to be used in the CLP label. The requirements are that the label elements shall be “clearly and indelibly marked”. They must also “stand out clearly from the background and be of such size and spacing as to be easily read”.
This is in direct contrast to the Transport labels, where specific technical requirements are imposed, particularly for hazardous materials transported at sea under IMDG, where labels must meet a 6-month salt water immersion test and still be legible and firmly affixed to the package (BS:5609).
In practice, most industrial companies want their CLP labels to be long-lasting, weather resistant and light-fast, that is to be equivalent to the Transport labels. Companies supplying consumers may have different requirements, depending on where their products are used and sold.
There are a number of options for printing in-house available, including:
- using a black ink thermal printer on a substrate with pre-printed red pictogram borders (requires multiple substrates, depending on the number of pictograms on your label; or you have to overprint unused borders, as blank pictogram borders are not allowed)
- using a dual black and red ink thermal printer on a blank substrate
- using a black laser printer on a substrate with pre-printed red pictogram borders (requires multiple substrates, depending on the number of pictograms on your label; or you have to overprint unused borders, as blank pictogram borders are not allowed)
- using a colour laser printer on a blank substrate
Some companies also provide a specialist CLP labelling software to use with their pre-printed substrates.
Substrates available include paper, with a laminated cover; and various types of plastic (eg polythene, polypropylene, etc).
You can also choose to have your labels printed in full by a print company, which can either be a normal printer, or one specialising in hazardous goods labelling. Specialist companies can also sometimes provide consultancy to help with producing compliant CLP labels, which can be valuable for very small companies. Externally printed labels can also work well for consumer goods where there are tens of thousands of the same label being printed.
The downside of having labels pre-printed by someone else is that it takes time between specifying a label and receiving the printed labels back, and if there is an error or update, it will take time to issue the new labels. You also have to store the labels before using them, which can take up a lot of room if you have a lot of different products, and once a label is out of date it needs to be disposed of. However, there are online companies providing a next-day service, which can reduce the stock of labels on your site.
Factsheet on label printing options: Companies for CLP Labels 21-03-2017 .