For more than two decades, Teslin substrate has proven to be a popular label in a diverse range of industries, used in everything from tamper-evident seals and chemical labels to key tags and ID cards. Jason Depner, global segment manager for Teslin products at PPG, speaks to Packaging & Converting Intelligence about the substrate's durability and its increasing use in GHS-compliant applications.
If you've read a waterproof map, held an ID card or used an e-passport, it's likely that you've come into contact with Teslin substrate. Introduced to the world by PPG in the early 1990s, the product is one of the most widely used synthetic papers on the labelling market.
"We had the goal of creating a substrate that would have the same printability features as pulp paper, but was able to outperform the synthetics and films that were in the marketplace," says Jason Depner, global segment manager for substrate at PPG. "Teslin substrate is a durable, secure and highly printable synthetic paper that excels in applications that demand a tough, high-performance material."
The substrate's easy printability is due to its open matrix, as well as its hydrophilic and hydrophobic features. "By considering its print functionality and receptivity to be like paper, you quickly find that it doesn't require a coating, surface treatment or oxidising inks like most synthetics," Depner says.
In fact, Teslin substrate provides such a strong bond, and is so easy to print with, that it's routinely deployed to assist in the creation of durable printed products such as loyalty cards, secure credentials and on-demand labels. Teslin is acquiring a new reputation as a substrate that can be easily incorporated into labelling for chemical products that are compliant with globally harmonised systems (GHS). "Worldwide, we have partnered with and continue to grow our network of customers, printers, converters and hardware manufacturers to provide the ideal solution for GHS labels that are printed entirely on site," says Depner.
Teslin substrate is innately hardy. Its microporous surface absorbs inks and toners with ease, locking any printed information into the label stock and making the whole label impervious to scuffs, scrapes or any other damage the product could encounter while in transit. "Additionally, if the shipment is classified as dangerous goods and shipped over international waters, we have attained the required BS 5609 certifications that enable our customers to take advantage of our label," Depner says.
These qualities are complemented by the substrate's ability to withstand the intense heat of laser printing without the need for special coating, allowing smoother compliance with GHS standards. More importantly, however, its deployment substantially reduces the risk of accidental fires within dangerous workplaces, as found in the chemicals industry, as well as the oil and gas sector.
"Many people don't realise this, but often, PVC and PET labels are vulnerable to build-up of static between the face stock and the liner when used in industrial environments," says Depner. "When the label is peeled, the action can release sparks into the workspace, threatening to combust a dangerously flammable environment made even more hazardous by the presence of chemicals, solvents and materials with low flashpoints." As opposed to other substrates, Teslin's micropores absorb and dissipate static electricity, largely eliminating the risk of electrical discharge and static-related blazes.
For Depner, the wide adoption of the substrate in the labels marketplace was presaged by qualities inherent to PPG for its nearly 130-year history. "Our company has founded its growth on its ability to fully appreciate customer needs and respond by innovating the necessary products and solutions to meet them," he says. "We remain dedicated to assisting customers and industries in leveraging Teslin substrate for new applications now and in the future."