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July 06, 2017 Beatrice Thouveny

 It’s hot! 3 cool science facts about sunlight vs labels

How does sunlight and the sun’s heat impact labels? Here are 3 cool science facts …

  1. Are your labels used in the lower latitudes? – If so, did you know that locations at lower latitudes receive stronger and more direct sunlight than those near the poles? This means an outdoor label in Miami or Mexico City is exposed to more direct sunlight and intense heat than those in Portland, Oregon – or Portland, Maine.
  1. Are your labels used in high elevations or on aircraft? – For every 1,000 feet above sea level, ultraviolet exposure increases about 4% to 10%. Therefore, at an altitude of 9,000 feet, UV radiation can be nearly 50% more intense than at sea level. Exposure to UV radiation is a concern for people who live “at elevation” – and for custom outdoor labels too!
  1. Did you know the angle of sunlight affects the transfer of solar energy? – According to the Flying Turtle educational website, “If the sun is directly overhead, the angle of the sun above the horizon is 90 degrees and the sunlight hits the surface directly. At any lesser angle, the sun hits the surface less directly and less solar energy is transferred to the surface. … If the sun is directly overhead, a square mile of sunlight covers a square mile of ground. However, the lower the sun is in the sky, the more ground the sunlight is spread out over. The more spread-out the sun’s rays are, the less concentrated they are and therefore the less energy they transfer to the ground.”


While these 3 sunlight facts are pretty cool, let’s talk about HEAT!

Sunlight and its effects – high temperatures and UV radiation – impact your outdoor labels and printed graphic solutions in more ways than you might imagine. In fact, some of our customers put their labels through hellfire and brimstone! Here’s an example: Did you know a big rig’s trailer can be 20 degrees hotter than the outdoor temperature? That means any labels inside the trailer must withstand temps as high as 120 to 140 degrees F!

All types of our printed graphic solutions – custom outdoor labels, decals, stickers and tags; nameplates; faceplates and overlays; and membrane switches – are put to the test in all types of industries around the world.





Here are just a few examples …

 Industrial Manufacturing: Example applications include HVAC equipment, gas station pumps, pipelines and steam pipes, outdoor industrial equipment and machinery.

  • Military/Government: Example applications include off-road vehicles and materiel used around the world, including in harsh desert environments.
  • Transport/Equipment: Example applications include rough-and-tough construction vehicles, tractor trailers, airplanes and helicopters, and boats/ships (labels used on watercraft must withstand saltwater immersion).


Sunlight, UV rays, and sweltering temps can be fierce and unforgiving. That’s why we specialize in label materials that can take the heat.

We’re experts in plastics, engineered adhesives, and the manufacturing technologies that result in long-lasting, high-performing printed graphic solutions. Here’s a primer on outdoor-rated materials for durable labels that perform in extreme conditions:

 These top 3 materials offer the most heat resistance – Use the following information as a helpful checklist when you need durable labels and printed graphic solutions for your toughest applications:

Two materials – flame-retardant polycarbonate and weatherable polycarbonate – are great choices for nameplates, faceplates, labels with logos, warning labels, and instructional panels. The third material – UV block overlaminate – is a great choice for price-sensitive custom outdoor labels and decals.

These 3 materials meet the UL969 standards for outdoor exposure. While there are many outdoor-rated polycarbonates that will do the trick, these 3 extremely durable materials offer excellent weathering characteristics and meet the strictest conditions for harsh, sun-beaten applications.

It’s helpful to know that polycarbonates are printed on a second surface, so the polycarbonate plastic protects all printing. Great for graphics requiring a high-gloss appearance, our over laminating films offer optimum durability and superior outdoor UV exposure, print fade protection, a high level of clarity, and resistance to hazing and yellowing in humid or dry outdoor applications. In addition to heat resistance, these durable materials ensure your custom outdoor labels can be exposed to saltwater and many chemicals without being damaged.

 Flame resistance is a real concern – The wrong type of plastic labels can smolder, melt, or ignite it in extremely hot environments. It’s important to use label materials with high temperature performance, so your labels won’t get damaged or catch on fire.

 Our permanent adhesives have staying power! – In intense heat, the wrong adhesive won’t adhere. Here are options for NFI Corp’s custom-engineered adhesives that offer maximum bond strength:

  • Standard 2-mil adhesive (for smooth metal or HSE plastic surfaces)
  • Thicker 5-mil adhesive (for textured-surface application)
  • Special 2-mil and 5-mil LSE adhesives (for powder-coated finish or LSE plastic)


 Call us – let’s talk about the weather!

Contact us to discuss your specific needs – and the hot (or cold) environments that your custom outdoor labels need to withstand.

Our Design Studio team will ensure your printed graphic solutions offer the durability you need.

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Get FREE samples, get started on your prototype, and get a quote:

  1. Complete the form here to get samples.
  2. Click HERE to submit a request for a prototype.
  3. Call us at (800) 999-8900 to get a quote. Our customer service reps are available Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Eastern.





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