laser printed labels

Thu Jan 21 09:44:00 CST 1993

Your letter was forwrded to me with perfect synchronicity, as John Simmons
from the University of Kansas is here on a grant to consult with us on several
fluid collections issues, including labels. He also knows about the dry label
problem, so we have some questions for you. Are you familar with the article
by Williams and Hawks on selecting inks for documentation? The Collection
Forum artisles by Gisbert et al. on Tyvek and the various applications
thereof? Linda Sims of the Smithsonian Dept. of Entomology found in tests for
labels in fluid collections that desktop laser printers with a standard Canon
engine that bond by static pressure at 150 degrees F do not hold up in
alcohol--but what does hold up is a mainframe laser printer, a Xerox 8700
which bonds at 390 degrees C at 300 lbs pressure.  She tested both Byron
Weston Linen Ledger Resistall and Domar Wet Strength Laundry Tag.  Her
recommendation for use in alcohol was an impact printer with an alcohol
resistant ink (a Cove AG-8 ribbon).  HOWEVER, several other places (including
TMM and KU) have experimented with laser printed (from a desktop printer)
labels and found them to hold up in alcohol as well as those prepared with an
IBM selectric or an impact printer.  Of course, neither of these processes
holds up as well as an old-fashioned carbon ink typewriter ribbon.  The
Selectric type floats on the surface of the paper so it can be picked up by
the eraser tape--in an old-fashioned typewriter, the ink is impacted into the
paper. Sims also experimented with an acrylic spray (Krylon Crystal Clear) and
found it only delaed the eventual degredation of the labels.  She also found
that ethyl acetate dissolves the toner of laser printer generated labels.
Laser printer generated labels can be strenghted by a post-printing heat
treatment to make a stronger bond between ink and paper (heated to 300 degrees
F for 10 minutes).  In the end, abrasion seems to be the worst enemy of wet
labels. We have not tried labels in full sunlight. It is our experience that
Tyvek and laser printers don't mix. If you can't find copies of the aforesaid
articles, let us know and copies will be sent.
Sally Shelton, Natural History Conservation Lab, Texas Memorial Museum
  tqaf072 at
John Simmons, Museum of Natural History, University of Kansas
  pendejo at

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