Cold Foil, Hot Stamp: Which Foil Process Works For You?

The Strongman Whey Protein Powder label was created using HD Flexo printing, four-color process, silver cold foil, and approximately 30,000 ft. of material (60,000 labels).

Congratulations! You’ve made the decision to give your product a glamorous new look by incorporating a metallic foil into your label design.

Only one question: do you plan on using cold foil or hot stamp?

If you haven’t considered this question, don’t feel bad—most who venture into the same territory haven’t either. While difficult to spot with the naked eye, there are many differences between the two processes and brand owners should familiarize themselves with the advantages to each before entering the world of foil.

Various wine labels printed multi-process, including hot stamp embellishments

How does Hot stamp work?

During the hot stamp process, a metal stamp of the soon-to-be-foiled design is created and mounted on a stamping machine above the paper. After heating the stamp, the sheet of foil runs between stamp and paper so that when pressure from the stamp is applied to the paper, the foil is affixed to the surface. This pressure, in turn, creates a noticeable, distinct feel.

Results

Hot stamp creates a true metallic that has a distinctively lustrous look. Colors are deeper and brighter than cold foiled materials, and the number of shades available is constantly growing.

Big takeaways

While not ideal for designs utilizing heavy ink coverage or reverse print, hot stamp is most effective when adding highlights to a label or packaging. It can produce more dramatic results when paired with digital printing. The process better lends itself to shorter runs, which generally equates to less than 20,000 ft. of material.

How does Cold foil work?

Cold foil uses a Flexographic printing press and takes place when an adhesive that is UV-curable is printed on the paper, film or shrink sleeve in a specific shape or design. Foil is then pressed through a nip roller onto the substrate and the product is exposed to UV light. Finally, to finish the process, the foil is removed where no adhesive is present.

Results

Cold foil’s fine detail and consistency make it ideal for situations where greater accuracy is required, such as small text. Additionally, cold foil offers the broadest range of colors because different color inks can be applied after the foil is on the paper.

Big takeaways

While hot stamp provides a high quality result, cold foil has its own set of advantages. Due to the inline nature of the process, as well as the fact that only a Flexographic plate—instead of a stamp or die—needs to be created, cold foil is a faster, more efficient process than hot stamp. It is best suited for long-run jobs, with a starting point of around 20,000-30,000 ft. of material, and can be used with a variety of substrates.

Hot or cold?

The choice of process boils down to a just a few factors. Brand owners working with a large inventory or looking for finer detail may want to consider cold foil, while hot stamp could be a more suitable option for those who place a premium on higher quality or are keeping a smaller inventory.

Regardless, both cold foil and hot stamp can add a shine and shelf appeal to your label that will give your product an elegant, sophisticated appearance.

Century Label’s Sustainability and Quality Initiatives

At Century Label, we remain aware and vigilant about reducing potential negative impacts on the world from our manufacturing and warehousing operations.

For this reason, we have developed and are consistently striving to expand Century Label’s TEAM ECO-DRIVE program–with the mission of building a culture of sustainability among our leadership, employees and vendor partners. Our goal is to make continuous environmental improvements in our processes, while delivering the highest level of customer satisfaction.

We have implemented a sustainability dashboard that tracks our efforts in several areas:

Energy Conservation:

We save electricity by using Light Emitting Diode (LED), Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs, and motion sensors in all facilities. We further conserve energy by turning off piped in music during non-business hours, and turning down hot water temperatures to 115°F (vs. 120°F). Climate control efforts include setting work area temperatures at 68°F in cold weather and 76°F in warm weather. We have also improved ventilation to assist the cooling of our buildings in summer.

Facility Consciousness:

For the maintenance of our buildings, we have specified the use of green cleaning agents; eliminated all chemicals and non-recycled mulch in our landscaping; eliminated salt in favor of sand for ice safety; and ensured all appliances used in our commercial kitchen and cafes are Energy Star rated.

Recycling Program:

We consistently recycle all inks, corrugated packaging, office paper, batteries, glass, plastic and metal; and recycle or reuse all pallets. Further, we have implemented a paperless, online pay stub program for employees. In less than two years’ time, we have limited monthly trash to less than 20 tons per month (vs. 25 tons per month, prior to this initiative), and have eliminated all pallets going to the landfill.

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Green Products:

Steve Ashkin, of the Ashkin Group, has independently reviewed the results from accredited independent third-party testing laboratories, including Bureau Veritas and IPS Testing, for Century Label’s water-soluble label stock (sold under the brand names: DissolveMark™ and SmartSolve®). Testing confirmed the material passed the following tests designed to address specific product performance issues and to identify potential adverse impacts on human health and the environment. Those tests included:

  • Slosh Box Disintegration Test method criteria. - FG502 (flushability)
  • Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) - absence of lead & phthalates
  • Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse (formerly CONEG) – heavy metals

In addition, Century Label’s water-soluble label materials have been and continue to be screened for restricted substances and other substances of high concern for human and/or environmental health against numerous lists derived from national and international authoritative bodies including:

  • US Environmental Protection Agency. Consolidated list of chemicals subject to the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA), Section 112(4) of the Clean Air Act (CAA), National Center for Environmental Assessment, and the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Database and Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program
  • US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
  • US National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Toxicology Program (NTP)
  • EU Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH)
  • EU Regulation on the Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures
  • EU List of Chemicals and their assigned GHS Hazard Statement (GHS)
  • California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act Of 1986 (CA Prop 65)
  • International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)
  • Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics (AOEC)

Based on information supplied by NSF, there were no ingredients included in the water-soluble label stock materials that were found to be of concern.

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Environmental & Quality Certifications:

Century Label meets Forest Steward Council (FSC) Forest Management and Chain of Custody Certification requirements for the production and distribution of labels and paper using the transfer system. We are Chain of Custody certified to sell products as FSC Mix, FSC Recycled (Certificate Code: SCS-COC-005745; Trademark License Code: FSC-C132204).

FSC is the most rigorous international standard for responsible forestry. FSC certified forests conserve biological diversity, water resources and crucial ecosystems. The FSC standard also upholds worker rights and supports economic prosperity in surrounding communities. The FSC Chain of Custody certification ensures that certified wood products are tracked from forest to final product, and, if applicable, that qualified recycled materials are used, adding legitimacy to the FSC claim throughout the supply chain.

Century Label is GMP certified (Certificate No. 10532) as a manufacturer of printed labels for the food service industry. According to the Institute of Food Research, GMP—or Good Manufacturing Practice—is “a system to ensure that products meet food safety, quality and legal requirements.”

With the certification, Century Label is increasingly more effective at responding to changing regulations and customer requirements within the consumables industry. Century Label is also pursuing an SQF (Safe Quality Food) Level 3 certification with an intent to be audited for compliance in July 2017. SQF Level 3 is a GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative) approved scheme with a quality control component built in.

Century Label Wins PEAK Award from PSDA

The Print Services & Distribution Association (PSDA) has selected Century Label as a Silver Award winner in the 2016 PEAK Awards. 

PSDA’s PEAK Awards program recognizes excellence in the print industry promoting projects that display innovation, excellent quality, and produce high return on investment. The judging panel assessed several entries to determine which ones exhibited Print Excellence and Knowledge

Held in partnership with the Print Education & Research Foundation (PERF), the PEAK Awards recognize industry firms that innovate and help customers grow. Since 1995, the program has awarded teams that make bold decisions, connect with customers in new ways, and deliver benefits to end users.

Century Label won this prestigious industry award for its shrink sleeve created for Hoosier Brewing’s Red Flyer Ale. The sleeve featured tight registration detail despite a multitude of raster elements and maintained vibrant reds and yellows using 4-color process as opposed to spot PMS colors.

This is Century Label’s second PEAK Award in as many years. In 2015, its shrink sleeve for Tin Man Brewing Company’s Herald Imperial Pumpkin Ale won 1st Place under the category “Best Digital Solution for Customer”. This year’s awards eliminated category distinctions for entries. 

“Having our work recognized by the Print Services & Distribution Association is an honor,” said Heidi Chambers, Executive Director of Century Label. “We are proud of how our processes and adherence to G7 standards allow us to meet—and exceed—the demands of our customers. Winning this award is an affirmation of our commitment to producing excellent work.”

CMC Group's Century Label Division Receives Certification from FSC®

FSC-Certified

CMC Group, Inc./Century Label meets Forest Steward Council® (FSC) Forest Management and Chain of Custody Certification requirements for the production and distribution of labels and paper using the transfer system. We are Chain of Custody certified to sell products as FSC Mix, FSC Recycled (Certificate Code: SCS-COC-005745; Trademark License Code: FSC-C132204).

FSC is the most rigorous international standard for responsible forestry. FSC certified forests conserve biological diversity, water resources and crucial ecosystems. The FSC standard also upholds worker rights and supports economic prosperity in surrounding communities. The FSC Chain of Custody certification ensures that certified wood products are tracked from forest to final product and, if applicable, that qualified recycled materials are used, adding legitimacy to the FSC claim throughout the supply chain.

For more information, contact Century Label and ask about our FSC products. 

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