Thermochromic inks on labels - characteristics and when to use them

Thermochromic inks on labels – characteristics and when to use them

Unique self-adhesive printed labels combine the typical informative function with an advertising one. They allow products to stand out from the competition, attract attention with their original design and help to increase sales. But how do you achieve such an effect when the shop shelves are full of very similar articles, giving consumers a huge choice? You can use modern thermochromic inks. Find out what they are and how they work.

What are thermochromic inks?

Innovative thermochromic inks contain pigments that react to changes in temperature. They are activated when a certain value is reached, allowing the colours and saturation of the printed image to change.

Types of thermochromic inks

The basic division has been established on the basis of their effect. Thermochromic inks are divided into:

  • reversible – as the temperature increases, the colour fades and when the temperature decreases, it regains its original colour,
  • irreversible – the hue becomes visible when a specific temperature is reached and remains that way forever.

Applications for reversible thermochromic inks

This solution is very often used in advertising. It allows parts of the text or image on a label to be covered/hidden. These elements only become visible to the user when the thermochromic ink reaches the right temperature.

Thermochromic inks with a reversible effect also work well as:

  • a temperature marker – the pigments activate when the product reaches a certain value expressed in degrees C. Self-adhesive labels printed in this way are often used by producers of carbonated and energy drinks or alcohol. When cooled, the indicator turns a specific colour and indicates that the product is ready for consumption. A similar principle works at high temperatures, so the inks can be used, for example, on plastic coffee, tea or hot chocolate cups,
  • safeguarding originality and authenticity – they are ideal for labels and packaging of luxury items that are often counterfeited (e.g. perfumes, alcohol) and for tickets, scratch cards, coupons or securities. All that is needed is a small element printed with ink that will discolour at a certain temperature. It can fade when touched by people’s hands and thus communicate that the product is genuine.

Applications for irreversible thermochromic inks

They work well in the medical field, where they allow markers to be printed on autoclave or surgical devices and instruments. Once the temperature of 130 degrees C is reached, the applied marks discolour completely. This indicates that the sterilisation process has proceeded correctly. The manufacturer of self-adhesive labels also recommends them for containers of ready meals for heating in the microwave. Once the mark has faded, the dish is ready.

Self-adhesive label printing company – check out the Aniflex offer!

Do you want to utilise the numerous possibilities offered by thermochromic inks in your business? Aniflex self-adhesive label printing company ( welcomes you. We combine flexography and digital printing to prepare aesthetically pleasing and long-lasting designs for our customers, tailored to the needs of many different industries. Feel free to contact ( our sales department.