In pharmaceutical, biotech, and life sciences operations, barcode labels are critically important to tracking samples, specimens, vaccines, and other assets. But standard barcode labels are no match for cryogenic freezing, chemical exposure, steam autoclaving, and other conditions that labeled items need to pass through.


Specialized labels and ribbons are required to ensure that labels, adhesives, and printed information can withstand these conditions. A label’s materials and components and the printer ribbon need to be matched and work together the right way to deliver durable results in the most challenging applications.


In this article, we’ll look at some of the best labels and ribbons with specialized materials and components made for pharma and biotech. We’ll use examples from Zebra, a global leader in barcoding and labeling for the most extreme and demanding environments and use cases.


So, let’s jump in and look at some of Zebra’s specialized pharma and biotech labels.


Zebra Cryocool 8000T Labels for Cold Storage


You ideally need a label that withstands alcohol wipedowns, refrigeration, and even cryogenic freezing for cold storage labeling. Zebra’s Cryocool 8000T labels do precisely that, with specialized materials and adhesives that ensure your labels will survive and thrive in the harshest cold storage environments.


Cryocool 8000T labels are thermal-transfer, polypropylene labels with a specialized facestock and cold-temp permanent acrylic adhesive. They also have a 40-pound semi-bleached, kraft-stock liner. When combined with Zebra’s 5095 resin ribbon for printing, Cryocool labels can survive temperatures as low as -196° C for liquid nitrogen cryogenic applications and deep-freezing processes.


They also withstand conditions such as dry ice (-80° C), steam autoclave, gamma radiation, and temperatures as high as 88° C.


Cryocool labels not only adhere in these extreme conditions, but they also have a great smear, scratch, and erasing resistance. They’re also resistant to moderately harsh chemicals, including 70% isopropyl alcohol solutions, ammonia, and bleach.


Zebra tests all of this durability using ISO:9001:2008 quality assurance procedures. Zebra applies labels to glass vials (2.8 cm OD), polypropylene centrifuge tubes (3.5 cm OD, 50ml), and glass microscope slides, and it allows a 24-hour dwell time before exposure to extreme conditions.


Zebra then tests each label in a wide variety of use environments and conditions, including extremely high and low temperatures, freezers, pressure cookers, liquid nitrogen, moving from freezers to boiling water, and moving from liquid nitrogen to boiling water.


If you need labels for cold storage, Cryocool 8000Ts is our top recommendation.


Zebra Z-Xtreme 5000T Labels for Chemical Resistance


If you need labels with maximum harsh chemical resistance, then Zebra’s Z-Xtreme 5000T labels are often the best option.


The Z-Xtreme 5000T is a synthetic thermal transfer label with a white matte coated polyester facestock and a high-performance permanent acrylic adhesive. It also has a 50-pound semi-bleached kraft stock.


When used with Zebra’s Image Lock resin ribbon, these materials and the resin work together to resist the harshest chemicals and solvents such as Xylene, Acetone, MEK, and TCE. You also get excellent resistance to 70% isopropyl alcohol solutions for wipedowns, ammonia, bleach, and many other moderate and weaker chemicals.


Their permanent acrylic adhesive gives these labels excellent adhesion to a wide variety of substrates and withstands prolonged exposure to high temperatures and solvents. In addition, Z-Xtreme labels offer three years of expected exterior life, with a service temperature range of -40° F to 300° F (-40° C to 149° C). This makes these labels ideal for laboratory and slide labeling, where chemical resistance is mission-critical.


Zebra 8000T Blood Bag Labels


One of the biggest challenges with blood bag labeling is making sure that labels adhere to the bag without leeching adhesive through it.


To protect blood samples and supplies, Zebra’s 8000T blood bags are the ideal solution. 8000Ts are thermal transfer, polypropylene labels with a permanent acrylic adhesive, and they meet FDA guidelines for uniform labeling of blood and blood components. They also come with a 50-pound semi-bleached kraft stock liner to assist with durability.


Zebra’s high-performance, acrylic-based adhesive with a 1.0 mil caliper allows the label to adhere securely and reliably without adhesive material leeching through the blood bag. You can also use 8000T blood bag labels at temperatures ranging from 65° F to 250° F (-54° C to 93° C). And they’re resistant to blood, body fluid, water and saltwater, alcohol, ammonia, bleach, IPA, oil, and even window cleaner.


If you need safe and reliable labels for your blood bags, Zebra’s 8000T is our top-recommended choice.


While these recommendations cover some of the best available labels for pharma and biotech applications, Zebra has many more specialized solutions available to cover virtually any labeling and resistance need.


For more recommendations and a complete guide to choosing the correct Zebra label for your needs, connect with our labeling experts at Vantage ID Applications, Inc.

We’ll be happy to answer your questions, guide you to the right solution, and send you a copy of the Zebra label and supplies selector guide. Vantage ID Applications, Inc. See it all. Track it all.

Contact us now at 866-234-8468 or through our website.