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Subject: Laser printed labels

Laser printed labels

From: Sally Shelton <sshelton>
Date: Thursday, January 21, 1993
Your letter was forwarded 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
familiar with the article by Williams and Hawks on selecting inks for
documentation?  The Collection Forum articles by Gisbert et al. on Tyvek
and the various applications thereof?

Linda Sims of the Smithsonian Department 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 labels (from a desktop printer) 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 delayed the eventual degradation of the labels.
She also found that ethyl acetate dissolves the toner of laser printer
generated labels.  Laser printer generated labels can be strengthened 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

John Simmons, Museum of Natural History,
University of Kansas pendejo [at] kuhub__cc__ukans__edu

                  Conservation DistList Instance 6:39
                Distributed: Saturday, January 23, 1993
                        Message Id: cdl-6-39-002
Received on Thursday, 21 January, 1993

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