Self-adhesive Labelling
Pharmaceutical Labels


Pharmaceutical labels are by legislation driven to become unique and as such traceable. This does not relates to the image (at this point) but relates to variable, unique codes. Through this governments try to overcome fraud.

Self-adhesive labels as such (aka ‘pressure sensitive labels’ or PSL) are made by printing onto a laminated construction of 3 layers: a release liner (otherwise known as the backing paper, carrier or glassine), a layer or adhesive and the facestock material. The laminate is printed and then converted in a roll containing the requested number of labels per roll. A web-fed process brings a high label application speed on the packaging line and allows for more embellishing processes. In addition, its flexibility of application is enormous, either during or after the filling process and on any type of surface/container just by taking another glue.

Production details

Here you can see a sample for a self-adhesive pharmaceutical label sample printed on a Xeikon CX300 digital press.

  • Print dimensions: 69 x 25 mm
  • Substrate: Paper
  • Toner: Food-safe QA-I toner
  • Finishing: Xeikon LCU Series, inline varnish and die cut

The Xeikon CX300 has been the press of choice due to its ability to make unique custom spot colors and the 5 print station expands the color gamut beyond CMYK. Additionally the 1200 dpi print resolution allows printing of the  smallest details (such as security features etc.).

Sample of a digital printed pharmaceutical label

What is the value of digital printing?

Every changing legislation makes it a challenge for brand owners to have a large stock of labels as they can become easily obsolete. Additionally, there is trend for more diversified products for different types, specified diseases etc. Hence they switch to print-on-demand which allows for last minute changes when this would be needed, and also avoids obsolete stock and wasted costs. Digital provides a cost-effective production method alongside conventional for the shorter to medium run lengths.

Furthermore digital printing with Xeikon offers:

  • food-safe and compliant toner for the pharmaceutical industry
  • a broad range of security features from which a strong brand protection solution can be build
  • a range of solution in the realm of printing, converting software etc.

Which is the preferred digital press for self-adhesive pharmaceutical labels?

The Xeikon CX300 digital printing press. The narrow web flagship excels in productivity and high quality printing at true 1200 dpi, built around commonly used 330 mm (13" web width):

  • dry toner technology: ability to print on the broadest range of conventional materials (clear-on-clear substrate and natural papers) with the highest quality, while offering color strength
  • full rotary printing: ensures a consistent image positioning on the web required for finishing
  • variable repeat length: allows for the printing of any type of label length minimizing waste
  • high quality printing: 1200 dpi with wide color gamut and spot colors

Which is the preferred digital production solution?

Below you can see an example of a full production set-up for self-adhesive pharmaceutical labels: a Self-adhesive Label Suite with inline printing and converting. The converting on the LCU350 encompasses UV varnish for protection, die cutting at the full speed of the printing press, slitting, matrix rewind and rewinding. Between the printing and converting process a buffer is positioned to allow for operator action on the DCoat without having to stop the printing press. This comes with all the necessary components for seamless digital label printing.

Rendering PMS large - CX300 - LCU350


You can see this application live in the following events:

Xeikon Café - Packaging Innovations