Tag Archives: labels

Website updates and new site for the USA on its way

The last few weeks have been pretty busy here at Temperature Indicators. We’ve been busy upgrading our UK based website so that the software behind the scenes is completely up to date. This enables us to provide a good service selling a comprehensive range of temperature indicator thermometer labels, medical sterilisation and contamination indicators and food processing indicators. Whilst that has been going on we’ve also decided to invest in a website solely focused on the USA market, that will provide thermometer labels to industry. We’re busy building that and hope to launch it this summer.

We also have been supplying the SteriTec Retort Check and Air Check food canning batch processing indicator tags to our US customers for many years now. These are indicators made of strong, moisture resistant card that are used in a variety of canned food processes where a static retort is used. The ink used on the Retort Check tags will only change colour if the correct combination of time, temperature and steam (of a sufficient quality) is present in the retort. The Air Check tags are used when the process demands the use of small quantities of air to pressurise the retort vessel, usually a Lagarde system.

Over the last 2-3 years we’ve seen a big increase in business in the USA and we realised last year that the time was right to set up a new company to focus on providing the best possible service to our US customers. Our intention is to provide an online presence that will allow customers in the food processing sectors in the USA, Central America and South America to order online, check pricing and quantity discounts and to benefit from special offers, such as promotions and free delivery offers on our unique range of food processing indicators. We’re busy building that website and we hope that you’ll check it out. The software we’re using is right up to date and should enable us to list products through amazon, eBay and others whilst still providing a very high quality service to our long standing account customers who buy in volume.

All shipments will be from our new warehouse facility in California and we’re shipping orders with FedEx to ensure a prompt and reliable delivery to our customers.

As you can imagine, we want to get things right from the outset, so building the site will take a little time, but we’ll post an update when we’re at the testing stage.

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Collaborative tailoring of our products

We recently had an enquiry from a trade organisation that wanted to purchase some temperature indicating labels and then sub-distribute them to their members. They would design the labels to meet an industry specification and standard to ensure their members received a product that functioned correctly but also met certain standards.

This got me thinking about ways in which we could use ideas of collaborative consumption to provide products to our customers that are both functional and very competitively priced. This could mean that two or more companies, or a trade body that shares technology or business connections could utilise combined purchasing power to benefit from economies of scale, thus obtaining bespoke temperature sensitive products with special functionality or design changes at lower prices.

We can tailor all our temperature labels, indicators and tags so long as the design requirements are within some particular parameters and the quantity meets some minimums. Some customers may have overseas facilities and subsidiaries that could potentially use a similar product for temperature measurement and could combine their purchasing power to get a tailored product at a lower price.

We’re always open to new ideas about how we can change and adapt our temperature label products. We recently implemented a design change across our Retort Check food canning steam sterilisation indicator in response to one customer’s needs – the change made a lot of sense and we therefore rolled it on all lines.

Please feel free to contact us if you think we can help. We want to make sure that our products meet your needs and that we continue to offer the best possible service to our customers, wherever they are located and however the products are used.

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How It Works: Irreversible Temperature Indicator Labels

Image of 8 level irreversible temperature indicator strips

8 Level Indicators

Each temperature indicator label contains many component parts, all working together to give an accurate colour change when a temperature is reached.

The key component at the core of the label is a number of active layers – and remember we’re talking very, very thin layers. One of these layers is a carefully formulated white wax which is located over a layer of black paper. When heat is absorbed by the paper it expands – like a sponge – whilst melting the wax. The wax seeps through the black paper, giving the visual colour change from white to black. A red paper can be used to give a white to red colour change. This whole process takes a maximum of about 4 seconds, with that time decreasing if a indicator temperature is exceeded very quickly. All the labels are backed with adhesive and a good seal to the surface is part of ensuring the indicator works well.

The colour change is irreversible; once the change happens, it is permanent. We recommend users to position the indicator label in situ, observe, note the reaction and remove the label when the observation is complete. For some users, that can be a matter of minutes or even seconds, for others it can be months. Removal tends to separate some of the layers, affecting the colour change, and as a result the labels tend not to hold up too well to being removed and stored as permanent records. Customers that need a permanent record should contact us to discuss the options, such as cost-effective printing solutions where we print a card onto which the indicator is placed, allowing data to be recorded alongside the temperature indicator label.

One example of is was a foil backed card that we printed on the paper side with various boxes and data to allow information to be recorded. The temperature sensitive label was then positioned in a prominent location to allow food plant operatives to easily check if the required temperatures had been achieved. The indicator and card combinaton was for use in a food processing plant and was to accompany a cooked meat product on a production line. The manufacturer didn’t like the idea of the card potentially being damaged and consequently retained in the product as a contaminant, so we decided that a foil card would be a good way to rapidly determine any problems. All the cooked meat went through a metal detector at the end of the process and any fragments of card that had come away in the process would be detected and could be removed.  The cards work very well and are retained and stored for validation of quality assurance / control procedures.

The temperature indicating labels react according to the temperature of the surface to which they are applied – that is they react to what they are stuck to, rather than atmospheric / external conditions. It is important to ensure they are placed on a clean, dry surface and we often recommend users to paint a layer of clear epoxy over a label if it is going to be exposed to aggressive conditions.

Storing the indicators in a refrigerator before use ensures a good shelf life and maintains accuracy – it keeps the wax from drying out, which inevitably happens over time. The indicators have a one year shelf life.

Each reaction temperature needs a different wax, and these have been tried and tested over many years to ensure reliability and consistency. One advantage of this is that we have a wide range of temperatures available across a wide range of different labels, though different temperatures can’t be manufactured due to the unique wax formulations required.

One thing we’ve learnt over time is that every application for temperature labels is unique. We pride ourselves on our ability to advise our customers on the best way to use our label products but also on their limitations. We keep our prices very competitive, our minimum order quantities are very small and we offer bulk discounts for large volume orders. 99% of our items are in stock and can ship within 24 hours. Email us with any questions – we’re here to help.

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A photo of a shocking car interior temperature

Worrying isn’t it? This photo was taken through a windscreen, to show one of our Tempsafe indicators reacting to the interior temperature  of a vehicle in summer sunlight. We’re often asked if we can provide indicators for this application – often the results are very shocking. This could kill a pet in a matter of minutes.

Indicator shown reacting in a car interior, temperatures reached 85ºC!

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Private Label / bespoke artwork

We are often asked if we can alter the designs of our irreversible indicator labels to incorporate a logo, text and a specific temperature range.

All this is possible. We can make the labels in different colours, print the text you need and add a logo for branding purposes. There are usually minimum quantities, a few small costs for artwork though we try to keep this costs manageable. For instance, we can usually use one of our existing cutters (to cut the label to a specific size and shape) rather than designing a new one.

Leadtimes are a little longer than a standard product, due to the time needed to create and authorise artwork. Once this is done, the usual large production run lead time of five weeks applies – and remember, 99.9% of what is available to buy on this site is in stock, ready to ship within 24 hours.

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Vehicle interior temperatures in warm weather

Tempsafe Safety Label

Tempsafe Indicator reacts to high temperatures

About this time last year we conducted a very basic set of tests to find out how hot a car interior can get when in direct sunlight, with outdoor temperatures reaching 25 to 30C.

We parked a car with a black interior outside our office and lined up our liquid crystal and Tempsafe indicators on the dashboard.

The liquid crystal labels start to react at low temperatures, and we weren’t surprised when the colour change went to 55C. What was very worrying was that the Tempsafe very rapidly changed colour at about 70C. The other indicators then continued to react until an astonishing maximum temperature of 85C was recorded in the car.Liquid Crystal Thermometer

The car windows and doors were all closed, the car had been in direct sunshine for 2 hours before the tests commenced and we then observed the colour changes through the windscreen.

A roast chicken is said to be cooked when the centre reaches 80C. A pet left in the car would survive only minutes.

The BBC got in contact about the tests – they had recently reported a story about two dogs dying in a hot car – and we went on Radio 2 to help warn people about the dangers of leaving pets in vehicles. Even if the windows had been left open to allow air to circulate, the car interior would still have reached dangerous temperatures very quickly.

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New animation!

Our website designer just uploaded a new animated graphic for our Safestrip product. It shows how the temperature sensitive label works, reacting to increasing heat first with three white to black colour changes. As a threshold temperature is reached, the top two colour changes are white to red, to indicate a problem to the user.
Safestrip animation
The labels are adhesive backed, come in packs of 10 and the minimum order, as with all our irreversible temperature labels, is just one pack.

If the temperatures are not suited to your own particular application please email us – the functionality of different, permanent colour changes can be incorporated into any of our labels.

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Thermochromic Liquid Crystal Reversible Temperature Indicating Strips

The Thermochromic Liquid Crystal (TLC) range of reversible temperature indicating labels forms a fast, easy to interpret indication of actual temperature. They are also convenient, easy to use and in-expensive. Read More »

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