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What is an Eye Mark and When Do You Need It?

The eye mark has been in use since the 1990s when clear labels first hit the market. Crystal Pepsi and Miller Clear Beer were the first products to use clear labels, and the popularity of clear labels surged from there. Printing eye marks on the web liner of your labels come with added costs, and you might be wondering if you still need to use eye marks on your clear labels. 

Wondering if you need to print an eye mark on your labels? Read on to learn more about what an eye mark is and when to use it. 

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What Is an Eye Mark?

An eye mark is a black, rectangular mark printed on the web liner of clear labels to mark the edges. Label applicators used to rely on a laser or light to distinguish between labels. Clear labels had no contrast at their edges, so the eye mark was invented. Eye marks help label applicator machines sense where one label ends and the next starts. Using a laser or light, label applicators read the eye mark for precise label application. 

When You Need an Eye Mark

An eye mark is used to mark the edges of clear labels. However, just because your labels are clear does not mean you need to use the eye mark. An eye mark is only necessary if you’re using an older model of label applicator with an optical sensor. 

When You Don’t Need One

If your label applicator sensor uses ultrasound or an electric field, you don’t need to use an eye mark for your clear label. These newer sensors detect changes in thickness, rather than relying on contrasting colors to sense the edges. 

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Eye Marks and Clear Labels

Eye marks and clear labels have gone hand in hand since their introduction in the 1990s, but that’s not necessarily the case today. With newer sensor technology, label applicator machines can sense the edges of clear labels without eye marks. Even if you’re using clear labels on a clear liner with no eye marks, your non-optical sensor should be able to sense the edges of your labels. 

Is It Still Used?

The answer to this question is both yes and no. Those still using older label applicator machines with a photo-eye still need to use an eye mark on the edges of clear labels. However, if your label applicators have non-optical sensors, you don’t need to use the eye mark. 

Some people, however, still opt to print eye marks on their clear labels. This is an added cost that is ultimately unnecessary. In fact, because of the way eye marks are printed, they can increase your label costs by up to 20%. If your label applicator has a non-optical sensor, you can save money by not printing an eye mark on your label edges. 

Looking to print custom clear labels? Coast Label has you covered. Whether or not you need eye marks for your custom clear labels, Coast Label will help you engineer the perfect label for your needs. 

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