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Adhesive Labels on Optical Media

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April 24, 2009 by admin

Adhesive labels should not be applied to optical discs destined for long-term storage (more than five years). The label could delaminate over time and interfere with disc drive operation. The adhesive in some earlier labels has also been known to react with the lacquer surface. Any attempts to peel the label off could cause damage to the lacquer and metal layers in CDs. DVDs are different; peeling a label off a DVD would not have the same adverse affect because the metal layer is not near the surface. Still, removing a label, or any portion thereof, from the surface of a disc can cause an imbalance in the spin of the disc in the disc drive, making the disc unreadable. DVDs are more susceptible to reading problems from minor imbalances than are CDs. To ensure the long-term availability of information on a disc that already has an adhesive label, the information on the disc should be copied to, and stored on, a disc without such a label.

Adhesive labels may be well suited for short-term disc usage (less than five years), and can even add a layer of protection from scratches and other potentially harmful contact. On the other hand, such labels are vulnerable to adverse environmental conditions: they can dry out or absorb moisture, and they can be affected by heat or cold even more than the disc itself. Such conditions may cause the label to delaminate. Disc manufacturers advise against using adhesive labels because they can create unbalanced disc spin, resulting in premature wear of the drive. If a label is used, it should be manufactured for use on CDs or DVDs, and an appropriate disc label applicator tool should be used to affix the label. The label applicator tool should center the label on the disc so as to maintain the disc balance as much as possible.


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