Cryogenic labels for vaccines, clinical trials, and cold chain logistics

From development to delivery, Avery Dennison’s low temperature labels are supporting breakthroughs in vaccines and therapeutics.

The low temperatures required for delivery of the breakthrough COVID-19 vaccines have put a spotlight on the pharmaceutical cold chain, but the need for ultra-low temperature solutions has been steadily rising alongside the development of advanced biologic and genetic therapeutics. 

Highly durable, cold resistant labels are essential to the process of bringing these advanced therapeutics to the market. Labelling materials need to withstand the low temperatures of dry ice and liquid nitrogen as samples and compounds are shipped between laboratories and research centers. Labels must reliably adhere to the many small, curved vials used throughout clinical trials, and they need to provide a print quality that ensures readability of critical information from development to distribution. 

Avery Dennison’s range of labels for cryogenic and dry ice applications offers durable solutions for the pharmaceutical industry. The portfolio includes labelling solutions for application temperatures as low as -50°C, as well as solutions for high speed production lines that are currently being used to label Covid-19 vaccines. 

Designed specifically to meet challenges in the industry, Avery Dennion’s cryogenic range provides solutions that have an ultra-low service temperature, adhere strongly to curved vials, and reliably display variable information throughout the value chain. 

Labels that work when everything else stands still

Increasingly, areas of pharmaceutical discovery require ultra-low temperatures for storage and shipping, often using dry ice (-80°C) or liquid nitrogen (-196°C). Cold chain and cryogenic logistics play a key role in innovations such as nucleic acid vaccines, the 1000+ clinical trials currently underway for cell and gene therapies (CGTs) and the bio-banking needed to preserve genetic data for the 52 million genomes expected to be sequenced by 2025. 

Reliable labeling is critical for accuracy and safety in the research, development and even delivery of these breakthrough therapeutics. All solutions in Avery Dennison’s cryogenic range have a service temperature range of -196°C to +120°C, providing a secure bond in ultra-low temperatures. 

In certain situations there is also a need for labels to have ultra-low application temperatures, such as labeling samples in clinical trials that cannot risk temperature fluctuations. However, the vast majority of pressure sensitive labels cannot stick to already frozen containers due to loss of tack as the adhesive quickly solidifies on contact. 

Avery Dennison’s breakthrough C2050P adhesive is the first adhesive on the market capable of being applied at -50°C. It provides reliable labelling solutions with fewer temperature changes for vaccine development, plasma processing, clinical trials, bio-banking, and more. 

Secure adhesion to small, curved vials

Vials, test tubes, vacuettes and other pharmaceutical containers often have a small diameter and a high curvature. Even in room temperatures, general adhesives have difficulty providing a strong enough mandrel hold, or the ability to adhere to curved surfaces without “winging up” at the sides, for these vessels. In ultra-low temperatures, if the label starts to shear away the edges freeze, become rigid, and are prone to snapping. 

The facestocks available in Avery Dennison’s cryogenic range are highly conformable. In combination with a cryogenic adhesive, they provide a strong mandrel hold that makes them ideal for ultra-low temperature applications with plastics, glass, steel, and aluminum. 

For large scale applications, a label’s mandrel hold must be reliable across industrial production processes. Avery Dennison’s S2196 adhesive has been rigorously tested to ensure a strong hold when applied in high speed production lines and stored at ultra-low temperatures. Labelling solutions made with S2196 are currently qualified and in use in select Covid-19 vaccine distribution efforts. 

Clear and reliable variable information display 

The main purpose of a label is to reliably share information along the value chain. It should be convenient and easy to print or write information on a label, the print quality should be robust so that information is clearly legible, and the label should withstand any frost or condensation that can occur if the container is taken out of the freezer. 

Materials in Avery Dennison’s cryogenic range are compatible with multiple variable information printing techniques including thermal transfer, UV Inkjet, dry toner, and even manually writing information with a pen. The portfolio offers solutions for applications that need to withstand multiple freeze-thaw cycles, autoclave sterilization, and harsh chemicals to ensure clear identification of samples throughout the value chain.

A broad portfolio for custom cold chain solutions 

Avery Dennison’s cryogenic range of labels have been designed specifically for use in applications that leverage deep freezing, dry ice, and liquid nitrogen. All solutions in this portfolio have a service temperature range of -196°C to +120°C. 

Two advanced adhesives are the foundational element of this portfolio. S2196 is an adhesive best for industrial production and large scale, high speed applications such as vaccine labelling. C2050P is the only adhesive on the market with an application temperature as low as -50°C and is best for manual application in low temperatures such as clinical trial samples. 

These adhesives can be combined with a selection of white and clear facestock to provide a labeling solution tailored to requirements around printability, sterilization, chemical resistance, and vessel size. 

The cryogenic range is part of Avery Dennison’s broad portfolio of cold chain solutions designed specifically for the most demanding applications in pharma and healthcare. This portfolio includes innovations ranging from blood bag applications, to temperature sensors, to cost effective encapsulated vacuum insulation panels

If you’re interested in learning more about cold chain labeling solutions, explore the product guide or click the button below to start a conversation with Ewa Weglinska, Avery Dennison’s expert in pharmaceutical labels, to discover the materials best suited for your needs. 


Have a project in need of an innovative label and packaging solution?




Avery Dennison offers a wide range of tested, proven, and compliant label material for the pharmaceutical industry.



Ewa Weglinska - Avery Dennison