Adding Labels to Mats
Using a heat-seal process, laundries can add labels to their existing mat inventory. The heat-seal process is detailed below, both with and without the use of uncurred rubber. Please note that labels applied with uncured rubber typically provide a longer-lasting, more permanent result.
- Labels (available from M+A)
- Uncured rubber (available from M+A)
- Indelible ink marking pen
- Heat seal machine
- Grinder with wire brush attached
- Teflon-coated fabric
Heat-Seal Process (with uncured rubber)
- Buff off the area where the labels are to be applied so you have a smooth surface. If the mat is cleated, be sure to remove all cleats. With smooth-backed mats it is also necessary to buff the rubber to improve the bond between the label and the rubber. Use care not to be too aggressive in grinding the rubber backing as you may grind through the rubber backing, damaging the mat.
- Set your heat seal machine to full air pressure (80 psi is desirable) and 350-degree temperature.
- Remove the white label from its paper backing. Using a black indelible ink-marking pen, mark the white label as needed. Doing this before the label is vulcanized to the rubber backing makes the ink of the marking pen more permanent.
- Place the mat in the heat seal machine with the buffed rubber area in the middle.
- Cut and place in the middle of the buffed area a piece of black uncured rubber that is slightly larger than the label being applied.
- Remove the plastic backing from the rubber and place the label on the uncured rubber.
- Cover the label and the entire repair area with a piece of Teflon Coated fabric.
- Close the heat seal machine and allow the label and rubber to cook for 8 minutes.
- When the cook cycle is completed, allow the mat to cool before handling.
The Heat seal process without uncured rubber is very similar to the heat seal process with uncured rubber. The only difference is that you omit the use of the uncured rubber (see step 5 above), and you reduce the cook cycle time (see step 8 above) from 8 minutes to 2 minutes. Our experience has shown the uncured rubber provides longer-lasting label adherence. Our testing shows that labels applied with uncured rubber have lasted over 100 wash cycles. Heat-sealed labels applied without uncured rubber begin to fail after 40-50 wash cycles. The setup and effectiveness of heat seal equipment can vary widely depending on available air pressure and the heat produced by the individual machine. Because of this, we recommend that laundries thoroughly wash-test several samples before undertaking a large relabeling program.
Retro-Fitting Mats with RF Chips
M+A mats can be retro-fitted with RF chips. This can be done using a cold patch procedure or a heat seal procedure. Both are detailed below.
Cold Patch Procedure
- Super bonder #401 glue
- RF chip covers (includes RF chips)
- Protective gloves
- Safety glasses
- Small electric grinder with 4" sanding disc
- Spring-loaded squeeze clamp with plastic covered jaws large enough to cover the entire chip cover. These clamps are available at hardware stores.
CAUTION: Super bonder #401 is a medium-to-fast-drying adhesive. It is capable of gluing fingers together or gluing fingers to mats. Be sure to use protective rubber gloves, and observe all safety precautions listed on the label of the glue bottle. Do not leave the top off the bottle. Glue will harden very quickly and become unusable. Do not store glue in warm area. Storing the glue in a refrigerator will extend its shelf life.
- Place mat on a flat surface, rubber side up.
- Buff a small round area, slightly larger than the RF chip patch.
- Place glue on the outer edge of the patch. Use enough glue to lightly coat the patch.
- Place the patch with the glue-side down in the middle of the buffed area.
- Press down on the RF chip patch and rotate the chip clockwise, then counterclockwise until a small bead of glue can be seen at the edge of the patch. If bead does not show remove patch and add more glue.
- Clamp patch using the spring-loaded clamp. Allow to dry for 10 minutes. Inspect the patch to be sure the patch is sealed on all sides and that the mat lies flat and does not create a tripping hazard.
Heat Seal Procedure
- Electric grinder with coarse disc or electric drill with wire brush
- Non-stick, Teflon-coated fabric
- Uncured rubber repair
- Heat seal unit with minimum 5-minute cycle time
- Protective gloves
- Safety glasses or face shield
- Dust mask
- Place mat on work table.
- Use grinder to buff rubber surface where chip and label are to be applied.
- Place mat in heat seal unit with rubber-side of mat up.
- Place chip in center of buffed area.
- Cut rubber strip to a size that is slightly larger than the label. Remove plastic backing.
- Cover ship with 1” square of reinforcing fabric.
- Place rubber and label on top of fabric and chip.
- Set heat seal timer to 5 minutes. Temperature should be 350°F (176°C). Use 60 psi air pressure.
- Cover mat with Teflon fabric.
- Cook for 5 minutes.
- Check freshly cured rubber to ensure that rubber is not soft or gummy. If so, increase cycle time.
- Handle hot mats with care. While hot, the newly added rubber is weak. Allow the chipped mat to cool before handling.
Tip: Keep uncured rubber cool to prevent pre-curing. Do not use rubber that has been stored for more than 30 days.
QR Code Information
For non-molded products, we use an interactive QR Code to reference the date the mat was manufactured, as well as other important information about the mat such as:
- Sales order number
- Item type
If the QR code is scanned, it directs you to a site where all the details surrounding the manufacturing of the mat are displayed. It not only provides real-time manufacturing information, but is a great quality control measure.
Molded products are date coded at time of manufacture. Date codes are located on the back of molded mats.
To read date codes of mats made after March 1, 2000, use the following example:
A 3’ x 10’, mat made in March 2001 the date code would read: MAR 01 A1 BP. Each part of the date code represents the following:
- MAR 01 - This is the month and year the mat was manufactured.
- A1 - This is the press and shift on which the mat was made.
- BP - These are the initials of the employee who made the mat.
To interpret date codes for mats made prior to March 2000, use the following example: A 3' x 10' mat made in November 1996 would have the following date code: 6116.A1. Each digit in the date code represents the following:
- 6 - The first number is for the mat size. Below is a chart showing size codes.
- 116 - The second, third and fourth digits show month and year of manufacture. 11 = November; 6 = 1996.
- A1 - The final two digits, always a letter (A-F) and a number (1,2, or 3), indicate which press and shift on which the mat was produced. In this case, Press A on First shift.
There is a size label placed in opposite corners of each mat to aid in size identification. The date code is placed next to one of these size labels.