“Shelf Life” and “Service Life” of Brady Products

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“Shelf Life” and “Service Life” of Brady Products

Post by Admin on Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:22 pm

What is the “shelf life” for Brady’s products?
This is a difficult question and one for which there is no single answer.  The Brady Corporation sells a broad array of high-performance products to many customers and stored in a wide variety of conditions that are outside of our control.  We do know that, for the normal durations that most customers store and then expect our products to perform; there is not a finite “shelf life” for our products.  In short, most of our products do not “spoil” like perishable products such as food.  For these reasons we do not provide a specific shelf life date for our products.

On many of our products, especially adhesive label materials, our Technical Data Sheets may include a shelf life recommendation or statement.  The storage statement is not intended as an absolute or a warranty, but rather as a recommended duration of time you can store the product after purchase and expect the performance cited in the technical data sheet.  Shelf life verification testing is part of our standard new product development process.  After the stated storage duration, we recommend that you consider confirming that the product continues to perform in your application.  


My ‘ISO system’ says I have to know your “shelf life” dates.  What are they?
In our detailed reviews of the ISO-9000 series Quality System standard, we find that “ISO” makes no demands for specific shelf life data.  The ISO-9000 series standard does say that, if your products do have known shelf life constraints, there should be a system to manage those products.  Since Brady products have no known, finite shelf lives, we do not provide those dates for our products.


So, I can expect that no Brady products have shelf life issues?
That is not true.  A few Brady products, such as our printer ribbons, are solvent-based systems that tend to dry out over time.  The passage of time and the “drying out” phenomenon degrades their printing performance.  In these instances, Brady has worked with our suppliers of those products to mark them with a “Best if Used by …” recommendation to optimize their performance for you.

At Brady, we will continue to work to protect your investment in Brady products and services.  Where we believe a product has a “shelf life” issue, we will mark it accordingly to assist you in managing that product in your operations and processes.  


Isn’t the code on your packaging a “shelf life” marking that I should understand?
The code on the packaging of most of our products is a Manufacturing Lot Code.  It is the means by which we track and manage batches of materials through our factory operations and through our channels.  

It has nothing to do with shelf life and merely tells us when the material was converted.  It is coded to avoid confusion and misunderstanding that it is a “shelf life” marking.  We do not, as a matter of policy, publish the Manufacturing Lot Code to the general public.  If needed, we will share the “code scheme” for our Manufacturing Lot Code with customers who ask for, and need, it to manage their business effectively.


Are there recommendations you can make regarding the care and handling of your products to optimize their performance?
Of course, extremes of temperature and environment can do damage to, and/or could change, the performance of material-based products.  Our products are no different. Because of this, we assume that you will exercise due care to protect and store the products we sell to you.  In general, we define this to be storage in its original container in a controlled environment below 80 F. and 60% R.H.  These are not exact conditions, but are intended to represent a controlled environment versus an uncontrolled one.  The longer your need for storage, the more important these conditions become.  While we do not believe our products to be overly sensitive to ambient conditions, some control of the storage environment on your part is necessary to extend the usable life of our adhesive-based products.  


What is the expected “service life” of applied products?
The testing we do, customer feedback, and history over time suggests that the applied service life of our products is industry leading.  We are confident they will perform for many years.  However, we cannot control the conditions under which a customer selects, stores and applies our products.  Similarly, we cannot control the environment to which the applied products are subjected.   Therefore, we cannot warrant applied performance or make absolute service life statements.  This is particularly true for products that are exposed to harsh environments, including UV light from outdoor exposure.


Does this mean that Brady has no test data or idea of product performance or product life?
An important determiner of Brady products’ performance is the severity of the conditions to which the product will be exposed during service.  Exposure to high and low temperatures, chemicals, ultraviolet light, high humidity, and other environmental conditions will impact product performance and service life.  Even the surface to which product is applied impacts product performance.

The majority of our products are periodically tested in a variety of conditions.  We report these results in our Brady Technical Data Sheets.  Brady’s Technical Data Sheets for each material are available on our Brady website.  On each of these TDS documents, we communicate the conditions under which our products were tested and we characterize our products’ performance under those test conditions.  Very few of these tests are truly “accelerated” aging protocols.  Thus, although the Technical Data Sheets provide information about typical product performance scenarios, they do not necessarily define applied product service life limits.  

Since our customers and their applications vary widely, we cannot possibly test and qualify our products in all of those varying applications and environments.  Therefore, we must rely upon our customers to have tested and qualified our products into their end use applications.


Can I get copies of your material’s raw test data?
We consider the specific material and test performance data as proprietary.  We summarize it and prepare those summaries for communication to you, our customers, using Brady’s Technical Data Sheets.

We hope this letter and the information contained in it help to address your “shelf life” and “service life” questions on Brady products.  If we can answer any additional questions for you, please do not hesitate to contact us at (414) 358-6600.
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