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MicroMate® Labels – 17 years and going strong

MicroMate® is not a household word for most people but for Valley Forge Tape & Label, the name means a great deal – and has an interesting history.

Back in the 1990’s a very good customer ask if we could develop a special kind of label for them.  Since it was not uncommon to receive that kind of request – we thought we could handle it…then they told us what they needed.

Our customer was a large biotech company who saw the demand to sell a certain kind of label to their customers.  They required small round labels and small rectangular labels to go on micro tubes.  Micro tubes are small plastic tubes used in the biotech industry with caps.  They are used in a centrifuge to separate the components of enzymes, blood, etc.  The FBI, National Organization of Health, biotech companies as well as biotech Universities and research facilities all use this technology.  They went on to say that the round labels would be placed on the caps and the rectangular labels would be placed on the side of the tubes.  Additionally, the user would need to write on the labels with a pen or a pencil.  The tubes would then be centrifuged, boiled and frozen to cryogenic temperatures. Wikipedia states that cryogenic temperature is “below -150°C” or -238°F.  Initially we didn’t think that this was possible based on our experience with label stocks and adhesive properties, but we didn’t give up.

We organized a team and contacted sales reps and technical reps from several key label suppliers.  After weeks of discussion, samples and testing, one supplier came up with the right construction: a proprietary combination of label stock, adhesive and carrier.  We still had to make the labels “writable” with pen ink and pencil and still hold up under very harsh conditions.  Our team developed an ink system that would be the perfect compliment to the unique label construction.  The customer tested the labels exhaustively and finally gave us the final approvals.  The labels worked!

micromate2We produced the labels successfully for several years, along with other more standard labels for this customer. In the early 2000’s, our customer was purchased by a larger biotech company. They eventually phased out this product because it did not fit their business plan. But that’s not the end of the story.

After they discontinued the labels, our phones began ringing off the hook for Micro Tube Labels. Apparently, our customer kept getting calls for the labels, and since they didn’t sell them anymore – they were referring all their customers to us.  We evaluated the situation and decided to go into full production to sell micro tube labels.  We established a price list, printed a brochure, designed a dispenser box and started selling them under the MicroMate® name.  We trademarked the name and have never looked back.

MicroMate® Labels come in sets of 3 circles and 3 rectangles, 5 distinct colors, 500 sets per roll, in a sturdy dispenser/storage box.  MicroMate® Labels are sold around the world directly and through distributors.  Valley Forge Tape & Label can also produce custom labels with the same proprietary technology.  Check out our Micromate Labels page to order online.  If you have any specific questions, please Contact Us!

MicroMate® is a Registered Trademark of Valley Forge Tape & Label Co., Inc.

This article was written by Jack Hiller, Regional Sales Manager for VFT&L.

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