Forms of laboratory labels cover a vast industry. The most common labels used by laboratories would be by far the thermal or direct thermal labels. These labels are printed using a thermal printer or direct thermal printer from companies like Intermec or Zebra. Typically, these labels are used to identify the content of a container or vial.
Another form of label used in the lab environment would be the chain of custody label format. Technically this label is a form/label that would be used by law enforcement organizations or insurance companies. An application people are familiar with would be having their blood tested for life insurance. A customer fills out an application for life insurance and doctor takes blood from applicant. The application has a barcoded number along with additional labels that are used to identify the various blood vials as belonging to the patient. These bar codes are scanned along the way to insure the blood results actually belong to the correct patient. Police use chain of custody forms and labels to connect evidence bags to case files. Typically, a barcoded label is used in conjunction with a numbered and bar-coded form.
Lab labels often are printed using synthetic face stocks to make them durable because of their exposure to chemicals and harsh corrosives. A synthetic material may be a polyester or vinyl material. Sometimes a paper label with an over-lamination will be used as a less expensive option. In addition to the materials the adhesives may have to be freezer adhesive of high temp adhesives to make sure they perform in cold or hot environments. Often a resin ribbon is used to image these types of labels to insure that the image will be durable and not fade or wash off in a harsh environment.