Procedure and purpose of rub and scuff test



Label rub testing is one of the most overlooked testing procedures for spirits, beverage, and wine bottle labels. It is an easy test, but when done properly it can eradicate nearly all the abrasion issues that may emerge during transit and consumer use of the labeled bottles. The label rub test is performed before, during, and after the actual production of labels.

Importance of rub testing

In the print and packaging enterprise, clarity of labels is very significant as the exterior surface of packages carries important data, like, handling instruction, composition, consumption, storage, and maintenance instruction etc. This Data is printed on the labels which may get destroyed due to the friction during transit; It can erase important information and degrade the appearance of the packaging.

The following procedure summarizes the materials, equipment, and measures involved in conducting a proper and repeatable label rub test:



  • A rub testing machine is assigned, if your printer is generating the beverage bottle labels.



  • When these bottles are prepared for transport, the carton boxes have cardboards inserted in them to keep the bottles safe and steady in the carton. Your substantial inserts are the best method for your printer to use while performing this test.



  • The label printer would be needing a few printed and concealed production labels.


The process of label rub testing

For performing rub and scuff testing, an industry standard weighted block of two or four pounds is required, with packaging insert attached to its base. Then, the weighted insert is dragged back and forth in a curve across the surface of the label at its weakest point with an carved and foil punched label, as such areas are considered to be the known point that would be showing wear before any other parts of the label.

Purpose of rub testing

The purpose of the rub and scuff test is to simulate the vibration, rub, and pressure that takes place during the transit of packaged bottles. The goal is to observe the potential shortcomings and make up for them before the labeled products get to the hands of your consumers. Mostly, the minimum number of the rubs needed for passing the test is 2000 rubs, however, 5000 rubs are preferred. The rub tester incorporates a digital counter, programmable stopping point, variable speeds, and makes final test outcomes reproducible.

It is interesting to remark that researchers have found that when labels pass 2000 rubs during the test, they are able to withstand the trip of approximately 2000 miles when they are properly boxed and packaged. Having said that, labeled products that travel further than this will generally need additional protection, for instance, some additional varnish coats to safeguard the labels from probable damages.


Employing a printer that operates repeatable and consistent label rub testing each and every time is important in maintaining the quality of your label products. Any irresponsible action in performing the sufficient material testing and rub-scuff testing can risk your brand reputation and the labelled product.

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