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ESL 101: What Are Waterproof Labels?

Waterproof labels are electronic shelf labels that can withstand more than just big splashes of water. This makes them a crucial asset to many retail settings and other businesses.

Electronic shelf labels, or ESL, continue to be a game-changing technology for a lot of retail environments and businesses. They offer features, capabilities, and even variations that enhance business operations and workflows. This includes waterproof labels. Waterproof digital labels are highly favorable and valuable for any retail stores or establishments dealing with liquids or any wet environments.


So what are waterproof labels? How can you use this kind of ESL in your business?

What does waterproof mean?

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “waterproof” as “impervious to water”. It goes on to explain that objects or materials that are waterproof are coated or treated to prevent water from permeating.


In simple words, most people understand being waterproof as the ability of a material or object to resist the penetration of water, preventing it from getting wet or damaged when exposed to liquids. A waterproof substance or item is designed or treated in a way that makes it impervious or resistant to water. It creates a barrier for that item that keeps water from passing through.


Waterproofing can be achieved through different methods. There are specialized materials, coatings, or seals that repel water and maintain the integrity of an item.


Waterproof quality is commonly associated with various products nowadays. This includes clothing, footwear, electronic devices, outdoor gear, and more. This can protect them from rain, moisture, or other water-related conditions, prolonging their lives and making them more durable and beneficial to users.


Here are some examples of everyday objects that are known to be waterproof:

  • Boots
  • Raincoat
  • Certain clothing with fabrics like nylon and polyester
  • Umbrellas
  • Rubber gloves
  • Plastic bags
  • Tents
  • Cosmetics
  • Mobile phones
  • Other electronic devices


When it comes to electronic shelf labels or ESL, water-resistant technology is beginning to make an impact. Digital shelf label solutions from SOLUM ESL, for example, have been made into waterproof labels to be used for different kinds of retail environments and businesses.

Waterproof vs. water-resistant

Waterproof and water-resistant (or splashproof) are terms that are used to describe resistance or protection against water exposure or permeation in different products. Although these terms are likely to be used interchangeably, they still have a distinct difference. Specifically, these two terms refer to different levels of protection against water.


Here are a few differences between waterproof and water-resistant:



  • A waterproof item or device is designed to completely prevent the penetration of water or similar liquids, even when fully submerged or dipped.
  • Waterproof products are typically more robust in their resistance to water and are suitable for activities involving prolonged exposure to water or submersion. This includes swimming, diving, or heavy rain.
  • Waterproofing often involves advanced materials, seals, and construction methods to create a tight barrier against water.



  • Water-resistant means that a product can resist water splashes to some extent, but it is not fully impervious to water penetration, especially when submerged.
  • Splashproof items are designed to protect against light splashes, rain, or minor exposure to water. However, they may not withstand full immersion.
  • This level of protection is common in everyday electronics, like smartphones or speakers. This is because the goal is simply to shield against accidental spills or light rain.


In conclusion, the main difference between waterproof and splashproof objects is the degree of protection against water. For certain items, it’s best to get the ones that are waterproof, not just splashproof, for the ultimate protection from water and similar liquids.

Different waterproof grade levels

Waterproof grade levels are defined by various standards and organizations to indicate the degree of water resistance in different products. One of the most common sets of standards for waterproofing is the Ingress Protection (IP) developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). IP ratings serve as the International Protection Marking and are widely used for consumer electronics and other electronic devices, such as ESLs.


Here is an overview of how IP ratings work and how they can be understood:


  • An IP rating consists of two numbers, such as IP67 or IP68. Each digit represents a different aspect of protection.
  • The first digit indicates protection against solid particles, like dust.
  • The second digit indicates protection against liquids, including water.
  • The higher the number, the greater the level of protection.


Examples of IP rating:


  • IP67: The "6" means the device is dust-tight (no ingress of dust) and can withstand immersion in up to 1 meter of water for 30 minutes. This makes the IP67 rating a recommended rating for most waterproof or water-resistant devices.
  • IP68: The "8" indicates the highest level of protection against dust, and the device can be submerged in water beyond 1 meter (specific depth specified by the manufacturer).


Here is a helpful graph to help understand the various waterproof grade levels:

Source: Pacer Group

Source: Pacer Group

Is IP67 water-resistant good or bad?

An IP67 waterproof rating is considered good among electronic shelf labels. An IP67 rating indicates a high level of protection against the permeation of dust and water. This means that IP67 rating-certified waterproof labels offer a balance between solid particle protection and water resistance. This is a good standard for retail stores, industrial environments, and other establishments that are using or will be using electronic shelf labels for their business and day-to-day operations.


Here are the advantages of an IP67 waterproof rating:


  • Dust-Tight Seal (6): The first digit "6" in the IP67 rating signifies that the device is dust-tight. This means it provides complete protection against dust and other solid particles. This is advantageous in environments where dust or particulate matter could compromise the functionality of the device, whether it be in industrial settings or busy grocery stores.
  • Water Resistance (7): The second digit "7" indicates that the device can withstand immersion in water up to 1 meter (approximately 3.28 feet) for a duration of 30 minutes. This level of water resistance is suitable for protection against rain, spills, and short-term submersion. It makes the device resilient in various wet conditions.
  • Versatility: Devices with an IP67 rating are versatile and can be used in a wide range of environments. This includes outdoor activities, industrial settings, and water-related applications.
  • Durability: The IP67 rating implies a robust design that can withstand harsh conditions. It adds to the overall durability and longevity of the device, making it suitable for use in challenging environments.


Overall, IP67 as a waterproof rating among waterproof labels is ideal for a lot of retail environments and more. It can withstand moisture, spills, rain, any short-term submersion, and the variety of conditions expected from stores and offices.

Which electronic shelf labels are waterproof labels?

Newton ESL developed by SOLUM are known as waterproof labels. They are certified with an IP67 rating, which means they offer total protection against various dust particles, bodily contact, small collisions, and water submersion up to 1 meter for 30 minutes. With an IP67 rating, Newton ESL waterproof labels are equipped for harsh, cold, and busy retail environments. This kind of durability is essential and invaluable for digital labels.


Apart from waterproofing technology and rating, Newton ESL is also equipped with several other robust technologies and features to enhance operations in retail stores and other environments. Here are some of them:


  • 10x faster price update speed
  • 7-color LED indicators
  • Up to 7 pages of information capacity
  • Customizable bezel design and branding
  • Two multifunctional, programmable buttons
  • Built-in protection cover
  • NFC (near-field communication) capability
  • Location-based service
  • Multiple screen sizes
  • Freezer label variation
  • Intuitive label management system


A waterproof label like this, with these kinds of features, can be beneficial for various retail settings. It can improve workflow, enhance the customer experience, improve employee productivity and morale, and improve overall operations.

Where can waterproof Newton ESL be used?

Waterproof labels such as Newton ESL can be used in various environments where exposure to moisture, water, or other challenging conditions may occur. The waterproof feature ensures the durability and functionality of the ESLs in these settings and operations.


Here are some places where waterproof electronic shelf labels can be beneficial:


Retail environments and retail stores

ESLs are ideal in various retail environments, such as grocery stores and retail stores. These labels in grocery stores can be exposed to spills, humidity, or refrigerated environments. This is the same for supermarkets, where waterproof labels can withstand potential water exposure in produce sections or areas with frequent cleaning. For retail stores such as department stores, specialty stores, and convenience stores, Newton ESL is versatile and durable enough to handle various environments.


Warehouses and distribution centers

Newton ESL also thrives in warehouse and logistics settings. These places might be exposed to various environmental conditions, including rain, high humidity, or potential spills. This makes Newton ESL an ideal waterproof label for these businesses.


Outdoor markets and farmer’s markets

Outdoor markets, farmer’s markets, or outside market events can also take advantage of Newton ESL. They can be used for pricing and product information, while being exposed to rain or other weather conditions.


Pharmacies, clinics, and other medical or healthcare facilities

Pharmacies may have Newton ESL in areas where they could be exposed to liquid medications, cleaning solutions, or spills. Newton waterproof labels can also be used in other medical or healthcare facilities, such as in storage areas, clinics, laboratories, blood banks, and more. These labels can resist exposure to liquid medications or cleaning agents.


Restaurants, food service, and other food retail

Various food retail environments can also use Newton ESL as their waterproof labels. Restaurants, cafes, buffets, or other food service establishments may encounter water or cleaning solutions during routine cleaning. With Newton ESL, they won’t have to worry about damaging their digital food labels, digital menu, and more.


Electronics retailers

Newton ESL can also be used in electronics stores. This is because these environments may be exposed to cleaning fluids or accidental spills, making waterproof labels important.


Industrial and manufacturing facilities

And of course, Newton ESL is also beneficial in industrial settings. Newton labels could be exposed to various liquids during manufacturing processes or cleaning procedures. The waterproof capabilities allow them to thrive and function despite accidental spills, moisture, and more.

What are the advantages of waterproof labels?

There is no doubt that waterproof labels offer several advantages to users. This can be particularly seen in retail and other environments, where exposure to moisture, water, or other kinds of liquids is inevitable.


Here are some of the key advantages of using a waterproof label solution:


Durable in Harsh Environments

Waterproof labels are designed to withstand exposure to water, humidity, and other environmental factors. This makes them durable in various settings, including outdoor events, refrigerated sections in grocery stores, liquor stores, convenience stores, ice cream parlors, and other areas prone to spills.


Extended Lifespan and Sustainability

The waterproofing feature contributes to the overall durability of ESLs. This potentially extends their lifespan. This is crucial for reducing the need for frequent replacements and maintenance. Of course, ESLs also contribute to overall sustainability efforts to make establishments more environmentally friendly. With waterproof ESLs in place, there’s no need to use tons of paper for product labels, posters, and other marketing materials.


Reliable Performance in Wet Conditions

Waterproof labels maintain their functionality even when exposed to wet conditions. This reliability is important for ensuring that pricing and product information remain visible and accurate, regardless of the weather or cleaning procedures.


Hygienic and Easy to Clean

In environments where cleanliness is essential, such as in food retail or healthcare, waterproof labels are easy to clean. They can withstand the use of cleaning solutions and disinfectants without compromising their functionality.


Versatility in Placement

The waterproof feature allows ESLs to be placed in a variety of locations, including areas where water exposure is likely. This versatility in placement enhances their adaptability to different retail setups, industrial settings, and layouts.


Protection Against Accidental Spills

In retail settings, spills can occur, especially in grocery or beverage sections. Waterproof labels provide protection against accidental spills. Newton ESL specifically boasts a built-in protection cover. This ensures that they continue to operate without damage.


Compliance with Regulatory Standards

In certain industries, there may be regulatory standards or guidelines regarding the use of electronic devices, including waterproofing requirements. Waterproof labels help businesses comply with such standards and regulations.


Cost Savings in the Long Run

While the initial cost of installing waterproof labels may be higher than traditional or non-waterproof alternatives, the reduced need for replacements and maintenance can result in cost savings over the long run.


Adaptability to Outdoor Settings or Events

Waterproof labels are suitable for outdoor settings where exposure to rain and other weather conditions is likely. This adaptability allows businesses to use electronic pricing even in open-air settings.


ESL is an innovative solution for a lot of retail and service-oriented businesses, and waterproof labels can enhance operations even further.


Looking for waterproof labels for your own business? Newton ESL is the answer to your problems. Talk to SOLUM experts now and find out more about how these waterproof labels work.

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