Adhesive Tape: An Introduction
Adhesive tape refers to a range of tapes made up of a backing, and an adhesive. This can range from standard polypropylene packaging tape, to special purpose tapes such as reinforced, foil, or cloth tapes.
The major factors that affect the cost and quality of tape are the backing and the adhesive that are used, with various combinations being used to suit different applications. The most common backings are vinyl and polypropylene, with vinyl providing a strong and silent material for heavy duty applications, and polypropylene being an economical choice that performs well in cold conditions. A low noise polypropylene backing is also available as a middle ground between the two. The typical adhesive options are solvent, hotmelt, or acrylic; solvent offers a longer term adhesion, whilst hotmelt is usually offered as a solvent free alternative, and acrylic is an environmentally friendly water based option. The best tape choices from an environmental standpoint are Kraft Paper Tape and Gummed Paper Tape. Both of these are 100% recyclable, with Kraft Paper Tape using a solvent adhesive for long lasting hold, and Gummed Paper Tape using water activation to form a permanent adhesion that holds up against changing temperature and humidity.
Polypropylene is a cost effective backing that can be used with either an acrylic, hotmelt, or solvent adhesive to suit the application. Polypropylene tape is often used as a packaging tape and, with an acrylic adhesive, it is a cost effective and environmentally friendly choice for everyday use. With a hotmelt adhesive, this tape provides a higher strength seal that performs well in low temperatures, whilst a solvent adhesive has a superior hold. Polypropylene tape is often found to be noisy off the roll, but is available in a low noise option.
Vinyl Tapes are high quality PVC based tapes that are tough, tear resistant, and silent off the roll. These tapes are best for heavy duty applications, as they provide the best long term adhesion, although the ideal temperature for vinyl tape is between 18 and 21oc.
Durable Kraft Paper Tape is made with a high quality, easy tear Kraft paper backing for packaging with a clean finish. Gummed Paper Tape, meanwhile, uses water activated starch-based adhesives to penetrate into the carton fibres and becomes an integral part of the cardboard, creating a permanent bond. This makes gummed paper tape a great choice for tamper proofing parcels as any attempt to remove it is clearly visible, retaining its seal even in extreme temperature and humidity changes. However, unlike other tapes, Gummed Paper Tape requires a specific dispenser to wet and activate the tape prior to application. Therefore, whilst Gummed Paper Tape may provide cost savings in the long run, there is a higher up front cost which may not be necessary for the requirements of smaller businesses.
For more specialised applications, tapes such as cloth tape (otherwise known as gaffer tape or duct tape), foil tape, and reinforced tape are better suited due to their purpose made nature. Cloth tape offers a high strength, waterproof, reinforced tape for heavy duty fixing, protecting, and insulating. Foil tape, meanwhile, is another strong adhesive, designed for use in the heating trade due to its insulating properties. Reinforced filament tape uses woven glass fibres to provide maximum strength for heavy duty and high security applications, this tape can be in either a single weave (monoweave) or crossweave formation.
Due to the differing sizes, shapes, and strengths of these tapes, many will often require their own specific dispenser. For example, office stationary tape will work best with a bench mounted dispenser, whilst packaging tapes are often best used with a hand held dispenser due to the speed and frequency of their typical use. Meanwhile, for warehouses and production line where tape usage is high, Case Tapers are best for the speed and precision of their carton sealing. The best tape for use with Case Tapers is our Machine Tape. One roll of tape is the equivalent of 16 traditional rolls, making the tape more cost effective, and space saving.
Custom Tape design offers an additional opportunity for businesses to reinforce their branding, whilst also adding a layer of security for the end user. Custom printing can be done on a wide range of tapes, but the most common choices are Vinyl or Kraft Paper. The process of custom printing involves the creation of a custom-made printing plate which is used to print the tape simultaneously to create a continuous design. A custom tape design is a great extra touch when sending out goods, and helps both your packages, and your brand, to be easily recognisable.
The tape that is used to seal your goods is one of the first things that customers will come into contact with, so it is important to ensure that a tape is selected that provides sufficient protection for your goods, and an accurate representation of your brand.
For a selection of our previous custom tapes, keep an eye out for our Printed Tape Gallery - coming to the website soon!