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Info & Tips > What is Packaging Tape?

What is packaging tape?

Packaging tape is an industrial-grade tape intended to close and seal a box for shipment. Sounds pretty simple right? Well, once you think of how many different sizes, weights and shapes of boxes there are out there, you quickly realize that packaging tape has to perform for an extremely wide variety of applications.

Next we can take a look at adhesive, because, after all, tape is pretty useless without the sticky stuff. And, believe it or not, the presence of an adhesive doesn't necessarily ensure that it will stick. It's all about matching the right adhesive to the right box and under the right conditions. There are three major types of adhesive out there:

  1. Natural Rubber - an aggressive adhesive used for problematic boxes with high recycled content (corrugated dust), irregular surfaces in normal and/or cold temperatures.
  2. Hot Melt - A common packaging tape adhesive, used for sealing boxes with low recycled content around room temperature.
  3. Acrylic - A common and economical packaging tape adhesive, used for sealing boxes with low recycled content in cold temperatures.

As you can see, each type of adhesive is designed to fit a particular need - whether it be cold temperatures or problematic corrugated. Natural Rubber is the most widely used here in Australia due to its ability to adhere to almost anything. Whilst it is slightly more expensive it is easier to use and you can have peace of mind that it will stick every time. Hot melt is also a good adhesive and has a high initial tack. One problem with this product is it doesn't perform as good in our hot sun as Natural Rubber. Acrylic adhesive is generally used as a cost cutter. If you use kilometers of packaging tape you may want to consider this option.

Now that we've covered adhesive, an equally-important factor of thickness. Tape thickness is usually measured in microns,. There are sometime two measurements of thickness - both of the adhesive and the backing. The adhesive thickness will give you an idea, based on the quality and tack of the adhesive, of how much adhesion force the tape will exert on the box. The backing thickness will give you an idea on the break / shear strength of the tape (in other words, how much weight the tape can hold). Usually, packaging tape is expressing as a "backing thickness," so you may wish to inquire further to find out the adhesive thickness.

Since a certain micron (um) thickness of backing will only hold a certain amount of weight per lineal mm, there is an optimum amount of adhesive to put on the tape that will accompany the adhesion force needed for that amount of weight. So, simply put, usually the um thickness of the packaging tape adhesive is proportional to the backing thickness, since the two have to work together to keep the box properly sealed.

So when selecting the appropriate thickness, think about weight. The thicker the tape, the more box weight it can support. Most backings are polypropylene, due to its flexibility and strength that allows it to unwind easily and uniformly. Thankfully, it usually is about that simple. Several manufacturers combine a series of additives to the polypropylene to make it stronger, each with their own recipe, but overall the strengths are pretty similar.

Our Range is grouped as follows.

Natural Rubber Packaging Tape
E Tape 1
Forza F30
Extra Wide Tape
Hot Melt Adhesive
Forza F31
3M Scotch Tape
Machine Tape
Acrylic Adhesive
Forza F32
E Tape Plus
Heavy Duty Tape