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Costs calendar    Jul 24, 2023

Types of packaging: secrets behind the packing tape

The choice of packaging tape has more secrets behind it than you think - check in today's post to see which core will be most suitable for your business!

We seem to know everything about parcels - we have written about how to properly choose the size of the cardboard boxes for the contents of the shipment, how to generate shipping labels well, and what kind of packaging we have in the genre of ecological solutions.

In fact, however, hardly anyone pays attention to the problem which is... the choice of tape to seal the box, which will prevent its contents from falling out. This is because I will emphasize it once again - the main task of packaging is to perform a protective function and make sure that the goods ordered by the customer arrive in full.

That's why we invite you to read the next post in the series of types of packaging - this time we take a closer look at types of packing tape!

Packaging tape: basic info

Simply put, packaging tapes (sometimes called also adhesive tape or just parcel tape) are a material used to seal boxes, packages, and various types of packaging. It is most commonly used on the joints of cartons to secure and seal them during transport and delivery.

It should be made of durable material, but at the same time be quite flexible. Most of us probably associate brown, seemingly plastic tapes - but this is not the only option to choose in the context of this product. There are colored, transparent tapes, branded with company logos - in a word, something good for everyone. It is a so-called pressure-sensitive product - which in the dictionary of people not related to the industry means that its properties are activated after pressing the product to the place requiring gluing.

Before we discuss the broader issue of the material from which packing tapes can be made, let's look at a simpler issue, i.e. the dimensions of packing tapes.

Of course, in today's personalized e-commerce world, you can order custom packing tape of virtually any size; however, the most popular ones available for immediate purchase include dimensions such as:

  • 100m x 500mm

  • 50m x 25mm

  • 50m x 500mm

What's more, packaging tape is, due to its irreplaceable nature in the packaging industry, a real goldmine for its producers. As evidenced by data collected by Mordor Intelligence, this arm of the market is growing at a CAGR of >6% over the next 5 years. In turn, the research company Expert Market Search specifies that in 2028 the industry of packaging tape producers will reach a value of around USD 88.7 billion.

Packing tape: materials to choose from

There are really many types of packing tapes available on the market - what is important, each of them is dedicated to different purposes. When choosing a packing tape, take into account the tasks that will be faced by it - consider the weight of the boxes, whether the tape is to be decorative or rather strong and resistant to weather conditions and water, etc:

  • gummed paper tape - gummed paper tape is a tape that is completely eco-friendly - it is made either from paper or potato starch. It is a water-activated tape, but the adhesive is fully recyclable. In comparison with ordinary paper tape, this solution is more durable due to its additional strength. It often has additional glass fibers embedded between the paper layers.

  • vinyl packaging tape - or PVC. It is packing tape that is characterized by a slightly higher adhesive strength; it is also particularly resistant to tearing. Unfortunately, its disadvantage is the difficulty in applying it, whether by hand or with a tape dispenser. It is also worth noting that it is relatively resistant to low temperatures (it does not lose its adhesive properties in them) - thus being the first choice packing tape for packages with products that must be stored in refrigerators.

  • masking tape - in the packaging industry, these tapes are most often used as temporary solutions, due to their low adhesion. More often they are used in the painting process as an ideal solution for the removal of paint in a desired location - as they are resistant to paints and solvents, and at the same time, after removal of the tape, they do not leave any traces of glue on the wrapped object.

  • paper packing tape - paper packing tape is, to all appearances, not an invention of recent times - it is a cult product that has been on the market for a very long time. Paper tapes are most often covered with water-activated adhesive. It is an ecological choice - fully biodegradable and recyclable.

  • printed tape - printed tape is usually plastic packing tape with descriptions such as "fragile" or "handle with care." They inform couriers about the appropriate precautions to take when handling a package. Another option is printed paper tapes, which are most often printed with branding - in the brand's logo or claim.

  • polypropylene packing tape - such kind of packaging tape is among the relatively cheap ones (considering the cost of the base material); in addition, they also have a pressure-sensitive adhesive. They are most often produced in clear color and used directly in factories with case taper systems.

  • reinforced packaging tape - tape for special tasks, also called duck tape in everyday language. It is made of glass fibers, thanks to which it is more difficult to tear while retaining greater adhesive strength. Most often it is used to glue metal and plastic parts - but this does not mean, however, that it will not work well with ordinary cardboard box.

Packing tape: the matter of sustainability

I have already written many times about the impact of e-commerce and related logistics on the natural environment- the problem is really serious and therefore requires the industry's involvement in introducing green changes, including those regarding ... betting on ecological packaging.

This challenge also applies to the topic of packaging tapes. According to data provided by one of the leading manufacturers of this raw material, Tesa company, approximately 915 billion meters of single-use plastic packaging tape are used every year - which is twice the distance from Earth to Mars and back.

That's why, especially if ecological values are in your brand's DNA, it's worth betting on more environmentally friendly solutions - such as paper tapes and kraft paper. These types of tape do not have to be boring and brown - at your request, they can be branded as you wish, prepared in other colours, and made visually definitely pleasing to the eyes of your buyers.

Example of branded eco paper tape offered by Packaging Mule company.

Packing operations: make the packing process easier thanks to the packing tape dispenser

Most tapes can definitely be applied manually - they are simply torn from the reel to the required length and cut at the desired point. However, it is worth making this work faster and easier - with the help of dedicated tape guns and dispensers. These are usually simple plastic devices for storing rolls, with built-in cutting materials, possible to use by any user.

Exemplary vizualization of packaging tape gun and packaging tape dispenser.

They significantly speed up the packing process and what's more - when used correctly, the tapes are much better glued and pressed onto the package than when applied fully manually.

Interesting fact: for professional use in factories, there are specialized tape dispensers mounted directly on packaging lines - equipped with special low-noise tapes for applying the tape.

Best packing tape: what to choose from among so many solutions?

Choosing the right tape for your business isn't an easy decision. As far as you base on cardboard packaging you've got a really wide set of tape types to pick from. After all, at first glance, it may seem that the bridge packaging tapes are essentially the same. When deciding whether to bet on gummed tape, polypropylene tape, duct tape, plastic tape, or vinyl packaging tape you always have to have in the back of your mind information about whether you are packing the usual cardboard box or, however, a slightly different packaging material. Different types of tape offer different benefits - such as durability, ease of gluing, or resistance to low extreme temperatures also chemicals. Some of them are more useful for heavy-duty packaging, some are really functional for long-term storage, etc.

Another factor to consider is the cost of tapes - some of them are definitely cost-effective tape kinds, but some - not necessarily. The more advanced the solution and the more branding - the higher the cost will be.

Remember also that the sealing boxes process, regardless of the type of parcel you are sealing, will only be effective if the tapes are applied correctly - they are properly stretched, and there are no air bubbles under the tape. To achieve such a perfect state of tape application it is worth using suitable tape dispensers.

Parcel tape: a complete guide

When running a typical e-commerce most packaging tapes usually will work for you in normal conditions of storage. At the end of the day, you need to pack multiple boxes, save time and remember to take care of environmental impact (yes, present consumers really focus also on this issue).

So I'm keeping my fingers crossed for your wise packaging choices - may the sticky side of your tapes always be strong, and chosen tapes will make less noise when sealing and be useful in any storage conditions!

Head of Marketing at Linker Cloud who gained experience in the insurance and tech industry. She also has a marketing agency perspective.

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