When it comes to choosing a packaging tape there are a number of factors that need to be considered……
First of all the carrier…… For standard packaging tapes there are 2 options, Polypropylene or PVC. PVC tape is generally thicker than polypropylene and lasts longer in the sort of conditions under which polypropylene will fail, such as extreme temperatures and long-term storage. It also exhibits higher resistance to humidity, chemicals and moisture. However this of course comes with a greater cost. For standard packaging by hand and machine polypropylene is more than capable.
Secondly the Adhesive….. There are 3 choices with regards to adhesive on packaging tapes. Acrylic, Hotmelt, or Solvent. Certain adhesives are better for certain atmospheres or temperatures. When it comes to a PVC carrier the only option is Solvent. This is because hotmelt adhesive is applied at a temperature that would liquefy the PVC carrier. PVC is a very strong option however will become brittle in low temperatures.
Acrylics have a wider temperature range than hot melts (0°C to 65°C). Hot melts (3°C to 50°C). Acrylic Tape holds up better in extremely low temperatures and is ideal for refrigerated or frozen storage. In high humidity conditions such as food production sites, they seem to perform better than hot melts. However Hotmelt usually has a higher shear stretch and along with a quicker cure time to the box.
So Hotmelt or acrylic is a common question….. Hot Melt Tape wins when it comes to adhesion strength. It has significantly higher adhesion as compared to acrylic tape on most surfaces including fibreboard. Hot Melt Tape has a very strong holding power therefore performing better under constant stress. However with regards to price Acrylic is often the winner along with being more environmentally friendly. It is water based as opposed to oil based like hotmelt. Acrylic will also not yellow over time unlike hotmelt and is more UV resistant.
Solvent Based Tape is probably going to be the more expensive option, but it does come with what is often described as a far more aggressive adhesion It’s also far better at dealing with extreme temperatures once applied, damp conditions and high humidity, all of which make it ideal for use on heavy duty and export packaging. Due to its higher viscosity it also is the choice of adhesive when it comes to dusty or board with a high recycled content as it will outperform both Hotmelt and Acrylic when it comes to these surfaces.
Acrylic – Low cost, works well in low temperatures and long term storage
Hotmelt – High adhesion strength and good all rounder
Solvent – Heavy duty adhesive with great adhesion to fibrous board.