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Askthe Expert: Packaging

The many different types of carton sealing tape adhesive. There are three types of pressure sensitive carton sealing tape adhesives: Hot Melt, Acrylic, and Natural Rubber.

Hot Melt Adhesive Tape provides the widest range of application flexibility available. This adhesive bonds quickly regardless if it was applied by hand or automatically. This tape is excellent for use with automatic carton sealing machine. Hot Melt Adhesive is named as the tape is applied while hot and hardens while it cools. There is no need to apply heat to the tape while in use this just refers to the way the adhesive is manufactured.

Acrylic Adhesive Tape is recommended for applications in temperatures below 40 and above 120 degrees. This adhesive is good for long term adhesion as it will not yellow over time even when exposed to florescent light and sunlight. This tape does have good initial adhesion, however it does take 24- 48 hours for achieve maximum bond strength.

Natural Rubber Adhesive Tape bonds easily to cartons with recycled content, heavy ink coverage or rough surfaces. This adhesive is moisture resistant and will often bond to a surface where other adhesives will not (dust, cold, heat, recycled materials).

Water Activated Tapes bond to surfaces with water. The glue on the tape is activated by the water and bonds instantly to corrugated surfaces. The immediate bond and nature of water activated tape make this ideal for tamper evident packaging. Water Activated Tape is also manufactured with fiberglass threads which are bonded between the paper sheets for additional strength. This is referred to as reinforced water activated tape. Water activated tapes are not affected by extreme temperatures.

Mill Thickness Manufacturers produce tape within their best abilities. Mil Thickness can range from 1.6 mil over 3.2 mil but decided on which strength is the best for a particular application can be confusing. Below are some general guidelines in selecting the right thickness for your application.

Box Weight Total Box Inches
(Length + Width + Height)
MIL Thickness
0-20 lbs 0 – 40 Inches 1.6 Mil – 1.75 Mil
20-35 lbs 0 – 50 Inches 1.75 Mil – 2.0 Mil
35-50 lbs 0 – 60 Inches 1.8 Mil – 3.2 Mil
35-50 lbs 0 – 75 Inches 2.2 Mil – 3.2 Mil

If your package is long or very heavy, a 3” tape may be a better fit providing a stronger seal with a single application. 2” tape may require multiple applications costing additional time and tape. It is common for tape users to overuse tape for fear that they have not achieved a secure bond. In choosing a stronger or wider tape, one step application may be achieved. Choosing the right tape can be tricky. Please feel free to contact us directly and we will help determine the right tape for your specific application.