Tape, made of long strips of adhesive material, is primarily used for a wide range of binding and fastening applications, though it has several other applications as well. To make their product, tape suppliers engage is a fairly simple process called coating, wherein adhesive is applied to a carrier material. The carrier material may be any one of a collection of moderately thin and flexible materials, such as metal foils, paper tissues, cloth or films.
There are three main methods of coating: water-based coating, solvent coating and hot-melt coating. Water-based coating solutions are made by mixing the adhesive with water to form emulsions, or small, suspended globs of one of the liquids in the other. After the solution is made, it is simply coated on. In solvent coating, a solvent is used to dissolve the adhesive and thereby create a comparably non-viscous liquid, which is coated onto the carrier material. After the material has been coated, suppliers remove the solvent by passing the tape through a heated oven. The hot-melt coating process is performed in the way that its name suggests; the adhesive is heated until it reaches its melting point, and then it coats the carrier material as a hot liquid. After coating, the tape only need cool to become a finished product. Read More…
When a sheet of tape is finished, it may still undergo a variety of converting processes before it is ready to be shipped. It may, for example, undergo winding, which is when the sheet is wound and formed into a large roll of tape. Or it may be slit. The slitting process is completed by taking a large roll of coated tape, and cutting it into smaller strips that can be sold. Tape may also be die cut instead of slit. Steps like these prepare tape to be the types we recognize at the store.
The most common type of application-specific tapes are pressure sensitive adhesives, or adhesives that form a bond between tape and the substrate through the employment of pressure. Tapes like these include duct tape, masking tape, packaging tape, electrical tape and others. A second type of tapes are those that are defined by the material used to produce them. Examples include foam, foil, PTFE and vinyl tape. Duct tape is a soft pressure tape made with adhesive of a tacky-like consistency. Strong and versatile, duct tape is used individual consumers and manufacturers alike. It is so powerful, in fact, that it can be used for high-stake applications, like water sealing military equipment. Masking tape is made of an easy-release, easy-tear adhesive, and is most often used around the house for light-duty tasks, like taping a paper to the wall. Packaging tape is a bit stronger, made with packaging and shipping in mind. It is perfect for securing packages, envelopes, bags, etcetera, that won’t loosen, tear, break or burst. Electrical tape is called such because it is made to insulate electrical wires and other conduits. It is made from non-conductive, pressure sensitive materials. Less common pressure sensitive tapes include Gaffer’s tape, marking tape, sealing tape, 3M tape and various styles of printed tape. In addition, with the advancement of material extraction and fabrication, some speciality tapes, like double-sided have emerged, and stronger and thinner tapes continue to develop. This is good news for all; every single industry uses tape in one form or another, and tape suppliers sell to OEMs, retailers and end-users alike.