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What is water activated tape?

Water-activated tape (WAT) is a form of paper tape with water-based chemical adhesive that is reactivated by water. Water-activated tape can be found in plain kraft paper for light cartons or with multi layers of paper and re-enforcements for heavy cartons. When the water-activated adhesive is applied to a carton, a capillary action bonds the tape to the carton. This permanent bond is tamper resistant and/or evident.

Non-Reinforced Water Activated Tape

Water-activated tape (or gummed paper tape) bonds instantly to both virgin and recycled fiber surfaces and therefore, generate an immediate destructive bond resulting in a tamper evident package. WAT is offered in both fiberglass reinforced and plain paper with many styles available in standard prints or customized prints to display your corporate message.

  • Secure Bond - starch based adhesive aggressively bonds to corrugated cartons, even in dusty or dirty environment
  • Customized Printing - advertise your company and products, provide directions for freight handlers and improve the appearance of your package.
  • All Weather Use - Water activated tapes are not affected by varying temperatures including extreme hot or cold temperatures.
  • Protection - a carton sealed with water-activated tape cannot be opened without leaving a broken seal
Non-Reinforced Water Activated Paper Tape

Water Activated Non-Reinforced Paper Tape (Gummed Paper Tape)

Designed for fast, permanent adhesion and superior strength. Cracking of the adhesive surface provides gummed paper tape with excellent flexibility for sealing carton corners, edges and irregular surfaces. Thesepaper tapes can be used to seal lightweight or standard sized packages or cartons that will be shipped in unitized loads or full pallets.

Reinforced Water Activated Tape

Reinforced Water Activated Tape

Available in a wide variety of sizes and product construction, reinforced paper tapes are designed to provide consistent performance in carton sealing applications where durability, consistentstrength and reliability are required. Extra strong fiberglass yarns are bonded between the high tensile strength sheets for an addedmargin of strength.

Water Activated Tape Dispenser Advantages

Water Activated Tape Dispenser BP555eS
  • Requires no maintenance to keep it clean
  • Self-cleans while it rotates in the water pot
  • Roller material will not support growth of bacteria or mold

Manual Water Activated Tape Dispensers vs Electric Water Activated Tape Dispensers

Speaking generally, electric water activated tape dispensers will be easier to use, faster (more productive), and will provide more consistent performance. Electric tape dispensers do require 115 volt electric power while manual water activated tape dispensers do not.

Manual water activated tape dispensers are generally used in low volume and occasional use applications, while electric tape dispensers are used in higher volume environments.

Electric tape dispensers will cost more than manual tape dispensers initially, but higher productivity and performance usually outweigh the greatercost.

How does productivity compare between a pressure sensitive tape and water-activated tapes?

For high speed case sealers, pressure-sensitive tape will stick faster because water-activated tapes need a brief moment for the adhesives to penetrate the carton. However, for lower speed, in-line operations and hand applications, a water-activated tape dispenser is superior to the pressure sensitive tape handgun.

Testing shows that water-activated tape dispensers are 16% more productive than hand-held tape guns.

How does the cost compare between pressure sensitive plastic tapes and water-activated gummed tapes?

If you're looking strictly at the "per foot basis," pressure sensitive tape can appear to beless expensive. Most pressure sensitive tape used is 2 inches wide while most water-activated tapes used for general carton-sealing is 3 inches wide. Three inch plastic tape is just about equivalent in price as the three-inch wide water-activated tape. In practical packaging applications, most packers will use at least two strips, not one, of the 2" plastic tape. That quickly makes the cost-per-carton sealed more expensive than the 3" wide reinforced tape which never needs a second strip across the same seam.

What is the relative security of pressure sensitive tape versus water-activated tapes?

From a security perspective, all pressure sensitive tapes can be defeated with a heat source like a blow dryer. Unknown to the shipper of receiver, packages can be opened and resealed. Besides goods being removed from cartons due to theft, unwanted materials could be placed inside creating possible security or health risk. Water-activated tape is tamper-evident. Therefore if cartons are compromised during shipment there is generally evidence showing a compromise has been made to the carton and its contents.

Are there certain cartons water activated tapes would not be an effective carton closing product?

Yes. These include glossy, printed cardboard containers, where the sender's logo might be covered because water activated tape is not see-through.

What type of companies use water-activated tapes?

Companies are increasingly using water-activated tape to ship their products. Virtually any company can use water activated tapes. Companies have a variety of reasons for choosing to use water-activated tape that includes tamper-evident, theft avoidance, branding, sustainability, and strength. Industries using water-activated tape include food, clothing, health care, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, electronics, public safety, jewelry, furniture, homeland security, defense industries, and many others.


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