Nothing causes more trouble on a packaging line than tape that doesn’t stick. When tape failures happen, products go tumbling and the whole packing line has to stop and reset before things can keep moving. Poor tape applications raise concerns for product damage and even theft.  It’s a serious issue that must be solved in order to keep your operations running smoothly without delay. If you’re left wondering why your tape isn’t sticking, here’s some of the reasons that might be to blame, plus some ways to fix the problem.

You're Using the Wrong Tape

The most obvious reason your tape might not be sticking is that you’re using the wrong type for your application. There are so many types of packaging tape, and it can be quite confusing to figure out which is best for your business. Whether you need acrylic, hot melt, or water-activated tape will be determined based on many factors.

To solve this issue, you should look at your other packaging materials and see what they require for a secure tape application. For example, recycled kraft material is different than virgin kraft material. This means that boxes made from recycled materials will require a different type of tape because the demands of the tape are much higher due to the manipulation of the paper fibers. Recycled cartons require a tape with a higher wet out because the fibers present deeper grooves where the adhesive needs to penetrate in order to create a tight seal.

You Don’t Have the Right Tools

Tape application can be done by hand or machine. Each tape is designed to be applied a certain way, and without the proper tools, you may fail to apply tape effectively. For example, water-activated tape needs to be wet before it’s applied. Without a water-activated tape dispenser that’s designed for the job, you probably won’t get enough moisture on the tape to activate the adhesive, while will lead to tape failure. Another example is hot melt tape, which requires heat during application to ignite the adhesion properties of the tape. Make sure you have the right tools for your tape so your employees can properly apply it.

Your Packaging Tape Has Expired

Did you know that packaging tapes have expiration dates? Adhesive formulas are not designed to last forever, although some types can be stored for many years before losing their sticky powers. If your tape has been sitting around for a long period of time, it may not work right anymore because the liner has dried out and cracked or the adhesive has become inert.

To avoid having tape sit around and go bad, only order the amounts you need and pay close attention to expiration dates and storage requirements. Some tapes need to be stored at certain temperatures to extend the life of the adhesive, while others are simply limited by time and will expire regardless of how they are stored.

You Didn’t Think About Temperatures in Shipping Environments

Not all tapes are made equal, which is why some simply cannot stand up to extreme temperatures on the road.  Cold temperature shipping environments require some specific tape properties if you want to keep your cartons sealed. Specialty cold temperature tapes are able to maintain their adhesion and flexibility in lower temperatures. This is the type of tape you’ll be after if you ship temperature-sensitive items, such as food or medication, that require special shipping in refrigerated containers.

In addition to temperature, humidity also has some control over your tape’s effectiveness. Higher humidity can cause tape to separate from the box, leaving the interior contents exposed to damage. Water-activated tapes remove the threat of humidity because they require moisture to stick and provide a super strong seal once applied. Always pay attention to the types of environments your packages will be exposed to, and you’ll be able to find the right tape to overcome and challenges in those locations.

Choosing the right tape is more complicated than it might seem. There are many factors you must consider before making a final selection of tape, including the conditions of the shipping and storage locations your packages will pass through. If you know your packages will be exposed to colder temperatures or high humidity, you’ll have to pick a tape that is designed for those environments. Otherwise, your packages will be vulnerable to tape failure and your products will have a higher chance of being damaged. Hopefully, this article will help you identify why your tape isn’t sticking and find a solution to solve the problem.