What you need to know about polypropylene packaging tape

Polypropylene, poly or polypro for short, is the most commonly found packaging tape on the market. This is due to its reasonably low cost and its reliability to stick to most carton boxes. It’s important to note that polypro will have a harder time sticking to heavily recycled boxes. Another characteristic of polypro is that it is noisy when applying it on packages.

Just to be clear, polypropylene is a thermoplastic polymer that has a lot of uses namely in packaging and labeling. A hot melt adhesive is added to the polypro to make it the end product. This means it can stick to almost any surface such as foam, fabrics and cardboard. Therefore, once it has been applied to a box, it fuses to it.

It is even possible to customize polypro packaging tape to have your company logo or message printed onto it. Since polypro comes in various colors, it is recommended to stick to clear, white or tan for the colors to show as desired.

If you want to stand out and have colored poly, it is possible by flood coating a white roll tape. What this means is that if the tape is blue to begin with and the image to be printed is yellow, the end result will be green. But keep in mind that you can’t just print on any color on top. It is recommended to stick to back only.

Since polypro packaging tape is made with a hot melt adhesive, be aware that when the tape sticks together, the adhesive will make the print come right off if pulled apart.

Depending on your needs, polypro comes in different sizes and thickness. When it comes to the latter, it is more common to see the word micron instead when referring to the thickness of the tape. When talking about printed tape, the thicknesses available are 30, 40 or 50 microns. The most commonly bought one is 30 micron. It is recommended to go thicker if the shipments being sent are heavy.

Not all boxes will be packaged in room temperature settings. In some cases, tape needs to be applied in freezer or cold temperatures. For those instances, cold temperature polypro and acrylic is a good alternative to use. Acrylic is the most common one to use for freezing temperatures. Note that is sticks best 24 hours after it has been applied.

There are general rules of thumb to follow when using packaging tape in your line of business. First of all, when opening a box of tape, never open it with a box cutter. The slightest cut can cause it to break at each turn.

The amount of product in a box is also key to ensuring the tape sticks and stays on during shipping. If a box is under stuffed, it can lead the tape to start unbinding on the box. This is caused by the stress from other boxes placed above it in shipping. Since the box will cave in due to lack of items, the tape will not be able to do its intended job properly. On the other hand, if a box is overstuffed, the tape will also start to unbind due to the stress from the box.

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