Pressure-Sensitive and Water-Activated Adhesives

Whatever its intended use is, tape comes in a variety of materials, strengths, and properties that best support certain cartons, materials, and environments. When needed for heavy-duty or industrial applications, it is imperative that the specific tape being used is capable of supporting fluctuations in temperature and other environmental stressors. As such, pressure sensitive packaging tapes and water-activated tapes (WATs) are commonly used for their performance in packaging and shipping applications. To best choose the right tape fit for your parcel, we will go over the key differences between pressure-sensitive tapes and water-activated tapes, as well as how they can best be applied to your advantage.

What we often see being used as every-day adhesives, pressure-sensitive adhesives (PSAs) are non-reactive adhesives that only require applied pressure to be bonded to a surface. With no need for heat, water, or additional solvents to act as a catalyst for activating any adhesives used for PSAs, such tapes are primarily recommended for room temperature applications. Often losing their adhesive qualities when exposed to high or low temperatures, PSAs can be manufactured with specialized adhesives that work to counterbalance fluctuations in temperature to maintain their holding ability. Typically made from an elastomer and compatible tackifier like rosin ester, PSAs get their sticky qualities in the form of a solid or partially liquid adhesive. Used to mate an adhesive with an adherend, pressure-sensitive tapes are categorized based on their shear and peel resistance qualities, alongside their tackiness. Permanent or removable, pressure sensitive adhesives include: safety labels, surface protection films, foil tape, dampening films, masking tapes, note papers, medical tapes, and much more.

To apply water-activated tape to a carton, it must first be activated by water to instigate a bond along the adhesive. When applying a WAT to a parcel, these adhesives can only work once water has been applied to instigate a chemical reaction along the adhesive side of the tape. Allowing the tape to bond itself to a surface once attached, water-activated tapes are considered amongst some of the more sturdier and reliable options for boxes, packages, heavy-duty packing, and more. Often made from Kraft paper or sheets of paper lined with reinforced fibers like fiberglass, these tapes supply hard-to-break bonds that are permanent and safe from tampering. Though, to avoid applying WATs by hand, it is recommended that a dispenser is used to simplify the process. Difficult to cut by hand and often a time consuming procedure, WAT dispensers do the hard work for you, wetting and cutting the adhesive to speedup processes.

Varying in adhesive qualities, different adherents can be used for a number of jobs, but not all can withstand the same degree of stressors. For example, while plastic pressure-sensitive tapes are optimal for general shipping and packaging applications, the adhesive strip can easily be removed and reapplied without any trace of tampered materials, making WATs a preferred choice for business and industrial purposes. When you require adhesives of certain characteristics and properties, let us as Infinite Industrials handle all of your sourcing needs.

As a streamlined service for all of your part requirement needs, we invite you to browse our inventory for numerous products ready to be put to work. Whether you require pressure-sensitive tape, water activated tape, or tape dispenser assembly parts, Infinite Industrials is here to streamline and expedite any one of your orders for immediate procurement. Due to our quality control and export compliance, we operate with AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B certification and accreditation. If you would like to request a quote for your comparisons, you can submit an RFQ form as provided on our website. Upon receipt, a dedicated account manager will quickly review and respond with a personalized solution to your needs in just 15 minutes or less, 24/7x365.


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