Friday, March 10, 2017

E-Commerce Packaging Tape Usage

By Ryan Mach, IPG Product Manager, Water-Activated Tape ––  

LxWxH - E-Commerce Packaging Tape Usage
14 inches. This is an important number in e-commerce packaging today. It is the average length of a carton used in e-commerce in North America. The actual number is 14.3 inches (Standard Deviation=6.6).

True, there are organizations that ship nothing but long golf clubs or fishing rods, but you know who you are and you know what size cartons you use. For the rest of us, the answer is neither constant nor clear. Even if you have calculated the average length of your cartons, how do you compare to the industry?

Carton length drives a large number of decisions: corrugate choice, tape consumption, packaging station design, shipping cost, rack sizing, conveyor sizing, label size, etc. Logistics engineers have hundreds of decisions to make in this rapidly growing industry.

How Much Tape Per Carton Is Normal?

14.3 inch tape plus three inch tails (on each side) equals ~20 inch tape for the closure of the top or bottom of a carton. Operators applying pressure-sensitive tape by hand often use two or three strips of tape per top or bottom. Using water-activated tape (gummed tape, Kraft paper tape), you can be sure of single-strip closure. In addition to its efficiency, WAT lends itself well to custom printing/branding, and is considered the most secure way to seal a carton with its tamper-evident seal.

Watch this video comparing pressure-sensitive tape with water-activated tape:



Please feel free to respond with comments or questions below.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Challenges of Appliance Installation


Have you ever purchased a microwave from a major home improvement store, got really excited to bring it home, and opened the box and to see what types of tapes were used to package it???  Well, I do and this happened to me a few weeks ago when I decided to get rid of the 20 plus year old microwave in my kitchen.  

When I got the microwave home and started to inspect the packaging, the outside of the box was sealed with a clear carton sealing tape.  After I opened the box, I saw that a clean-removal MOPP tape was used on the outside and inside of the microwave to secure the door and parts during production and shipment.  I was not surprised to see either of these tapes being used by this particular manufacturer.  

I decided to install the microwave myself and unfortunately for me, I always seem to run into some type of “challenge” when I take on a home improvement project.  The “challenge” that I ran into on this project was a large hole in the wall behind my existing microwave.  My guess is that the previous homeowner tried to vent the microwave through the wall and abandoned that idea and decided to vent it through the top of the kitchen cabinet.  What the previous homeowner didn’t do was cover up the hole that was left in the wall.  So what did I do?  I decided to use a few strips of IPG® Duct Tape to cover this hole and the problem was solved in a matter of minutes.  Every household needs a roll of IPG® Duct Tape.  In fact, maybe our sales force should add duct tape to their product line when they call on an Appliance Manufacturer.  A roll of duct tape could be packaged with the microwave, dishwasher, etc. in case the homeowner runs into the same “challenge” that I ran into.  

So to all you Appliance Manufacturers out there, call your IPG Sales Representative today and order some IPG® Duct Tape!

Written by Andy Coyne, IPG Corporate Account Manager

Friday, January 27, 2017

3 Packaging Tips When Shipping Electronics

Packaging and Shipping Electronics
Technology is constantly evolving and many people are eager to obtain the latest electronics. Electronics are relatively fragile and often expensive, so it's important to understand how to safely pack and ship these products. Take a look at the following tips to properly package electronics so you can prevent costly damages and returns that can occur when shipping electronic devices.

Properly Secure Batteries For Shipping

Most electronics require batteries or are equipped with detachable batteries for power. Although batteries such as lithium are common in many of today's electronics, these components can be a source of hazardous heat, sparks or fire if improperly packed for shipping. According to UPS, when shipping almost any type of battery, you must safeguard all terminals against short-circuiting. To do so, completely cover them with an insulating, non-conductive material or pack each battery in fully enclosed inner packaging to ensure exposed terminals are protected.

Separate Cords and Accessories

When electronics have several components, it's always good to stay organized by separating the cords and accessories. Separating and bundling the cords significantly helps the user, as well as the retailer, by:

  • Creating more organized space so loose cords are not tangling with other items in the carton
  • Separated items can be labeled to make it easier for the user to identify each piece and know how they connect
  • Providing a better customer experience helps build your business's brand 


Use Effective Shipping Materials 

It’s important to utilize the right shipping materials to ensure that your electronics remain safe and arrive to your customer in pristine condition. The following packing materials are effective in keeping your electronics safe and secure.

Corrugated Cartons 

Corrugated cartons are different from cardboard boxes.  Cardboard boxes are any type of box made from heavy paper pulp.  Typical applications include cereal cartons and game boxes.  Corrugated cartons are comprised of three layers of paper that includes an inside liner, an outside liner, and fluting with a ruffled shape, which runs in between the two. The corrugated fiberboard sheet is created by gluing the 3 sheets together. As a result of their design, corrugated cartons are cost-effective and, depending upon their construction, can hold a wide variety of weights, protect against moisture and are a sustainable choice.  Depending on the amount of protection required, corrugate is available in a wide variety of sizes and thickness.

Void Fill / Air Pillows

Protective packing, or void fill, are important to keep items separated from each other and from the corners, sides, top and bottom of the box. It helps prevent items from moving around in the carton.  Materials available include packing peanuts, and air pillows.  Air pillows are an excellent interior packing material choice.
Air pillows are not only more cost-effective than packing peanuts but also provide a more effective cushion for your products. This will ensure your products make it to the customer safely and without employing polystyrene packing peanuts that many people prefer not to receive.  Air pillows are environmentally friendly.  The total volume of filled air pillows is just 1% of the initial size for disposal and HDPE films are easy to recycle.

Water-Activated Tape 

It is important to choose water-activated tape for your carton sealing application so you can keep your customers satisfied and maintain your bottom line.  When shipping expensive electronics, you want a tape that will keep your products safe and will be cost-effectiveness.  Water-activated tape provides these advantages because when the adhesive is activated with water, it penetrates the carton material and the tape forms a permanent bond with the carton. As a result, it creates a strong seal that is tamper-evident.  Water-activated tape is available in various widths and thicknesses and may contain strands of fiberglass reinforcement to provide added strength.

IPG's Water-Activated Tape

IPG offers a full line of Better Packages gummed packaging tape dispensers, along with Central brand water-activated tape. Water-activated tape (also known as gummed tape, gum tape, Kraft paper tape, reinforced paper tape) is designed to create a superior seal on corrugated cartons while providing advantages other carton sealing methods do not.

Central brand water-activated carton sealing tape is offered in a wide range of paper and reinforced gummed paper tape styles, roll lengths and widths to best fit your carton sealing needs. It is the preferred choice of packaging specialists when quality, strength, security and professional appearance are critical.

Still wondering if water-activated tape is right for your company? Request a sample and explore the enhanced carton sealing solutions for yourself.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Masking Tape – The Core Basics

Masking Tape: Adhesive, Backing, Release CoatWe have all experienced masking tape problems at some point, whether a weekend project at home or out on the job site. Having experienced issues in the past, we’ve learned that it all comes down to buying the right tape for the job. Easy, right?  Not exactly! I work in the tape industry and I still get confused walking through the tape section of a big box store. I can’t imagine how overwhelming it must be for a DIYer or contractor searching through an entire aisle of different brands, colors, sizes, prices, etc…where to begin?!

Understanding Painter’s Masking Tape

“Masking Tape” (a term most often used categorizing paper tapes) comes from the act of protecting or masking an area prior to the application of painting, coating or surface treatment. But are all masking tapes created equal? Let’s take a closer look.

The composition of masking tape at its most fundamental level is made up of three layers: backing, adhesive and release coat. (See illustration, top of page.) The backing is generally made from a saturated crepe paper. Crepe paper is known for its ability to stretch, allowing the tape to bend and conform around curves. Saturation helps enhance the paper’s physical properties and can also add color if preferred. The paper can be smooth crepe or coarse crepe—smooth crepe is used on high performance products, leaving a clean paint line and no bleed-through. Coarse crepe has a rough finish and is commonly used in general purpose applications where a clean line is not necessarily required.

The two types of adhesives used are acrylic and rubber (or synthetic rubber).  Acrylic adhesives can be water-based or solvent-based and use synthesized polymers to formulate an adhesive structure that is applied to the tape. Acrylics have medium initial adhesion, temperature resistance, solvent resistance, UV resistance and durability.  Rubber adhesives can consist of natural or synthetic rubber. Natural rubber adhesives have a medium to high tack and are used for general purpose applications. Synthetic rubber adhesives are formed by mixing synthetic compounds with rubber.  These are medium tack and intended for indoor and outdoor painting applications. Rubber and synthetic rubber adhesives have medium-high initial adhesion, temperature resistance, UV resistance, and durability.

The release coat controls the tape’s unwind values, its adhesion to backing values and adhesive consistencies. In other words—the release coat allows the tape to come off the roll easily and not stick to itself.  There you have it, lesson one in the books! Learning what masking tape is and how it’s made is key to understanding how it works and why it works (or doesn’t work—we will cover this later). In Part II we will learn about applications—what to use, why to use and how to use—and break down acrylic and rubber masking tapes further, discussing chemical additives that can give the tape new properties and
characteristics.

Written by Brandon Paas, Consumer Marketing Manager, IPG




Thursday, November 17, 2016

Semi-Perminent Mold Releases Are On The Rise. I'm Hearing About Adhesion Complaints Again. Anyone Else?



Are we heading back to the early 2000’s when this was a common occurrence?


As the senior director of global market development, lately I often find myself being asked to advise on material substitutions for fiberglass boat manufacturing.  My work is entirely based around developing products that meet the ever changing needs of boat builders.  I find myself wondering it might be time for us to pull our patent pending 2015 IBEX honorable mention  solution off the shelf.
Back in 2002 when boat builders were booming, we scrounged to help builders find a tape that would stick to semi-permanent release agents.  When production decreased dramatically and builders went back to paste wax, the need subsided.

Now that the calls are pouring in, I am asking myself how can I help these builders?  Sure, we hear about a temporary method of wiping down the tapeline.  This method isn’t ideal as it removes the release agent from the mold, potentially damaging the mold and therefor it is not an effective solution.

Should we take our patented miracle product SMT1 off of the shelf? Or is it still too soon to react to the ever challenging “why isn’t my tape sticking” dilemma?

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Paper or Plastic?

The right shipping solution will save you time and money.

You want to make sure the items inside your shipping cartons are sent safely and arrive at the destination with no issues, so your customers are satisfied and your company’s costs are minimized. To keep your items secure, you will need a versatile sealing solution so that the carton can withstand the rigors of the shipping process. When it comes to choosing between plastic, pressure-sensitive tape (PST) and water-activated tape (WAT), consider the possibility of theft, cost-effectiveness, climatic conditions and branding to determine which tape will be the best alternative for your application.

Pressure-Sensitive Tape and the Shipping Process

Plastic, pressure-sensitive tape consists of film and a tacky substance that adheres to a given surface when light pressure is applied. The tape is petroleum-based. It is generally applied with tape guns.

Theft: The inherent characteristics of PST make it easy to remove or to gain access to the carton by pushing down on it, without leaving a trace of entry. As a result of its lack of tamper-evidence, theft can be a shipping problem.
Cost-effectiveness: On a per foot basis, plastic PST is relatively inexpensive. However, as a practical matter, many people use several strips of tape to seal their cartons to try to ensure security or to create added strength. Once several strips of tape are added to the equation, the inexpensive feature of PST disappears.

Climatic Conditions: Plastic PST doesn’t perform well in varying environments including cold and hot temperatures, high humidity and dusty environments. These challenging situations make PST lose its seal. Further, dirt can get underneath the plastic tape and the integrity of the seal is compromised.

Branding: Is branding important to your company? The carton that you ship your products in is the first experience your customers have with your company. It is difficult and expensive to print your logo or a message on plastic, PST. Your branding efforts are undermined if you are using several strips of tape to try to secure your carton, for they make your cartons make look sloppy.

Water Activated Tape and the Shipping Process

WAT is made primarily of white or natural color Kraft paper tape and starch-based adhesive. It’s usually available in various widths and thicknesses and may contain layers with fiberglass reinforcement. When the adhesive is activated with water, it penetrates the carton material and the tape forms a permanent bond with the carton. It is generally applied with a water activated tape dispenser.

Theft: WAT discourages theft because it is difficult to remove without leaving obvious signs of tampering. It literally bonds to the carton. Theft during the shipping process usually occurs because it is easy to do and difficult to get caught. With WAT, easy, undetected entry is not possible.

Cost-effectiveness: On a per-foot basis, WAT is often more expensive than plastic PST. However, since you only need one strip of tape to securely seal a carton, the per foot differential usually disappears as packers often use two to three strips of plastic PST. Companies derive additional cost savings from the lack of theft associated with WAT.

Climatic Conditions:  WAT performs well under the extreme conditions of cold, heat, light, humidity and dirt, maintaining its bonding properties and the carton’s seal.
Branding: Branding is a critical element for businesses growth. By using water-activated tape, a company is easily able to print its logo or a message right on the tape in either full color or black and white. This keeps your brand front and center when your carton arrives at your customer’s home or office.

Choosing the right tape for your carton sealing application is a critical piece of the customer satisfaction pie and for your corporate efficiency. The right tape can assure product safety, cost-effectiveness and can enhance your branding. In many instances, choosing the tape comes down to plastic, PST or paper, water-activated tape. Think carefully about the pros and cons of each before making your all-important carton sealing decision.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Eight Reasons IPG is the Right Answer for Transportation Solutions

Transportation Solutions

As one of the leading suppliers with over 50 years of manufacturing experience in the area of performance pressure sensitive tapes for masking and surface protection, our products are compatible and proven to perform with a wide variety of advanced coatings available in the transportation industry.