Friday, November 10, 2017

A Year of Disasters – What Comes Next?

2017 has been a very tough year for the United States with weather-related damage and natural disasters impacting practically the entire nation. Flooding, hurricanes, fire, and tornadoes have impacted more than half the people in the US and its territories. Disasters like these inevitably lead to property damage and even worse–human and animal health problems such as “mold cold,” infections, antibiotic-resistant injuries, meningitis, Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) and even PTSD.

Moody’s Analytics estimates that hurricanes Harvey and Irma alone may cost the US economy $150-200 billion in damage and lost productivity, not to mention health-related costs.

Remediation (abatement) and restoration companies are responding to these disasters. They are setting up temporary locations and fortifying existing locations in the areas impacted by the disasters. Response has been tremendous.

Cleaning up and providing adequate safety measures are essential to the response. Items such as polysheeting and tapes are used to help provide safe conditions and limit exposure by helping to contain the harmful toxins such as mold, asbestos (exposed in old building materials that have been damaged) and fungi. Versatile tapes such as duct tape, polyethylene (PE) tape and masking tapes are essential in hanging barriers, sealing containment areas and tying up bags filled with old building material and waste.

To learn more about the appropriate tape solutions to use in disaster clean-up, see IPG’s Remediation & Restoration page.

Jeff Coats
Director - Market Development
Intertape Polymer Group

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Masking Tape Part III: Rolling Out the Next Generation

A 3-part series designed to help you make the right tape choice for your next big project.

Over the past couple months we’ve learned what masking tape is and how it’s made.  We also talked about some additives that can be introduced to enhance the tape’s physical properties. In Part three of this series, we will briefly recap what we have already covered and discuss some new technologies that are trending in the industry as we move to the next generation of masking tapes that will help you achieve great results on the jobsite.

In Part one we talked about the composition of masking tape from a fundamental understanding.  “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.  The composition of masking tape is made up of three layers: Backing, adhesive and release coat.  The backing is generally made from a saturated crepe paper.  The two types of adhesives used are Acrylic and Rubber (or Synthetic Rubber).  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.

In Part two we learned about chemical additives that enhance the tape’s physical characteristics, allowing the tape to be used for specific applications.  We discussed clean line technology, UV inhibitors and operating temperatures.  Clean line technology is an additive applied to the edge of the roll, forming a barrier or blocking agent so paint cannot seep under the tape.  UV inhibitors are additives necessary for a tape to properly perform outside or directly on windows exposed to sunlight.  Generally speaking, your painter’s masking tape will work at its optimum around +70°F but will do the job properly between +50°F - +100°F.

Next Generation
New technologies will continue to be a priority for tape companies.  In recent years you have probably noticed more specialized products designed for very specific applications.  Some of these new masking tapes are made for delicate surfaces, textured walls and outdoor use among other things.  Some tape has been developed with different kinds of adhesive and non-traditional backings.

IPG recently launched Fineline™ Ultra Thin Painter’s Tape designed to provide precision paint lines while preventing paint bleed and edge build up.  FineLine™ Ultra Thin Painter’s Tape is a moisture-resistant, washi-type paper masking tape with a stain resistant, pressure-sensitive synthetic rubber adhesive specially designed to adhere firmly and securely to most surfaces.  The ultra-smooth backing helps alleviate discomfort felt when taping with coarse crepe paper masking products.

The paint industry is constantly evolving and more and more new products will be introduced in the coming years.  Paint and all related accessories go hand-in-hand and need to work in conjunction with each other.  As Low VOC paints are gaining popularity and more legislation in certain states are requiring their use, painter’s tape needs to be compatible.

The tape aisle at your local big box or hardware store will continue to add new and different masking tapes to their shelves.  But don’t stress - in the past few months you’ve learned about masking tape and should be more comfortable walking through the daunting tape aisle and making your purchase decision.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Holiday Shipping Tips

Now is the time to gear up for the holiday shipping rush.

Here are a few stats from Adobe Digital Insights and First Data Corporation to get you in the mood for holiday 2017:
  • E-commerce transactions in 2016 rose 12% compared to 2015
  • Between November 1 and December 31 of last year, US shoppers spent $91.7 billion online
  • During that timeframe, all but four days had over $1 billion in E-commerce sales
Gear up for the holiday shipping rush with these holiday shipping tips

Analysts have every reason to think Holidays 2017 will only top those numbers! Here are a few shipping tips to help you get through the season:

Remember speed matters:

Always ship products as fast as possible. During the holidays, customers have high expectations and low tolerance for delays. The best-case scenario is for you to ship product out the same day the order was placed. To help you get those orders right out the door, keep an up-to-date list of shipping carriers and their pick-up times.

Work with your delivery providers:

Give your logistics partners a heads’ up about the timing and volume you expect during the holiday season well in advance. It will help them plan better to meet your needs (and the needs of your customers).

Use downtime to pre-pack commonly shipped items: 

Now’s the time to pre-pack commonly shipped items. Write the contents and weights on the surface of the box so you’re one step ahead of the rush.

Stock up on packing supplies: 

This is also the time to check your inventory of shipping supplies. Make sure you have a good supply of corrugated boxes in a variety of sizes; water-activated tape and dispensers and air pillows.  You don’t want to be caught short with holiday orders that outrun your ability to pack and ship them fast.

The carton matters: 

Use a new, unused corrugated box that’s the right size and strength for the contents. In their UPS Compass blog the company cautions against reusing boxes: “Reused boxes lose strength, especially at the corners, and are even more vulnerable if they get wet in the rain or snow."

Package products for a safe trip: 

Many holiday gifts are fragile, breakable and at risk of being damaged during transit. Take extra care to properly package products so you won’t have to foot the bill for costly replacements and deal with the social media reviews of unhappy customers. Consider double-boxing fragile items, leaving at least a two-inch void for air pillow cushioning for a safe ride. 

Leave space around what you are shipping. Ideally, packers should aim for at least two inches of space on all sides around the item being shipped so it can be protected with air pillows on all sides.

Pack heavies at the bottom: 

If shipping several items, put the heavier ones on the bottom. You don’t want to stack them on top of lightweight, fragile items.

Use the right packaging tape:

Make sure your tape is safe, secure and tamper- resistant water-activated tape. If it’s a larger carton, apply it in an “H" pattern at the top and bottom. The idea is to make sure your well-packed box stays secure during shipping so the items arrive safely to the destination. 

Bonus Tip: 

When shipping goods for the holidays, slip in a festive item like a candy cane or small, wrapped candy. That unexpected goodie could bring a smile to a harried gift-giver just trying to keep up with her holiday to-dos.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Shipping Wine? Here are a Few Tips

Shipping wine can be a delicate and tricky business. Since a 2005 decision by the Supreme Court, more and more states have allowed out-of-state licensed wineries and wine brokers to ship wine. In fact, only five states (Delaware, Kentucky, Alabama, Oklahoma and Utah) now prohibit the inter-state shipment of wine, according to the Wine Institute, the advocacy group for California’s wineries and affiliated businesses.
Once the legal hurdles of mailing have been overcome, licensed wine shippers have an even more difficult task: safely getting the fruits of their labors into the glasses of those who want to appreciate them.

Here are a few tips for making that happen:

Upright or Flat?

Experts recommend shipping most wines standing up. For older wines that have been aged on their sides, Wickman’s Fine Wine Auctions advises laying them flat. They have this advice: “If you have a collection of premium, good quality wine and you are certain of the purchase and storage history (provenance) and if you know it has been lying flat, undisturbed, then you can confidently ship it lying flat. However, wine that has not been stored in cellar-like conditions or in temperature control should be shipped standing upright as poorly stored bottles are more likely to leak if shipped lying flat.”

The Right Box

The right box for shipping wine is a strong, corrugated cardboard box with dividers designed to protect the bottles. Choose a box with a thick outer shell and sturdy separators if you’re shipping the wine standing upright. Do not use boxes that intended for other purposes. They won’t be able to protect and support the weight of a full box loaded with heavy wine bottles. Shipping this way can lead to wet and disappointed wine customers. “Multiple wine bottles in a box can be heavy and hard to handle, an undesirable combination for fragile items,” points out uShip’s Joseph Ho in a blog post for Grape Thinking. For those concerned with the safety and security of those shipments, we recommend sealing the bottom with water-activated tape. It offers the additional benefit of being reinforced with fiberglass fibers and provides a superior bond with the box.

The Right Protection Inside the Box

Make sure the bottles are tightly corked. This makes sure corks don’t loosen during shipping. A good preventive measure is to secure corks with wire cork cages. This is especially important for sparkling wines.

Wrap the bottles in two to three sheets of paper, rolling the bottle forward. As you roll, mold the top of the paper to the bottle's neck to ensure that it's well-wrapped. Then secure the paper with tape.

Place each wrapped bottle into the cell-divided box and make sure the bottoms of the bottles are well-protected. To ensure the bottles don’t move around in transit, fill the voids with air pillows.

Before fully permanently sealing the box, shake it gently to make sure you don’t hear the bottles clanging together. If the bottles are moving around too much, add extra packing paper or more air pillows to fill the gaps.

Closing it up and sending it on its way

Once you're satisfied that the bottles are secure and stable, tape the box closed with water-activated tape for safety and security. This tape offers the extra protection of being tamper-proof. Add a “fragile” label in addition to the address label.

Be sure to advise the shipper you’re using of the box’s contents and urge them to keep the temperature as low as possible during transport. Ideally, the wine should be kept at 55°F to prevent damage. Some carriers have climate controlled vehicles which is a great option. And one final caution: Do not ship wines during periods of continuous hot weather.

Following these tips offers you the best assurance that the wines the vintner carefully crafted deliver the taste, aroma and experience the consumer wants to savor.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

How the Well-Dressed Box Brings Repeat E-Commerce Customers

Looking for a way to engage e-commerce customers and bring them back for a second time? Make sure that opening the package is an experience they won’t forget. Packages that tell you brand's story can enhance the user experience and bring them back for more.

For e-commerce businesses, the shipped package is the company's billboard and represents the best and most personal customer touch point. But most e-commerce shippers don’t use it well. That’s not to say that strong packaging - corrugated cartons sealed with water-activated tape for strength and security – shouldn’t be an e-commerce shippers’ first priority. But why waste the opportunity to make better packaging part of the excitement of opening an e-commerce “gift?” We all know the thrill of a well-packaged birthday or holiday gift. Why shouldn’t an e-commerce delivery feel the same?

Making your package an experience provides additional value for an e-commerce customer. And they appreciate it. So much so that there’s a whole genre of YouTube videos called “unboxing videos” that glorify and share the joy of opening an e-commerce delivery. Clips of people tearing into packages are among the fastest growing video categories on YouTube, getting an estimated 10 billion views monthly, according to Tubefilter .

Want your packaging to be Unboxing-Video worthy? Here are a few tips:

Distinctive Cartons – When a unique and branded package arrives at a customer’s door, it kicks off the excitement of opening it. “The shipping box represents the biggest opportunity to begin creating that wow experience...” says e-commerce blogger Richard Lazazzera.

Choose a strong, corrugated carton with graphics that kick-start the branding experience. Both LL Bean and Crate & Barrel know this well. Who doesn’t want to rip into a box with rugged LL Bean logos when it shows up on their doorstep? Or look forward to opening the iconic Crate & Barrel package that greets you at the end of the day? We found eight unboxing videos on YouTube for the LL Bean boots alone, some of which had over 2000 views.

Branded Tape – Today’s packaging tapes do more than securely seal the box. They contribute to the look of the package and make it a messenger of the brand. Choose secure, water-activated tape that gives you the option to add a promotional message on the tape itself. This delivers a couple of financial benefits to your company; it saves money because you don't have to pay for the custom printing on the corrugated box, which in turn allows you to buy your cartons on the open market. You also have the flexibility of changing your messaging easily. The largest online seller uses a number of distinctive water-activated tapes with different messages that both enhance the look of the box and promote their latest offerings.

Tissue Paper – Once someone opens the box, you can still make the unboxing experience feel like opening a gift. Consider wrapping your products in tissue paper which packaging blogger Richard Lazazzera says “…adds an extra level of mystery and excitement to the unboxing experience.” The tissues can be custom printed or carry your brand’s colors into the box. Want to make it extra special? Seal the tissue with a logoed sticker that adds an inexpensive, yet elegant touch that enhances the unwrapping experience.

Filler - Traditional filler types are Styrofoam packing peanuts, foam inserts, air pillows or bubble wrap. Here you’re balancing safety, sustainability and experience. We believe the air pillow offers the best balance of both. It protects the contents of the package, gives a clean, uncluttered look to the inside of the package and is frequently recyclable. These air pillows also allow for brand interaction should you choose to customize the message on the air pillow.

Promotional Material/Business Card – Believe it or not, most unboxing videos include someone holding this item up to the camera and even reading it. So why not add a simple “thank you” card or promotional insert to your next e-commerce shipment? How about a card that offers the recipient (or a friend) a discount on their next order? It’s an inexpensive and personal way of solidifying your relationship with that e-commerce customer.

Gift/Sample - A small gift or sample of another of your products is a great way to enhance the unboxing experience by adding a little wonder. Cosmetics e-commerce vendors like Sephora use these little gifts to surprise and delight their customers. Not surprisingly, they also encourage customer to try something new. E-commerce customers have already decided to buy from you. Why not cross-sell them with something else in the package that they didn’t expect?

The well-dressed package engages your e-commerce customers from the moment it hits their doorstep. Use these tips as an extension of your brand and as a way to involve them with you. When done well, distinctive packaging effectively tells your story and encourages repeat business from your existing customers.

Better Packages | Water-Activated Tape Dispensers and Tape

IPG offers a complete line of water-activated tape and tape dispensers. Central® brand water-activated tape, includes reinforced and non-reinforced tape. IPG has the in-house capability to customize your company's message on the top of every box, adding to the user experience while enhancing your gross profits.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Masking Tape Part II: The Sticky Details

Earlier this year, we learned how acrylic and rubber/synthetic rubber masking tapes are made. This month, we’ll focus on chemical additives that can change or enhance the tape’s physical properties and characteristics. The importance of these minor differences are critical as they give the tape its application qualities. There are many characteristics of tape that can affect your project, but let’s take a look at three important areas: clean line technology, UV inhibitors and operating temperatures.

Clean Line Technology
Edge treatment has been an industry trend for over a decade. Clean line technology is an additive applied to the edge of the roll, forming a barrier or blocking agent so paint cannot seep under the tape. Edge-treated tapes are usually very forgiving and provide a good option when the job requires a perfect line. Look for IPG’s patented Bloc-it™ Clean Line Technology, a proprietary edge treatment that delivers clean, crisp paint lines.

UV Inhibitors
UV inhibitors are additives necessary for a tape to properly perform outside or directly on windows exposed to sunlight. If you’ve ever applied tape to a surface outside on a hot summer day, you might have noticed it falls down in a matter of minutes. When working outside in the sun, make sure your tape has built in UV Inhibitors to help it adhere and work properly.

Operating Temperatures
Extreme heat, cold and humidity can all affect the tape’s adhesion, causing potential failures. It is important to understand your working conditions when purchasing tape. Generally speaking, your painter’s masking tape will work at its optimum around +70°F, but will do the job properly between +50°F - +100°F.

Keep in Mind
There are still some challenges that may arise even when you have the perfect tape for the job. Remember to make sure the surface being taped is free of dust and debris prior to application. When applying any pressure-sensitive masking tape, be sure to press down firmly and use your thumb on the edges. This will ensure thorough adhesion coverage, helping eliminate bleed through.

1. Textured walls – orange peel type walls always present a unique challenge as the tiny bumps and crevices make it difficult for a low-tack masking adhesive to flow through and adhere.
Tip: Use a higher adhesion performance 1-day masking tape if you are planning to finish the job quickly. This will allow the adhesive to move into the crevices of the textured surface and will still pull off cleanly if done within 24 hours.

2. Freshly painted surface – If paint has not fully cured, your tape may not stick to the surface. The chemicals in the tape react with the chemicals in the paint causing the tape to fall off as you apply.
Tip: All paints are different, but the tape should have a better reaction after 24 hours. Low VOC paints present a different challenge and may take longer for the tape to properly react.

3. Pulling off tape– Sometimes, when removing tape from the wall after the paint has dried, you will notice the paint has formed a plastic like coating (mainly latex paints) over the tape. When this happens, achieving a straight line by pulling the tape off is impossible.
Tip: To avoid this, pull the tape right after the painting is complete, even if not fully dry. If it’s too late, score the edge with a blade. This will break the seal and allow for a perfect tape peel off.

I know it can be tedious, time consuming and sometimes frustrating, but take the extra few minutes to properly apply the correct tape and then check out your end result. I guarantee you it will be worth it!

Written By: Brandon Paas, Intertape Polymer Group, Consumer Marketing Manager

Monday, May 8, 2017

How Can Gummed Tape Benefit My Business?

Gummed Tape | Water-Activated Tape - Central Brand Printed Tape
What is your company’s goal when shipping products? It is to make sure the products inside the corrugated cartons are delivered in perfect condition. If you are successful, your customers are satisfied and your company’s costs are reduced.

To keep your products protected, you’ll need a versatile sealing solution so your cartons can withstand the shipping process and your business can run cost-effectively. Sealing solution elements to consider include harsh handling treatment, theft, productivity, and branding. One sealing product, reinforced water-activated tape, also known as gummed tape, is uniquely suitable to stand up to the shipping challenge. This post highlights how gummed tape can benefit your business.

Products Are Safer

As your carton travels to its destination, it is handled many times. Fortunately, reinforced water-activated tape is extremely strong and can withstand the rigors of what can be a rough and tumble shipping process.

Cartons remain tightly sealed and products safe within. When gummed tape is applied to the carton, it literally “Welds” to the corrugate and it’s crossing, reinforced fibers provides a tamper-evident seal. The tape is very difficult to remove without leaving signs of incursion. Thus, your cartons are protected from theft. This adds to the customer experience while ensuring satisfied customers and avoid the added costs of having to replace missing products.

Productivity Is Increased

To use water-activated tape, you’ll need a water-activated tape dispenser. These dispensers are available as manual machines, which do not require electricity and as electric tape dispensers, which do require power.

They are very simple to use; they wet and cut the tape. Using them, in comparison to having packer use a hand-held tape gun with plastic, pressure sensitive tape, improves business productivity while reducing “repetitive action injuries” on your packing line. Studies have shown that using water-activated tape with the dispenser is 21% more productive than using a hand-held tape gun. Click here for study results.

Brand Recognition Is Increased

Corporate and product branding is an important element for business growth. By using gummed paper tape, your company can simply print its logo or a message right on the tape in either color or black and white. This looks professional.

A logo printed on your tape keeps your brand front and center when your carton arrives at your customer’s home or office reminding them of their customer experience and giving your company another chance to delight that customer.

This enhances the first impression your company makes upon your customer. Using printed gummed paper tape sets a positive stage for delighting your customers as they open the corrugated carton and receive your products.

Central Brand Gummed Tape | Water-Activated Tape

IPG offers a full line of water-activated tape, designed to create a superior seal on your corrugated cartons while providing advantages other carton sealing methods do not.

Central brand water-activated tape is offered in a wide range of paper and reinforced gummed 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.

Want to see if gummed tape will benefit your business? Receive a free water-activated tape sample >