Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Get Rid of the Garbage!

As we reflect on 2017, we’ve all probably realized that although we may have accomplished a lot, we haven’t achieved all of our goals. Some missed opportunities can be attributed to common everyday garbage… and when I speak of garbage, I mean waste.

Lean Manufacturing
Understanding the waste in our manufacturing workplace can help us get rid of the garbage and make 2018 more successful. So, what are the types of waste we see every day in our business?

  1. Defects. Product errors.
  2. Over-production. Making too much or creating more services than our customers need.
  3. Inventory. Material not in use by our CUSTOMERS is waste.
  4. Over-processing. Too many extra steps in our processes.
  5. Transportation. Waste of moving goods.
  6. Motion. People moving around doesn’t add value. Period.
  7. Waiting. Product sits waiting for something to happen to it. Waste.

We’ve learned of these seven types of waste from Toyota® and many programs have evolved from our attempts to eliminate this “muda” (Japanese word meaning "futility; uselessness; wastefulness").  Eliminating these wastes, though, is the harder thing to do.

In 2018, let’s plan to “get rid of the garbage” by developing business practices and strategies that eliminate these wastes. Some simple things we can do include:

  • Improve scheduling. Turn off the tap and not produce too much (or do too much)
  • Link processes together.
  • Invest in smaller more flexible equipment.
  • Outsource product until volume manufacturing makes sense
  • Redesign work stations so people don’t have to walk from one machine to another to another.

Utilize lean processes including 5S, Kanban, Muda walks and Poke Yoke to reduce the waste in your business. 2018 will be more productive and profitable if we start the year off right!

Jeff Coats
Director - Market Development
Intertape Polymer Group

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

4 Ways Water-Activated Tape Performs Better Than Pressure-Sensitive Tape

Shippers that want to seal cartons quicker, more economically, stronger and more securely under a variety of conditions want to use water-activated tape (WAT).  Those were the conclusions of an industry-leading testing and verification company, SGS North America (SGS).  Intertape Polymer Group (IPG) and its brand, Better Packages, commissioned the tests to help customer compare the performance of water-activated tape (WAT) and pressure sensitive tape (PST).
Here are the findings of those studies:
Productivity - This test compared the number of cartons that could be sealed in a six-hour work day using water-activated tape and pressure-sensitive tape.  The results were that carton sealing productivity was 21 percent higher using a water-activated tape dispenser and water-activated tape compared with the use of a hand-held tape gun with pressure-sensitive tape.
Carton Sealing Material Used – This test looked at the relative amount of tape used to seal cartons, comparing water-activated tape with pressure sensitive tape. The results were that the average amount of tape needed to seal a single carton using water-activated tape was eight percent less than using pressure-sensitive tape.
Tape Integrity Testing – The tape integrity test examined how water-activated tape versus pressure-sensitive tape withstood a consistent force under a variety of atmospheric conditions. The researchers sealed cartons with both kinds of tape.  They used an Instron test machine to apply consistent, compressive force measuring how much pressure would be needed to do one of three things: 1) open the carton along the seal (2) tear the tape or (3) break the carton.
When the cartons were sealed with water-activated tape it took 60 pounds of pressure to cause the cartons to break. When the cartons were sealed with pressure–sensitive tape, it took 16.8 pounds of pressure to open the carton.  The testers noted that this force level is easily employed by the average person. They concluded that pressure-sensitive tape “…cannot secure the carton integrity or prevent the package (and its contents) from incursion.”
Adhesion Testing – This test compared how well water-activated tape and pressure-sensitive tape adhere to cartons after setting for five seconds and 24 hours.  The testers sealed four cartons with both types of tape.  In one test they removed the tape by hand after five seconds and noted how much of the carton was pulled off.  In the second test, they measured the adhesion after 24 hours. 
These were pass/fail tests assessing “tackiness” or bonding, which is a key component of carton tamper-evidence and security. 
Researchers concluded: “Water-activated tape has a strong adhesiveness to the cardboard carton surface while pressure-sensitive tape does not.”  Their results are summarized below.
After the testing was completed, the researchers at SGS summarized their findings this way: “These test results are significant and should lead water-activated tape to be the proper, best method in virtually all carton sealing applications.”
For a complete copy of the SGS report click here.

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.

Paint and all related accessories go hand-in-hand
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.

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.