How Does Water Activated Tape Work?

Printed Paper Tape Group

In the world of packaging, water-activated paper tape is something of an unsung hero. Less popular than its polypropylene and PVC cousins, it nonetheless offers high levels of security and durability.

In this blog post, we’ll look at how water-activated paper tape works and how it can help you better ship your products.

What is water activated tape and how does it work?

White Printed Paper Tape

Also known as “gummed tape” or “Kraft tape,” water activated tape is made from paper, but reinforced with a network of crisscrossed synthetic fibers to provide extra strength and a water-based adhesive that bonds tightly to the surface of a package.

When water is applied to the adhesive – using a tape dispenser – it triggers a capillary action, causing the tape to stick to your carton. Most tape dispensers feed, moisten and cut the tape.

And once that tape seals, it forms a permanent bond, like what you’d find after licking the adhesive on an envelope. While plastic tape can be peeled back, you’ll need to rip paper tape in order to get it open.

This makes water-activated paper tape a simple yet highly-effective method for preventing pilfering or package tampering. It’s impossible for anyone to get the package open without leaving their mark.

Paper tape is also a useful packaging tape for businesses whose boxes are filled with softer goods such as clothing, or who ship products that are loose and thus not easy to stack. Boxes are easier to seal with water-activated paper tape when you can’t put too much pressure on the tape.

But because paper tape is so durable, it’s a good choice for companies that need to ship packages that are heavy, or overstuffed.

Other benefits of paper tape include:

  • Printability, giving you the chance to showcase your company’s name or log when you ship.
  • It adheres to several different products, including both new and recycled cardboard or surfaces that might be dirty or dusty
  • It’s eco-friendly
  • It’s hygienic – making it a good tape for drug companies – and odor-free, which helps when you need to ship food products
  • It adheres so well that you’ll only need a single strip of tape
  • It’s very durable, able to withstand a range of different environmental conditions

Paper tape and tape dispensers

As we mentioned earlier, paper tape is dispensed using a large machine with a water brush that triggers its adhesive capability.

This is one area where PVC or polypropylene tape have a bit of an advantage. They’re dispensed using a portable tape gun. You can carry it around your workspace. With paper tape, you need to bring the packaging to the tape dispenser, not the other way around.

Would you like to know more about the benefits of water activated tape? Phoenix Tape can help. We sell paper tape available two colors, with the capability for printing up to three inks. Our tapes are available in a regular 240 grade option – seals up to 30 pound packages – and a heavy duty 260 grade option, which can handle boxes that weigh up to 55 pounds.

We also sell tape dispensers designed to provide tape at any length you desire. Contact us today to learn how our tapes can promote your business while also protecting your packaging.

Contact Phoenix Tape