Amazing History of Packaging Tapes in Detail

Packaging tapes — this term is defined by the standard as “a means intended for pasting (tying) a transport or consumer container” (GOST 17527-2003. Packing. Terms and definitions). 

Polypropylene packaging tapes are also called strapping tapes. Often, the term strapping tape means polypropylene packaging tape (PP tape), but polyester tapes (PET tapes) also fall under this category. 

PET packaging tapes and PP packaging tapes differ in the material from which they are made, and strength characteristics, and their purpose and production technology are similar.

Polypropylene owes its birth to the Italian Giulio Natta, who, according to the developments of German scientists in 1954, was able to synthesize a thermoplastic for the first time in history. 

The significance of this discovery has acquired large-scale mass character, for which the Italian was awarded the Nobel Prize in the field of polymer chemistry.

Polypropylene has high impact strength, is resistant to aggressive media, is a good dielectric, conducts heat poorly, has low vapor and gas permeability, is lightweight, does not sink and does not dissolve even in boiling water, is non-toxic, odorless, and does not smoke when burning.

In Italy, two years after the discovery, polypropylene entered production on an industrial scale. Now polypropylene is produced in many countries.

Among thermoplastic polymers, polypropylene ranks second in the world in terms of production after polyethylene.

The production of polypropylene tape occurs by the extrusion method.

Extrusion (from Latin Extrusio – extrusion) is a process in which molten material is forced through the molding holes.

This process is used not only in the production of polymer products, but even in the food industry, for example, in the production of pasta.

Material Used While Creating Polypropylene Packaging Tapes

Now, when creating polypropylene tapes, microcomputer control, automatic temperature control, heating stretching and winding meters counting, energy-saving infrared heating systems are used, which saves about 30% energy.

Existing double tape production lines offer the opportunity to save energy by increasing productivity and reducing jobs. 

The use of PP packing tapes with lining also leads to savings. It is produced on specially equipped lines that use secondary raw materials.

Both the lining and the outer side of the tape are made by extrusion, while stone dust and paint are added. 

Lining material – forming mass. It contains several times more stone dust than polypropylene mass.

A specially designed extrusion head seams the liner to the outer casing.

The cost of such a tape is lower than PP tapes from primary raw materials, the same quality characteristics, such as:

  • lightweight and good tensile strength;
  • refractoriness to the effects of mold and fungi;
  • alkali resistance and acid resistance;
  • heat resistance;
  • ecological cleanliness;

The characteristics of the polypropylene strapping tape are not reduced. 

At the last stage of production, the polypropylene tape should be free of delaminations, burrs, waviness and dye migration. This indicates the high quality of the product.

The width of the tape produced in modern conditions is from 9 to 19 mm, and the drawing coefficient is 4-9 mm.

Polypropylene tape is produced both white and dyed in other colors.

Packaging Material for the Strap Tape

The packaging material for the strap tape is cardboard or plastic sleeves (the sleeves of two diameters are more often used – 200mm and 400mm).

Nowadays, bobbins are produced with a winding length from 1000 to 6000 m.

After winding, the bobbins are either tied in three places and placed in cardboard boxes, or wrapped in shrink film or stretch film. 

There is an even more economical way of packing strap tape: polypropylene tape is packed in a film, without the use of a sleeve.

So, when using a PP tape, the film does not slip, and a hole is made in the film package through which the end of the PP tape is pulled out from the middle of the roller. 

The absence of a sleeve reduces the cost of the strap and the weight of the package.

Polypropylene tape is stored indoors and in a horizontal position. Polypropylene tape must be protected from direct sunlight.

Process of Packaging Goods with Plastic Tape

The process of packaging goods with plastic tape consists of:

  • wrapping goods with PP tape,
  • tensioning the tape and connecting its ends with a manual or automatic device.

To fasten the ends of the polypropylene tape, special metal clips are used, which are pressed with a special tool. Also, use plastic and metal buckles. 

A ribbon is threaded through them and pulled. For heavy loads, metal buckles are used, and for light loads, polypropylene and polyamide buckles are used.

When packing fragile goods, protective corners must be used to prevent damage to the goods. 

The best way to fasten the ends of the PP tape is thermal welding using friction or a heating element.

Thermal welding is performed on automatic or semi-automatic strapping machines.

For manual packaging, tensioners, pliers, buckles, and staples are used.

To reduce the complexity of working with strapping tape, special packaging tape dispensers are used – tape unwinders. 

Tape unwinders are needed to move and unwind the strap tape.

The use of tape unwinders makes it possible for the tape not to tangle during operation, and with the help of a special locking device it prevents excess tape from unwinding. 

Some models of tape unwinders are equipped with wheels and a tool box. 

Also, they use automated and semi-automated strapping equipment. When choosing a specific strapping equipment, the scope of future work is determined.

So, packing strap tables related to semi-automatic equipment is more expedient to use in small and medium-sized enterprises.

In automatic strapping machines, the packaging process is fully automated.

The goods are fed by a conveyor, the strapping tape (transverse, longitudinal or criss-cross) is automatically guided around the object to be tied.

The ability to select the optimal level of tension of the strapping strap, taking into account the dimensions and geometry of the object, allows for high-quality strapping. 

Automatic Strapping Machines

Automatic strapping machines are used for large volumes of packaging work.

For example, in the printing industry – for packing newspapers, magazines, books, etc., or when packing and transporting building materials – tiles, bricks, building blocks, etc. 

Strap tape is used for packing bulky goods: metal profiles, pipes, logs, boards, chipboard, plywood, furniture.

Polypropylene strap tape is used for paper packaging, cardboard, boxes with dishes and household appliances. 

In general, packaging strapping tapes can fasten any cargo and goods – from light boxes with fragile products to voluminous heavy metal structures.

Polypropylene packaging tape is much lighter and safer than metal tape.

She does not need special means of protection, she does not give in to corrosion. 

This prevents the product from spoiling. The PP tape, despite some stretching, perfectly retains its working qualities even under very high loads. 

Polypropylene packaging tape does not emit toxins, does not rot and retains its technical characteristics under any adverse weather conditions and sudden changes in temperature.

An interesting fact: polypropylene tape is recyclable and does not pollute the environment.

Also Read: Guide How To Catch More Customers Using Printed Luxury Boutique Boxes

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