Carton Sealing Solutions

Differences Between Gummed Tape Dispensers and Hand-Held Tape Guns

[fa icon="calendar"] May 31, 2017 2:54:00 PM / by Better Packages

If companies don’t know their carton sealing options, they tend to default to using hand-held tape guns with plastic tape. Most people are familiar with tape guns since they are readily available through a wide variety of distribution channels and are relatively inexpensive. However, with e-commerce growing rapidly and becoming an increasingly important part of company’s revenue mix, it is important to understand an alternative carton sealing approach; water-activated tape (WAT) dispensed by gummed tape dispensers. Understanding the differences between gummed tape dispensers and hand-held tape guns will help you choose the most effective approach for your company. 

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Gummed Tape Dispensers

Large and small companies are switching to gummed tape dispensers and gummed tape (also known as water-activated tape) to seal their cartons because of the many added benefits. This carton-sealing solution provides strength and security; and it is also cost-effective. Gummed tape dispensers are built to last for 15+ years of reliable service. Moreover, the water-activated tape provides a permanent seal with one only tape strip. You will ultimately save money by using less material and by increasing the security of your packages.

Gummed tape dispensers are available in two configurations; manual and electric. They each have distinct benefits and advantages. This blog will help you learn which one is right for you.

Manual Tape Dispenser

Manual dispensers are useful when packing and shipping several cartons per day up to 50 cartons. Manual dispensers do not require electricity to function making them useful in areas lacking electrical outlets. Some manual dispenser models are portable. The simplest models have “pull-and-tear” functionality. These make sense when packing is an infrequent activity. The next level of manual dispensers includes preset tape lengths on clearly marked dials that allow you to choose the tape length required. Often, all you do is set the length you need, pull a lever, remove the tape and seal the carton. Learn more about Better Packages Manual Water-Activated Tape Dispensers

Electric Tape Dispenser  

Electric dispensers are an ideal choice for medium-to high-volume packaging operations sealing random sized cartons, usually over 50 packages per day. These dispensers are fast, reliable and enhance packer productivity. All a packer generally needs to do is press a preset length button for the tape length required and the tape will be rapidly dispensed. This ease of use means that workers don’t tire as they often do when repetitively using hand-held tape guns with plastic tape. As a result, when using an electric tape dispenser, worker productivity is enhanced and the risk of repetitive stress injury is greatly reduced.

Electric WAT dispenser models offer a wide variety of productivity-enhancing features including foot pedals for hands-free dispensing, tape aerials that simplify the dispensing of long tape lengths and an automatic tape advance feature that provides a new piece of tape once the prior one is removed. These features allow packers to get more work done in less time. Learn more about Better Packages Electric Water-Activated Tape Dispensers.

Hand-Held Tape Guns

There is a strong risk of repetitive motion injury to workers when using hand-held tape guns. Unlike, for example, a gummed tape dispenser that automatically provides the tape, hand-held tape guns with plastic tape are heavy and awkward to use over time. The wrist action used to apply the tape to the carton stresses the wrist and forearm and can lead to repetitive motion injury to workers, adding to a business’ medical costs and often taking workers off the job. Workers can be sidelined with their medical injury and the business often must bring in a replacement.

The plastic tape dispensed by hand-held tape guns does not create a permanent “bond” to the carton. This lack of bonding often translates into packers using many strips of tape to try to close the carton. However, unless the carton is “mummified” with plastic tape, carton incursion is possible and is essentially undetectable, leading to the potential for theft.

Better Packages | Gummed Tape Dispenser

Are you interested in deciding what type of WAT dispenser is right for your company’s application? Better Packages' WAT tape dispensing machines are sold internationally through a global network of distributors and through a variety of industrial catalogs.  Contact Us to find a variety of Authorized Sources.

To help you decide which dispenser is right for you, click below and we’ll provide you with dispenser recommendations based upon your situation.


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Topics: Carton Sealing Solutions, Packaging Challenges

Better Packages

Written by Better Packages

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