What is the Best Method to Seal Corrugated Cartons?
The corrugated cartons that you ship to your customers need a secure seal. Your customers expect it and your bottom line requires it. The carton is your customer’s first impression of your company and the products they’ve ordered. If the carton is damaged or sloppy in appearance, it reflects negatively upon your company.
Common Issues When Sealing Corrugated Cartons
There are several carton sealing issues that many organizations face.
To keep your packages safe, you need an effective carton closure system. Many companies use plastic pressure-sensitive tape (PST) to seal their corrugate.
However, this solution does not provide a secure seal.
Cartons can open while being stored or in transit, increasing the risk of product damage, contamination and even delivery refusal. Using PST also facilitates carton tampering. Someone can simply press down on the carton and slip their hand in to take products. The intrusion is easily covered up by re-sticking the tape or adding another strip of tape to cover the opening.
PST is often used because it appears an economical carton sealing solution. However, there are hidden costs to using plastic PST. Packers using PST to seal cartons often use multiple strips of tape to try to achieve package security. The volume of tape used undermines any real or perceived “cost per foot” advantage of PST. If your company is concerned with the “first impression” that your carton makes with customers, using multiple strips of tape tends to look sloppy and gives a negative impression.
Given the issues using PST, is there a better method to seal your corrugated cartons?
Water-Activated Tape Offers the Most Effective Way to Seal Corrugated Cartons
Water-activated Tape (WAT) is also known as gummed tape. It is made of Kraft paper coated with a starch-based adhesive and can be reinforced with crossing synthetic fibers for strength. WAT is wet, dispensed and then cut with a water-activated tape dispenser. Dispensers can last 15 or more years, depending on the brand. Once the tape adhesive is activated with water and applied to the carton, the adhesive penetrates the carton material and the tape forms a permanent bond with the carton. Because of WAT’s bonding characteristic, you cannot remove the tape without leaving obvious signs of intrusion on a corrugated carton.
Water-Activated Tape Provides a Seal That Can Withstand External Forces
In addition to creating a sturdy bond with corrugated cartons, water-activated tape offers cohesive strength, which measures the tape’s ability to maintain its seal on the carton under stressful conditions.
Consider this: your carton will encounter external forces throughout its lifecycle, whether climatic, lifting, shifting, and general stress applied during storage and transit. When the carton is met with these external forces, the exterior of the carton will contort and apply stress to the tape, typically where the major flaps meet the side of the carton.
If the tape’s cohesive strength is not sufficient, it will fail. This can lead to cartons opening, and the potential for product damage, contamination, and theft. Read this blog that describes comparative testing of WAT vs PST.
Better Packages offers a complete line of water-activated tape dispensers. Its parent company, Intertape Polymer Group, sells a full line of Central® water-activated tape, including reinforced and non-reinforced tape.
About Better Packages
Founded in 1917, Better Packages is a leading manufacturer of tabletop water-activated tape (WAT) dispensers used in carton sealing. Better Packages’ product line includes auto-dispensing electric machines that are used in high volume fulfillment centers, as well as manual dispensers. In the U.S., Better Packages sells through multiple channels that include industrial and packaging distributors and catalog wholesalers, as well as direct to end-user customers. Its distribution network consists of over 160 authorized distributors including Tier 1 shipping and packaging. Better Packages also has another 50 international distributors that service over 70 countries. Better Packages is a wholly owned subsidiary of Intertape Polymer Group (IPG), an acknowledged leader in the packaging industry. IPG sells a full line of Central® water-activated tape, as well as many other premier packaging products.