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Everything You Need to Know about Water Activated Tape

What Is Water Activated Tape?

Water Activated Tape (WAT) is a paper-based tape with an adhesive that is dry to the touch until activated by water.  Water turns the dried adhesive into a tacky, fluidic adhesive that is designed to adhere to corrugated boxes.  Unlike some other tapes in the packaging market, water activated tape has a singular focus – secure closure of corrugated boxes.

Water Activated Tape is available in reinforced and non-reinforced varieties.  The reinforced product is strengthened by reinforcement fibers traditionally made of fiberglass or polyester.  The addition of reinforcement enhances the durability of the tape closure and is ideal for boxes bound for parcel shipping. The reinforcement is sandwiched between two sheets of kraft paper along with a laminate adhesive, thus fully encapsulating the reinforcing filament.

Non-reinforced water activated tape does not have any reinforcement fibers and therefore does not have the same level of durability as reinforced tape.  However, non-reinforced tape has some advantages including cost and environmental benefits.  The most common applications for non-reinforced tape are lightweight boxes and packages that are unitized on pallets, not bound for individual parcel shipping.

What separates Water Activated Tape from other packaging tapes, both the non-reinforced and reinforced grades, is the adhesive migrates into the fibers of the corrugated box.  Once the adhesive dries – within 5-7 seconds – the adhesive has fused the tape and box together.  The only way to remove the tape is to destroy the seal; leaving behind a tamper evident footprint that the box has been intentionally opened.

Water Activated Tape is sold in roll form.  There are several roll sizes that are popular with the most popular domestic US size being 72mm (2.83 IN) wide, 137m (450 FT) long.  The rolls are packaged in corrugated boxes and for the 72mm x 137m roll size there are 10 rolls per box.  Higher volume users often elect to purchase tape in longer length rolls to reduce the number of roll changes, increasing packaging station productivity.  500 FT, 600 FT, and even 1000 FT rolls are all common roll lengths in the water activated tape market.

 

Why is water activated tape used? Who uses it?

There are many reasons why water activated tape has seen a resurgence in popularity.  The driving force of the popularity is the growing demand for parcel shipping.  The eCommerce revolution has made it easier for customers to order the goods they desire and receive the items directly to their front door.  For the vendors, the eCommerce model has allowed for a cost-effective sales model without the expenses of store fronts and other associated overhead costs.

Water activated tape is ideal for eCommerce shippers.  Here are the reasons why:

  1. Security – no shipper wants their package to be tampered with. Today, shippers are sending all types of items including foods, pharmaceuticals, valuable electronics, and many other sensitive items.  The tamper evident closure of water activated tape assures the box stays closed until intentionally opened.  Security of closure is the #1 reason why water activated tape is used today for eCommerce packages.
  2. Branding – The appearance of your eCommerce packaging is statement about your brand.  Do you value your customer’s experience when they receive your package?  The majority of eCommerce shippers are turning to branded water activated tape to seal packages.  The paper based, water activated tape prints well and is easy to apply to the box without folding or creasing the tape – a major problem for plastic pressure sensitive tape.
  3. Environmental – there is a growing war against plastic packaging. Paper based packaging is trending due to its recyclability and sustainability given current forestry regulation and recycling practices within the paper making industry.  Corrugated boxes, paper void fill, and water activated tape create a secure, protective, and an environmental responsible package.  Consumers are pushing vendors to be environmentally conscious. We received a lot of questions from customers about the environmental factors and recyclability of water activated tape.  Here is how we answer this question:

Reinforced Water Activated Tape is an environmentally friendly product, especially when compared to plastic pressure sensitive tape.  The majority of the product’s construction is made from renewable resources. Reinforced tape, by itself, is not recyclable.  Non-Reinforced water activated tape is curbside recyclable.

Reinforced water activated tape is made of 4 basic components.

  1. Paper – this material is bio-degradable, recyclable, and repulpable.
  2. Corn Starch Based Adhesive – like paper, this material is bio-degradable, recyclable, and repulpable.
  3. Laminate Adhesive – This joins the papers together – this is a petro-chemical material. This does not help the environmental claims of the product.
  4. Fiberglass – This is not Recyclable, Repulpable or Biodegradable material.

 

In the application of the tape to a box, the tape is a small percentage of the overall weight of the box.  The curbside recyclable standards that we are aware of call for 80% of the overall mass must be recoverable in the recycling process in order to be considered recyclable.  The laminate and fiberglass are a very small percentage of the overall weight of the overall box – probably 1% or less of the weight.  Therefore, in its application, it is possible reinforced water activated tape can be considered recyclable.

A roll of tape on its own would not pass this standard as the weight of the laminate and fiberglass would exceed 20% of the overall mass of the tape roll.  However, rolls of tape are not showing up in the recycling stream normally.  The tape is intended to be adhered to a corrugated carton and in that application, curbside recyclability standards should be met.

Holland Manufacturing does not have current 3rd party testing to verify this hypothesis as most testing services will only test the product itself.  Holland is currently engaged in development work to see how best to further reduce environmental impact of reinforced WAT.

Non-reinforced water activated tape is recyclable, repulpable, and bio-degradable.  One could argue that non-reinforced WAT is the most environmentally friendly carton closure product.

The paper used in Holland’s WAT products is 100% virgin fiber based for strength and performance reasons.  All sources of kraft paper used by Holland are in compliance with SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative) Standards.

 

  1. Ease of Application – Ecommerce shippers are under pressure to deliver products quickly and maximize the output of their labor force. Packing and carton closure needs to be efficient.  Water Activated Tape, when dispensed from a quality water activated tape dispenser, is presented to the packer at the correct length and is ready to be applied to the box.  This presentation of a finite length of tape is much different than using a pressure sensitive tape gun to apply carton closure.  Closing with a pressure sensitive tape gun depends on the skill, speed, and endurance of the packer, these variables, while still important, vary less with water activated tape.  This consistency is a key advantage of water activated tape carton closure.

Adding Your Branding

As mentioned previously, the opportunity to brand water activated tape provides packagers with a cost-effective method to engage customers.  An undeniable factor is that when a customer opens a package sealed with water activated tape, they are forced to look at the tape.  Custom printed water activated tape provides an opportunity to share a message, promotion, new product detail, cross-selling offer, and countless other options to make an impression on a customer you are already selling to.

At Holland Manufacturing, we custom print water activated tape with all types of designs and objectives for our customers.  Over the years, we have seen what works and what looks makes the biggest impact. In short, we recommend simpler designs to make the best statement for a brand.  There are many options and design choices.  To help customers, we have outlined the following design guide to provide ideas and concepts for your printed tape design.

Step 1:  Understand Your Canvas

In flexographic printing, photopolymer plates are used to imprint the images on the substrate (WAT).   The plates are fixed size making the width and length of the plate important and set the first characteristic of your design.  We can this width and length dimension the size of your canvas.

Water Activated Tape

The WIDTH of your print area coincides with the WIDTH of the tape.  The most common WIDTHS for Water Activated Tape are 2.83 Inch (72mm) and 3 Inch (76mm).

The LENGTH of the print area is called the REPEAT SIZE.  The REPEAT is defined as the distance from any reference point in the art to the next time that same reference point is printed.


Width Measurements

Step #2: Select a Tape Stock

Choice #1: Natural or White  


Water Activate Tape Model

Most packagers will match the tape substrate color to the color of the corrugated box for a more uniform appearance.  However, the recent trend in reverse flood coating and the desire for color contrast has led to the increasing popularity of white tape stocks for printed applications.

Natural tape stocks are typically stronger than white tape stocks as the bleaching process can weaken the paper.  Natural tape stocks are also less expensive

Choice #2: Reinforced or Non-Reinforced

Is your package going to be handled by a parcel shipping service?

If yes, Holland recommends a reinforced tape stock.  Several grades are available to match your maximum package weight to the correct tape strength for secure closure.

Non-Reinforced tape is typically used for lightweight boxes or packages that are not bound for parcel service shipping.

 

PURE WHITE REINFORCED TAPE

 

Need White? Demand PURE WHITE

Holland has developed Pure White grades of reinforced tape for unsurpassed optical brightness, color accuracy, and contrast for your print design.

Available in two strengths – H-30 and H-70 – Holland’s Pure White grades make a dramatic statement on any package.

Step 3:  Select a Print Style

Selecting a print style is a needed step for any printed tape design.  In recent years, a popular trend in printed water activated tape are designs with a high level of ink coverage.  The trend has established printed tape as a highly recognizable and prominent feature of a package.

Despite the popularity of flood coated tape designs, there are several design strategies to match your brand message from dramatic to understated.

Seasonal, Promotional, Short Term Campaigns

Another trend in printed water activated tape is promotional or seasonal designs.  Alert your customers to a special incentive, a product release, or simply brand the tape to the present time of year.  Beyond branding, the printed tape can deliver a clear message to your customers they cannot ignore.

Logo Printing

Timeless design where the logo is printed and repeated consistently.

Advantages: Understated Look, Sophisticated, Easy to Read, Natural Look

Flood Coat Printing

Heavy Ink coverage for the most dramatic tape design. 

Advantages:  Eye Catching, highly visible from a distance, brand impact

Pro Tip:  By printing a lighter background color and a darker accent color, you can avoid the cost of an engraved cylinder and still achieve the dramatic presentation of full coverage printing.

Random/Pattern Printing

Series of shapes, images, or logos in a full coverage layout.

Advantages:  Unique, recognizable, can be understated or dramatic, cost savings compared to a flood coat print.

Process Printing

Printing complex images for a true visualization of a product or service.

Advantages:  Eye-catching, detailed visuals for maximum customer experience

Facts about Process Printed Water Activated Tape

  • The complex images seen above are created from dot pattern layering of ink.
  • Most colors can be created with 4 color processes – meaning there are 4 printing plates printing Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black inks.
  • The printing plates for process printing are more expensive than standard plates for logo printing.
  • Holland typically produced process printed tape in our Williamston, SC location.

Step 4:  Vectored Artwork

Design your artwork in a vectored art file types such as .ai, .pdf (hi-res), .cdr, .svg or .eps.  A vectored art file allows the art to be scaled without a loss of resolution.  By providing these file types, it will save time and money.

Step 5:  Ink Color Selection

The proper ink color is critical for brand consistency. Holland offers a set of standard ink colors.  See our standard ink color chart below:

For customers that require a specific ink color, Holland uses the Pantone color system to identify custom ink colors.  As part of the Holland Proof Approval process, Holland will send an ink swatch sample of the ink printed on the tape of your choice.  Ink colors often look different when printed on kraft substates.

Pro Tip:  Water Activated Tape is classified as an “Uncoated” base stock.  When looking for Pantone Colors, select a color (s) with a “U” suffix for “UNCOATED” base stock.

Pro Tip:  If you have selected a Kraft Colored Tape when selecting an ink color opt for 1 shade lighter than you expect.  The kraft background will “darken” the appearance of the ink color.

More About Ink

  • Holland only uses the highest quality, water-based inks – good for the environment & our operations.
  • Top Coat Varnish – for heavy ink coverage designs, Holland recommends a clear coat varnish over the top of the print. This mitigates ink transfer and gives the tape a slight increase in gloss.
  • Natural Kraft Paper – There is variation in the shade of natural kraft paper. Our mill partners are highly consistent; however, Holland recommends our white tape stocks for customers with the highest sensitivities for ink color accuracy.

Step 6: Submitting Your Request Online

Holland has created an easy to navigate web tool for obtaining a quotation for printed water activated tape.  Follow the steps to receive a recommended tape grade for your application, set your printing requirements, uploading art files and provide your contact information.  You will receive a quote within 24 hours.

https://www.hollandmfg.com/custom-printed-water-activated-tape/

How to apply the product?

There are several ways to properly activate and use water activated tape.  The equipment and sophistication of the method varies depending on the user’s operational set up and budget.  We will start with the simplest method and progress to the most automated solution.

For new users of water activated tape that are not sealing a large number of boxes in a day, we often see the use of a sponge to wet the tape and scissors to cut the tape to length.  This is definitely not the most efficient way to use the product; however, with proper activation of the tape, the user can seal a box with the same level of security as more automated methods of dispensing and applying water activated tape.

Some keys to success with the sponge and scissor method are:

  1. Cut the tape to length before applying the water.
  2. The length of the tape should be approximately 6 Inches longer than the major panel length of the box. This will allow 3” to extend down the side of the box – needed for a secure closer.
  3. Water temperature matters – use warm, not hot water – 110°F is the ideal temperature.
  4. Wet the sponge and make sure that it is fully saturated – the sponge should not be dripping as you apply the sponge to the tape.
  5. Apply the sponge to the adhesive side of the pre-cut length of water activated tape. Use light pressure and move across the tape adhesive surface in one fluid motion at a moderate speed.
  6. Avoid more than one swipe across the adhesive surface. The repeated wiping of the sponge against the tape adhesive surface will remove adhesive from the tape and reduce performance.
  7. Apply the tape to the major panel flap of the box within a few seconds of the activation of the adhesive. Close the box and wipe the tape down with firm pressure to help drive with water activated adhesive into the corrugated box. The video below will show you the proper application of the tape.

Advantages of the Sponge and Scissor Method

  • Low Cost
  • Good for low volume users
  • Easy to move equipment to seal in different locations

Disadvantages of the Sponge and Scissor Method

  • Tape performance will be more variable if too much adhesive is wiped off the tape.
  • Slow and time consuming – only good for low volume applications.

Tape Dispensing Machines

Utilizing a tape dispenser that properly activates the adhesive with water and cuts the tape to the desired length is the most common method of applying water activated tape.

There are two basic types of water activated tape dispensers – manual and electronic machines.

The manual machine has a pull handle which the user manually pulls to dispense the tape.  The machine translates the lever pull into driving a feed wheel inside the tape machine, driving the tape across a brush system which wicks water from a reservoir system.  The mechanism is tied to a cutting assembly which cuts the tape to the desired length.  The machine is easy to use, portable, and cost effective.  We recommend manual machines to users that do not have access to electric or wish to have the machine portable.

The electric tape machine is similar to the manual machine with the same basic action; however, all actions are driven by a push button system.  The user presses the bottom on the keypad corresponding to the desired length of tape (inches).  The tape is quickly dispensed and cut to length.  The electric tape dispenser is the workhorse of the eCommerce industry used by the companies big and small to securely close eCommerce boxes.

The electric machine has some significant advantages over the manual tape machine.  First, the process is more consistent.  The tape is dispensed at a set speed, unaffected by the user’s action (speed of dispensing).  Next, electric tape dispensers typically have a brush heater which heats the water interface.  Warm water helps to activate the tape and enhances adhesion to the corrugated box.  Finally and most importantly for high volume eCommerce packagers, the speed and reduction in packager fatigue make the electric machine the clear choice for volume shippers.

Automated Case Sealing

While tape dispensing machines are the dominate method for using water activated tape, there are applications that demand more automation.  For these applications there are automated case sealers that close boxes with water activated tape.

Automated case sealers can help operations that have high volumes and wish to automate the sealing of the boxes.  At Holland Mfg, we utilize case sealing equipment to close the high volume of water activated tape cartons we produce.  For our application, the case sealer is well suited as we are sealing similar size boxes that are heavy and most are filled with automated case packers.  Our operations are not pick and pack which is the most common use of water activated tape.

Here is a short video case sealer operation:

There are some disadvantages to automated case sealers.  First, they are expensive.  Next, they have many moving parts that can become a maintenance challenge if neglected. Finally, there are several machines on the market, not all of them reliably perform.  Holland uses and recommends the Schneider Packaging case sealer as a highly robust, reliable, and well-built unit.

Keys to Success in using Water Activated Tape

Water Activated Tape is a unique packaging product as the user completes making the adhesive in the field by activated the adhesive with water.  This fact introduces an added variable which requires recognition and attention by the user.

It sounds trivial, but water activated tape requires water to work correctly.  Over the years, our technical team has troubleshot several user issues where not enough water or no water remained in the tape machine reservoir.  The first key to success with water activated tape – make sure you have enough water.

Next, water activated tape is activated best with water that is warm, not hot, not cold.  We recommend a water temperature of 110°F for optimal adhesive activation.  This point accentuates the advantages of the electric tape dispenser.  These machines have a brush heater that warms the activating water, this improves the adhesive tack time.  By using a manual tape dispenser without a brush heater, the water in your machine will equalize with the ambient room temperature.  The adhesive will still activate and achieve a secure bond to your corrugated box; however, the tack time will be slightly longer.  Users will see the tape slide on the box slightly longer before the adhesive sets.  This could be an advantage for some applications where a longer open time (time before the tape adhesive sets) provides the user a chance to straighten the tape on the corrugated box.  Imagine a long strip of tape intended to seal a long box; the added open time gives the user more time to reposition before the tape adhesive sets.

Properly maintaining your tape machine (manual, electric or a case sealer) is imperative to your success with water activated tape.  Most machines have brushes that apply the water to the tape.  The brushes need to be clean to properly apply the water to the adhesive.  Over time adhesive will build up in the brushes and that adhesive residue can restrict the water from activating the tape.  The brushes need to be removed and cleaned.  Soaking the brushes in hot soapy water and then thoroughly rinsing the brushes is the best method to clean the brushes.  If the build up is excessive, consider changing the brushes.  Additionally, brushes will wear and should be replaced; frequency will depend on usage.

Success is also dependent on the selection of the correct water activated tape product.  As previously described, there are both reinforced and non-reinforced tape grades.  The majority of applications are better serviced with reinforced tape, but advantages for non-reinforced tape do exist including environmental and cost.  Regardless of tape style, there are various grades available within each classification.  It is recommended to select a grade of tape that can securely close the heaviest box that will be shipped. All grades the Holland produces have a recommended box weight limit.  In today’s shipping environment, packages take abuse.  The cost differences between reinforced water activated tape grades is not overwhelming so a conservative approach with slightly more robust tape is recommended.

For more information about application success, please check out the following video.

Current Trends in the Carton Closure Market

Water Activated Tape has seen a renewed level of interest by the packaging market due to ecommerce.  The product is not new.  Water Activated Tape has been used for more than 70 years.  During the 1980’s and 1990’s the product fell victim to the rise in popularity of plastic pressure sensitive tape.  The cost difference and ease of hand application of pressure sensitive tape made the product compelling for many users at the time.

Today, however, for ecommerce packaging, water activated tape is a clear choice.  Excelling in pick and pack situations which the same worker is filling and closing the box, water activated tape is the best option – at least according to the top e-commerce companies in the world – Amazon, Walmart, Mercado Libre, Target, and others.

As previously mentioned, branding has become very important to eCommerce shippers.  As retailers transition from a traditional in-store experience for customers to goods arriving in a corrugated box, packaging must be memorable, engaging and represent the brand.  Printed water activated tape is therefore quickly gaining market share from the non-printed water activated tape product.   A current trend with printed tape is the preference for nearly full ink coverage.  This style of printing is highly recognizable, often colorful and contrasting tape helps to highlight the brand among a sea of eCommerce packages.

Related to the rise in printed tape has been the noticeable interest in white reinforced tape.  With the importance of branding and integrity of color accuracy for a brand as well as visual impact, white reinforced tape provides an ideal substrate.  Holland has developed a True White reinforced tape to meet the needs of the market.  The market response has been excellent for this product and should be considered by any brand attempting to maximize visual contrast and impact of their printed tape.

Another trend seen in the water activated tape market is the user preference for a longer length roll.  Traditionally, 375 LF and 450 LF rolls have been the predominant roll lengths in the market.  Today, users are under more pressure to increase efficiency and reduce downtime.  An easy and effective way to do this is to increase the roll length to reduce roll changes.  500 LF, 600 LF, and 1000 LF roll lengths are become increasingly popular.

Likely the most prevalent trend in the overall packaging market is the effort to reduce the use of plastic.  Water activated tape is obviously a great closure method in the war against plastic packaging.  This trend is having ripple effects across the industry.  Long term, this trend will push more paper-based material into the packaging market which will stress paper supplies.  Paper mills are large facilities requiring time and tremendous capital to start. A likely trend is the steady increases in costs of paper-based packaging materials as demand outpaces the development of additional paper making capacity.  The trend could impact corrugated boxes, paper void fill, paper-based mailers and water activated tape.  Hopefully costs will be contained, and the users recognize the value of paper based materials.

Similar in scale to the war on plastic is the drastic labor shortages existing within the US packaging market.  Automation will become increasingly important and relied upon in the next decade.  This factor is a challenge for water activated tape as the product is most effectively used in pick and pack operations and is handed applied.  The continued development of automated case sealers applying water activated tape will be important to the product’s continued success as a carton closure method.  Solutions do exist; however, increasing reliability and controlling upfront equipment costs will be important factors for equipment manufacturers.

Summary

Our hope is that this information is helpful in educating users about water activated tape.  As a manufacturer of water activated tape for more than 60 years, Holland is fully committed to help customers of all types and size have success with the product.  For more information about water activated tape, please visit our website www.hollandmfg.com.  For assistance or questions, please email sales@hollandmfg.com or give us a call at 1-800-345-0492.

Job Site Surface Protection – More Important than Ever!

With the ever-rising cost of labor and materials, unexpected damage leading to replacing or repairing finished surfaces on the job site is a disaster for contractors. Proper surface protection on the job site is a necessity for all quality-oriented, financially wise contractors.

The days of throwing down a $5 roll of red rosin paper to protect the floor are over. Prudent contractors are turning to more premium surface protection solutions to save time and protect their bottom line.

Trends in flooring have shifted more towards hard surfaces with expensive stone, wood and more recently engineered hard surfaces. These surfaces tend to be more expensive and less forgiving to construction impacts than carpet. The need for impact protection has led to the dramatic rise of surface protection paperboard. These high caliper, heavy-duty paperboard products have taken the market by storm and are now widely accepted and trusted by contractors across the country.

At over 40 mils thick, commonly used surface protection boards do offer excellent impact protection for hard surface flooring. It would be hard to argue that floor paperboard does not offer some peace of mind in the event of a construction mistake, like dropping a hammer or moving a ladder. There is a tremendous amount of marketing hype for these products with fancy names, printed characters, claims of special moisture barrier characteristics, etc. It’s all very convincing and the marketing efforts have taken hold. Truth be told, the product does work well. Even the creative advertising for simple sizing (adding starch) in the paperboard, does hold out water and liquid long enough for you to clean up the spill. However, be aware these paperboard products are not true barrier products; liquids will penetrate them if enough time passes.

Despite the undisputed advantages of high caliper floor protection paperboard products, there are some major disadvantages. First, unless you are moving heavy equipment on the floor, you probably do not need a 45 mil, thick paperboard. The product is heavy and difficult to handle. Conforming the material, overcoming the roll set curl of the roll and difficulty to cut the material all make is more time consuming to apply and more expensive. For many 45 mil, thick paperboard is simply put, Overkill.

With these advantages and unfortunate disadvantages of high caliper paperboard in mind, Holland Mfg. has designed a new product called Blue Shield F22. F22 is a 22-mil thick moisture hold  out, paperboard made with the same fiber construction as our heavy gauge F45, 45 mil thick floor paperboard. At 22 mil, F22 is easier to conform, position and secure to the floor. The product still offers temporary moisture hold out similar in performance to the F45 board. Moving F22 rolls around the job site is much easier with a roll weight of 24 lbs. (half the weight of a F45 roll). Additionally, the product is less expensive.

No one would question that 45 mils of paperboard offers more impact protection than a 22-mil product. However, besides impact protection, other characteristics of the F22 board are nearly identical to the F45. At 22 mil thick, the F22 would never be considered thin in the surface protection world. The product is 2.5 to 3 times thicker than standard flooring papers like rosin papers or 50# kraft paper.

The surface protection paperboard product is popular and with new additions of lightweight options like F22, it will be a more user-friendly, properly gauged solution for many more construction projects.

Holland’s Blue Shield F22 Board is offered in 35” x 100’ rolls and is currently available. Featuring a water resistant, high density fiber construction, F22 might be the right sized surface protection product for your upcoming renovation or construction job site.

For more information about Blue Shield F22, please visit: /products/blue-shield-industrial-products/surface-protection-products/surface-protection-board/

 

Also Read Here: Water Activated Tape: everything you need to transform your packaging

 

About Holland Manufacturing Company:

Holland Manufacturing Company Also Offers / Provides Products like Water Activated Tape, Blue Shield Industrial Products, Specialty Coated and Laminated Products, Custom Printed Labels & Tags, Industrial Paper Products, etc.

Get in touch with us on- 1-800-345-0492 Or FAX: 1-973-598-6233 Or Email us at info@hollandmfg.com

Happy to help!

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Holland Manufacturing Co. Partners with DocuSign to Provide Customers More Efficient Printed Tape Ordering Process

Holland, a leader in producing water activated tape for the packaging industry, has announced its collaboration with DocuSign to enhance the customer’s experience during the approval process of newly designed printed tape.

Holland has recently deployed the utilization of the Docusign platform to streamline the artwork and specification approval process for printed water activated tape. The intention
of partnership with DocuSign is to build an intuitive, time efficient method for the customers to review printed tape proof information and electronically sign for approval. Accuracy, time savings and effective communications were the motivation for the Docusign program.

How it benefits our customers?

Time Saving

The Docusign platform allows for the customer and Holland’s internal staff to be part of a well-designed workflow. Information is presented to customer and upon approval multiple departments with Holland are simultaneous notified of approval so that tooling, materials and schedules can be arranged to reduce lead time.

Right, The First Time

There are no second chances with custom printed products. Accuracy is required and the effective communication of all specifications and artwork is critical to ensure the customer and Holland agree of what is going to be produced.

Save Paper, Save Time, Save Effort

Everything here is done digitally, starting from initiating order to the final customer’s review and approval. When paperwork is eliminated, you enhance speed, reduce effort and reduce the need to printing, scanning and emailing.

Trackability

The Docusign platform is a cloud based, share database. This allows Holland to manage the artwork process as a team rather than working with a single individual. All proofs are stored and can be easily modified by any of our customer service team members.

Newly Design Printed Tape

 

How the process is carried out?

1. Customer supplies Holland with a purchase order for tape with requested artwork.

2. Holland prepares the specifications and artwork proof and sends through the DocuSign program for approval.

3. Upon the customer’s approval, notice is provided to Holland’s staff immediately to order tooling, supplies, and schedules the production of the order. Holland has decades of experience and is a renowned name in manufacturing packaging supplies and the custom printed packaging materials. If you are looking for Packaging Solutions for your company or you are a distributor interested in our products contact us for more information: https://www.hollandmfg.com/contact-us/

 

Also Read Here: Water Activated Tape: everything you need to transform your packaging.

 

About Holland Manufacturing Company:

Holland Manufacturing Company Offers / Provides Products like Water Activated Tape, Blue Shield Industrial Products, Specialty Coated` and Laminated Products, Custom Printed Labels & Tags, Industrial Paper Products, etc.

Talk to us on- 1-800-345-0492 Or FAX: 1-973-598-6233 Or Email us at info@hollandmfg.com

Happy to help!

Back to All Blogs

Water Activated Tape: everything you need to transform your packaging

E-commerce and retail are on the rise. According to UNCTAD, the global e-commerce market size was $29 trillion in 2017 and is growing at 13%. The United States remains the largest online retail market in the world with nearly $9 trillion of sales in 2017. Since e-commerce relies solely on effective delivery of products at the customer’s doorsteps, packaging can be the game-changer for the online retail industry. Shipping volumes are on a rise year-on-year, and there is a rapidly rising demand for faster, safer and more cost-effective ways of sealing cartons before they are shipped out. There are two major types of tapes that are currently being used by e-commerce firms to secure their packages: the plastic pressure-sensitive-tape (PST) which sticks to the surface of the package; and the water-activated-tape (WAT) or gummed tape.

Water-activated-tape vs plastic pressure-sensitive-tape

Plastic tapes

Pressure-Sensitive Plastic Tape has long been a popular closure method for corrugated cartons.  Pressure Sensitive Tape is comprised of a plastic film coated with an acrylic or hot melt based pressure-sensitive adhesive.There are a number of reasons why the plastic pressure-sensitive tape is no longer the best option for the retailers or e-commerce companies that deal with huge shipment volumes.

  1. A lot of wastage: The conventional plastic tapes don’t strongly bond with the package. Thus, multiple layers of the tape often need to be added to secure a package leading to a lot of wastage.
  2. Clumsy finish: Since the conventional plastic tape needs to be applied multiple times and usually manually, the eventually mummified package might not look very neat or professional.
  3. Not good for the environment: The damaging impact of plastic on the environment is well-known and companies/people are rapidly moving away from using plastics especially single-use ones like these tapes. This is also a major reason why these tapes are losing their relevance today for e-commerce packaging.

Water-Activated-Tape

WAT is also commonly referred to as the gummed tape. This is manufactured by using paper that has reinforced crossing synthetic fibers and a water-activated adhesive that bonds to the box’s surface. Water Activated Adhesive is not chemical-based.  One of the great points about WAT is that the adhesive is plant-based – most commonly corn or potato-based. There are different types of this tape and they can be used to secure light or heavy packages.

How does WAT work?

To effectively use this tape, you need to use a water-activated-tape-dispenser. There are various types of such dispensers and the most basic of these wets and cuts the tape. The packaging crew then applies the tape to the shipping carton. It instantly bonds with the external surface of the box, merging into the surface of the carton. WAT’s unique capabilities make it a highly beneficial packaging solution on multiple counts.

Benefits of WAT

  1. Safety: American retailers and e-commerce companies, as well as their customers, continue to grapple with theft from packages as well as theft of whole packages. At times, the thieves systematically press down the top of the carton, making the conventional pressure-sensitive tape give way, and the thieves are able to pull products out of the box. Subsequently the box flaps, then spring back up and stick to the tape, making the theft go undetected until later when the package is opened by the end-receiver. Since the water-activated-tape merges with the surface of the carton, this technique of stealing is ineffective on it. The only way to open packages sealed with this type of tape is to cut open the box which will expose the theft.
  1. Custom branding option: One of the greatest advantages of WAT is that it is a custom-water-activated-tape that can not only secure your packages but also serve as a branding tool. You can get customized water-activated-printed-tape featuring your logo, caption or any other image/color pattern that you want. This will not only make your package look neater and more professional but also serve as an advertisement for your brand.
  1. Economical: A WAT strongly bonds with the package, and just one single application of the tape is adequate. It prevents wastage significantly, thus bringing about the economy into play for businesses that regularly need to ship out a large number of packages.
  1. Rough and tough: WAT is usually the most durable type of packaging tape available in the market. Unlike conventional plastic pressure-sensitive-tape, WAT can survive harsh handling and climatic conditions like dust, dirt, extremely warm or cold areas. It is this durability that makes WAT such a popular packaging solution in the contemporary markets.

Types of WAT

There are two major types of WAT used by businesses depending upon the type of package and its weight.

  1. Non-Reinforced WAT – The standard water-activated-gummed-paper-tape is generally made by using a single layer of pure kraft paper with biodegradable, natural starch-based adhesive and it is best suited to secure the light-weight packages and cartons.
  1. Reinforced WAT – The other type of WAT is the reinforced version. It is made by combining two or more layers of pure kraft paper sandwiching glass fiber reinforcement filaments that make this variety of tape much stronger and capable of sealing heavy packets.

Types of WAT Dispensers

Just how WAT types differ from each other in terms of their usage, there are two types of dispensers used for such tapes depending upon the usage volumes.

  1. Manual WAT dispenser: It is always in the best interest of a company to choose their equipment according to the need. In case you are looking for an entry-level dispenser with low cost and you only have low-to-moderate needs of packaging then you must choose the manual dispenser. It is not only cheaper but also ideal to familiarize yourself with the WAT.
  1. Electronic WAT-dispenser: If you are a business with a high volume of packages on a regular basis, it is best advised to use an electronic dispenser for your packaging needs. This leads to automation which makes it easier-faster and more economical for your teams to seal a large number of cartons in less time. As one of the leading water-activated-tape manufacturers, Holland sells the Phoenix range of WAT Dispensers which have the great build quality and a good-looking ergonomic design that makes them an ideal partner of a packing station or a business counter.

We are partners with the McDonald Company Machines who manufacturers these dispensers.  We do sell the tape machines along with the tape allowing new users of WAT an economical, fully supported solution to using the product.

While it is completely up to you to decide which type of WAT dispenser is adequate to meet your requirements, if you regularly need to ship a large number of cartons then there are a number of benefits that electric water-activated-tape dispensers offer you.

  1. Ability to cut the tape to pre-determined lengths: As discussed above, WAT can prove to be economical in comparison to the regular pressure-sensitive-tapes courtesy of the reduced consumption. That’s where it is crucial to ensure consistency of tape length as it will help in making the tape more affordable and less tape on a box will improve the packaging aesthetics for a customer.  Unlike the manual taping where you will need to estimate the required length for each piece of tape, the electric WAT dispensers give the operators the option to choose various pre-set and customizable lengths. The ideal taping advice would be to measure the length of the carton and add an extra six inches to provision for the overhang on either side of the carton to make it a strongly sealed package. Hence, if you have to secure a carton of 12 inches length, you should use an 18 inches long strip of tape.
  2. Easier to seal cartons: One of the advantages of the electric tape dispensers is their ability to reduce the number of movements needed to seal a carton. It has been reported that an electric WAT dispenser can offer more than 20% faster service compared to manual WAT dispenser or some other hand-held tape guns and pressure-sensitive tapes.
  3. Less tiring for the packers: The reduction in carton movement facilitated by an electronic water-activated-tape dispenser makes work easier for the packer. It not only increases the packing speed but also reduces the burnout.
  4. Reduced risk of injury: By using electric WAT dispensers in packaging and shipping processes, it is possible to reduce the injuries to the carpal tunnel syndrome. Quite often it is reported that employees complain of such injuries while working on long shifts dealing with a high volume of packages. The major e-commerce companies have already been switching from the manually hand-held tape guns to the electric WAT dispensers so that they can eliminate the costly medical bills and the hiring/training costs which are caused by carpal tunnel syndrome.

In conclusion

WAT is an ideal solution for modern businesses that focus on higher productivity and sustainability. As iterated above, it has a number of advantages over the conventional plastic pressure-sensitive-tapes. Not only that, it is quite easy to make the switch to this type of tape, and you get to enjoy instant benefits. Your packaging team will become more efficient, less fatigued, and your packages will not only look aesthetically better, but they will also be safe from pilferage and less prone to transit thefts and damage. Further, you can use these packaging tapes as advertisements for your business by getting the custom printed-water-activated-tapes. Also, adopting WAT for your packaging tasks doesn’t make your conventional tape and tape-guns go waste. Apart from carton packaging, there are a number of other areas where plastic tape continues to be the right choice. Hence, you can use these two types of tapes strategically and in a complementary way. As one of the leading manufacturers and WAT suppliers Holland can be your ideal partner for your WAT and dispensers’ requirements. For further queries and information, please contact 1-800-345-0492.

About Holland Manufacturing Company

At Holland Manufacturing, we are committed to offering packaging products that are affordable, high-quality and environment-friendly. If you are a business looking to adopt eco-friendly and sustainable packaging solutions  then you can try our products by visiting us at: https://www.hollandmfg.com/contact/contact-us/request-a-sample/

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Paper Based Materials – The Key to Sustainable Packaging

 

Paper Based Materials – The Key to Sustainable Packaging


In the 21st century, retail has been completely transformed. E-commerce evolution has changed the way products are packaged and shipped. Today’s consumers are becoming increasingly tech-savvy and very particular about what they need and how they need it. Hence, packaging has assumed a far greater significance in the art of retailing than ever before. In fact, even the hospitality industry is witnessing a transformation in the manner of packaging and delivery of food items after the arrival of food delivery apps.

Irrespective of the product you purchase or whether you do so online or from a physical store, there are numerous parameters that a packaging is judged on. While the first and foremost purpose of packaging is to ensure that the product reaches the customer without any damage or spillage, it is also important for it to effectively display the branding of the company.

Further, the packaging has to be customer friendly. Nobody wants to grapple with a package that is sealed like a bank vault. It has to be sturdy, safe, yet easy to open. Another packaging factor that can endear a brand to its customers is the recyclability of the packaging material. If it can be reused or recycled then it is likely to win more loyalty and positive feedback from the customers.


This is exactly what our Bogus Paper can do for you. It is created by using a mixture of recycled Kraft paper, newsprint, industrial tissue paper as well as various other types of used and recycled paper. Since we make Bogus Paper out of these 100% recycled materials, no trees are required to be cut for it, and it helps in bringing down the carbon footprint. Hence Bogus Paper rolls are not only great to use, but, contribute towards a sustainable environment.

We also offer you the highly affordable and environment-friendly, Bogus Kraft paper rolls which are made from 100% recycled Kraft paper mixed with newsprint. It is an excellent product. It is a comparatively more sturdy paper and can be of great use while wrapping books, electronic products, boxes etc to ensure that the package is protected from scratches. It is extensively used in packaging of a wide range of products all over the country. Another great thing about our Bogus Kraft paper rolls as well as other eco-friendly packaging materials is that they are all manufactured in USA and not imported.

Another highly environment-friendly product that is widely used in ecommerce shipments today is our Water-Activated-Tape (WAT). It is an incredibly beneficial product and is preferred by businesses that work on a ‘quality first’ principle. If you can overlook the cost comparison between our Water-Activated-Tapes and the conventional plastic, pressure-sensitive-tapes (PST), then you would discover that WAT offers several great benefits such as:

 


Superior Product Protection:

Upon application, the Water-Activated-Tape bonds strongly to the carton and becomes a tamper-proof seal for the shipments. It is an effective measure to prevent occurrence of ‘lost-in-transit’ incidents and the costs incurred on re-shipping the goods. If you are an online retailer then ‘thefts’ not only cost you the product’s price, but, also damage your goodwill, and those costs can be really high.


Less Material Wastage:

Conventional plastic pressure-sensitive tapes often don’t seal the carton securely and multiple layers have to be applied. It is not uncommon to see some of the packages being turned into a mummy to protect them. Water Activated Tape (WAT) is made of paper, adhesives and strengthen by reinforcing fiberglass filaments. Upon being activated with water, its starch based adhesive merges with the carton, providing a permanent bond with the package. Only one strip of tape is used to secure the package, thus, resulting in less material wastage which in turn makes these tapes more economical to use despite a higher per foot cost compared to the typical plastic tapes.


Durability:

Plastic tapes might not be such a great protection against heat exposure, but, water-activated tape is extremely durable, and it can resist dirt, freezing cold or extremely hot weather conditions.


Environment-friendly:

Water activated tape is produced mainly of paper, a sustainable resource. In proper waste stream, water activated tape applied to a corrugated carton is recyclable. If your brand emphasizes sustainability and environment protection, our water-activated tapes are an ideal carton closure method. Thus, if you are a brand that emphasizes on sustainability and environment protection then our water-activated tapes are an ideal packaging material for you.

At Holland Manufacturing, we are committed to offering packaging products that are affordable, high-quality and environment-friendly. If you are a business looking to adopt eco-friendly and sustainable packaging solutions, then you can try our products by visiting us at : https://www.hollandmfg.com/contact/contact-us/request-a-sample/



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About Holland Manufacturing Company


Holland Manufacturing Company Offers / Provides Product like Water Activated Tape, Blue Shield Industrial Products, Specialty Coated and Laminated Products, Custom Printed Labels & Tags, Industrial Paper Products etc.

Talk to us On- 1-800-345-0492 Or FAX: 1-973-598-6233 Or Email us at info@hollandmfg.com

Happy to help!

Pack Expo 2018 – Chicago, IL

Holland introduces several new products and upgrades to existing water activated tape product line.

  • WAT COUPON – Providing a new marketing opportunity to ecommerce company’s, the WAT Coupon incorporates a redeemable coupon label onto printed water activated tape.  To learn more, click here.
  • Talon Tape – This new tape product allows a user to establish better control of large, heavy or awkwardly space packages with adhesive-free handle locations within a robust fiberglass reinforced strapping tape.  To learn more, click here.
  • Placard Labels – Holland has introduced a line of placard labels that are designed to allow re-assignable locations to be labeled efficiently and professionally.  To learn more, click here.
  • H-30 White / White – Holland has created a new WAT product for sealing white cartons.  This pure white grade of reinforced tape is ideal for printing; the standard for white reinforced tape has been raised.  To learn more, click here.

PICA Awards Competition

The Printing Industry of the Carolinas (PICA) has announced that Pace Labels of Williamston is an award winner in the 2014 PICA Awards Competition. The PICA Awards competition is one of the largest printing contests in the nation. For more information about the award, click here.

Other News:

We won PICA awards in 2016 and 2017 – I will get some information together on those, also we can show the labels that won. Added a 24”wide 4 color press to our NJ location from Tape production in May 2017. We want to promote that capability. We are going to be adding a new automated packaging line to our tape production area, could be good to show our commitment to automation and cost effectiveness. We are going to be launching the new WAT product that has the peelable coupon, working with the patent lawyer.
We had our annual end of summer picnic and I have a picture of the two employees that won the horseshoes competition.