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Hot Melt vs Tape: Which Is Better for Industrial Packaging?

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You’ve designed, perfected, manufactured, and quality checked your product to ensure it adheres to the highest of standards. Now that it’s time for packaging, the last thing you want is a flimsy container that will burst open under the strenuous conditions of warehousing, shipping, or shelving. After all, packaging is often your product’s first impression on a potential consumer.

In fact, quality of packaging says a lot about your product, and you’ll want to make sure you’re always putting your best foot forward. Aside from appearance, however, speed, cost-effectiveness, durability, and longevity can be make-or-break factors when it comes to packaging decisions. For all of these considerations, one of the biggest factors involves industrial adhesives for manufacturing.

Which Types of Industrial Adhesives Are Best?

Hot melt and tape are two of the most commonly used adhesives in packaging for many different industries. However, tape and hot melt adhesive have been the subject of long-standing debate over which manufacturing adhesive is best. While many could make an argument for either when it comes to simple effectiveness, it’s become relatively clear that hot melt adhesives stand out in the two categories that are most important to manufacturers – cost and efficiency.

  • Hot melt adhesives are more cost-effective than tape. With both tape and hot melt sealant systems, there are initial setup costs to consider. The manufacturer must first purchase the tape machine or hot melt system, then consider the operating costs to utilize it.While specialized hot melt systems are often initially a bit more costly than tape machines, the real cost savings still comes in during usage of the system itself. In fact, hot melt adhesives generally cost anywhere between 60 and 80% less than tape for the same number of packages. Depending on your monthly output, choosing hot melt could save you thousands of dollars and quickly recoup any initial setup expenses.
  • Hot melt adhesives are more efficient during production. Whether applied by an operator via a hot melt hand gun or as part of an automatic setup, hot melt offers near uninterrupted sealing with limited need for reloading. By contrast, tape machines and handheld tape dispenser guns alike require frequent roll changes, slowing down your production.For these reasons, hot melt adhesives for manufacturing are ideal for maintaining efficient production. However, even if your production relies on handheld adhesive application, hot melt adhesive dries in mere seconds, while taping a box requires more than double the time. No matter the size of your production line or the amount of automation desired, hot melt adhesives win the efficiency race.

Hot Melt Adhesives Have Other Advantages

Besides the major edge hot melt adhesives for manufacturers hold over tape in the extremely important cost and efficiency categories, hot melt is superior in a few other ways, as well. First, it is important to note that hot melt adds an additional level of strength to the packaging itself. For heavy items with relatively thinner packaging, such as soft drinks or beer, the increased strength of a hot melt product such as Technomelt Supra 106M beyond what tape can offer is key to maintaining security.

Hot melt adhesives for manufacturers also offer an aesthetic and user-friendly advantage. Boxes sealed with tape must be cut open by the consumer, often destroying the packaging and adding an extra step to product access. Not so with hot melt adhesives – suppliers opening shelf packs sealed with Technomelt Cool 250A simply pull the packaging open without marring the display packaging and without a need for additional opening tools.

What About Other Types of Industrial Glues?

Hot melt adhesives have a clear advantage over tape, but you may be wondering how other glues and adhesives stack up to hot melt adhesives. While other types of glues certainly seem to have characteristics in common with hot melt adhesives, are they really comparable? In a word, no.

It’s true that other glues are often quicker to apply than tape and also hold a similar strength advantage over tape. Once dry, glues are preferable to tape for many manufacturers in many industries. However, hot melt adhesives have the advantage over glues in some familiar, key areas.

  • Hot melt adhesives are more cost-effective than other glues. Compared to traditional and specialty glues of other types, hot melt adhesives are significantly less expensive. Since startup costs for application methods can be similar to traditional glue, hot melt wins out.Over time, the use of hot melt adhesives as an alternative to other glues can save your business thousands. If your product is undergoing continuous production at a high volume, the cost savings have the potential to increase.
  • Hot melt adhesives are far more efficient than standard glues. While hot melt adhesives and traditional glues take a similar amount of time for application, the true time saver lies in the bonding time required for secure adhesion. Hot melt adhesives bond in seconds, while standard glues can take minutes to form a bond of a similar strength.In addition, hot melt adhesives require very little in the way of outside pressure or holding in place. Traditional glues, on the other hand, sometimes require extra pressure or an assembler holding each bond into place until dry. Depending on the glue, hot melt adhesives can save you a great deal of production time.
  • Hot melt adhesives are much more moisture-resistant than other glues. For manufacturers in the food and beverage industry, a hot melt adhesive like Technomelt 8990 maintains its hold regardless of any refrigerator, shipping, or storage water and humidity it comes into contact with. Conversely, traditional glues often release when exposed to water, putting your product at risk.No matter the conditions, hot melt adhesives outperform other glues to give your packaging a seamless look superior to taped boxes. Even when exposed to moisture or the elements, the added strength of hot melt adhesives provides your packaging with security unmatched by either tape or glue.

Need More Information?

Premier Packaging Solutions is an industry leading source for the best hot melt adhesive solution for your industry. If you’d like more information about applications, hot melt sticks, or hot melt glue guns, contact us today. We look forward to helping you bring your packaging to the next level.

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