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Common Tape Terminology from Adhesives to WAT (Water Activated Tape)

Common Tape Terminology from Adhesives to WAT (Water Activated Tape)

For an e-commerce company, the type of carton sealing tape you use is of the utmost importance since it can affect much more than just the look of your package but also protect products during shipment. Although, with so many different types of tape available for use with packaging, it can get confusing to know which is best suited for your application and what all those tape terms really mean. From understanding the benefits of WAT (water activated tape) to defining tensile strength, Hughes has the answers you’re looking for.

Common Tape Terminology

It is important for businesses to choose the proper tape to seal their packages correctly. The wrong choice of tape can cost companies time and money and disrupt the efficiency of the distribution line. To help you gain a better understanding and find the right packaging solution, here are some common terms used to describe tape:

  • Adhesive tape – Single-sided adhesive tapes allow joining of two overlapping or adjoining materials, while double-sided tape (adhesive on both sides) allows joining of two items back-to-back.
  • Backing Material – The material of a tape the adhesive is applied to is known as the backing material. Common tape backing materials include vinyl, cloth and polypropylene.
  • Bursting Strength – The ability of a tape to resist damage when a force is applied evenly and perpendicularly to the surface of a tape.
  • Core Size – Core size describes the inside roll diameter of a tape.
  • Elongation and Tensile Strength – Ever wonder how far a tape can stretch before it breaks? Elongation is commonly measured in a percentage of stretch whereas tensile strength is measure in pounds.
  • Length – Tape length on the roll is commonly measured in meters, yards, or feet.
  • Thickness – Tape thickness measures the distance from one surface of a tape, backing or adhesive to the other and is usually measured in mils (milli-inch) which is one-thousandths of an inch or 25.4 microns.
  • Poly Pro (Polyprogylene) Tape – Poly Pro box sealing tape is commonly placed on the tops and bottoms of cartons and can easily be applied with automatic dispensers (making them ideal for high volume applications). Poly Pro tape machines come in two types, uniform and random. The uniform carton sealers are used in factory packing plants while random sealers are used in distribution centers where the size of each box may be different.
  • PSA (Pressure Sensitive Adhesive) – PSA tape is an adhesive which forms a bond when pressure is applied. No solvent, water, or heat is needed to activate the adhesive.
  • Width – Tape width on the roll is commonly measured in millimeters or inches.
  • WAT (Water Activated Tape) – Also known as gum tape, this paper tape has a water-based adhesive that is activated by water. It can be found in plain Kraft paper for light cartons or reinforcement for heavy shipments. More on WAT tape below:


WAT (Water Activated Tape)The Better Pack 555eS is an electric water activated tape dispenser

WAT (Water Activated Tape) is a paper tape that offers a reliable, cost-effective packaging tape alternative for businesses. Unlike pressure sensitive adhesives, such as masking tape which are ideal for bundling and labeling, water-activated tape withstands harsh conditions as it penetrates the surface of the carton, which bonds the tape durably into place.

This durability makes WAT tape beneficial for safety reasons. Because of the way it sits on the box it is evident from a cursory examination whether the box has been tampered with or not. And additionally, water-activated tape is 100% recycled and reputable, making it an environmentally-friendly solution (a bonus for a brand’s image).

Hughes Has All Your Tape Needs

When researching packaging tape options for your warehouse needs, consider the weight and stability of your packages as well as the size of your boxes. For example, heavier loads put more stress on packages which require a wider packing tape.

To better understand your options for packaging solutions, contact Hughes Enterprises today. We are dedicated to helping our customers understand what sort of packaging solution is best for them and why.