If you have ever ordered bought a box of cereal, ordered something online or sent a gift to a friend or loved one, you have had to deal with packaging adhesives or some sort of product used for carton closing. Several different products are used to close and seal packages, and while there are several effective options, it is important to choose the one that is right for a specific application. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common packaging adhesive options for closing cartons and boxes.
If you’ve ever opened a carton that had been closed with staples, you know that staples hold very well. In fact, it takes a great deal of effort to get the box open when it has been stapled shut. Staples also provide a tamper-evident seal, meaning there’s a reduced chance of merchandise being “misplaced” by someone along the way to its destination.
The downside to staples is that the increased effort required to open the carton can often result in the carton being destroyed. The staples can also be sharp and dangerous to the person opening the carton. However, both the carton and staples can be recycled. Staples are commonly used for closing large boxes, such as those used to ship furniture and other heavy products. They are much less common for smaller-scale packages and cartons.
Strapping can be used to close cartons, as well as to secure cartons to a shipping pallet. There are three main types of strapping used for shipping purposes, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
Steel straps are the strongest of the group, and they are used in situations where high strength and low stretching are required. However, steel strapping can be expensive, and many industries are moving away from it because it can also be dangerous. When cutting the straps, the tension can cause them to whip outwards. This, combined with a sharp edge from cutting, can, of course, be dangerous.
Polypropylene strapping is the least expensive and most common type of strapping on the market. While polypropylene straps can be closed with buckles, the most common method is to seal the ends together with heat, actually melting the strap to itself. It does tend to stretch, and it doesn’t retain tension for extended periods. Polypropylene also has the potential to split. Polypropylene strapping is perfect for light-duty carton closing and the palletizing of cartons.
Polyester offers the best strength to elongation ratio, making it the perfect replacement for steel strapping. It is the most rigid of all the strapping options and can retain tension for extended periods. These qualities make it perfect for long-term storage of items that require being kept under high tension.
Carton Sealing Tapes
Tape is possibly the most common method of sealing a carton. We’ve all had packages come in the mail, and what do we usually find holding the flaps closed and protecting our latest order? That’s right, tape. Most of us just cut the tape as fast as we can to get to the treasure inside, and we don’t put much thought into what kind of tape is being used. There are, however, a few different types of packing tapes. If you need to send packages out for your business, it is important to understand the various types, so that you may choose the one that is right for you.
Acrylic Carton Sealing Tape
Acrylic tape can be used for both light-duty and heavy-duty applications. This type of tape is UV protected and has a wide temperature and humidity tolerance. Acrylic tapes also have a long life. They are available both in hand rolls for manual use and in larger rolls designed for machine use.
Hot Melt Carton Sealing Tape
Hot melt tapes are designed for durability and performance. Like acrylic tapes, they perform well in both light-duty and heavy-duty applications. Hot melt tapes come in different grades, including economy, utility and general purpose. Hot melt carton tapes are commonly used when packaging fruit due to their superior shear values. This means that they can withstand a constant pull without failing.
Printable Carton Sealing Tape
Available in either industrial or premium grade, printable carton tapes allow graphics and text to be printed clearly on the tape you use to seal your packages. These printable carton tapes are water-based acrylic tapes, and they can be applied manually or by carton-sealing machines. Premium-grade tapes feature an adhesive that is perfect for harsh environments.
Printed Carton Sealing Tape
Printed carton tape is made from paper, and you can have it customized in just about any way you can imagine. The tape itself is exceptionally durable, and it is available in different size roles to meet your specific requires.
The great thing about printed carton sealing tape is that you can have it completely customized for your business. You can have it made in colors that match your company’s branding, or you can have it emblazoned with your logo. Big brands like Amazon even use it to showcase specials and promotions. Because it is so highly customizable, it is just as effective as a marketing tool as a carton sealer. Printed carton sealing tape works well in a wide range of temperatures and is UV protected.
While not as common for use when shipping products, adhesives are also widely used for sealing cartons. They are most frequently used for sealing boxes that contain things like foods and beverages. Cereal boxes, for example, are closed using food-grade adhesives. Adhesives are also used to seal cases of soda, beer, wine, etc.
Hot melt adhesives for carton sealing work best with industrial glue guns. When using the right industrial glue gun, it is possible to dispense several pounds of hot melt per hour to seal numerous cartons quickly and efficiently.
Food Grade Adhesives
While the adhesive used to assemble and seal the box your morning cereal comes in may never come in direct contact with the product, it is still closely regulated. In fact, the FDA governs the glues used to seal things like cereal boxes, pasta packaging, etc. Even the glue used to seal up a case of soda must meet the requirements of the FDA.
The packaging adhesives used to seal cartons containing beverages and edible products are regulated under the FDA’s Federal Regulations Title 21 Part 175.105, which regulates indirect food additives. While there are several requirements that must be met, it is most important that the glue is non-toxic and transparent.
The Importance of Choosing the Right Product for Carton Closing
With so many different options to choose from, knowing which product is best for your specific application isn’t always easy. It is extremely important, however, to choose the right one. In some instances — like when sealing boxes that contain edible products — you need to use the right carton closing product to ensure that you are in compliance with the law. In other situations, though, choosing the right product ensures that the product contained within will reach its destination safely.
Tips for Good Packing
When you are preparing a carton for shipment, good packing is vital. If an item is not packed appropriately, it is likely to be damaged while in transit to its destination. While choosing the right product for carton closing is extremely important, it is only one part of the equation.
Before you can even think about sealing a carton, you need to choose the right box. Recycling boxes is good for the environment and can even save you money, but if you go this route, be sure that the box you are using doesn’t have any rips, tears, holes or water damage. Boxes can lose 60 percent of their structural integrity after the first shipment, so be careful when reusing boxes!
If you use new containers, use ones that are suitable for your application. Boxes with double walls (or more) are generally the best. Extra walls provide extra strength and help prevent boxes from being crushed or otherwise damaged. When placing items inside the box, wrap individual items separately. This is especially important when shipping fragile items. Use things like bubble wrap or newsprint to individually wrap items. You can also use void fillers like packing peanuts or air pillows to prevent items from banging against each other during shipment.
Make sure you use enough packing material to keep everything from moving inside the box. If you can hear items shifting around, you need to use more cushioning. Seal your box up using an appropriate carton sealing product. Then, affix one label with all of the relevant information. Your label should include the shipping address, return address and all relevant contact information. Properly labeling your shipments helps ensure that they reach their destination both promptly and safely.
Whether you are preparing packages for shipment or you need to seal the cartons that contain your product, choosing the right carton sealing products is vital. There are several options to choose from, and while each offers its own benefits, some options are more suitable for certain applications than others. Choosing the right one helps ensure that the products contained within your cartons or boxes are kept safe. And in certain instances, you need to use the right one to meet government regulations.
In addition to choosing the right carton sealing products, be sure to use appropriate boxes and packing materials. Figuring out everything you need to use can seem overwhelming, but taking the time to do so is extremely important.