Manually applying packaging tape to cartons using a hand-held dispenser – rather than using an automated dispenser – is common in small-scale, non-automated packaging operations. Since using a hand dispenser is often seen as self-explanatory, packaging technicians often lack training on the proper way to manually apply packaging tape for the best results.

To ensure secure carton seals throughout the supply chain, consider these 5 things:

  • Tape Tab Length: Tab length, or the length of tape that folds over the edge of the carton, provides extra reinforcement and helps to ensure that the carton stays sealed. Tabs that are too short can lead to carton seal failure, compromising the security of the carton, while too-long tabs cause excess waste from unnecessary tape consumption. In most cases, tab lengths should be around 2-3 inches long for a secure seal, but they can be adjusted depending on the size and weight of the carton. Be mindful of how long your tab lengths are when manually applying packaging tape.
  • Wipe-down Force: Pressure-sensitive packaging tapes require a certain amount of force in order for the adhesive to fully bond with a substrate. Don’t underestimate the importance of wiping down the tape after applying it with a hand-dispenser. Some hand dispensers are built to promote wipe-down force during application, but it is always a best practice to wipe it down firmly with your hand as well. Adequate wipe-down force will drive the adhesive into the corrugated surface of the carton, creating a secure case seal.
  • Amount of Tape: While there needs to be enough tape to properly seal the box – including the proper tab length – using too much tape can be costly and wasteful. A good quality packaging tape will only require one strip of tape down the center seam of the carton, limiting tape waste while still protecting the carton’s contents. Rightsizing your packaging tape – finding the right tape width for the cartons you are sealing – will also ensure you are able to achieve a secure seal with one strip.
  • Hand Dispenser Choice: A reliable hand dispenser can help make manual application even easier and more efficient. Features to look for include visible tab length indicators which allow users to easily see how much tape is being dispensed, an ergonomic design that helps promote comfort in repetitive use, and a safety blade that increases operator safety
  • Packaging Tape Choice: There are different kinds of packaging tape to fit a range of applications. Make sure to select the right packaging tape to fit your application – considering your case sealing environment – and look for additional features based on your needs, such as cold temperature performance, adhesion to recycled corrugate, and tape running down to the core.

Proper packaging tape application means secure seals and minimal tape waste, which saves time and money. Want to learn more about packaging tape? Visit ShurSealSecure.com.