This is a strong debate that has been rumbling since hot melt glue sticks where developed and continues to this day. It has become clear over time that both products do offer advantages over each other.
We need to look at these products more closely and expand on their advantages and dis-advantages to help form a conclusion to this on-going debate.
Starting with tapes for carton sealing which appear to be available in two varieties being pressure sensitive and water activated. Taking pressure sensitive tapes second, this can be broken down further to either PVC or Polypropylene backing with the adhesive being acrylic, hot melt or natural rubber based. Pressure sensitive tapes in general are low cost, easy to apply via an inexpensive tape gun.
Hot melt Tape: Good adhesion to standard board for carton sealing, very low cost, but the tape will yellow in time. Flap seams are completely sealed making the carton better sealed from the environment.
Acrylic Tape: More expensive than Hot Melt Tapes, but offers resistance to yellowing. Due to the clear nature (clarity) of Acrylic tapes makes them popular when the cartons appearance is important. Spend all that money on a colourful carton design, and then cover the carton with tape!
Natural Rubber Tape: More expensive than the Hot Melt and Acrylic tapes and will yellow with time, but very strong, with good heat resistance and humidity resistance. You can always tell when these tapes are being used as they are very quiet when being dispensed, no squealing off the gun!
Moving onto Water Activated Tape, generally constructed with a Kraft paper backing and have also been known to come with fibreglass reinforcement within the tape to offer extra strength. Not as easy to apply as previous mentioned pressure sensitive tapes as you need a stationary dispenser with a water trough that activates the adhesive on the tape. Water activated tapes offer an excellent bond, especially when carton sealing with standard boards.
The main selling points with water activated tapes is that they are recyclable and strong bonding.
That’s tapes covered off in a nutshell.
Hot Melt Glue Sticks for carton sealing their advantages and dis-advantages:
Hot Melt Glue Sticks Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA), one of the most popular base polymers for hotmelt adhesives used in both packaging and product assembly formulations. It is economical and provides service temperatures of -30C to 80C. These products offer a structural strength to the carton, which is especially important for cartons with heavy contents. Tape does not offer this structural strength. Cosmetically hot melt will always offer a better appearance than a tape on a well-designed printed carton allowing all the carton information to be clearly visible.
Hot Melt Glue Sticks, for example Tecbond 134/12/300, are instant bonding, the bond can be as fast as a second or two. Hot Melt Glue Sticks for bonding standard boards are very cost effective and simple to use applied via a relevant Tec glue gun. For more tricky surfaces, Laminated and UV Varnished boards the use high performance, specially formulated hot melt glue sticks, for example Tecbond 265/43 comes into their own.
Hot melt glue sticks are applied via a glue gun which can be a simple trigger operated tool or a more powerful, effortless pneumatic glue gun. Tecbond Hot melt glue sticks are available in bulk formats for use in bulk dispensing equipment for high speed case and carton closing lines. Bulk hot melt systems can run continuously and are cost effective.
Hot Melt Glue Sticks: Very economical, very fast bonding, easy to use, offers strength, security, tamper proof bonds and high cosmetic value to a carton, down side, risk of burns! Bulk systems – for high speed continuous packaging lines.
Need a bulk system for large volume or continuous gluing ?