The Story Behind Adhesive Tapes

A variety of adhesive tape roles

Rolls of packing scotch tapes

A variety of adhesive tape roles

Have you ever thought how often we use adhesive tapes in our daily lives? We often use adhesive tapes for quick fixes to hold a broken item together or to temporarily seal packaging or containers, etc.

It is an item that we think about only when the need arises, thus, we may not be aware of the value of adhesive tape and its many functions.

Nonetheless, if we delve deeper into the industrial applications of adhesive tapes, you would be surprised as to how many industries benefit from the use of adhesive tapes for their operations.

But first, let us learn more about the origins and history of adhesive tape to better understand how it came to be and its subsequent evolution into an item that is integral to many industries today.

Origins of adhesive tapes

Medical tape kit

From the surgical table to an everyday household item

Adhesive tape was first developed in 1845 when surgeon, Dr Horace Day realized the need for an adhesive that could cover and hold wound dressings together. He applied a mixture of rubber adhesive onto strips of fabric and invented the earliest form of surgical tape.

Dr Day’s design subsequently gave rise to many more innovations such as the adhesive tapes in its many other forms and functions.

Emerging industrial applications

Three quarters of a decade later, industries started to recognize the practicality and convenience of adhesive tapes in their operations. Companies started to experiment with different designs and materials to come up with more durable and functional adhesive tapes.

Among the first few industrial applications for adhesive tapes were the electric tape (used to repair and insulate wires) and masking tape (known also as the painter’s tape).

In the 1920’s, the masking tape came to be when Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing (3M) engineer, Richard Drew developed a wide paper tape for automakers to use when spray painting two-toned automobiles, for more precise and tidier paint jobs.

From then on, Mr Drew launched a whole line of adhesive tapes under the brand name “Scotch”, developing his products at a specialized 3M tape laboratory and eventually introducing a new variant of adhesive tapes which were clear and waterproof.

This transparent variant of adhesive tape quickly gained popularity among the general public, it was used by food businesses such as bakeries and grocery shops to seal their food. Before long, it became a household necessity, as people started using it to repair everyday items such as books and documents.

Man uses OPP tape to seal box

Constantly evolving

Adhesive tape has come a long way since its inception as a simple fabric coated with rubber adhesive. Advancements in new formulations and materials have turn what was initially a simple design into sophisticated products that are used in sectors such as construction, medicine, electronics, etc.

Dissecting an adhesive tape

Generally, an adhesive tape can be broken down into two parts, the backing and the adhesive. Depending on the purpose of the product, different materials and adhesives will be used to manufacture a variety of products.

Some common materials used to create the backing of an adhesive tape include paper, fabric, foam, metal foil, PVC/Vinyl, silicone, acrylic films, etc. Each material is used to make adhesive tapes of varying strength and purpose, from common household tapes to industry grade tapes.

The adhesive is an equally important component of an adhesive tape. With the evolution of new formulas in creating adhesives, manufacturers now have a wide selection of adhesives to utilise when constructing adhesive tapes.

Some of the adhesives used in manufacturing tapes these days are acrylic, silicone, rubber, epoxy resins and more. These adhesives are formulated to be durable and resistant to factors such as high temperatures, impact, etc.

Adhesive tapes can be tailor-made into different sizes and lengths for a wide range of applications.

Hand taking adhesive tape from drawer

Types of adhesive tapes on the market

It has been 175 years since Dr Day brought the first adhesive tape into existence, since then adhesive tape have evolved to become one of the most widely used items in the world.

Let us take a look at some variants of adhesive tapes available on the market today:

  • Aluminium foil tapes can withstand high humidity and extreme temperatures making them the best solution for heating and cooling applications, such as fixing electric appliances.
  • Cellulose tape otherwise known as Scotch tape, commonly found in households, and used when doing craft projects and wrapping gifts.
  • Cloth tape which is malleable enough to conform to multiple types of surfaces with high resistance to abrasion and aging, making it great for repairs at home, and also in the industry.
  • OPP printed tape which comes with custom design, size, and length.
  • Double sided tape which provides two layers of adhesive, ideal for binding two surfaces or items together and comes with a range of backing materials such as cloth, foam, paper and acrylic for easy peeling and application.
  • Filament tape which features a thick layer of pressure sensitive adhesive and polypropylene film and fiberglass filaments backing. It is a heavy-duty tape used for packaging and bundling purposes.
  • Floor marking tape which is highly visible and resistant to most liquids.

The list is non-exhaustive when it comes to the different types of adhesive tape we can find on the market, as it is constantly being developed to fit industry standards and applications.

As you can see from its long and proud history, adhesives tapes have benefitted many industries in more ways than we can imagine.

Therefore, we should recognize the value of the common household adhesive tape and appreciate its evolution and various contributions.

Adhesive tapes for any situation

Omark Worldwide supplies more than 40 types of adhesive tapes . For more than 40 years, we have supplied high quality adhesive tapes suitable for a range of different applications. Discover our products – masking tape, PE & PVC protection tape, OPP tape, cloth tape, double sided tape and more. We have international quality certifications in the production and sales of self-adhesive tapes and other packaging materials. Get in touch with us today for more information about adhesive tape supply for your businesses!

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