Everything About Tape Machines

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Everything you wanted to know about gummed tape dispensers and why.  

Gummed tape offers one of the best ways to seal a carton.


In today's competitive business environment, the gummed tape carton closing system offers a number of specific advantages to those companies working hard to prosper under increasingly more demanding conditions.

Superior Product Protection

    • Little or no shipping damage means happier customers and limited loss liabilities.

Tamper Evident Carton Sealing

    • Reduce theft and the potential for product tampering.

Neat Professional Appearance (Image is Everything)

    • A professional appearing package reflects well on both the product and the organization.

Cost Control - 1 Strip, 2 Strip, 3 Strip, 4.  Plastic tape will cost you more!

    • Electric dispensers provide just the right amount of tape and there is never any wasted.  Single strip sealing vs. multiple strips of plastic tape.

Product Coding

    • The printing option allows inexpensive printing of messages and product codes directly on the tape during the sealing process.

Environmental Responsibility

    • Cartons sealed with paper or reinforced paper tapes are completely recyclable. Those sealed with plastic tape, staples and certain glues make the recycling process more complex, expensive and sometimes impossible.


    • The moistening system is the most critical element of a gummed tape sealing system. It consists of water level control, heaters, brushes, a pressure plate, and the dispensing speed.

Water Level Control

The moistening system begins with water level control. The level is adjusted by raising or lowering the water bottle. This provides the proper amount of water for the type of tape and the environment in which the machine is being used. One adjustment may be accomplished in three ways:

  • With a screw, which raises or lowers the water bottle.
  • Notches in the tank, which allows the bottle to be adjusted to different levels, and
  • Brackets, which move up and down.


Heaters are used to reactivate the glue properly. Top heaters, which are attached to the pressure plate, warm the tape and warm the water as it is applied to the tape.

The top heater creates a zone of heat at the top of the brushes and draws the water through the brushes and into the glue. The temperature control of the top heater can be adjusted for different types of tapes and environments.

Tank heaters take a little longer on start up and recoup time.


One-brush systems are used in pull and tear machines and some hand lever types. Two-brush systems are used in most hand lever dispensing machines.  Three-brush systems are best because the greater surface area does the best job of applying, spreading and smoothing the water into the glue.

The correct combination of taper, thickness, and number of brushes creates the optimum condition responsible for proper water application to different kinds of tape.

Pressure Plates

The pressure plate applies pressure to the tape as it moves across the brush so the bristles scratch the tape surface and help the water penetrate the glue. The best pressure plates are pivoted and include adjustable weights.

The adjustable weight, pivoted plates provide consistent pressure on the  brushes. The adjustability offers more or less pressure, depending on the tape being dispensed. The pivoted pressure plates always provide uniform moistening, regardless of brush wear, because they automatically compensate for the wear on the brushes.

Dispensing Speed

On a manual machine, the speed at which the operator pulls the hand lever determines the dispensing speed. Because of this operator dependency the  manual dispenser may provide uneven or inadequate moistening.

On electric machines, the dispensing speed is controlled by the machine and is therefore consistent. The speed helps to determine the amount of water applied to the tape. The controlled dispensing speed of the electric models results in optimum moistening.


Permanent Bond - Superior Product Protection - Professional Closure Method
Vermin Barrier - Temper Evident - Prevents Pilferage - Environmentally Responsible

  • Recyclable
  • Renewable Resource
  • Biodegradable

Easy and Safe to Open - Easy to Print On - Excellent Stackability - Very Strong Closure - Inexpensive - Holds Securely Even in Extreme Cold, Heat and Light.


A. Benefits of Gummed Tape

The bond is the term which indicates how the glue sticks to the carton. There are two different kinds of bonds.

A "superficial" bond means that the glue is not totally reactivated by the dispenser. A "permanent" bond means that the glue is totally reactivated by the dispenser.

When gummed tape is compared to competitive, pressure sensitive tape the differences are clear. Pressure-sensitive tape never creates a total or permanent bond. It only grips the surface or "hide" of a carton. Liquid reactivated glue permanently sinks into the corrugated flutes of a carton, becoming a permanent, working part of that carton. It sticks to virtually any surface.

A simple analogy illustrates this point: If you hammer a nail into a board partially, that is similar to a "superficial" bond of liquid glue; it doesn't hold very well. But, if you hammer that nail all the way into that board, that's a fully reactivated, "permanent" bond. The glue sinks through the top hide of the corrugated, in past the top layer, and into the corrugated flutes; it hardens and becomes a permanent working bond.


The greatest benefit of gummed tape is that it provides superior product protection. Gummed tape can be used to seal all the outside seams of a carton, thus eliminating any possibility of dust or dirt permeating the box, damaging or making the product unusable.

Gummed tape is a vermin barrier. Vermin such as rodents and roaches.

Gummed tape prevents pilferage. If tape is removed from a carton, the carton cannot be resealed without clear evidence of tampering.

Gummed tape is recyclable and allows for carton reuse.

Gummed tape is easy and safe to open.

Gummed tape can be coded/printed-on while being dispensed.

Gummed tape provides excellent stackability for two reasons. First, because it sits flat on a carton, it allows the carton to sit flat on another carton or pallet.   Second, it allows that carton to shift slightly so that it properly settles and becomes square to whatever it's sitting on.

Gummed tape gives great strength of closure. It also has the ability, in the reinforced varieties, of retaining its strength even if some of its reinforcing strings break.

Cost wise, gummed tape is one of the least expensive methods of closure.  When comparing gummed tape to pressure-sensitive tape, staples, stitches, strapping, or glue, remember that comparisons are usually made against a smaller or narrower variety of tapes, or a minimal number of staples or stitches. The ultimate strength of a stapler stitch is that it holds only the inner flaps. However, water or moisture will weaken the corrugated, and the staples or stitches will pullouts. Finally, if a customer uses 3 inch gummed tape now, suggest the possibility of using 2 inch tape instead. This could account for even more savings.

When talking about the costs of a closure, don't look at what it costs for the materials alone. Instead, look at the cost, durability, length of service, and at the overall proficiency of the equipment and the material.


B. Closure Demonstrations

There are six demonstrations that can be used to prove to the customer why gummed tape is superior.  Electric machines are the best to use for these tests.

I have set up a page to explain the different tests and included video links. Click here to go to the Closure Demonstrations.


You can prove how and why gummed tape is the best carton closure method; that it is better because it is stronger, faster, easier, less expensive, and more durable.


The first demonstration compares reinforced gummed tape against staples.  Staples claim to be faster, cheaper, and stronger, but you can prove otherwise.

Use a regular slotted carton with regular carton staples at 2-1/2" increments across the end seams, and between 2-1/2 and 3-1/2" increments across the center seam. Put one strip of reinforced tape across the center seam of the bottom of the carton. Place the carton on its side, with the stapled and the taped flaps parallel to the ground. Jump on the carton. In most cases, the staples either pop out or break away. On the other hand, the gummed tape will stay intact and conform to the crush. Reinforced tape is the stronger of the two closures.

Tape vs. Glue

In the case of hot-melt glue, 25% of the flap must be covered with glue. In the case of cold glue, it should be 50% of the flap. Glue one side and tape the other side. Put the seams parallel to the ground, jump on it and crush it. The glued side of the carton will rip and tear, whereas the reinforced gummed tape side will stay intact. Point out that glue stiffens the carton in the same way that staples do.

Tape vs. Pressure Sensitive Tape

Special notes:  Famous words of the shipping room packer, "Where's my tape gun?" Other employees will pick up the packers gun and take them and use them in other areas and then not return them. Packers will never spend valuable time searching for a lost gummed tape dispenser!  Packing in a central location also provides additional security from internal theft of products, and keep your warehouse more organized.

What does it mean to use Gummed Tape?

Close one side of a carton with pressure-sensitive tape. On the other side, apply one strip of reinforced tape. Put the seams parallel to the ground and jump on the carton. In most cases, because of the partial adhesion of pressure-sensitive tape, the carton flaps will pop open, and the reinforced tape side will stay intact.

Reinforced Tape vs. Paper Tape

Demonstrate the strength of the reinforced tape-against paper tape, showing it as the superior gummed tape closure. Seal one side with reinforced tape and the other with paper tape. Jump on the carton. The paper tape will split and break open, whereas the reinforced tape will not.

All of these demonstrations provide opportunities for comparison of closure products, and they clearly show the benefits and superiority of gummed-tape as a closure method.

There are many gummed type tape dispensers available for closures and labeling systems for shipping, mailing, and production applications.  Visit the rest of our web site for various machines.