Picking the Best Machine

So many choices, what to do?  Which is best?  There are differences depending upon your application that can make one machine superior to another.  A good gummed tape dispenser will increase product flow!

Are you trying to choose the best tape dispenser but not getting answers?  A consumable tape salesman wants to sell you tape, and lots of it.  His knowledge is generally limited to understanding the consumable.  Tape is purchased several times during the year yet a tape machine every 8-10 years (or more if properly cared for).  If you are looking for facts, not fiction, our 30+ years of experience selling gummed tape dispensers (the initial 15 years only selling tape dispensers), has taught us to understand the pros and cons of the different machines. 

We have gummed tape to seal cartons!!! 

The innovator was Better Packages. Their machines include the BP500, BP333, BP555eS and BP755 series models.

The models above are currently produced, and below models are discontinued:

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BP555S BP556 Robot BP554 Duet

Better Packages was not only the innovator, but lead the nation in quality and product development years.

In 2005, Better Packages took the original design of the BP555S series and added electronics to make the new Better Pack BP500 model. The BP500 offers lengths of tape from 6" - 45" in 3" increments plus a doubler (2x) key, repeat key, and a random key.

In 1999 Better Packages released it's newer version of the BP555 called the BP555eS and BP555eL models with automatic versions called BP555eSA and BP555eLA.  The BP555eSA offers all the features of the previous BP555, BP556, and BP554 functionalities including hands free automatic dispensing.

The BP333, introduced in the 1960's, is the top seller thanks to its double brush moistening system, cutting shears, bottle, and feed wheel systems that were the same as the BP555.

The BP555, introduced in December 1958, was a mechanical-electrical machine manufactured for almost 42 years!  When the BP755 series was introduced to replace the BP555 in 1983, it lacked the features and benefits of the BP555.  Missing were triple brush moistening, blade felt pad oiler, and durability. The BP555 (old style) was the best machine manufactured during it's lifetime, but was finally discontinued by Better Packages in 1999 with the introduction of the BP555e.

In The 1960's, building off the BP555 platform, BPI® manufactured the BP556 and BP554 models.  The BP556 dispensed tape automatically without operator intervention.  At the time, the BP556 was introduced, case sealers were not in common usage.  The low cost BP556 enjoyed taking the place of high priced automatic case sealers for several years.  The only drawback using the BP556 in automatic mode was if the tape was not used within a few seconds, it would start drying out and become unusable. The BP554 Duet allowed for two strip dispensing and sold in low volume.  The BP554 excelled in applications of the six strip "H" method of sealing was required to seal off all opening on the common regular slotted carton.  Both the BP554 and BP556 were discontinued in 1999.

The BP755e looks nice, but has shortfalls.  The BP755 incorporated an enclosed moistening system, lacks some of the functionality of the BP555e, and the cutting blades lack a felt oiler pad for automatically maintaining sharp blades. The BP755e series is one of the few machines today that will dispense 4" wide tapes.

The second largest manufacturer is Marsh.  Marsh produced several models over the years, and is dedicated to selling all sorts of shipping items from marking equipment to closing equipment.  In December 2005 they launched new machines designated the TD2100 series and discontinued the manual 5HT, and the Electra Electronic. 

New models:   Older models:
Electra E110

Marsh redesigned and improved the cutter blades to be a two piece guillotine type system with a safety bracket to prevent operators from reaching the blades. A larger 70 ounce bottle was added, but Marsh maintained a single brush moistening system. The electronics on the TDE110 features a two button length-entry system that offers dispensing by entering the number of inches required - a great feature and MSSC is the only one on the market with it.

The third manufacturer is Cyklop of Italy.  Currently there are two models available.  


115v or Battery powered model

B-6 Manual

The manual Cyklop is the B-6 a.k.a. CMT-102.  A lever operated dispenser for lengths of tape from 4" up to 43", the industry's longest handle pull.  For applications up to 50 boxes per day, or in areas where electricity is not available, the manual works very well.  If you find a machine that looks like the B-6 selling new for under $200 use extreme caution.  This machine has been copied and is not built to the same standards as the original Italian Cyklop. 

For more automated applications, the C-25 electronic model is available.  The advantages of the new C-25 include how quiet the machine is and its functionality.  Today, this is the best machine for noise sensitive areas.  The C-25 features a 24V electrical system.  Select from 4" to 44" in 4 inch increments with an adder key of 2" for 22 different lengths.  A random key, and two repeat buttons are also standard.  The cutter blades and electronics replacement parts can be very expensive to replace, and sometimes you may need to "shop around" to find the parts you're after.

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CET-301 CET-302 C-24 CET-322

The fourth is Phoenix.  In 1995, John McDonald introduced his own line of tape dispensers called the Phoenix.

E1 - The E-1 dispenses 6" to 45" in 3" increments and offers triple brush moistening and a preset top heater.
E2 - Same features as the E1 and includes the industry's only hands free dispensing with a unique photo eye.
Phoenix M1 - manual pull-handle dispenser
Phoenix M2 - Manual machine with heater.

The covers are designed to act like storage areas.  I found in most applications when used as storage the operator upon opening the covers dumped the items into the machine.  A great idea but not necessarily practicable.   

The M-1 and M-2 are the manual versions for Phoenix.  The M-1 has double moistening brushes and same bottle, shears, tape plates, tank and covers as the E-1.  The M-2 incorporates a top heater and triple brush moistening.

National Package Sealing.  For years the Nashua tape machines enjoyed a decent market share because they were given away with the Nashua Tapes.  By a skid of tape, get a tape dispenser.  All models have been discontinued. 

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98TM No 52 Taper Taper II
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