PS Tape Printing Knowledge
PS Tape

Description | Types | Liner/Adhesive Width | Limitations | PS Tape Council


Description

Pressure Sensitive (PS) tape is occasionally applied to various printed products to allow part or all of a document to be attached to another document, folder, carton, package, plastic container, or a variety of objects. Single sheets, multiple part business forms, labels, and mailers are among the printed products onto which pressure sensitive tape is often applied.

Pressure sensitive tapes can be applied to the front or back of printed products. The adhesive side of the tape is applied to the document with the liner facing out. When the customer is ready to use the document, the liner material is removed from the tape to expose the adhesive, allowing the product to be attached to another object.

Consisting of a liner covering a double-sided adhesive, the pressure sensitive tape is wound into large rolls. Some types of printing equipment are able to dispense the tape from the roll so that it can be applied to the printed products as they are being printed. In addition, some collating machines are capable of applying the tape to multiple-part printed products as the various parts are being collated and attached by the equipment.

 
Types

There are several types and sizes of PS tape that are available:

Removable: Applications with removable PS tape can be adhered to objects and then removed without leaving adhesive residue and without damage to the object. Removable PS tape may not adhere properly to some objects. Typical applications include business forms, mailers, and envelopes. Removable tape is suitable for applications that require only short-term adhesion.

Permanent: Applications with permanent adhesive may be removed from objects, but the adhesive is much stronger than removable. Permanent PS tape may leave some adhesive residue behind and cause some damage if the document containing the PS tape is removed from the document or object it has been attached to. Applications that are suitable for permanent tape are business forms, signs, posters, direct mail pieces, and permanent attachment of labels.

Double-Coated: The adhesive on double-coated tape is even stronger than on permanent tape and it is useful where there may be more dust or fibers on objects such as a carton stored in a warehouse. Other applications may include posters, signs, packaging closures, tags, labels, business forms, and poly bag sealing.

Freezer Grade: Freezer grade is a permanent type of transfer tape that is designed to withstand temperatures to -40°F. It is best suited for paper-to-paper or paper-to-carton applications in environments that are continuously below freezing.

Heavy-Duty: Heavy-duty PS tape is a permanent tape that is used for heavy paper and board stock. Some applications include heavy posters, signs, mounting of nameplates, board type envelopes, and promotional display pieces. It works well when adhesion must occur on uneven surfaces.

 
Liner/Adhesive Width

An important point to remember about PS tape is that the actual adhesive area is not as wide as the full width of the tape liner. For example, a 1/2" permanent tape has an adhesive that is 5/16" wide. The width of the adhesive should be considered when planning a project, especially if a specific width is required. The table below lists the actual adhesive width of the most commonly used tapes.

Liner/Adhesive Widths

Liner
Width:
1/2"

Liner
Width:
3/4"

Liner
Width:
1"

Liner
Width:
1-1/2"

Liner
Width:
2"

Liner
Width:
3"

Adhesive Width:
Removable Adhesive

5/16"

9/16"

13/16"

 

 

 

Adhesive Width:
Permanent Adhesive

5/16"

9/16"

13/16"

1-1/4

1-3/4"

2-3/4"

Adhesive Width:
Double-Coated Adhesive

1/4"

1/2"

3/4"

 

 

 

Adhesive Width:
Freezer Grade Adhesive

 

 

3/4"

 

 

 

Adhesive Width:
Heavy-Duty Adhesive

1/4"

1/2"

3/4"

1-1/4"

1-3/4"

 

 
Limitations

There may be some limitations in the way that pressure sensitive tape is applied to printed products. Some examples include:

  • PS tape cannot be applied perpendicular to the direction that the paper travels through a web press or collating machine. It may be possible for the manufacturer to apply the tape in a perpendicular direction with an offline process, but this may substantially increase the price of the product.
  • It may not be possible to apply tape to the backside of a sheet that also has numbering on the front if the tape and numbering are applied in one operation while the document is being printed. The tape or the numbering could be applied offline, but this would increase the cost of the finished piece.
  • Pressure sensitive tape cannot be applied diagonally.

Note: It is important to consult your print supplier for information regarding the limitations that they may have with the application of pressure sensitive tape.

 
PS Tape Council

A valuable resource for additional information on pressure sensitive tape is the Pressure Sensitive Tape Council. This organization was developed to serve tape manufacturers, but there are a number of resources available to non-members including technical articles and links to transfer tape manufacturers. Click the link for more information: Pressure Sensitive Tape Council

 


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