INSITE 101: Glue vs. Tape Sealers

Published May 26, 2019

Selecting the right equipment for sealing your cases and cartons is a crucial choice for every packaging automation company. By ensuring that your products are properly sealed, other parts of your manufacturing process are set up for increased success down the line. In addition to protecting your goods, proper sealing aids in the smooth transportation of products during production and distribution and helps maintain overall product quality until those products finally land in the hands of consumers.

The two most popular types of adhesives for forming and sealing cases are tape and glue. Seal type closure can vary between the bottom seal (created by a case erector) and top seal (created by a case sealer). You may find that your best configuration is glue on the bottom and tape on top. But how do you actually choose between the two options? We’ve got answers. Today, we’re walking through the differences between these two options in terms of cost, maintenance, applications, and safety, so that you can be better prepared to select the correct type of case sealer for your production needs.

Differences Between Glue and Tape Sealers

Although both types of case sealing equipment perform the all-important task of keeping a case closed, they differ in the materials used in the sealing process and in the methods used to apply those materials. Hot-melt glue sealers use a small applicator to deposit a meltable, heat-triggered synthetic resin onto cartons. Some automatic case sealers, such as INSITE’s, take advantage of automated systems to simplify the process even further.

In contrast to glue sealers, tape sealers use a formulated combination of pressure-triggered plastic or fiber, with a polymer as the general adhesive component. Additionally, adhesives and sealants differ in that typically, sealants have lower strength than adhesives.

When considering a case new sealer, you should understand the pros and cons of both options in order to determine which sealer will best meet the specific needs of your company.

Glue Sealers

INSITE’s automatic case sealers are unique in the number of features and functionality offered at an affordable price point. Other manufacturers who utilize glue sealers to fit their manufacturing needs may offer specifications such as major flap containment, HMI controls, spring-loaded side belts, and full-length guard doors, but the cost of their machines—which perform the same function as ours—will be quite different from INSITE’s.

Here are some of the benefits of using hot-melt glue and glue sealers:

  • While tape sealing equipment is usually more affordable than hot melt glue options, hot melt glue is actually a less costly consumable—packaging tape costs 3-4x more per carton sealed!/p>
  • Glue sealant provides more solid structural strength, which is crucial when packaging heavy cartons.
  • Glue bonds are designed differently than those used in tape and tape sealers, which guarantees better hold-up over time.
  • Appealing and easily handleable, hot-melt glue offers a more professional-looking seal with no folds that can be opened without scissors.
  • Glue sealing requires a compression step that bonds the Major flap to the Minor flap (with glue in between). Product backup, which is support from the product inside the case, is required for compression. Some products like bags, for example, do not provide adequate compression. Compression is simply applying pressure to the major flaps (top or bottom of case) compressing the glue to the Minor Flaps.

Tape Sealers

While case sealers using glue have their advantages, tape sealers offer yet another set of benefits. That’s why INSITE offers both options, to better fit your production needs. Depending on the products your company produces and the layout of your production line, tape sealers may be a better option for your business.

Here are a few benefits of using tape and tape sealers:

  • Tape sealers generally require a lower startup cost.
  • Taping cartons is a better option for slower, less frequent case erecting.
  • Tape and tape sealers adapt more easily to a variety of carton shapes and sizes.
  • Generally safer to operate due to their simplicity, tape and tape sealers minimize injuries and danger to operators. In contrast, hot melt systems process the adhesive at high temperatures and can burn operators if improperly handled.
  • Tape heads are the main components that require upkeep in tape machines, and they are relatively simple and easy for technicians to maintain.

Determining the Best Sealer for Your Business

The best first step in determining the ideal type of sealer for your company is to dig into your existing production and distribution processes. Once you’ve examined all strengths, weaknesses, and potential growth opportunities, consult any equipment experts who are intimately involved with your production process. From foremen and operators to line workers, every single individual who interacts with your sealing process may have valuable insight to bring to your decision-making process.

One of the biggest factors in using glue over tape is the versatility of glue. Hot melt is the adhesive of choice if you require a more custom seal, such as RSCs with gap flaps, trays, and others. Another issue to consider is the environment in which you are packaging. If you’re packing in a cold environment, hot melt may cool down too fast to be of use. And a dusty environment may not be the best place to use tape.

Depending on your operation—maybe you work with a smaller amount of volume, constantly changing box sizes, or have a more specific distribution process—tape sealers might be the best option for your company. But if you have a consistently high output and require a highly durable, reliable seal, a glue sealer may be the better choice.

Seal the Deal with INSITE

A sealed case is only part of the story. How you get to a sealed case is just as important. INSITE’s thoughtfully designed case sealers ensure your cases are fully and dependably sealed, run reliably without jamming or breaking down, maximize efficiency, and keep operators safe.

Features of our case sealers include:

  • Major flap control comes standard with our reasonably priced case sealers to control flaps.
  • Our case sealers are “smart” and maintain high expectations for intuitive system control at the tip of your finger.
  • Full-length guard doors with safety switches provide excellent operator safety while allowing for full access when the machine is stopped.
  • Our case sealer tape heads tilt easily for superior access or removal. You can replace the existing roll or perform a quick swap of the entire tape head.
  • INSITE’s case sealer uses spring-loaded side belts to get just the right amount of grip to ensure cases are not damaged or crushed. This side belt configuration also allows for a range of case width variances throughout a given production run.
  • If your operation needs a stand-alone case sealer to be in different places at different times, that’s no problem. INSITE’s case sealers have a caster option that allows easy relocation to different lines as plant demand or design changes. And if those changes require a different sealer orientation, that’s no problem, either—our sealers easily convert between left-hand and right-hand operation.

Our strong history in automated packaging equipment, unparalleled customer service, and proven success have quickly gained the attention of the CPG and production worlds, and we’re looking forward to using our expertise to strengthen your operations. To learn more about INSITE’s case sealers using glue and tape, check out our resources page. Whether you need additional information, advice, product support or just want someone to bounce packaging ideas around with, we’re here for you. Drop us a line on our contact page.

Share Post