Industrial Tapes News

PVC vs polypropylene tape: Which is best for packaging and loading?

(BPT) – Which tape is best for heavy-duty packaging needs, PVC or polypropylene? In a nutshell, the standard carton sealer known as polypropylene tape is the inexpensive go-to for lighter packages. PVC tape is optimal for heavier, bulkier shipments. Yet both tapes come in various grades and strengths. To build your start-to-finish solution for your entire packaging line, familiarize yourself with the differences with this simple guide.

Polypropylene tapes for packaging

Polypropylene tape, sometimes called poly tape, provides a wide range of options for multiple packaging applications. Similar to PVC tape, its carrier material resists solvents, moisture and abrasion — protecting the adhesive from wear, friction and environmental exposures. Available in various strengths and grades, there’s a tape that meets every need.

Polypropylene carton sealing tape (or box sealing tape)

Standard poly tape is an inexpensive material for closing and sealing low- to medium-weight shipping cartons. Its widespread use and ubiquitous presence in industrial, commercial and personal applications speaks to its many benefits.

Advantages of box-sealing tape

  • Best overall value: In addition to its attractive price point, polypropylene box sealing tape is also lightweight and low-density. It’s an efficient choice for shipping loads of product.
  • Labor saving: Optimal for high-volume runs, poly tape is applicable in most automated packaging machines.
  • Low profile: Box sealing tape is thinner than higher grade filament and PVC tapes.
  • Branding and design: Polypropylene is the best material for custom printed tapes featuring graphics, logos or patterns. As a printing medium, it yields clean, crisp detail in nearly any color. Poly tape also has a glossy finish, lower price point and consistently good results in high-volume runs.

Disadvantages of box-sealing tape

  • Temperature sensitivity: In colder environments, poly box sealing tape loses its ability to adhere, and it loses flexibility.
  • Shelf life: For long-term storage, poly carton tape doesn’t maintain its performance over time.
  • Noisy: When dispersed from the roll, poly box sealing tape is loud — unless you opt for specially formulated low-noise tapes.

Industrial-strength polypropylene tape: Filament tape and strapping tape

For more demanding packaging tasks, polypropylene tapes also come in high-grade, high-tensile strengths that won’t snap under the stress of heavy containers and shifting loads.

  • Filament tape is constructed of a polypropylene film backing that’s reinforced with glass yarn filaments. These supports prevent elongating, which makes filament tape optimal for bundling. Filament is also widely used for packing cartons with heavy loads.
  • Strapping tape has a tensilized polypropylene backing that doesn’t snap under the pressure of load shifting during transport and loading. These industrial tapes are often used for securing and unitizing loads.

Industrial poly tapes resist tears, scuffs and breaks, and they’re considered an economic alternative to other industrial tapes. The tensile strengths of strapping and filament tapes range from 100-600 pounds per inch of width.

Calculate yield strength and tensile strength

PVC tapes for packaging: The pros and cons

PVC tape has a carrier made from polyvinyl chloride film, which provides its strength, flexibility and resistance to moisture, abrasion and wear. It’s more expensive than standard poly tape, but it brings a high-grade premium quality for unique and demanding packaging needs.

Advantages of PVC packaging tape

  • Stronger: The PVC film in the carrier of this industrial tape has less stretch. Upgrading to PVC is an excellent choice for keeping heavy and bulky cartons sealed, because it resists breaks or punctures under stress. 
  • Flexibility: PVC tape conforms with precision to irregularly shaped surfaces. For curved and angled packaging, PVC tape adheres and holds while maintaining that eye-pleasing smooth appearance. Poly tape tends to wrinkle.
  • Environmental resistance: The tape’s components — the rubber adhesive and PVC film — both perform well in extremely cold and humid conditions, up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Long lasting: For long-term storage, PVC tape maintains its performance over a longer time period than poly tape.
  • Quieter: A bonus of working with PVC tape is it lends itself to a quieter work environment, because it disperses a much lower decibel level than poly tape.

Disadvantages of PVC packaging tape

  1. Less graphic friendly: PVC tape is available in multiple colors and can be printed. However, with its flat finish, the print quality on PVC tape won’t feature those clean detailed graphics you’ll achieve with poly tape. 
  2. Manual application: PVC tape can be applied by machine, but not in all instances.
  3. Less tensile strength: Because PVC tape lacks the reinforcements of filament and strapping tape, it can elongate under high-stress applications, and therefore has less tensile strength.

Converting PVC and polypropylene tapes

Need customized packaging tape rolls? Evans EVCO has the complete solution. Our analysis will identify the best packaging tape for the job. We’re also trusted suppliers of custom fabricated rolls of packaging tapes at the length and width required for your handheld or automated case sealers.

Schedule a consultation with your helpful Evans EVCO representative today to see how our converting capabilities and materials expertise can add value to your business.

Contact Us for a Quote Today