The Star Power of Strapping Tapes
Claudia Ramirez· August 31, 2020
In life as in appliances, the stuff that holds it all together is strapping tape. Ok, this is only partially true. Strapping tape can’t really hold your life together. It would be great if it could, but here’s something it comes in handy for: The shipping and transport of appliances. It’s also extremely useful for protecting certain plastics and metal surfaces during appliance manufacturing, as well as keeping showroom samples safe from the prying hands of adoring crowds.
Strapping tape has actually been around for a while; it’s that supporting actor that does all the hard work. It’s just never had the proper recognition for its contributions. But we’re about to change that right here. Now, you may be asking, “Is strapping tape truly worthy of an entire blog post?” As complete tape nerds, our answer to that is, “You bet it is.” So let’s get down to it.
Why strapping tape is even a thing
Where to begin? Look, if you’re in the appliance business, you know that things can happen once an appliance leaves your plant. It could even be said that a Hollywood blockbuster (horror, of course) could be made out of what can happen during the transport of appliances. A box is dropped, shocked, stressed, rattled, involved in an accident… For that matter, figuring out how it happened and who is responsible could also make for a riveting detective series.
Well, sorry Hollywood. Smart manufacturers make sure none of this is coming soon to a theater near you because they secure new appliances before they even go in the box with – you guessed it – strapping tape.
Let’s take a peek inside a new refrigerator to see just how this looks:
Now that’s not so scary, is it?
The fact is, there are so many variables involved during shipping and transport, that even the most reputable companies can’t control every single factor. There are simply going to be “bumps in the road.” Strapping tape, which typically comes in blue for appliance applications, holds drawers, bins, shelves, and other adjustable appliance parts in place, protecting them from coming loose, breaking or causing damage.
Once the appliance has made it to its destination all in one piece, it’s wheeled out to the showroom floor to be viewed by prospective buyers. The strapping tape’s blue color is easily detectable for dealers and consumers for quick removal. Ahh, everyone loves a happy ending. But we’re hardly done yet! We’re about to go behind the scenes – keep reading.
What is strapping tape made of?
Put simply, it’s all in its genetic makeup. Most strapping tapes are a medium-duty, tensilised sort of tape with rubber adhesive and a polypropylene backing. This makes them strong enough to hold the important parts in place, but not so strong that they’re too tough to remove. And, once they’re removed, they leave no discoloration or residue. This makes strapping tape perfect for its role in appliance transport, but also for protecting different parts of appliances during assembly and installation. For example, strapping tape can be applied to critical glass, plastic, or painted metal parts to protect against scratches, damage and dirt. Yep, these strapping tapes are hard, versatile workers.
Exactly how strong is strapping tape?
Stronger than expected. Let us explain. We recently overheard an appliance manufacturer asking whether filament tapes are a proper solution, strength wise, for securing appliances like refrigerators, freezers, or washing machines for transport. Being the tape nerds that we are, we immediately went to the lab to conduct a comparison test, using strapping tape against filament tape.
For this test, the strength of strapping tape and that of an average filament tape were compared in a tensile-strength testing machine. Now, one might think that the glass fibers of a filament tape are stronger in this particular application than the tape with polypropylene backing.
But take a look at the following video to see the surprising results:
One special characteristic of strapping tapes, which are also known as TPP (tensilized polypropylene) or MOPP (monoaxially oriented polypropylene) tapes, is their strength in the machine direction. This ensures that movable and loose parts stay in place during transport, warehousing, and installation, while avoiding damages from shocks and mechanical stress. Especially when boxed appliances are accidentally dropped, the strapping tapes are designed to withstand the heavy impact and to absorb the shock. And, the risk of leaving residue behind after removal is much lower than with filament tapes. Pretty incredible, right?
Before you go …
we wanted to leave you with a two more features we consider pretty cool (but as tape nerds we are fascinated by all words with more than 3 syllables)
High tensile strength and low elongation
Compared to Bi-axially Oriented Polypropylene (BOPP) and Polyester (PET) film, MOPP tapes feature significantly higher tensile strength and lower elongation in machine direction, which is essential for securing all movable (or potentially movable) parts during transport. High tensile strength and low elongation prevent the tapes from stretching and losing their strength. Without the nasty stretching, everything is held in place securely and cannot slip, preventing annoying and costly damage.
The special treatment of the backing and the dedicated design of the adhesive TPP system make for one clean removal from a variety of different surfaces without leaving any residues.
We hope you enjoyed this post. While we continue working to turn the entire global population into fellow tape nerds, feel free to get in touch with us and request a sample roll of our own strapping tapes, tesa® 53000, tesa® 53300 and tesa® 53200