Water Activated Tape (WAT) Vs. Pressure Sensitive Tape (PST)

February 06 2017

Written by: David Johnston 


Water Activated Tape (WAT) Vs. Pressure Sensitive Tape (PST)
WAT packaging applications typically are boxes that contain heavy, large or fragile contents or cartons shipping through the courier environment – that need to be secured to ensure product protection and security.
PST has been the leader for years in the carton sealing arena, most likely because of the presumed lower cost per roll. When looking at all costs, WAT has seen a resurrection recently, likely due to the increase in E-Fulfillment (Online Shopping), and operation teams attempting to reduce work related injuries and theft. More benefits of WAT are listed below, just to name a few…

What is WAT? 

WAT is Water Activated Tape, that bonds instantly to both virgin and recycled fiber (corrugated carton, paper, etc). Water activated tape, gummed paper tape or gummed tape is starch (or sometimes animal glue-based adhesive) on a Kraft paper backing which becomes sticky when moistened. WAT is typically sold in 48 mm, 70 mm or 72 mm widths, lengths can vary however, 450, 500 & 600 ft. rolls are most common.

Benefits of WAT Vs. PST

Theft: Traditional PST makes it easy to remove or to gain access to the carton just by pushing down on it. As as result of it’s lack of tamper-evidence, theft in shipping can be a problem.

Cost Efficiency: PST is less expensive when looking at cost per foot; however, many people use several strips of PST tape to seal their cartons.

Climatic Conditions: PST doesn’t perform well in varying environments, including cold and hot temperatures, high humidity and dusty environments.

Printing: Is your image important to you? Printing WAT is much less expensive than printing on cartons. Printed WAT promotes sales with website address, QR codes, etc.

Recycled Cartons: 90% of cartons today contain recycled material. PST can have issues adhering to the carton, causing the packer to apply multiple layers.

Work Related Injury: Carpal Tunnel, or repetitive injuries can be causes by applying PST with a hand-held tape gun, using a BetterPack dispenser, either manual or electric will reduce these workplace injuries.

Rental: 3G Packaging Corp. offers new and used BetterPack dispensers, with rental options – along with a full line of WAT tapes. Ask a territory manager to help ascertain which WAT is best for your application.

Service: 3G Packaging Corp. offers service and preventive maintenance programs on various types of packaging equipment, in addition we have service technicians available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – for your service requirements.

Dispensers – Manual or Electronic: The manual WAT systems are great for applications that do not have hydro power available (work cart, remote packaging areas, pick to carton situations). Electronic WAT dispensers are usually integrated into a packaging, work station. Common terminology include: BP333, BP555eS and BP7555eS.

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Is your company a candidate for WAT?
At 3G Packaging Corp. we offer a free trial – no questions asked! We will review your current methods, make recommendations on the correct WAT and provide a manual or electronic dispenser. During the trial we will review time, security, cost, damage and carton integrity. Some of the current industries 3G Packaging currently assists in these areas are: Automotive, Aerospace, Sporting, Furniture, Electronics, Jewelry, Tools, Publishing, Pharmaceuticals, Metal, Shoes, Marketing Services, E-Vape, Heath & Beauty, Printing, Food, E-Commerce, Pumps-Motors-Valves, Plastic, Toner, Growers/Greenhouse and Manufacturing.

If your industry is not listed above, you may still be a candidate for WAT. Feel free to reach out to us at info@3gpackaging.com or 905-361-4929, we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.