Did you know your tape has an expiration date?
While tape shelf life can last up to 5 years, most adhesive tapes last 1-2 years.
Every material has a different adhesive shelf life, and its importance varies depending on the project. At Strouse, we keep dutiful track of adhesive shelf life and periodically re-evaluate our own stock.
Your first step is clearly understanding how shelf life can affect your project. Your next step is knowing how to plan a purchase order around the risk of expired materials. In this article, we'll walk through both and enable you to proceed with your project.
IS ADHESIVE SHELF LIFE IMPORTANT?
Before you go any further into adhesive shelf life, ask yourself how much it matters to your project. The truth is, depending on your product’s purpose, the difference between older and newer materials is often negligible to a certain point.
In certain industries like aerospace, electronics, or medical, the adhesive shelf life can be a greater concern due to liability concerns.
However, many clients are fine using older rolls of tape as long as they stick, and with older adhesives, your converter can test to determine whether the material is still usable.
See if we keep your material in-house or if we can help you figure out your adhesive options:
FACTORS THAT AFFECT ADHESIVE SHELF LIFE
The environment in which a tape roll is stored will often determine its usability and adhesive shelf life.
For example, a sealed, fully-packaged roll left on the shelf for a whole year might still be in better condition than an unsealed roll left sitting out for a month.
Different facilities have different standards for storing adhesive, so you’ll want to ensure your adhesive is preserved in a temperature-controlled, humidity-controlled environment.
In addition, we generally warrant our parts for 12 months if the material is still within its manufacturing shelf life guarantee.
Avoiding Mistakes with Adhesive Shelf Life
The more information you tell your converter, the more you can avoid making simple mistakes with adhesive shelf life. You may not realize it, but many shelf life mistakes occur during the purchasing process.
PLACING AN ORDER WITH AN ADHESIVE CONVERTER
When you place an order with your adhesive converter, you should know that we get our material lead times from our manufacturers. We generally don’t keep materials in-house that aren’t spoken for. Therefore, we need to order your material after we get a purchase order.
Long material lead times are typically due to the manufacturer’s production schedule. Manufacturers are generally not operating on a made-to-order schedule. They produce it a certain amount of times a year and keep that inventory on hand.
Let’s say a company produces a roll of tape on January 1st. They are going to make enough to last them for several months. If you place your product order on March 1st, your product is already a few months old.
If you’re on the hunt for a strict adhesive shelf life, the best thing you can do is to be upfront about needing newer adhesive material for your project. However, this means you might have to wait for the manufacturer’s next production run. Although we can’t always help you overcome lead times, there are still preparations we can make as your converter to help the whole process run more smoothly.
THE PERILS OF BUYING IN BULK
It might become tempting to buy material in bulk to lower your cost-per-roll. However, this idea doesn’t always work if you don’t consider shelf life.
Even if you stock up on tons of material to save money, who’s to say it’ll still be good in a year or two? Adhesive shelf life might make it more challenging to buy material in bulk.
Once again, the average shelf life is 1-2 years depending on how well you store the adhesive tape.
When you buy in bulk, you are guaranteeing one of three scenarios:
- You know you will use the material before the shelf life expires
- You know the material will expire, but you plan to use it anyways. As long as it sticks, your product won’t be affected by older material
- You know the material will expire before we finish making parts, and you have accepted a loss in advance. If the MOQ price difference is significant, you could save more by accepting a future loss of expired material and buying it in bulk (assuming the shelf life matters to your product)
Suppose you’re determined to buy in bulk. In that case, you can discuss with your converter whether you’re willing to use older material or accept the loss of material at an overall financial gain.
Now that you’ve considered your shelf life, are you ready to talk to an adhesive manufacturer? Once you’ve gone through the steps, you’ll know if it’s time for you to request a quote.