I bet wherever you’re reading this blog article, at this very moment, you’re within an arm’s length of pressure sensitive adhesive tape (or PSA tape) in some form.
That’s how prevalent its use is in our modern world. And for good reason! PSA tape has helped change how we spend our days and has improved (and saved!) lives. It’s so important that we previously dedicated a 3-part series to pressure sensitive adhesive tape.
In this blog article, let’s touch on some of the many ways adhesive tape is used (we included 10) and how often you likely use it without even knowing.
How Important is Adhesive Tape? Try Living Without These
- Skyscrapers — The windows installed throughout 1,000-foot-tall buildings are held on by pressure sensitive adhesive tape. It’s not an everyday adhesive product, but it is a powerful PSA.
- Electronic Devices — We wouldn't be enjoying the convenience of smartphones in their current format without clear pressure sensitive tape, which holds the thin screens of the smartphone on. In fact, most modern electronic devices (and everything with a touchscreen) use thin bonding solutions to reduce their footprint and reduce the overall weight by removing mechanical fasteners.
- Mass Transit — Airplanes, busses, trains, and more use PSA tape in different ways. You don’t see any screw holes or bolt holes in a car’s inside paneling because those are held on by pressure sensitive adhesives. The clean look of modern dashboards and touchscreens is possible because of PSAs.
- Shipping Labels — Amazon alone ships approximately 1.6 million packages each day. That’s a lot of valuable products that can only be delivered when the label functions properly.
- Scar Reduction — In the medical field, stitches and staples are being replaced by adhesive tapes that put tension onto the wound dressing to hold it closed as it heals. This minimizes the resulting scar.
- Wound Care — Instead of using gauze or other rolls of cloth material, pressure sensitive tapes create a hemostatic seal over the wound that keeps out foreign bodies and prevents infection. The use of PSAs reduce how much material is used and increase the wound care’s effectiveness.
- Surgical Applications — When a patient needs a catheter or IV put in, it’s held firm by a pressure sensitive adhesive.
- Diagnostic Tests — Many handheld diagnostic tests using microfluidics and other very small components are held together by various pressure sensitive adhesives.
- Mobile Monitoring Devices — Medical devices that are applied onto the human body and monitor in real-time — glucose monitors, heartbeat monitors, lung capacity monitors (especially useful during the pandemic) — provide mobility to active patients, letting them go about their normal lives … and they all rely on PSAs.
- Transdermal Patches — Drugs can be delivered to a patient gradually, at a specific rate, throughout a day or week using transdermal patches with PSAs, ensuring a constant supply of the drug. What about mixing the active chemical with an adhesive? Chemists design some patches to have those two mix and be safely distributed together. For chemicals that shouldn't be mixed, wells in the patch itself contain the chemical, or a mesh is infused with the chemical in the patch.
With 6 of our 10 examples coming from the medical field, you can say that modern medicine is held together with tape! That heavy use of PSAs is also common in electronics, automotive, packaging, construction, appliances, printing, and nearly every other industry you can name.
Flexible Material Converters are the PSA Experts
Although pressure sensitive tape is used throughout every business type, it’s the world’s flexible materials converters that lead the way in PSA innovations.
From thousands of precision die cut adhesive applications to low-profile 3M™ VHB™ and acrylic foam tapes, converters understand bonding solutions like few others do. As modern materials continue to replace mechanical fasteners and welds, it’s the converters that are seeing and evaluating projects from top to bottom, considering function, material, design, and budget to create cutting-edge solutions.
Generally speaking, the more experience a converter has, the more in-house experts they’ll employ who can design the exact right adhesive solution. Plus, they have the equipment to test different features: how it will behave, peel testing, overall strength testing, etc.
How else do full-service adhesive tape converters make a difference? They ...
- take time to understand the challenges a customer faces with their product or assembly
- can quickly produce a sample/prototype
- test different materials and designs
- meet strict deadlines
- ensure that a designed solution drives a positive business outcome for the customer
We just mentioned a sample/prototype. Expertise here can quickly elevate a converter’s value. The right sampling department creates multiple samples to test in real-world applications, which ultimately provides the best feedback for what is trying to be accomplished. Real-world field testing proves out a concept, or at least focuses future efforts to maximize the next sample.
When a converter has engineers in-house, complete products can be invented that use adhesive tape. During the pandemic, Strouse took the initiative to design and sell face shields that were 100% automated. That is, they were completely assembled on existing equipment; raw materials entered the machine and PSAs were added to create face shields at a rate of 75 per minute.
Selecting an adhesive converter to work with isn’t easy. Choose poorly, and you’re stuck with low-quality parts, late shipments, project headaches, and wasted dollars. To help build trust in a converter (without having the hindsight of years of partnership), we created a Checklist for Choosing an Adhesive Converter. It helps evaluate performance to ensure you’re getting maximum value. Also, review these 11 questions you should ask a converter.
So, do you think you’re within an arm’s length of PSA tape right now? You likely are unless you live in the middle of nowhere and have no contact with the outside world. In that case, you wouldn’t be reading this blog, would you?
I hope you’re looking at PSA tape differently and considering how to use it in multiple ways. To expand your thinking about converting, review our guide, The Hidden Cost of High Tolerances. This question/answer format features six questions and answers that will help guide your projects. Need immediate help? Call Stouse today (800)-410-8273, or ask an engineer!