Adhesive Converting Blog

3M Automotive Masking Tape Boosts Paint Department Production

Posted by Sue Chambers Aug 29, 2016 9:46:53 PM

Industrial manufacturers are faced with challenges each and every day. If paint processes are one of your biggest bottlenecks, you aren’t alone. Whether you’re an automotive, military, aerospace, industrial, electronics or any other manufacturer, you know that paint departments can often be one of the most scrutinized departments in your entire assembly process. Quality teams, consumers and end users expect the highest quality product and anything less can cause headaches for manufacturers. The reality is, the paint process can be complex and there are many things that can delay the paint process or create re-work.

Paint departments are often asked to paint challenging areas or protect complex surfaces and components from overspray to create a unique finished surface. Masking these critical surfaces can become a bottleneck. Some manufacturers use 3M automotive masking tape with back-tape techniques, multi-step or multi-tape processes but each of these can be time consuming, costly, and produce inconsistent results. By properly using 3M automotive masking tape, Strouse was able to help Letterkenny Army Depot more than double their production process.

How to Use 3M Automotive Masking Tape to Increase Productivity

Die Cuts
Die cut masking tape components simplify the masking process for paint departments. Die cuts can be custom designed to any size, shape, or format that aligns with any organization’s masking process. Die cut masking tapes can be supplied as parts on a roll of liner, parts on a sheet liner, or stacks of individual pieces. These formats allow production staff to grab the part they need, quickly and accurately place the masking tape die cut and move onto the next component that needs to be masked. This becomes a one step process that eliminates the need for back-taping or using multiple strips of tape to cover a large surface area.

Die cut masking tape components save a great deal of time for paint departments, but some converters don’t take the time to understand their customer’s process and how die cuts should be designed. This knowledge is critical to product development engineers so that they can build tabs or even extended liners into the component so that production staff can easily apply the die cut parts to their product.

Split-back liners
If die cut masking tape components on a roll don’t make sense for your assembly process, it’s likely that stacks of individual pieces are a better fit. In these instances, the liner backing that protects the adhesive can be split into liners so that production staff can peel half the liner, place the masking tape part, and remove the other piece of liner as the tape covers the entire surface area. 

Slit Rolls
Masking tapes can also be converted into custom width slit rolls. For fine line masking, trim, and other detailed applications, having masking tape in the widths you need is critical. Instead of trying to make the best of a bad situation by using a standard width of masking tape, save money on materials and order the length and width tape you need to boost production of your process. 


Paint department production rates can cause bottlenecks and it’s often seen as an area for improvement by production managers. These are best practices that should be used by manufacturers when working with 3M automotive masking tape that can have a positive impact on your bottom line.

Strouse is a 3M Preferred Converter and 3M Master Masking Converter. Our experience and leadership in the industry has helped automotive, military, industrial, electronics, and medical manufacturers to improve their production and assembly processes that creates real impact on the bottom line.


Sue Chambers

Written by Sue Chambers

President and CEO of Strouse