Why Application Tape Tears Unexpectedly

2 Minute Read
Posted by Jim Hingst on 4/20/12 8:00 AM

From time to time application tape will tear when you least expect it. When this happens the graphics can be trashed and frustrated sign makers want to know the cause of these mishaps. There’s no one single answer why this happens as application tape can tear when it is unwound for a variety of reasons. Here are some of the possible causes:

  • Application tapes that are cut on baloney slicers, are prone to damage on the ends of the roll. A nick in the cutting blade usually causes a nick in the paper – a perfect place for a tear to begin.
  • Baloney cutting can also generate so much heat that the glue of the tape melts and smears on the outside end of the rolls. This can bond one layer of tape to another, which can result in tearing.
  • The pressure of the cutting blade slicing through the log of tape can compress the edges of the roll causing one layer of tape to stick to another.
  • Regardless of who handles a roll of application tape, use some tender loving care. If you damage the end of the tape roll through careless use, it can result in unexpected tearing as you unwind the tape.
  • Old tape can block up on the roll making unwinding the mask difficult, if not impossible. So what is blocking? Have you ever discovered an old roll of masking that has been tucked away in a junk drawer for years. The bond of the adhesive grows so strong to the facestock, that the tape is fused to itself. The result is a big block of tape. The maximum shelf life for application tape and premask is 12 months so be sure to rotate your tape inventory. The material first entered into stock should be used first.
  • Always store application tape rolls upright. Laying a roll on its side causes a flat spot, which makes unwinding difficult, occasionally resulting in tearing.

Buying application tape, which has been razor cut at the factory, can eliminate many paper tearing problems. Each layer of tape is slit perfectly, one layer at a time. There are no adhesive balls, no gapping between layers of tape to dry out the adhesive and no nicked edges, which can cause tape tears. Proper storage and handling of the tape can also ensure trouble-free product performance.