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Reducing Tape Consumption with Water-Activated Tape and Tape It Right

Case Study: Pet Product Wholesaler


A Crawford Packaging Specialist recently worked with a pet product wholesaler located in Brampton, Ontario who was experiencing issues with their packaging tape solution. The Wholesaler was using a 3” packaging tape that required multiple applications per carton. The Wholesaler was concerned with the amount of tape they were using because it conflicted with their goal of reducing their packaging costs.

The Packaging Specialist visited the Wholesaler’s facility to conduct a free packaging consultation and Tape It Right audit. The consultation process reviewed the Wholesaler’s packaging materials and process to identify areas of improvement. Following the review, the Packaging Specialist provided two new packaging tape solutions to trial. Following the trial, the Wholesaler switched to water-activated tape for increased strength and security.

various dog toys on shelf inside pet store


A Wholesaler of pet products was concerned they were using too much packaging tape to seal their cartons. Each carton that was packed used two lengths of tape on both the top and bottom, for four lengths total. The extra lengths of tape were necessary to create a strong hold on their high recycled content cartons. The additional lengths of tape increased the time it took to seal one carton. The application process required five employees in the carton sealing area to keep up with production levels


Cartons containing a high percentage of recycled material often have difficulty bonding with standard tapes.


Crawford’s Packaging Specialist visited the Wholesaler’s facility to conduct a packaging consultation and Tape It Right audit. During the audit, the Packaging Specialist noted the tape was not maintaining its hold. The Specialist believed that the adhesive on the tape was unable to maintain a strong bond with the high recycled content cartons.

Recycled Content in Boxes:

The volume of recycled content in corrugated packaging has a direct effect on tapes ability to bond to a carton. Carton fibres for fresh, newly developed cardboard are longer and bond to adhesives quickly. Recycled content fibres are much shorter due to the recycling process. This limits the ability of the tape to create an effective bond.

Following the consultation, the Packaging Specialist recommended two new packaging tape solutions for the Wholesaler to trial. The first solution tested was to use a hot melt tape that uses a stronger adhesive agent and allows the Wholesaler to continue using their hand taping equipment. The stronger hot melt tape was able to create a better bond with the recycled content. The Wholesaler noted that they desired an even stronger bond than was offered by the new tape solution.

The second solution was to use a different type of tape from traditional carton sealing tape. Water-activated tape uses a water activated starch-based adhesive to create a deep, penetrating bond. Used with a dispenser, WAT tape offers users an efficient and reliable solution to sealing cartons with high recycled content.

The Packaging Specialist provided the Wholesaler with a Better Pack 555e Electronic WAT Dispenser to trial. During the trial, the Packaging Specialist trained the Wholesaler’s employees on the new packaging equipment to ensure a successful trial.


Crawford’s Tape It Right Program

Tape It Right works with clients to audit and review their existing case sealing practices and equipment. This will improve sealing efficiency and productivity through the identification and standardization of improved case sealing practices. Through this standardization, Tape It Right has helped businesses save up to 30% on their annual carton sealing costs.

Water-Activated Tape

Water-activated tape, otherwise known as gummed tape, generates an immediate, strong bond resulting in a superior seal on corrugated cartons. Comprised of a strong adhesive backed by layers of kraft paper, WAT quickly develops a strong, penetrating seal when applied. This seal penetrates the carton material to allow the WAT tape to bond with the fibres. This strong seal is often referred to as a destructive seal. When the tape is removed, the bond is so strong it will remove carton material.

diagram of the anatomy of water-activated tape


Following the trial, the Wholesaler switched to the water-activated tape solution. This knowledge-based, and impactful solution has helped to greatly reduce packaging costs. The improved tape strength has reduced waste and labour. The increased seal strength has helped the Wholesaler to increase productivity and improve product security.

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Reduced Waste

The strong adhesive strength of WAT tape allows the Wholesaler’s packers to reduce the number of tape lengths per box. Packers now apply only a single length of tape per side, effectively cutting their tape consumption and waste in half.

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Increased Productivity

The reduction in tape used per carton has helped the Wholesaler increase carton sealing productivity. With a reduction in tape lengths required to seal each carton, they reduced the time it takes to seal each carton. The water-activated tape dispensers further reduce sealing time as a new piece of tape is readied and dispensed when the operator requires it.

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Reduced Labour

With the increased packaging speed achievable with the Better Pack WAT dispenser, the Wholesaler has been able to greatly reduce their labour costs. Originally to maintain production levels five employees worked in their carton sealing area. With the increase in packaging productivity, they have reduced their employees in the case sealing area to two. This has allowed them to reallocate 3 employees per shift to areas where they are needed most.

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Increased Product Protection

The strong, destructive seal created by water-activated tape creates a permanent bond and reduces the risk of cartons being opened in transit. If a carton is opened, it will leave a permanent and clear sign of tampering.

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Reduced Packaging Costs

Water-activated tape offers a variety of options that allow for tape customization. During the initial testing and consultation process, the Packaging Specialist noted that the Wholesaler was using custom printed corrugated boxes. WAT tape offers the ability to create a printed tape backing that for increased branding. The Wholesaler has since replaced their printed corrugated boxes with plain boxes and use printed tape for branding. This has proven to be extremely cost-effective for the Wholesaler, saving thousands on their corrugated packaging.

Crawford Packaging is a full-service packaging company located in London, Brampton and Waterloo, Ontario. From packaging to packaging equipment, installation and upgrades, and in-person equipment training and repair, we're focused on your business success every step of the way.