Shelf life and storage conditions are often overlooked specs on a datasheet but are critical to an adhesive tape’s performance. Most tape manufacturers have a shelf life listed that is determined by the tape’s composition, backing, and release liner along with aging studies. The good news is as long as the tape is properly stored, it can still be effective past the suggested shelf life. You can say goodbye to unusable tape by following these best practices for storage.
Store in a Cool, Dry Place
Adhesive tape should be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat. Exposure to heat and UV sunlight can affect the chemistry of the adhesive which can lead to the tape hardening, melting, or drying out. Most tape manufacturers will say that optimum storage conditions are 70°F (21°C) and 50% relative humidity. Non-temperature controlled warehouses that experience large swings in temperature should designate the safest storage area for tapes to reduce accelerated aging as much as possible.
Keep Away from Moisture
Moisture can also have a negative effect on a tape’s adhesive properties. Make sure to store adhesive tape in a location that is not prone to moisture, even moisture in the air can cause issues. If this will be an issue for your storage area, consider using a waterproof container or bag to protect the tape from moisture.
Keep in the Original Packaging
It’s a good idea to keep the tape in its original packaging if you don’t intend to use it right away. The packaging can help protect the tape from dust and debris. It also reduces the effects of oxygen on the adhesive as it remains sealed in the packaging.
Use the Oldest Tape First
Storing your tape in a way that designates when it was brought into inventory helps to reduce tapes that have sat on the shelf for an extended time. You can mark the packaging or apply a label with the arrival date for an easy visual direction of what tape to use first.
Follow Any Supplier Storage Recommendations
It’s important to ask and follow any directions on storage from your supplier. Some lighter tapes may warp and become damaged if they are stacked too high on each other. Also, adhere to any “this side up” directions on the box, so the tape is stored in the proper position.
Proper storage is essential for maintaining the effectiveness and usability of adhesive tape. With safe storage, you can ensure that your tape remains effective and easy to use. If you need assistance choosing the best tape for your application and environment, contact us to talk with a tape packaging specialist.