The Secret Life of Tape All Around Us
Have you heard the unsettling myth that throughout our lives we’re just a few feet away from a spider? Well, that’s actually pretty accurate when it comes to tape.
To illustrate this point, let’s look at how a lot of us start our day. We may wake up to an alarm on our phone. That ever-present device in our lives is made using various film layers of tape. The tapes bond the phone components together, but they also do a lot more:
- They create protective barriers from things damaging the device.
- They shield harsh light.
- They help brighten and enhance the color presentation.
- They help regulate internal temperatures so the phone doesn’t overheat.
- They even help maximize battery efficiency.
All of that is going on in our pockets and in our cup holders all the time, and that’s just our phones. If we prefer an actual alarm clock instead of our phone, well those electronics use tape too.
When we roll out of bed, we’re also probably rolling out of something made using tape. This is especially true if we’re sleeping on a foam mattress or have a wooden bed frame. Then, we step onto our carpets or laminate flooring held in place with tape. The walls that surround us most likely depended on masking tapes when they were painted. Inside those walls, layers of insulation do their job thanks to tape. Our window’s weatherstripping stays in place due to, yep, you guessed it: tape.
In this scenario, it seems as if we’re just constantly surrounded by all things taped, and we haven’t even stepped a foot outside the bedroom yet. Before we get the morning coffee going (an appliance also made with tape), we unknowingly depend on tape in dozens of ways.
How to Innovate Your Products with Tape
Ever wonder how phones, computers, TVs, and appliances keep getting more efficient, smaller, thinner, lighter, quieter, and sleeker? The answer is tape. As we start seeing curved and bendable touchscreen devices hit the market, tape offers the only bond with that level of flexibility.
Considering how microscopically thin and how feather-light tape is, it allows products to become thinner, lighter, and cleaner. No longer do products require enough room to add mechanical fasteners, glue, or spot welds. No longer do these same products have to carry all the extra weight either. Using tape, they hold permanently without having to be damaged with screws or weld marks.
Tape’s light weight allows vehicles from subcompact cars to commercial jets to become more fuel efficient. Their bonding abilities also hold battery packs in place in electric vehicles that don’t even run on fossil fuels.
But thin, light, and sticky qualities still just tell part of the story of the overall benefits tape brings to product innovation.
What Else Tape Can Do Besides Sticking to Things
Shield Heat & Electromagnetic Interference
While heat shields are used in several industries, let’s look at the automobile for an easy example. Vehicles today are made up of hundreds of computers. Dozens of them are housed right next to combustion engines. To keep that intense, explosive heat from melting everything around it, manufacturers use heat-shielding tape.
Also, those hundreds of computers packed into such a small space create a lot of electromagnetic interference (EMI). Such interference would compromise basically all of those computers from performing their function. How auto makers avoid this catastrophe is by using tape that works as EMI shields to protect each computer from the rest. EMI shields have also proved essential to the US air force, who use them to protect against other countries interfering with equipment.
Speaking of privacy, soon airplane seatback screens will feature something interesting. Right now, it’s possible to watch shows geared toward mature audiences. However, what happens when a child is seated right next to you? Using tape, it’s possible to create privacy screens that only make them visible to you looking directly at it. From a side angle, the screen appears shut off. These privacy shields can also allow us to work on proprietary material in public spaces without worrying about our neighbors’ wandering eyes.
Protect Products from Environmental Factors
Tapes offer a complete seal that works as a barrier from humidity, moisture, UV, oxidation, chemicals, and so on. With the leaps made in foam core tape options, they can also expand and contract with varying temperature cycles. This gives our products much more added protection regardless of temperature changes.
Conduct Heat & Electricity
The variety of tape technologies out there is truly astounding. Just as you can use tape to shield heat and electricity, you can also find tapes capable of conducting them as well.
Flexible circuit boards can use tape to connect a charge from one place to another. Also, a touchscreen’s ability to communicate between your finger and an app is possible through tape’s conductive traits.
Tapes are commonly relied upon for their heat regulating capabilities. They can insulate structures and products, as well as transfer heat to make cooling circuit boards and LED components more efficient. Tape is almost single-handedly responsible for why our laptop fans run so quietly now. There are even computers that require no fans at all because of how efficient tape is at transferring heat away.
Damp Noises & Vibrations
For computers that do still have fans, tapes can damp those noises to make the fans far less noisy. But these sound damping traits also come into play when we travel. They allow us to hold conversations easier in newer vehicles thanks to their ability to cut out wind noise and other rattling parts.
These damping capabilities go by different names in different industries. Some markets refer to them as Buzz, Squeak, Rattle (BSR). While others know them as Noise, Vibration, Harshness (NVH).
Absorb Shock & Impact
Tapes, more than any other fastening method, absorb impacts amazingly. Glues, spot welds, and screws create single points of stress that can snap, crack, shatter, and break. However, tapes spread the stress of impact across the entire area of its bond. This makes the product much more durable.
Improve Working Conditions
Saving the best for last, tape also enables safer working environments for your teams. Tape requires minimal assembly, free of hazardous tools or extra chemical processes. Since it’s easier to work with, your production team’s day-to-day stresses will lower.
Plus, ultimately, your production rates will become way more efficient considering how easy tape is to work with. This adds an even stronger sense of fulfillment and accomplishment at the end of each day.
Want to try out the innovative potential of tape for yourself? Ask our experts today how tape can improve your business.