Although there are a million and one uses for duct tape, there are only a few ways to make it. In North America, the most common methods are through lamination or co-extrusion processes – both of which Shurtape®, a leading manufacturer of pressure-sensitive tapes, utilizes in making its comprehensive line of duct tapes. So, what’s the difference and which is best for the job?
Lamination is the most common method for manufacturing duct tape, and involves the continuous combination of film, cloth and adhesive. Laminated duct tapes are flexible and conformable to a variety of surfaces, delivering better performance for uneven or curved surfaces. They are also available in multiple color, printed and metalized options.
A second, less common, method of manufacturing duct tape is through a co-extrusion process. So exclusive a process, Shurtape – with its Polybonded CO-EX Technology® – is one of only two duct tape manufacturers in North America to embrace this innovative technology.
“During the co-extrusion process, polyethylene, cloth and adhesive are melded together in a single, high-temperature step to create a permanent, airtight and waterproof bond,” said Lorie Condon, product manager, Shurtape. “Our Polybonded CO-EX Technology delivers a seamless construction that adds strength and prevents delamination, a stress failure seen in laminated materials that causes tape layers to separate and their bond to weaken when subjected to repeated stress or weather elements.”
Made with cast film, co-extruded duct tapes differ in thickness and look from their laminated counterparts. Laminated duct tapes are thicker due to the film and cloth and appear wavy because of non-uniform cloth lines or interstices. Co-extruded duct tapes have a signature dotted appearance, and despite not being as thick as laminated tapes, offer better strength and consistent film thickness to allow strips to lay flat and evenly.
Additionally, co-extruded duct tapes have a less conformable backing, making them most suitable for even surfaces, and are available in a few select solid color options.
For added versatility, co-extruded duct tapes tear straight and, as there’s no risk of delamination, can be used in both indoor and outdoor applications. Some even feature a UV-resistant barrier that allows them to withstand exposure to direct sunlight. “Shurtape was first to use a UV barrier in duct tape construction,” said Condon. “This provides added durability and improves the tape’s aging characteristics.”
Duct tape may be relied upon for a multitude of jobs, but there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Several factors, including location, surface and duration of use, can affect performance and should be considered when selecting the right tape for the application. Visit Shurtape.com for more information about Shurtape’s laminated and co-extruded duct tape options.