What do boats, cars, planes, construction equipment, heavy machinery and outdoor structures have in common? All have been treated with industrial coatings to make them attractive and protect them from the corrosion, wear and tear that would otherwise occur after prolonged usage, exposure to the elements or submersion under water.
Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) rely on protective polymers to maintain the appearance, functionality and durability of their products, but of equal importance are the many types of tape that are used to mask, bind, attach, protect and label along on the road from fabrication to finishing.
Here’s a look at the different types of tapes used in the industrial coatings market and how they’re used.
Performance Masking Tapes
Smooth, conformable performance masking tapes are engineered to adhere to multiple industrial surfaces, including metal, rubber, plastic and fiberglass. They’re built to withstand abuses like extended UV exposure and high-temperature bake cycles, and they can resist water as well as various solvents and gel coats. If you’re looking to achieve clean lines and professional results in challenging environments like marine, automotive, transportation or any number of applications where industrial coatings are applied, performance masking tapes are a good place to start.
Contrary to its name and history, duct tape isn’t just for HVAC professionals. In the industrial coatings setting, duct tape is great for quick fixes and repairs around the job site or for attaching poly sheeting to rough exterior surfaces like brick. But be advised that not all duct tapes are alike. And while a traditional laminated duct tape is likely sufficient for jobs around the home or workshop, it’s likely to fall short in a more extreme industrial environment. Instead, look to use a co-extruded duct tape for a stronger bond that’s more resistant to aging or harsh environmental conditions thanks to its polyethylene backing.
There are many ways to put a roll of masking tape to use on the job site but be careful not to be fooled by the name of this category. General purpose masking tapes are particularly helpful when attaching sheets of poly or masking paper together, labeling toolboxes and paints and bundling cables. But when it comes to the intense industrial coatings setting, you’ll want to avoid using general masking tape for any actual masking duties, and instead opt for a performance-quality masking tape that’s better suited for such an environment.
You’ve no doubt worked with general-purpose (black) electrical tape, but did you know that electrical tapes come in a variety of colors and grades as well? Electricians rely upon color-coded wires to quickly learn critical information like the wire’s voltage and phase. In terms of grade, electrical tape backings can be either monomeric – which are an economical choice for light-duty, general purpose jobs – or polymeric, which are more durable, provide tighter seals and protect better against corrosion in professional applications.
Knowing the right kinds of tapes to use — and not to use — for specific applications can help ensure high-quality results.