Adhesive tape production: A science in itself
Is each small tesa roll actually wound separately?

Is each small tesa roll actually wound separately?

How does adhesive tape manufacturing process work on the technical production side? See for yourself.



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We are often asked how our adhesive tapes are wound. In fact, the process of adhesive tape production would be extremely expensive if we were to coat and wrap each of the many adhesive tape rolls individually.

Adhesive tape production: A science in itself

Everything begins with the adhesive. As a rule, we produce this ourselves. In the case of acrylate substances, this means that we begin with the polymerization. In other words, the components of adhesives, the molecule chains or the polymers, are mixed with each other in a chemical process. Subsequently, these adhesives are prepared so that we can apply them easily and very thinly to the desired backing material. How this takes place depends on the adhesive.

During production, some adhesives are transferred with an organic solvent that vaporizes very easily. It is exactly this that we use to our benefit: the adhesive is applied very thinly to the backing with the solvent by pressing it through a very narrow slit. Then the coated backing passes through a drying tunnel and the solvent evaporates in it. The adhesive tape coating becomes solid and is connected firmly with the backing after the drying process. The evaporating solvent is almost entirely recaptured at tesa and fed back into adhesive production.

The operation is similar with water-based adhesives. Simple water is added as the solvent for these and then escapes in the drying oven as steam. A process that is widespread at tesa.

In a third process, the 'hot melt' adhesive is produced. Here the adhesive turns liquid by heating it and is mixed in an extruder, a kind of meat grinder. This adhesive is also then applied evenly to the backing through a very thin slit.

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Solvent- and water-based technology: Dissolving and mixing the raw materials with organic solvents or water adjustment of the solids Content. Coating the backing with the dissolved adhesive. Evaporating the solvents in the drying channel
Solvent- and water-based technology: Dissolving and mixing the raw materials with organic solvents or water adjustment of the solids Content. Coating the backing with the dissolved adhesive. Evaporating the solvents in the drying channel

Adhesive production: Complex, elaborate and exciting

Cleanroom Facility at the tesa plant Hamburg
Cleanroom Facility at the tesa plant Hamburg

Other production steps may be required for certain adhesives and applications. For example, we prep the backing chemically or physically so that the adhesive sticks to it better. If we can't find anything that satisfies our demands, we produce the backing materials ourselves and tailor them to fit certain demands. For example they are made to be really crystal clear.

In the electronics industry, our adhesive tapes are partially used for taping different layers of a mobile phone screen. Of course, you should not be able to see it later, so the optical properties of the adhesive tape must be set perfectly. Inner tension in the material is just as problematic as impurities. The smallest of dust particles may cause adhesive tape to be no longer optically clear. For this reason we produce special solutions in a class 7 clean room. That is a room in which the air is 1,000 times cleaner than at the peak of a mountain. In this almost dust-free environment, we can coat films so that they are no longer seen. And not many adhesive tape manufacturers can do that.

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Adhesive tape coating: a process that requires a lot of space

Solvent-free production technology in Offenburg
Production unit at tesa plant Offenburg

During the tape coating, the backing material does not yet take the form of narrow, long strips, but rather wide, large ones. They consist of fabric, plastic films, foam or other material. The backing is wound by an enormous, wide roll, then coated, dried if necessary in the process, and finally the entire large strip is rewound. When the adhesive tape is double-sided, then a separating layer is also inserted when winding. Afterwards, the process begins again in order to coat the other side of the tape. Only after this are the wide rolls cut in another machine with many small roll knives to produce many small rolls. They are then packaged and sent on their way to the customer.

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