In the specialty pressure-sensitive tape business, people often seek guidance on how to solve application challenges with tape. This issue spans a range of industries, applications and problems. So, how can technical and sales professionals get the critical information needed to provide solutions and become a valuable asset to their customer?
Let’s start with the facts…there are all sorts of different application, adhesion and assembly problems. And customers don’t always know what they need – they just know they have a problem that needs to be fixed. This is where your expertise is valuable. Remember: listening, asking questions and taking notes are key to solving a problem. It’s a lot like detective work!
What follows are some techniques and questions we use to help provide solutions to business owners in search of high-quality tapes that performs optimally.
When we talk with customers, one of the first things we do is to ask them to tell us about their business. This starts the flow of communication and helps us better understand some tape properties or processes that could be relevant to them.
Next, we focus on the needed application to get the job done right. Here’s where we start asking questions. We make sure to listen carefully and take notes during the conversation. We consider things like:
- The customer’s application: What’s purpose of the tape? How will the tape be used and applied to the substrate?
- What tape products are they currently using? This will be helpful to know when developing a customized solution.
- What tapes has the customer used – and for how long?
- What does/doesn’t the customer like about those tapes? What features are necessary for a successful application?
- What sorts of performance requirements does this customer need? Some of these you’ll already know from the earlier questions, but make sure you address the following points:
- What is the surface the tape will need to bond to? Answers may be polyethylene, vinyl, sheet metal or others.
- Is the surface slippery, smooth, rough, etc.?
- Is the product used indoors or will it be exposed to environmental conditions like rain, snow, heat, cold, etc.?
- Will the tape be subjected to continuous heat or cold like in an engine compartment or freezer?
- Does the tape need to be resistant to chemicals, oils, water or other contaminants?
- Does the tape need to hold in a vertical or angled position? If relevant to the project, what weight is the tape required to bear?
- Is permanent adhesion required, or does the tape need to have properties that allow for its clean removal?
- Is the tape going to bond to one surface, or does it need to bond two materials or surfaces together?
The next area to consider is processing. This is a critical topic that many tape professionals fail to investigate thoroughly.
Always ask if there are processes the tape would be subjected to. Some of these could be lamination, roll slitting, die cutting and others.
- There are different types of laminating, so be sure to inquire about:
- Lamination type (roll nip or flat platen)
- Lamination temperature
- Lamination pressure
- Lamination speed
- Wide web or narrow
- If slitting rolls, ask customers:
- Which type of slitting they use
- What they are slitting
- If they are having problems with slitting, what kinds of problems
- And if die cutting, find out:
- The method of die cutting used
- What is being die cut
- And any issues they have have with die cutting
These are some typical questions that will be helpful in solving your customer’s adhesive bonding problems. Addressing them fully will ensure you become a valued supplier to them.