Top 4 Tips for Using Dual Lock Tape

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Convenience is everything in our modern world. Being able to quickly and easily create a reliable and reclosable attachment between two substrates could cause a revolution.

That’s what happened when the original patent (1958) of hook and loop tape — Velcro® — expired, ushering in incredible innovations and instant popularity in the early 1980s. Soon it was on sneakers, vehicles, astronaut suits, airline seat cushions, blood-pressure cuffs, and much more.

While hook and loop tape’s adhesive/protective liner backing makes it very versatile, another “reclosable fastener” (a device that allows for repeated opening and closing) — dual lock tape — is seen as an improvement on the original hook and loop tape. For demanding projects, there is industrial strength hook and loop tape; however, dual lock tape is naturally stronger.

Before jumping into some dual lock tape tips, let’s quickly review some reclosable fastener applications. As its name implies, being able to reclose is its most significant benefit, so assemblies or attachments that need to be removable or snap-in-place are perfect case uses; think of an overhead light in a vehicle or attaching window and door trim panels. Plus it’s easy to implement reclosable fasteners in both indoor or outdoor uses.

Okay, just because something is easy to use doesn’t guarantee that it’ll be perfect every time it’s used. People are known for making mistakes, after all. Here are some ways to get the most from dual lock tape.

1. Think Creatively

Dual lock tape works similar way as classic Velcro®, but it doesn’t use hooks and loops. Instead, tiny plastic “stems” (or plastic pieces with mushroom-shaped heads) interlock and create an audible snap. Whereas hook and loop tape has two distinct sides, these sides are the same; a piece of dual lock tape mates with any other piece.

3M classifies dual lock tape types by how many stems appear per square inch. For instance, “Type 170” has 170 stems per square inch. With gripping power up to four times that of industrial strength hook and loop tape, this tape allows you to use much smaller pieces, and its self-adhesive backing is strong enough for various industries: automotive, electronics, medical, construction, industrial, and more!

Consider other ways dual lock tape can enhance your application: it reduces rattling and vibrating components, stands up to prolonged exposure to water/humidity, handles temperatures between -20°F (-29°C) and 200°F (93°C), and resists attack by most common solvents and alkaline solutions.

2. Assemble Properly

The following three simple steps will ensure a bond the application requires with dual lock tape:

  1. Clean — Before applying dual lock tape strips, clean the surfaces with isopropyl alcohol (or rubbing alcohol) with a clean, cotton cloth, and let it dry thoroughly.

  2. Cut — Any method that delivers a straight, clean-cut can be used (scissors, cutting knife, etc.). How much tape per strip? Estimate 4 square inches per pound of holding weight.

  3. Apply — Lift the corner edge of the liner off of the PSA (pressure-sensitive adhesive) backing and pull back; touch the dual lock tape to the surface of the substrate; press uniformly and firmly with fingers or a roller. Full adhesion is complete in 1 hour.

3. Adjust Strength

If the application is a large area, and the bond needs to extend throughout the surface being mounted, there’s a way to adjust the dual tape’s gripping strength so it’s not too difficult to separate. Use a single-edged razor blade to shave off some stems on one tape surface (but not both).

Removing ⅓ to ½ of the stems reduces gripping strength yet covers a large adhesive area to ensure the mount is solid. Cut the stems as close to the base as possible. Start by removing ⅓ of the stems from one tape side, and then test it; cut more on that strip, if needed.

4. Maximize Smart Converting

The rigidity of dual lock tape allows it to be efficiently converted, with components cut to custom sizes, shapes, and formats that meet tight tolerances. Many other specialty materials aren’t rigid enough to hit accurate tolerances.

Whether the dual lock tape is assembled by hand or by automation, a solution can be designed that both solves a functional need and is customized to fit in-place processes. Plus, many converters have manufacturer relationships (such as Strouse’s partnership with 3M) that provide dual lock tape at discount pricing and quickly to meet tight timelines.

Finding the right converter isn’t easy, so we created an 11-question list to help evaluate a relationship and ensure you’re getting your precision converting needs met. Get your copy by clicking the link below or call Stouse today (800)-410-8273.

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