Safety and reflective tapes are highly visible in order to warn personnel of hazards or construction conditions. Safety tapes are used in flagging applications or to mark an area’s perimeter. Reflective tapes are used in rotating or moving equipment to trigger proximity sensors, or enable a tachometer to make readings. Both types of products carry dimensional specifications such as length, width, and thickness. They also vary in terms of physical properties such as peel strength or adhesion, tensile strength, temperature resistance and dielectric strength. Many safety tapes and reflective tapes are tested according to published standards or test methods from organizations such as the Pressure Sensitive Tape Council (PSTC) or the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM).
Adhesive Type and Backing Material
Safety and reflective tapes differ in terms of adhesive type and backing material. There are two choices for adhesive type: non-adhesive and single-sided adhesive. Non-adhesive safety tapes and reflective tapes not have an applied adhesive, but may be self-adhering. PTFE thread sealing tape or Teflon® tape is a type of non-adhesive tape. Teflon is a registered trademark of DuPont Dow Elastomers. With single-sided safety and reflective tapes, only one side of the backing or carrier is coated with adhesive. Choices for backing material include cloth, metal, paper, plastic, and rubber.
Application and Substrate Compatibility
Application and substrate compatibility are important considerations when selecting safety tapes and reflective tapes. Some products are designed for automotive, aerospace, cable, ductwork, building and construction, or electrical applications. Others are designed for general-purpose industrial use, or are suitable for packaging or plumbing applications. Safety tapes and reflective tapes for printing, graphics and signage; heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems; and medical applications are also available. In terms of substrate or material compatibility, choices include ceramic, concrete, composite materials, fabric, foam, glass, leather, metal, paper, plastic, rubber, textiles and wood.
Safety and reflective tapes may incorporate features such as anti-static, static dissipating, or electrostatic discharge (ESD) control features. They may also provide protection or shielding from electromagnetic interference (EMI) or radio frequency interference (RFI). Electrically-conductive safety and reflective tapes are used in electrical heating or other electronics applications. Cryogenic products can withstand or be used in very low temperature conditions, and often include labels or marking tapes for biological samples stored in liquid nitrogen. Extractable, laminated, moisturized, permanent, removable, and repositionable safety and transfer tapes are also available. Transparent safety tapes and reflective tapes allow the transmission of light. UV-resistant safety and reflective tapes resist ultraviolet (UV) light and are suitable for outdoor use.