Masking product tape selection merits close attention

Component manufacturers across the surface treatment and finishing industries have common aims and methods that will be widely recognised. Accuracy and consistency of production, in order to meet design and functional aims are good examples of where every aspect of manufacturing must meet clearly defined objectives – not least the masking process.

David Ogles, Director of Hadleigh Enterprises Ltd., who supply an extensive range of masking tapes and products, says that an awareness of different tape performance characteristics is key. 

“I believe the view that ‘tape is tape’ is diminishing in favour of a recognition of the capability of different materials, and the problems their characteristics can overcome,” he says. His views come with Hadleigh Enterprises’ 45 years’ experience in the industry as a manufacturer, supplier and stockist of an extensive choice of masking products – all sourced from leading producers. The company holds a range of key approval – such as AS9100 in the aerospace sector – with applications ranging from powder coating to corrosion protection, both during production and transportation, figuring regularly amongst its customers’ needs.  The surface preparation and finishing sector is a major beneficiary.

“So many individual masking tape applications are unique to specific processes that we have found it is vital to work as closely as possible with each customer from the outset to develop highly focused solutions,” he says. “This allows us not only to supply the most appropriate masking system, but can also ensure the customer benefits from continuous innovation – all as part of a structured application process.” He emphasises this last point via the company’s willingness to develop prototype solutions that address key factors, such as masking accuracy and adhesion.

Hadleigh Enterprises points out that this also helps to ensure that masking product innovation comes under the spotlight every time. Very high bond performance, the ability to fulfil metal-to-metal applications and high temperature capability of up to 380°C are all cited by the organisation as good examples. 

He also believes that the need to buy masking tape in unnecessary volume to keep costs down should be readily addressed by suppliers – “They should be happy to deliver materials in smaller quantities, even a single roll if required,” he says, “which is of particular value where prototyping or product development is a specific focus.”

This close work with the customer also helps to optimise accuracy, with products slit and cut to match the shape and contour of the target area for masking as closely as possible. He says that, where possible, Hadleigh Enterprises is happy to work from component drawings to ensure masking products – including slit rolls, die-cuts and discs – are tailor-made. Slitting tolerances of just +/- 0.2mm can thus be achieved.

If the important role played by masking tape in so many areas of the surface treatment sector is not given the
focus it deserves, says David Ogles, then the risk is product inconsistencies or even failure. “The ease with which such issues can be avoided should bring masking tape into the spotlight for all,” he concludes.

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