Tape Binding or Thermal Binding? Which is Better?

Thermal Binding MachinesIf you’re in the market for a binding machine, you may have come across thermal and tape binding. I find that many customers that are torn between the two formats, with both typically producing similar end results. If presented with both formats, I would personally go with a thermal binding machine. I’ll explain why.

To begin with, let me explain what thermal and tap binding involves:

Tape Binding
– Tape binding typically involves a strip of tape lined with some sort of pressure sensitive adhesive or heat-activated adhesive. This tape is typically applied to the spine of a stack of paper. Most tape-bound documents utilize some sort of clear cover and card stock back cover. While some tape binding machines can bind thicker books, this format is usually used for thinner reports and presentations.

Thermal Binding – Thermal binding machines use special covers, typically a clear cover front and a card stock back, that includes some sort of heat-activated clue in the spine. Paper is placed in the pre-made cover, after which the cover is placed in a machine that heats the glue. Once the hot glue has absorbed into the paper, the cover is removed and the glue solidifies. This type of binding is especially popular for reports and presentations.

Having used both binding formats myself, I can attest to the fact that the end results are almost identical. So why do I like thermal binding machines more? It all has to do with the longevity of the bind.

Tape binding, after a duration of time, will begin to lose pages. This is because, in most cases, the tape adhesive begins to dry out and crack. Because the tape is only sticking to the back spine of the paper, pages begin to loosen and fall out. Continuous use helps prolong this problem.

I remember years ago we offered a tape binding machine called the Report Master. I remember customers calling up complaining that literally after a few weeks to a few months pages would start falling out. I now tell customers that tape binding is intended for temporary use.

Thermal binding, on the other hand, uses glue that absorbs much farther into the paper than tape. As a result, thermal bound documents last much longer. Fellowes makes a line of thermal binding machines called “Helios” that use pre-made covers with glue in the spine, much like I described earlier.

In conclusion, I have to say that both binding formats look great, but ultimately I would go with a thermal binding machine. You can find our thermal binding machines here.

If you don’t mind the involvement of a thermal binding strip, comb, wire, coil and Velobind will all last longer than either thermal or tape. You can find our comb, wire, coil and VeloBind machines here.

Keith Barlow

Keith is a third generation office equipment expert. ABC Office was started by his grandfather back in 1980 and he is proud to be caring on the values that made ABC Office what it is today… unsurpassed selection, detailed information, low prices, and courteous support.

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