Tape Converters “Stuck” In The Middle

roll of gaffers tapeIn our ongoing discussion about tape pricing and the havoc caused by raw material costs, there is a group of companies caught between the manufacturers (companies like Shurtape) and distributors (that’s what we do).

These companies are called converters and they provide the essential service of “converting” large rolls of tape called “jumbos” into tape rolls in sizes that the end users need.

They are the ones who have the unhappy duty of passing manufacturers price increases on to the distributors and trying to balance between making a reasonable profit and seeing end users simply stop buying their products.  We appreciate their difficult position and try our best to make the case for price stability with them in hopes that they will pass our concerns on to the manufacturers.

Tape is made in large rolls, something like carpet.  These are so heavy they have to be lifted with a fork lift and have no real end user applications.  Jumbos give a whole new meaning to the term “roll of tape”.

JUMBO TAPE ROLLThe converter receives the jumbo rolls from the manufacturer (some manufacturers do their own converting) and runs it through a machine called a” slitter” which unwinds the jumbo, cuts the tape to a predetermined width and rewinds it on to individual cores, usually cardboard.  It is an expensive process and is fascinating to watch.  Some the best computerized slitters can create thousands of rolls of tape in a single hour.

(You can click here to watch a video of this process.)

The converter then packages the tape in individual cases (24 rolls in a case of two inch gaffers tape, for example) and then ships them on to the distributor.

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