What If My Gummed Paper Tape Dispenser Is Not Functioning Correctly?

Well-engineered gummed paper tape dispensers are built to last. With preventative maintenance and care, they can provide you with years of useful service.

Water-activated tape (also known as gummed tape, gum tape, Kraft paper tape, reinforced tape and WAT) and easy-to-use WAT dispensers, provide customers with quality carton sealing solutions.

However, if your machine isn’t functioning properly, there might be an easy fix requiring only simple troubleshooting techniques.

A complete discussion of troubleshooting techniques is detailed in the operating manual for each specific machine, but this article will discuss a few simple tips that can quickly get your dispenser up and running.


Troubleshooting WAT Dispenser


My Electric WAT Dispenser Will Not Turn On 

This can be a frustrating issue, but it doesn’t always mean that your electric water activated tape dispenser is broken. 

If your dispenser will not turn on it can be as simple as a loose plug. If the power light is off, try unplugging the machine and immediately plug back in and see if the light turns on. 

If the problem persists, contact your tape dispenser manufacturer for tape dispenser maintenance.


The Gummed Paper Tape Is Not Dispensing

Tape failing to dispense can be due to several small issues that are fairly easy to troubleshoot. In this situation, try fixing the issue by doing the following: 

  • Make sure there is tape loaded in the machine. Someone may have used the dispenser beforehand and didn’t realize that they used the last of the paper tape roll.

  • The tape may be loaded incorrectly. This is a common mistake that can be easy to do but also easy to fix. Check to verify that the paper tape path is correct and loaded properly. If it isn’t loaded correctly, the machine will not dispense tape.

  • It’s possible that there are small tape particles blocking the dispenser’s functions. To remedy, remove the upper tape plate and remove any small pieces of tape.

  • Check that the water brush(es) and the water tank are properly inserted so they don’t block the tape path. You will find step-by-step instructions in your dispenser manual that display how to install and insert each tape machine part if you are experiencing an issue related to this. 

The Packaging Tape Is Not Wet When Dispensed 

Why is your water activated tape not wet when dispensed? If the tape is not wet, it will not adhere to your corrugated carton. Here are some quick and simple troubleshooting tips for this specific issue: 

  • Check the water level in the tank and make sure it has enough water to moisten the paper tape that is dispensed.

  • Check to make sure the water brush(es) and tank are properly inserted. If they are not, they will not properly wet the tape.

  • Remove the brushes and see if there is excess glue build up that can be hindering dispenser performance. Excess glue builds up over time and needs to be cleaned from brushes on a regular basis. To clean them, all that is needed is warm water and a mild dish soap.

The Paper Tape Isn’t Sticking Like It Should 

Perhaps the tape is moist when dispensed but isn’t providing the strong and secure seal that it should. 

For optimal carton safety, the paper tape should form a permanent bond, which creates a tamper-evident seal. If you notice you are having an issue with the gummed paper tape not sticking properly, try some of the following troubleshooting techniques: 

  • Check the water level in the tank and make sure it has enough water to moisten the paper tape that is dispensed. Also, make sure that there isn’t too much water being delivered to the tape. You may need to go to your owner’s manual to learn how to raise or lower the amount of water flowing to the tape.

  • Check the heater operation and make sure that it is working correctly; adjust if necessary.

  • Make sure that the brushes do not have excess glue build-up or excess wear that may be hindering the dispenser. If so, try washing with warm soapy water. If wear is the issue, you may need to replace the brushes.

Want to know more about tape dispensing packaging solutions? Download the free e-book below to learn more about water-activated tape dispensers and what they can do.