Picking the Best Machine

So many choices, what to do?  Which is best?  There is a difference depending upon your application.  A good gummed tape dispenser will increase product flow!

Are you trying to choose the best tape dispenser but talking to the wrong source?  A consumable tape salesman wants to sell you tape, and lots of it.  His knowledge is generally limited to understanding the consumable.  He sells you tape every month, but a machine every 8-10 years.  If you are looking for facts, not fiction, my 27 years of experience selling gummed tape dispensers (15 - only selling tape dispensers), has taught me to understand the pros and cons of the different machines. 

The innovator was Better Packages.  Their machines include the BP500, BP333, BP755 and BP555 series models.

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BP500 BP555eS BP555eSA BP755 BP333/TS333

The models on the first row are currently produced, the second row are discontinued.

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BP555 BP556 Robot BP554 Duet

Better Packages was not only the innovator, but lead the nation in quality and product development over the years.  

Introducing the "RETRO".  In 2005 Better Packages took the original design of the BP555S series and added electronics to make the new Better Pack BP500 model.  The BP500 offers 6" - 45" in 3" increments plus a doublers key, repeat key, and a random key. 

In 1999 Better Packages released it's newer version of the BP555 called the BP555eS and BP555eL models with automatic versions called BP555eSA and BP555eLA.  The BP555eSA offers all the features of the previous BP555, BP556, and BP554 functionalities including hands free automatically dispensing. 

The BP333, renamed TS333 in 1999, replaced many manual machines developed by BPI® over the years.  Introduced in the 1960's, the TS333 has been the top seller due to it's 2 of 3 brush moistening system, cutting shears, bottle, and feed wheel systems that were the same as the BP555. 

The BP555 introduced in December 1958 was a mechanical-electrical machine manufactured for almost 42 years!  When the BP755 series were introduced to replace the BP555 in 1983, it lacked the features and benefits of the BP555.  Missing were triple brush moistening, blade felt pad oiler, and durability.  The BP555 (old style) was the best machine manufactured during it's lifetime, but was finally discontinued by Better Packages in 1999 with the introduction of the BP555e.

Building off the BP555 platform, in the 1960's BPI® manufactured the BP556 and BP554 models.  The BP556 dispensed tape automatically without operator intervention.  At the time the BP556 was introduced, case sealers were not in common usage.  The low cost BP556 enjoyed taking the place of high priced automatic case sealers for several years.  The only drawback using the BP556 in automatic mode was if the tape was not used within a few seconds, it would start drying out and become unusable. 

The BP554 Duet allowed for two strip dispensing and sold in low volume.  The BP554 excelled in applications were the six strip "H" method of sealing was required to seal off all opening on the common regular slotted carton.  Both the BP554 and BP556 were discontinued in 1999.

The BP755 looks nice, but has shortfalls.  The BP755 incorporated an enclosed water bottle and moistening system which causes two problems.  First, when the bottle runs out of water, the operator cannot see it, and therefore dispenses tape not sufficiently moistened.  This causes potential shipping nightmares with tape falling off cartons in transit (This can be remedied by removing the left side cover).  Second, as the moistening system is enclosed, moisture build-up causes an excessive build-up of corrosion around the heater, tape plates and brushes.  The BP755 is one of the few machines today that will dispense 4" wide tapes.

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The second main manufacturer is Marsh.  Marsh produced several models over the years, but was dedicated to selling all sorts of shipping items from marking equipment to closing equipment.  In December 2005 they launched two new machines designated the TD2100 series and discontinued the manual 5HT, and the Electra Electronic.  These former machines were redesigned in 2002.

New models:   Older models:
TDE110 TDH 5HT Electra E110


Marsh redesigned the cutter blades to be a two piece guillotine type system with a safety bracket to prevent operators from reaching the blades.  A larger 70 ounce bottle was added, but Marsh maintained a single brush moistening system.  The new models are designated as the TD2100 Electric and TD2100 Manual Hand Taper.  The electronics on the TDE110 premium short features a two button length entry system that offers dispensing by entering the number of inches required - the only one on the market.

The third main manufacturer was National Package Sealing.  For years the Nashua tape machines enjoyed a decent market share because they were given away with the Nashua Tapes.  By a skid of tape, get a tape dispenser.  Recently Marsh acquired the NPS line.  Several models have been discontinued.  The last machine introduced by NPS was the Taper ll which is now discontinued. 

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98TM No 52 Taper Taper II

The fourth manufacturer is Cyklops Cyklops has manufactured gummed tape dispensers in Italy for years.  Currently there are two models available.  

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The manual Cyklops is the B-6 a.k.a. CMT-102.  A lever operated dispenser for lengths of tape from 4" up to 43", the industry's longest handle pull.  For applications up to 50 boxes per day, or in areas where electricity is not available, the manual works very well.  If you find a machine that looks like the B-6 selling new for under $200 use extreme caution.  This machine was copied by a Chinese company and is not built to the same standards as the original Cyklop. 

For more automated applications, the C-25 electronic model is available.  The advantages of the new C-25 include how quiet the machine is and its functionality.  Today this is the best machine for noise sensitive areas.  The C-25 features a 24V electrical system.  Select from 4" to 44" in 4 inch increments with an adder key of 2" for 22 different lengths.  A random key, and two repeat buttons are also standard.  The cutter blades and electronics replacement parts can be very expensive.

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CET-301 CET-302 C-24 CET-322

I also included pictures of the multiple length CET-322CET-301 single length, and the dual length CET-302.  Cyklop discontinued all of these models last year.  The C-24 was discontinued March 2004 due to the lack of a second repeat button featured with the CET-302.

The fourth is Phoenix.  In 1995, John McDonald introduced his own line of tape dispensers called the Phoenix.

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The E-1 dispenses 6" to 45" in 3" increments.  The covers are designed to act like storage areas.  I found in most applications when used as storage the operator upon opening the covers dumped the items into the machine.  A great idea but not practicable.    The E-1 does not offer a repeat key, random key or doublers key.  To get longer lengths the Phoenix is offered with a keypad that dispenses 12" - 90" in 6" increments.

The E-2 is available as an automatic model and incorporates an electronic eye for automatic dispensing.  When the operator passes his/her hand in front of the eye, tape is dispensed.  This feature allows the tape to only be dispensed when you are ready.

The M-1 and M-2 are the manual versions for Phoenix.  The M-1 has double moistening brushes and same bottle, shears, tape plates, tank and covers as the E-1.  The M-2 incorporates a top heater and triple brush moistening.

Depending upon application, usage, etc.  one of the above units should work for your application. 

If you would like suggestions on ways to increase your productivity and efficiency in your packaging and shipping and departments, please contact us via phone or email.  We will be happy to assist in any way we can.