Working with adhesive tape suppliers or industrial adhesive manufacturers of any kind means sourcing bespoke products for important purposes. For obvious reasons, high quality bespoke adhesives typically cost more to manufacture and purchase in the first instance than their conventional counterparts. As such, it stands to reason that does purchasing them would like to get the maximum possible value for money.

The thing is though, there’s one critically important consideration that often goes overlooked by those using commercial and industrial adhesives. Just as is the case with the vast majority of consumables across the board, custom adhesives can and will only ever have their own specific shelf life. To overlook the importance of monitoring the shelf life of any given adhesive is to run the risk of working with a product that is no longer able to do its job properly.

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When an adhesive product of any kind goes beyond its shelf life, the properties of the adhesive as a whole may be adversely affected. Which in turn means that it may no longer be able to do its job appropriately, consistently or with the same level of reliability. While it may still be usable to a certain extent, many of its original properties and qualities may have faded significantly. Which in turn means that whatever it is you are producing of doing as a business, you could be compromising the quality and consistency of your own results by using expired adhesive products.

The question being – what kind of shelf life can be expected from any given industrial adhesive?

Unfortunately, this is an impossible question to answer for two reasons. The first of which being that by their very nature, bespoke adhesive products always tend to be somewhat unique. Which in turn means that the shelf life of one bespoke adhesive product may be exponentially different than that of a relatively similar product. As such, it is a question that needs to be asked directly in accordance with one specific adhesive. There is no general answer to the question.

As for the second reason, custom adhesives also typically have two somewhat different shelf lives. The first being their shelf life when the packaging remains unopened, the second being for how long the adhesive remains effective and usable once the seal has been broken. Suffice to say, extremes exist at both ends of the scale. For example, there are certain adhesive products that have something of a near-infinite shelf life, just as long as the container remains sealed.  Nevertheless, just as soon as the seal is broken, the adhesive may only be viable for use over a matter of days, perhaps even hours.

When taking into account all of the above, it is easy to see why it is of such importance to keep a close eye on the shelf life of any adhesive product your business may use. Both in terms of the unopened containers and those that are currently in use.

But there’s one important thing that can also influence their shelf life of almost any adhesive across the board. That being, the environmental conditions in the location in which the adhesive is stored.

In some instances, you can get away with pretty much any kinds of conditions and temperatures, without adversely affecting the properties of an adhesive.  In others, things need to be kept as stable and consistent as possible, in order to prevent severely damaging the properties of the product. Once again however, this is something that differs significantly from one product to the next and therefore cannot be taken for granted.  It is therefore up to you to find out what the specifics of your own custom adhesive products are, in order to ensure they are looked after appropriately.

All the information you need will be supplied in the manufacturer’s instructions that accompanied the adhesives you purchase. If in any doubt however, you need only get in touch with the manufacturer directly for all the information you need.  In any case, the worst thing you can do when it comes to shelf lives as far as adhesive products are concerned is to take them for granted.

That is, unless you are willing to jeopardise the quality and consistency of your own products, while at the same time throwing good money away. Expiration dates are supplied for a reason – it in your best interests to use them accordingly.

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