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adhesive tape

Just recently, the tesa research center in Norderstedt scrutinized a product that is about 50 years old – with noteworthy results.

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Gunnar von der Geest

There aren’t many everyday items that still work after five decades. A TV or coffee machine? Long since consigned to the electronic scrapheap. A shirt or pair of pants? Completely out of fashion or taken apart to use as rags. A computer? It wasn’t even invented that long ago. In general, red wine is the only thing where the rule is, the older, the better. But what about adhesive tape? Just recently, the tesa research center in Norderstedt scrutinized a product that is about 50 years old – with noteworthy results.

The story starts in 2004 

Petra Lohmann, who at the time was working as a product developer in the Fastening Systems business unit, received an unusual gift: a roll of tesafix® 960 tape measuring 31 centimeters in width and 100 meters in length – still packed in the original box. The sender was Dr. Manfred Engshuber, who until 1993 had been a professor at Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg, in the German state of Saxony. Now 88, Engshuber had found the tape when cleaning. “Double-sided adhesive products were launched on the market under the tesafix® name starting in 1956,” explains Daniel Wallburg, Manager of Corporate & Brand History at the Beiersdorf archives. “If you look at the tesa logo and the script used, this roll must have been sold between 1968 and 1976.” 

Even after nearly half a century, the thickness and mass match up with the figures from back then.

Dr. Steffi Naasz, head of R&D Services & Processes

Performs as advertised!

In 2004, Lohmann performed various tests to see to what extent the parameters still matched up with the original specifications. “The adhesive force was still quite good, even after such a long time; it fell off a little on steel plates, but it was in line with the standard on various plastics,” she recalls. Just recently, another 15 years later, a full-spectrum check was performed once again. 

In the process, the team tested the tape’s adhesive force and maximum tensile force and performed dynamic and static shear tests. Dr. Steffi Naasz, head of R&D Services & Processes, is thrilled at the results: “Even after nearly half a century, the thickness and mass match up with the figures from back then; the maximum tensile force stayed the same. The adhesive force is also within the tolerances. As things stand now, the tape could even be sold today. tesafix® really performs as advertised!”

tesafix®

The tesafix® category is known for its speed and ease of use. “tesafix® stands for fast use. It saves assemblers and installers time, and saves customers money,” as one marketing folder stated. tesafix® 960, consisting of an ultrathin nonwoven fiber fabric and an acrylic adhesive resistant to both light and aging, was advertised especially for use in affixing drilling templates and in trade fair booth construction. “The glue is relatively soft, with good tack, which makes it especially suitable for bonding porous, slightly rough surfaces. In general, tesafix® proves its value for mounting, holding, affixing and bonding,” was the product description used for the “glue that can even be cut with scissors.” The product range still includes tesafix® products to this day, and their uses include laying carpet.