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Tape and Reel vs. Cut Tape: Which Should You Choose?

Projected to be worth $989.37 billion in 2027, the global consumer electronics market is growing at an extremely rapid rate. It's important to keep up with this market growth, especially when it comes to the board components that make electronic devices function.

There are many types of packaging tape for board creation, but two of the most common are tape and reel vs. cut tape packaging. Read on to learn more about these two packaging tape options and get some insight  on cut tape vs. tape and reel, and into the benefits of tape and reel packaging.

What Is the Difference Between Tape and Reel vs. Cut Tape Packaging?

Tape and reel packaging is a long and continuous piece of tape that's wound up into a custom cut reel. Its purpose is to deliver electronic components into a pick-and-place machine. The ultimate goal is to package small electronic components into the individual carrier tape pockets. Securing them with heat or pressure cover tape allows the machine to rapidly populate the board.

                                                          Tape And Reel Vs. Cut Tape

Custom cut tape packaging shares a purpose with tape and reel alternatives. The method securely delivers components to the customer but prevents the ability to automate since cut tape does not have an adequate leader and trailer.

As its name implies, cut tape packaging delivers components in small, cut-up pieces of tape. They are all separate from one another and the operator must hand place each piece individually.

Which Is Better?

Tape and reel packaging is superior to cut tape for most applications. The operator only needs to feed it into the machine a single time and the tape will automatically move through it in a continuous feed. . This saves the manufacturer the hassle of hand placement and reduces the risk of human error.

Tape and reel packaging also is effective in preventing jamming. If trying to automate cut tape, it often sticks inside the feeder and jams up the machine. On the flip side, components entering the machine on a reel avoid jamming.

What Is Cut Tape Packaging Used For?

However, there are some situations where cut tape packaging is necessary. If there is only a small number of a certain type of component required for the board, you will need to use cut tape packaging. Keep this in mind when procuring your materials so that you do not encounter any other issues along the road.

                                          

Cut tape packaging also is ideal for customized components during board repairs. If you only plan to assemble a single board or repair a pre-existing one, you may like to use one piece of cut tape to make these alterations. When you have multiple boards assembled in sequence, however, that is when you need reel packaging.

Takeaways:

  • Both tape and reel and cut tape packaging serve their own purpose.
  • Tape and reel packaging is ideal for most applications as it saves time and reduces the risk of human error.
  • Cut tape packaging is ideal for small builds and board repairs.

More Information on Tape and Reel Packaging for Electrical Components

While board manufacturing is a precise business, having the right kind of packaging is a surefire way to make your end product accurate and detailed. Now that you know the difference between tape and reel vs. cut tape packaging, it's time to begin accessing our full reel services.

ProEx is committed to providing you with orders that meet EIA 481 and JEDEC tape and reel packaging standards. That's why we offer custom tooling, same-day processes, and 3D inspection and reporting to ensure that your boards are free of defects. Request a quote today!