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New FR Heat Applied Reflective Tapes

New FR Heat Applied Reflective Tapes

Over the past decade there has been an increasing shift in the UK multi norm PPE market from the use of Flame Retardant (FR) sew-on reflective tape and its heat applied counterpart. There are a number of different reasons for this change some of which have been examined in this post below to help wearers better understand why their companies are making this switch. Likewise, the market has now moved on one step further with the introduction of FR heat applied segmented tapes which are now readily available in lots of different designs and are being slowly introduced to the market. Below are three tables showing some of the positives and negatives that we, as UK workwear manufacturer, have deemed important aspects to be considered when selecting between sew-on, heat applied and segmented heat applied FR reflective tapes. 


Sew-on Reflective Tape



Standard sew-on tape is more durable than heat applied and will allow a garment to be rigorously washed for a longer period of time.

Can be used with all fabric types no matter what the surface of the fabric is like.

Easier to get a clean finish on garment seams.

Even though the tape is very durable it is usually only attached by a single line of chain stitching along each edge, so all it takes is one stitch to break for a full band of tape be easily torn off.

Standard sew-on tape is more expensive than standard heat applied, plus the increased labour cost involved in the sewing which leads to more expensive garments.

Standard sew-on tape is thick which can cause heat irritation and sweat build up for wearers, especially for garments worn next to the skin.

If used for wet weather garments all stitching needs to be internally seam sealed adding further to the garment weight and cost.

Cannot be segmented.


Heat Applied Reflective Tape



Much lighter than sew-on and doesn't require thread which reduces the overall weight of the garment.

Heat applying tape is a much cheaper process than sewing and the tape itself is also cheaper, which brings down the price of the complete garment.

The tape is much thinner so it sits more flush to the garments surface, reducing potential snagging.

It is harder to damage large amounts of heat applied tape and if damaged it is easier to repair if required.

No stitching is required so there is less irritation if the garment is worn next to the skin.

Allows easier use of wider tapes without putting extra strain on stitching.

Durable enough to outlast the usable length of a hi-visibility garment.

Tapes with higher durability & industrial launderable are available.

Standard heat applied tape is less durable than standard sew-on tape.

Incorrect application can cause decolouration of the garment from the heat being applied.

Cannot be used on all fabric types; for example it cannot be used on fleece fabric due to fabric pile.

Has to be applied before the garment construction process begins, which means if the tape is applied incorrectly then this can lead to mis-alignments.


Heat Applied Reflective Segmented Tape



Even lighter than standard heat applied reflective tape which reduces the overall weight of the garment.

Much more breathable so prevents heat and sweat build up on the inside of the garment.

Improved flexibility allowing for easier garment movement and the utilisation of stretch fabrics. 

Available in multiple different designs depending on the requirements of the garment.

Presents a much more stylish and professional look of the garment.

The segmented style creates more edges to the tape which increase the chances of snagging.

The standard heat applied segmented reflective is less durable than standard sew-on tape options.

Tape styles if not correctly co-ordinated can cause problems where seems meet on a garment.


If you would like further information on anything that we have discussed in this post then please get in touch through our contact page  smiley




Luke Deaking - Sales & Marketing Executive

About the Author: Luke Deaking - Sales & Marketing Executive

Hello My name is Luke Deakin I am a sales & marketing executive here at LS International.