Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

What is a Carrier Tape

I would like to share a particular industry that I have researched with the company that I worked for during my summer internship.

Carrier Tape is a supplementary product for the electronic packaging industry. The tapes are mainly used as protective packages for electronic components, integrated circuits, and other devices. The tape serves as not only a package but also a protecting layer that prevents electronic devices from physical and electrostatic discharge damages during outbound shipping and inbound storage.

Carrier Tape is mainly used by electronic components such as integrated circuits, resistor, capacitor, transistor, etc. During the packaging process, electronic devices are packed in a specially designed cavity on the tape. The carrier tape is then enclosed by a top and a bottom cover tape which then stores the tape in a reel. In that way, the entire structure prevents electronic devices from being polluted during transportation and storage. When the tape arrives at factories or assembly lines, automatic machines pull out electronic devices by locating the round sprocket holes on the tape.

Due to the diversity of electronic devices in size and physical requirements, carriers tape manufacturers have developed various categories for different customer demands.

Categorize by Width: For varied sized electronic components, manufacturers provide carrier tapes with widths of 4mm, 8mm, 12mm, 16mm, 24mm, 32mm, 44mm, and 56mm.

Categorize by Function: Some precise electronic components have strict requirements on the carrier tape’s anti-static level. Based on the level of anti-static, the market offers three types of carrier tapes: conductive, static dissipative, and insulated.

Categorize by Cavity: The industry currently offers embossed carrier tape and punched carrier tape. The embossed carrier tape contains embossed cavities that are made by blistering the model that creates a concave shape pocket on the tape. With this method, manufacturers can provide customization for electronic components based on customer requirements. The punched carrier tape, on the other way, has penetrated cavities that were made through a die cutting methods that forms punched or semi-punched pockets on the tape. Due to the limit of the tape’s thickness, the punched carrier tape is only applicable to relatively smaller electronic components.

Categorize by Material: The carrier tape in the market is mainly made from either plastic or paper. The embossed carrier tape is mainly composed of plastic materials. A majority of the plastic carrier tape in the industry are made from PC (polycarbonate), PS (Polystyrene), and ABS (acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene copolymer resin).