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If you’re new to the mailing industry, hearing about gum may cause some initial confusion. What does a pink, chewy substance have to do with my mail?

For envelopes, gum is the adhesive used in production that allows an envelope’s seams to remain sealed at the folds and eventually sealed closed at the flap. Both gum formulations and application techniques are serious business when it comes to the performance of your envelopes, especially when processed through an automatic inserter.

It’s important to know your gum facts, so we’ve put together a few gum-related myths to help you avoid sticky customer situations.

Myth #1: Whatever You Do, DO NOT Lick That

This one’s a toss-up. Technically, the raw materials used to produce envelope gum are not harmful to your health when just one envelope is licked. Most gum formulas include blends of corn or potato starch and synthetic resin emulsion (e.g. Elmer’s® glue). However, it is always recommended for end users to wet the seal for closure with a moist sponge versus licking it, especially when there’s a lot of envelopes to be sealed and the risk of ingesting too much glue increases. Break away from those inner first grade urges.

Myth #2: All Gums are Created Equal

No, not even close. Gum adhesives are specifically formulated to meet requirements of envelope converters, like Tension, and end users. Solutions can vary for envelope seams, seals and window patches, and if the concoction doesn’t meet exact specifications, your mailing contents can become vulnerable or unsecure. Humidity and activation from printing techniques can also adversely affect a gum’s chemical properties. Blinded by science already? Have no fear. Highly-specialized quality teams, including chemists from gum suppliers, are involved throughout the production process.

Myth #3: Seal Gum Thickness: The More, the Better

Definitely not the case. Applying more (or less) gum to the envelope seal, seams or window patch is not a good thing. In fact, there are recommendations for gum thickness that vary by paper stock and by the substance weight of the paper, and proper placement is a critical factor to consider during production. Overlooking any one of these factors could lead to poor inserter performance. So, seal gum checks are an integral part of Tension’s ongoing Quality Improvement Process in our efforts to ensure your finished envelopes are ready to perform. Check out our video for details.

For more information on these myths or other mailing questions, contact a Tension Sales expert today.