3M Tapes

In the early 1940s, vinyl plastic emerged as a highly versatile material for a wide range of applications, from shower curtains to cable insulation. Research chemists and engineers at 3M set out to create a dependable, pressuresensitive tape made of vinyl film that would have the required electrical, physical and chemical properties. Finally, in January 1946, inventors Snell, Oace, and Eastwood of 3M applied for a patent for a vinyl electrical tape. The first commercially available version of the tape was sold for use as a wire-harness wrapping. Interestingly, this original black tape wasn’t black at all. The first 3M tape sold was yellow, and later versions were white. White tape, because of its instability in ultraviolet light, was eventually replaced with black tape, although colored vinyl tapes are still used as identification and marking tapes. Black became the standard industry color for vinyl tape, primarily because of its ultraviolet resistance. 2006 marked the 60th Anniversary of Scotch® Super 33+™ Vinyl Electrical Tape, and 3M has improved the tape sixteen times since its invention.



Although challenging in its make-up and manufacture, vinyl electrical tape is relatively straightforward in its use. Nevertheless, to ensure the safest, most reliable use, always:

  • Apply tape with enough stretch to conform to the objects you’re wrapping. Be sure to let the last couple of inches relax before tabbing it down to prevent unwinding (sometimes called “flagging”).
  • Wrap an irregular mechanical connector, such as a split bolt, with rubber or mastic tape to pad sharp edges, before over wrapping it with vinyl electrical tape.
  • Wrap cone-shaped (high voltage splices) “uphill” – that is, from the smallest to the largest point. This way you always secure the previous layer.
  • Keep fingers close together when tearing tape. The farther apart they are, the more the tape will stretch before it tears.
  • Use the right tape for the right conditions. Vinyl tapes are rated for cold-weather application in two classes: 32°F (0°C) and 0°F (-18°C). Tapes formulated for high temperature environments are typically rated 176°F (80°C) or 220°F (105°C).

Download Catalogue

Electrical MRO Tapes
EMD Tapes