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Simplifying the Vinyl-Selection Process

(April 2011) posted on Tue Apr 26, 2011

If you’re having trouble picking from the myriad vinyl films on the market, read on to find out how to get rid of the guesswork.

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By Dean Strohmenger, Lisa Humrich

Granted, there are exceptions to everything. For example, what if a customer were to come to you with the idea of a window graphic in the food court of a mall? Technically, the graphic could be installed indoors, and it’s a flat substrate, which may lead you to believe you could use a calendered film. However, because of exposure to direct sunlight and the likelihood that the graphics would need to stay in place for several years, using a calendered film would not
be the best solution.

Digital vs. plotter film
We are nearly done. The last question, whether to use a digital or plotter film, is relatively easy to answer. By the time you reach this question, you already have a good sense of the pro-ject and have narrowed the vinyl choices considerably.

Here’s an example of how easy this question is to answer. A customer wants a vehicle wrap of their favorite superhero on their Volkswagen Beetle that will last more than five years. Because the customer wants the wrap to last longer than five years, this is considered a long-term project. This narrows your choices to a high-performance calendered or cast film. Obviously, this is an outdoor application; therefore, a solvent-based adhesive is recommended. This eliminates most plotter and calendered films.

For this project, the next decision is whether to choose a digital or plotter film. The underlying question is whether you want a solid color or a digitally printed wrap. The preferred wrap of choice for this application is a digitally printed wrap, thus eliminating all plotter films.

Another consideration for this job is the compound curves of the car, which require an extremely conformable product. This automatically narrows your choice to a cast film. Cast films provide the best solution for outdoor projects requiring conformability and long-term durability.

Vinyl choices for vehicle wraps
One of the most popular uses of vinyl films these days is vehicle wrapping (Figure 2). You see wraps more frequently than you might think. People are using them in a variety of ways, from promoting their business to changing the color of their vehicle—red today, green tomorrow. While we have touched a little on wraps, let’s take a closer look.


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