Overlaminate may seem like an afterthought compared to deciding the primary elements of your graphic such as color, materials, and design. While it is a finishing touch, it is a very important one to consider.
An overlaminate will prolong the life of your graphic and protect it from weathering, UV rays, damage, and scratches.
Types of Overlaminate Materials
The main types of overlaminate materials are cast, monomeric, or polymeric vinyl. Depending on the type of graphic you have chosen, one of these three will be the best option. Keep in mind that the substrate (the layer under the overlaminate) dictates the material for the overlaminate.
It is possible to mix materials in some cases. A better quality overlaminate can be used with a lesser quality substrate. However, the opposite is not true. A cast vinyl cannot be combined with a polymeric or monomeric overlaminate because it can cause edge curl or shrinkage. Cast vinyl must be paired with a cast overlaminate.
Think about the type, location, and use of the graphic.
Will it be a floor graphic, a sign, or car wraparound?
Is the image 2D or 3D?
This will help to decide with type of overlaminate material that is required.
For 2D graphics including signs, interior walls, or displays, a standard polymeric overlaminate is recommended. With 3D graphics, a cast overlaminate should be used. There is more of a stretch of the material with 3D applications, and any other type of material will not work correctly.
Cast vinyl and cast overlaminate are the most long-lasting combination of the materials available for graphics. While the cost is higher with the cast materials, the durability and stability are better. Over time this cost difference will pay off with a longer-lasting sign, floor graphics, or mural, especially those that are placed in outdoor spaces. Cast overlaminates can also have several types of finishes, including glossy, satin, matte, or luster to match the desired appearance of the project.
Overlaminates are an important finishing touch for any type of graphics or signs. Protect your investment with a quality overlaminate that will stand the test of weather, wear, and time.
There are several types of overlaminates to choose from, so consider the use, placement, and look that you’d like as you discuss the options with your vendor or graphic designer.
Vehicle wraps are a tried and true effective way to get the word out about your business. Once you’ve had the wrap installed, the advertisement will pay for itself over time with the exposure to many types of people who may not have otherwise known about your services. The advertisement is working for you round the clock no matter where your vehicle is driving or even if it’s parked.
Wraps are not exclusively for business owners. They can be used by anyone who wants to upgrade their vehicle with a bold design or even just to change the car’s color.
A recent exciting development is the use of tuning film. This essentially replaces the need for a car to be repainted. A full or partial wrap can be used, with many color and finish options to make your vehicle look as good as new.
Certain textured wraps are only meant to be used as a partial wrap. For a full wrap, the look is very precise, almost exactly like paint, and must be applied carefully by a certified installer.
Vehicle wraps come in two different types: cast or calendared. Cast is a more recommended material for a wrap because the dimensional stability is better. This means that the wrap is more supple and will work with the curves of the vehicle. It also offers more options and is longer-lasting than a calendared wrap.
Choose a trusted brand and a certified installer.
There are many brands to choose from, but, for the best result, use a recommended brand that has a proven record of successful installation and durability.
Installing a vehicle wrap is a technical process and requires training. Any reputable business will have a portfolio of previous work and examples to show potential customers. Insist on seeing reviews and ask for recommendations from friends or other business owners.
If you plan to add a vehicle wrap for advertising, remember that it is best to keep it simple. Too much wording or very busy graphics, a too small font size, or a hard-to-read font will completely defeat the purpose of the wrap. People will glance at the vehicle when it is moving and when it is parked, so a simple, clear message tends to be most effective.
Quality design and materials over quantity of advertising words or pictures will get your vehicle noticed. Vehicle wraps are the solution to rejuvenating an old car’s finish, adding an eclectic design, or advertising a business.
The signage industry is very competitive and demanding; clients are always on the lookout for new and creative ways to promote their brand. This means that no surface should be off-limits for graphics applications. Thanks to new advancements in wide format print media, today’s high-tack vinyl does not disappoint.
Things to Consider when Choosing High-Tack Print Media
- How well does it hold up against the outdoor elements such as sun, rain, and snow?
- What is the outdoor durability rating?
- What is the intended application? Will it be exposed to high-heat, heavy wear, outside elements?
- Will it need extra protection provided by an overlaminate?
Applications for High-Tack Vinyl
Innovative new products such as Mactac’s REBEL X-treme offers a virtually limitless realm of opportunity. It’s designed to provide a permanent graphics solution for vehicles, floors, flat wall surfaces, screen-printed labels, decals, markings, point-of-purchase displays and signs for indoor and outdoor use.
High-Heat Applications – Perhaps the most impressive feature of high-performance high-tack vinyl is its ability to forge a permanent bond with good resistance to heat. This means it can be used on metal surfaces that may become hot from sun exposure or from being near an engine. A good economical product for applications like this is Mactac REBEL® RB528H High Tack Permanent Adhesive https://davinci-technologies.com/product/mactac-rebel-rb528h-high-tack/
Sidewalks and Floor Surfaces – Even a sidewalk can be used with High-Tack Inkjet Vinyl signs. So long as the area has been cleaned and allowed to dry beforehand, your vinyl will stick to it successfully and endure foot traffic without losing integrity.
Art and Decorative – High-Tack Inkjet Vinyl has even branched out of the professional business world and moved into the private domain, creating a myriad of aesthetically stunning works of art that decorate both private homes and public buildings.
Installation and Surface Prep
Installation is best left to a professional for this particular media. Since the adhesive is designed to be permanent, you’ll only get one shot for placement. On the plus side, it will stick to any surface and needs little preparation before use, only a thorough cleaning of the targeted area. Imperfections and loose particles binding to the high tack will impact its long-term stability.
Not all high-tack inkjet media is made equal. Some products are designed to last a few seasons. Others will remain for many years. It really depends on the adhesive and whether or not the graphic is laminated for added protection. When selecting a permanent vinyl with a high-tack adhesive, make you know as much as possible about the application – and if you have questions, do not hesitate to ask your supplier of wide format print media.
Maintaining your large format printer ensures that jobs are completed on-time and prints are of the highest quality.
Updated: 6/14/2018 – Your wide format printer will only work well if it is properly maintained. When you rely on your printer for your business, regular maintenance is vital. It is the kind of thing best done preventatively and regularly, instead of waiting for something to go wrong.
To keep your wide format printer functioning well for a long time to come, follow these tips for print head cleaning and more. You will also find a well-maintained printer makes better prints!
Supplies for Printer Maintenance
Have these supplies in stock for maintenance and repair. Each one plays an important role.
- Gloves: Wear latex or nitrile gloves when performing printer maintenance. It is important to avoid direct contact with chemicals such as ink and cleaning solvents.
- Eye Protection: Similarly, safety goggles protect your eyes. Just in case printer ink or other solvents splash, you will be glad you have the coverage!
- Shop Wipes / Industrial Wipes: Paper towels are a must-have for quick clean up of any spills or messes.
- Print Swabs: Print head swabs are one of the most important supplies to have on hand. These are used to clean the hard to reach areas of your wide format printer. When you use print swabs you can extend the life of your print heads and improve print quality.
- Print Head Wipes: Use a polyester, lint-free wipe, with attributes similar to those of cleanroom wipes. Use these to clean print heads and other sensitive materials and areas of the printer.
- Spray Bottle: Use this for careful, accurate spraying of your cleaning solvent. You should always refer to your specific printer manual for acceptable cleaning solvents.
Referring to Your Manual
The manual for your printer will give you specific instructions for maintenance. This includes how often you should clean and maintain your printer. It will also let you know which supplies and cleaners suit your specific machine. While some of these products are universal, like safety goggles and gloves, others will change with your printer make and model.
Other Maintenance Considerations
Factors like the environment in which your printer lives impact maintenance and cleaning. Think about the operating temperature and humidity — higher or lower levels can change your printer’s efficiency. The cleanliness of the area also matters.
Have questions regarding this topic? Leave a comment below to start the discussion.
Mactac has announced improvements to their line of PERMACOLOR ColorGard LUV overlaminates. Already considered to be some of the best laminating films on the market, the improvements elevates this product into an even highly level of performance. ColorGard LUV films offer protection from abrasion, moisture and other potentially damaging effects in both indoor and outdoor environments. Additionally, as an added benefit these films enhance the vibrancy of the graphic.
Among the new improvements are:
- Increased outdoor durability up to 5 years
- Color shift resistance
- ColorGard LUV films now have unmatched superior adhesion and wet-out over challenging UV inkjet prints
- Photographic prints
- UV screen printed images
- Latex, Solvent, Eco-solvent and Water-based Inkjet AND especially UV inkjet prints
Why Use High-Performance Laminating Films?
Laminating are used to protect printed graphics from light, dirt and moisture both indoors and outdoors. It should also be known that not all laminating films are created equal. Low-grade laminating films can bubble, crack, warp, and cause graphics to fade. A high-performance overlaminate, such as PERMACOLOR ColorGard LUV by Mactac offers UV protection, superior flexibility/conformability, superior adhesion, long-term protection, and graphic enhancement.
Learn more about PERMACOLOR LUV Overlaminates
Pickup trucks are used across a wide variety of service and construction based businesses. Unfortunately, very few of these businesses utilize their pickup trucks as an effective advertising tool. Well-executed vinyl wraps grab the attention of viewers and provide continuous marketing your business, as long as the vehicle is visible to the public.
Here are several effective pickup truck wrap designs:
Reflective vinyl is an effective material for a variety of signage applications including street signs, vehicles, and windows. It’s available from a variety of manufacturers such as Mactac Graphic Products and 3M with each type offering a variety of unique reflective qualities. Here are several effective examples of reflective vinyl:
We gathered several creative examples of unique and unconventional wrap applications:
Graphics that give the illusion of anything more than 2D are becoming more common in the advertising industry. The reason behind this is simple – anything that causes a double take is effective marketing. 3D vehicle wraps are wraps that make the viewer believe there is something more going, either inside or out of the vehicle. We gathered some images of what we believe are the most effect 3D vehicle wrap designs.
1. Corrugated metal for an industrial look. Use as a full wrap pattern or for accent areas. Seamless continuous vector pattern. Image ID: ISS_0956_00060 via SignElements
2. Seamless wood pattern – Use as a full wrap pattern or for accent areas. Seamless continuous vector pattern. Image ID: ING_19051_00756 via SignElements
3. Space / Galaxy Wrap – Full wrap template. Image ID: f-wraps0012 via SignElements
4. Corroded Metal Industrial Wrap – Full wrap template. Image ID:f-wraps0019 via SignElements
5. Blue Lightning Bolts / Electrical Wrap – Full wrap template. Image ID:f-wraps0010 via SignElements
6. Seamless Black & White Floral Pattern – Seamless vector pattern can be used as a full wrap or as an element to a design. Image ID: 02B37591 via SignElements