About vinyl films
The advancement of computer technology over the past 20 years has changed the way the sign industry produces many of its signs. Computer-cut self adhesive vinyl lettering and digital printing now replaces many of the projects we used to paint by hand, although there are still many applications where traditional signwriting is the best option to fulfill a task.
Some of the many uses of computer-cut self-adhesive vinyl lettering include:
- Long &l; short term signage
- Vehicle graphics
- Retail & Commercial shop signs
- Factory signage
- Window graphics
- Menu boards
Self-adhesive vinyl – what is it?
There are literally hundreds of various types and grades of self-adhesive vinyl films for signmaking, resulting in a wide range of options that include expected life, cost, and suitability for the required project.
Basically, there are short-term vinyls that will last only around 18 months before they start to deteriorate, and at the other end of the scale we have filmd that will last for 12 or more years and still look like new.
Generally, the better quality vinyls are thinner and much more conformable to curves and the process by which they are made means they will not shrink. This is exactly what is needed for many vehicle graphics applications due to the body styles and ridges.
Customers need to be aware of cheaper films and the impact they have on the long-term life of their sign. Is it really a wise business decision to save a few dollars on an inferior product now, only to have it fall apart and deteriorate in the future? Customers need and deserve value for their advertising dollar, and there is no value in paying for something that fails to meet its expectations.
Likewise, where a short-term promotional sign is required, there is no need to spend more for a material that will last 7 years when the sign needs only to last 7 weeks!
Once a material is selected the graphics are then cut into the vinyl with a computerised plotter. After this is completed the waste material outside the required graphic is peeled away and discarded before a carrier tape, or application tape is used to pick the graphics up off the backing and transfer them to the sign project.
Although the ‘sticking-on’ stage can sometimes be relatively quick, quite a lot of time is often spent setting up the required graphics on the computer software program.
Computer-cut vinyl graphics can be cut in many sizes. All the lettering is custom made for each particular sign project. The smallest lettering that can be cut is around 5mm high, depending on the letter style. The rolls of vinyl we use are 600mm wide meaning that lettering can be cut in one piece up to this height. We can however use the computer to cut larger lettering and simply join the pieces of the graphics together with a small overlap.
There are literally hundreds of colours available in self-adhesive vinyl. Each manufacturer has a range of colours resulting in quite a large choice for the customer.
There are also many specialised products that are available in vinyl. Some of these include:
- Reflective vinyls that reflect light
- Neon & fluorescent vinyls
- Metallics, Lustre & Pearl vinyls
- Metalised polyesters (Mirror Vinyls)
- Marble, Wood-grain & Holographicsvinyls
- Simulated etched-glass vinyl for glass decoration
- Brushed aluminium & Simulated chequer-plate steel
- Blackboard Vinyl & Dry Erase vinyl
- Phosphorescent – glow in the dark vinyl
- Anti Graffiti Vinyl