Sign & Digital Graphics

October '18

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24 • October 2018 • E L E C T RI C SI G N A G E SI G N & DI GI T A L G R A P HI C S I s that neon?" I ask my wife and friends during lunch, pointing to so me letter- ing on the wall of the restaurant. They look back at me with so me be wilder- ment, and about half say yes and half say no. Sensing that it was a trick question, my wife studied the sign in so me detail before ans wering " Yes." I spend the next 10 minutes studying it. I, like many of you, e mbarrass my friends and fa mily by scrutinizing sig- nage up close, running my nger along an edge, studying the lighting, taking multiple pictures. I learned this annoy - ing habit fro m my father, who no doubt learned it fro m his father. Turns out it was not neon, but a " ex" L E D tube product. I kne w that before I asked, but I was curious what "nor mal," non-sign industry folks would say. Are these ex products a viable replace ment for traditional neon signage applications? In a word, yes. And not only because they look si milar. Flex products are the best of both worlds —you get the many bene ts of L E D technology, but with the "look and feel" of neon. Let's take a look at this broad category of " ex" L E D tube products: what are they, ho w they're being used in the indus- try, ho w they're si milar to and different fro m neon, and where they're going. Is this so mething your shop should offer? Fl e x D e niti o n " Flex" is a broad ter m to de ne the category of products where exible L E D circuit boards or tapes are mounted with 20-40 s mall L E D s per foot with a dif- fusing material such as P V C, silicone, or plastic. Most ex products are designed in a reasonably si milar fashion. The tight pitch of the L E D s and the diffusion mate- rials hide individual points of light. They can be easily handled and manipulated, even when turned on, when they are slightly war m to the touch. Flex LED ' Neon' Products: LE D lighting manufacturers no w offer a plethora of prod- ucts that help preserve the unique look of neon B Y J E F F F A S S E T T Jeff Fassett is the president of Aries Graphics International. He can be reached at jeff @aries-graphics. co m. " F L E XI B L E L E D T U B E P R O D U C T S

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