Sign & Digital Graphics

May '19

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • May 2019 • 45 Made out of polyurethane, PPF has a softer surface and is more durable than vinyl wrap. Because of its cushion-like quality, it is able to absorb the impact from rocks and debris and return to its original shape. "When you look at traditional wrap, vinyl by nature is fairly hard by comparison. It rips easily and doesn't take the impact," says Scot Smith, tech service representative for F L E X con Company, Inc., a manufacturer of PFF products based in Spencer, Massachusetts. "The beauty of this product and the downfall of this product is you can't see it. It will protect your paint indefi- nitely. It will never be scratched up. The downside is people don't want to pay for something they can't see. You're essentially buying an insurance policy." PPF has other qualities to protect the paint, such as a hydro- phobic coating to repel water and prevent debris from sticking. It also is pliable, while wrap material is rigid. "Polyurethane stretches a lot more than vinyl, so it's easier to work with and get into curved areas," Wood says. "When it stretches, it heals itself. It will absorb that surface stretch." PPF typically has a self-healing quality for quick recovery from minor scratches through heat or moisture, says Katie Johnson, global marketing manager for 3M based in St. Paul, Minnesota. To activate that quality, exposing the vehicle to direct sun, pouring on warm water or going through the car wash are some options, she says. The self-healing quality appears in the clear coat layer of PPF that often is made out of polyester. The clear or top coat has a glossy or matte appearance (resulting in a matte paint look), helps protect the paint from ultraviolet rays and is weather- and stain-resistant. "The porosity of polyurethane allows dirt particles and impu- rities into it and will stain over time," Scot says. "The top coat seals the pores in polyurethane." The Layers of PPF The top coat covers the polyurethane, which is thick to be able to handle the impact of debris and other objects. On the bottom side of the polyurethane is an acrylic mounting adhesive covered by a liner, also made out of polyester and removed dur- ing the installation process. All three layers typically are 8 mil thick with 6 mil for the polyurethane and 1.5 to 2 mil for the adhesive, while vinyl wrap typically is 3 mil thick for everything. "The adhesive is built so it can bond to the paint specifically," Johnson says. PPF comes in rolls with a cap sheet to cover and protect the material during transport and while it is in storage. 3M, for instance, offers rolls 12 to 60 inches in width and 50 and 100 feet of material, except the 48- to 60-inch rolls only come in 50 inches of material, Johnson says. Companies interested in the PPF include wrap shops, window tint companies, auto body shops, detail shops, graphics installers Xpel Inc. in San Antonio, Texas, demonstrates an installation of paint protection film on a Mclaren for Mclaren of Houston. Made out of polyurethane, PPF has a softer surface and is more durable than vinyl wrap.

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