Sign & Digital Graphics

October '19

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72 • October 2019 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S WRAPS DIGITAL GRAPHICS can cost a vehicle owner upwards of sev- eral thousand dollars to remove the wrap. In this scenario, nobody is happy. So, for a few hundred more dollars invested in these upgraded polyurethane wrap films that are designed to retain their elonga- tion or suppleness longer, this will help graphic removal go more smoothly, hence an overall lower cost to the vehicle owner." Consider costs more closely for a min- ute. It tends to naturally impact a deci- sion, whether it's when a shop is purchas- ing materials, or if an end user is deciding to employ a wrap shop's services. Shops may initially balk at an increased expense, but oftentimes a higher price will imply a greater level of quality. "With these improved more durable film features, comes a higher price tag, but it's important to understand and help commercial fleet managers, etc. to understand that there's a total cost of ownership associated with these wraps," explains Culverhouse. Costs of other non-film products that contribute to a successful wrap may also increase an overall price; however, it's the improvements in quality that wrap pro- fessionals should be emphasizing. "Inks and overlaminates have been getting better," states Monnot, "which can lead to an increase in lifespan of certain products." On top of that, research into the entire wrap solution is an important step to maintain the integrity of the film when paired with different printers, inks, laminates, surfaces and more. "We've been looking at the fact that some of the inks we provide have to be more conformable to match the materials that have been created to meet the changes in vehi- cles, which have even deeper recesses, for instance," says Cook. "In the particular case of UV inks, 3M developed flexible inks that can conform to the curves and recesses of modern vehicles." In many instances, product improve- ments stem from user response. It's an integral piece of development that can be initiated from direct feedback, trial and error, continuing education training (See page 73), or elsewhere. "We listen to feedback we receive from installers and other industry profes- sionals and take these items into consid- eration when advancing our technology," tells Culverhouse, "whether it's been developing more user-friendly, faster- installing materials, more durable, lon- ger-lasting materials, etc. We take time to know the industry, but we make greater efforts to understand printer and installer requirements." The Science of Installation When it comes to film application perhaps the most critical element of wrapping is the installation process. Each wrapper has his or her own technique and methodology to placing a panel of graphics accurately on the side of a vehicle (or other surface). "Back in the day, all applications were done using the wet method; or the use of liquids to help slide and position the vinyl accurately," explains Monnot. "It was messy and caused a variety of issues with improper evacuation of the applica- tion fluid." Today, film manufacturers have answered the call of installers, provid- ing cutting-edge products that sharpen the already meticulously crafty skills of wrap veterans to the brink of perfection. "Everybody wants a film that's faster to install and that will avoid re-work," Advances in film tech- nology, such as reposi- tionable and remove- able qualities, have improved installation accuracy. Image cour- tesy of ORAFOL. Image courtesy of 3M.

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