High-impact graphics not only grab attention, they enhance your company’s visual image – inside and out. Ensuring their optimal performance is essential!
“The key to maximizing the impact of your vinyl graphics starts with proper installation techniques,” explains Tobbias Day, Process Control Director for Muir Omni Graphics.
Prepping the Surface
The first step to a successful installation is prepping the surface.
“Before applying any graphic, the surface should be clean and free of dirt, oils, greases, weld spatter or other contaminants to ensure proper adhesion,” he said.
For lightly soiled surfaces, a 50:50 mixture of isopropyl alcohol (IPA) and water or Rapid Tac® application fluid are considered appropriate cleaning agents. Soapy water may also be used, but keep in mind it may leave soap residue behind, which can reduce adhesion.
Surfaces where heavy oils or greases are present should be cleaned with a degreasing agent such as heptanes, mineral spirits, or naphtha. After cleaning the soiled surface with a degreasing agent, follow up with either IPA and water or Rapid Tac® application fluid to remove the degreasing agent. Wipe the surface with a clean, lint-free paper towel to remove all contaminants and allow the surface to dry.
To ensure a smooth finish, be sure to eliminate imperfections like bumps or chipping on painted steel surfaces before applying graphics. And to prevent bubbling due to “out-gassing,” films applied to painted surfaces should be applied only after the paint has fully dried.
Temperature is another important consideration; the ideal range for applying graphics is 70°F to 100°F (21°C to 38°C).
“Initial application to surfaces at temperatures below 50°F (10°C) is not recommended for most pressure-sensitive adhesives because the adhesive becomes too firm to adhere readily,” Tobbias adds. But “once properly applied, low temperature holding is generally satisfactory.”
A final note about preparation: be sure to apply graphics in a dust-free environment whenever possible.
Installing Your Vinyl Graphics on Larger Panels and Pre-Masked/Pre-Spaced Graphics (not applicable to smaller safety and informational labels)
Before you begin the installation process, make sure you have the proper tools on hand. These include Rapid Tac®, a plastic application squeegee and a dry cloth.
Storing Your Graphics
Proper storage is also essential to ensuring the life of your graphic films and plates. Avoid storing films and plates in direct sunlight, moist or dirty conditions, or at temperatures above 38°C (100.4°F).
“Materials are guaranteed to retain their performance and properties for 24 months of storage if properly stored in a plastic bag at room temperature conditions of 72°F (22°C) and 50% relative humidity,” Tobbias said.
Films stored longer than 24 months should be visually inspected for deterioration or hardening of the product components before use. If they show signs of deterioration, they should be discarded.
“A good installation up front means your vinyl graphics will last and perform the way they’re supposed to,” he added.
For more information, call us at (309) 673-7034 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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