By Melissa Donovan
Today’s digital flatbeds offer specialty ink capabilities such as white, primer, and varnish. In addition to printing directly on traditional rigid stock, clear plastics are also an option. High-end applications in retail environments to décor in public or personal living areas benefit from this capability. Standout promotional material and unique artwork differentiate and individualize the end user.
Many manufacturers offer clear, rigid plastic material to cater to these increasing requests. The substrates are optimized for digital ink sets and available in dimensions and thicknesses that work best with flatbed printers. Included below are some of the options currently available.
A&C Plastics, Inc. stocks extruded, cell cast, and continuous clear acrylic sheets in a variety of sizes from 0.039 to three inches thick and 30 to 108 inches in width. One of its popular lines is Acrylite GP, a cell cast acrylic sheet featuring optical characteristics, thickness tolerances, light stability, and low internal stress levels. Typical applications for Acrylite GP include retail displays, signage, sports arenas, and decorative paneling.
Altuglas International, part of Arkema Group, offers Altuglas acrylic sheets, available in clear options. Its light transmission is 92 percent, glass light transmission 90 percent, and polycarbonate light transmission 84 to 89 percent. Lightweight, Altuglas is resistant to heat, UV rays, and many chemical agents.
Coroplast, Inc. offers CoroClear, a high-clarity corrugated plastic sheet used in graphics, packaging, and industrial application. The media is available in four millimeter thicknesses in standard 48×96-inch format. It is ideal for backlit signage graphics, packaging, construction, and agriculture.
Eastsign International Ltd. sells UV-printable clear acrylic sheets made up of 100 percent PMMA. They are sold in custom sizes, but stock dimensions are available up to 1.22×2.44 meters. PS sheets print with eco-solvent, solvent, and UV ink sets. Made up of polystyrene, the PS clear option is sold in thicknesses ranging from 0.33 to 5.5 millimeters. Custom sizes are offered, but maximum dimensions are 1.22×2.44 meters.
Palram International manufactures Palclear, a flat transparent PVC sheet. It offers excellent resistance to chemicals, high light transmission, water clear clarity, and optional high-impact and UV resistance. Thickness and dimensions range depending on the product in the Palclear line. The following make up the portfolio—Palclear Water Clear, Palclear Bluish, Palclear UV, Palclear Hi, Palclear Embossed, Palclear Matte, and Palclear Diffuser.
Piedmont Plastics distributes Lucite acrylic, a lightweight durable alternative to glass. It features a clarity similar to glass but with a higher impact resistance. Available in a range of thicknesses, from 1/16 and 3/8 millimeters, Piedmont offers the product in standard sheet sizes such as 48×72 and 48×96 inches.
Plaskolite, Inc.’s most popular digital product is Optix DA, specifically designed to provide optimal adhesion of UV curing inks without adhesion promoters. Available in clear, its thickness ranges from 0.060 to 0.236 inches. It is offered in 48×96-inch sheet sizes.
PolyPrime Imperial offers ProMotion, a UV printable and recyclable clear polypropylene. It available in sheet stocks of maximum 50 inches in width by 96 inches in length.
Primex Plastics Corporation’s Digi-Hips is engineered for digital printing, specifically UV and solvent based ink systems. The styrene product features added UV inhibiting, a higher dyne level, and improved impact. It is available in both custom and standard sizes and colors, including clear.
Clear products are an integral part of any flatbed printer’s arsenal. With more end users looking for a differentiator to help them standout from the competition, it is important that print providers rely on specialty ink capabilities on clear rigid sheets to enhance applications.
Dec2015, Digital Output DOCL1512