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Vinyl Media

An All-Purpose—and Specialty—Media Option

by Gretchen A. Peck

Part 2 of a 4-part Series

No matter the project, no matter the budget, there’s a vinyl substrate to do the job beautifully. Vinyl substrates may seem "a dime, a dozen," with more than a hundred different variations of the substrate available, but there’s good reason for the diverse product landscape: The uses and applications in demand in the wide format digital print market are equally as diverse.

There are plenty of all-purpose vinyl substrates that are well-suited to any number of print intentions and types of inks and print technologies. The following provides a narrow snapshot of versatile solutions.

Agfa :AgfaJet Premium Vinyl (PV) is a calendared vinyl with self-adhesive backing; well-suited to both indoor and outdoor applications; features a water-resistant coating; and may be used with dye or pigmented inks.

Avery Dennison’s Avery Graphics Media is an extensive selection of pressure-sensitive, adhesive-backed media, films, and scrim banner materials.

BF Inkjet Media’s SignMaster Family comprises a range of indoor and outdoor vinyl solutions, including opaque scrim vinyl, and white, matte adhesive-backed vinyls.

CLEAR FOCUS Imaging ClassicVue is the most popular substrate on the supplier’s menu of media. An uncoated, perforated vinyl film, compatible with solvent inkjet, UV-curable, screen, thermal transfer, and e-stat printing technologies. Ideally suited for vehicle window wraps and window signage for POP/retail/commercial applications.

Creative Banner Assemblies’ InteliCoat Magic is a 10-ounce scrim, reinforced banner vinyl; made with a layer of polyester scrim embedded between layers of PVC. Suitable for indoor and outdoor banners; compatible with dye and pigmented inks.

Dietzgen’s Magellan 900 is a bright white scrim vinyl banner material with a waterproof matte coating; comprises a polyester fabric between two layers of vinyl for tear resistance; compatible with thermal and piezo inkjet printers, as well as dye or pigmented inks.

Dr. Graphix Imaging TR61 Universal Outdoor Matte is a tear-resistant banner material compatible with most dye, pigmented, and solvent-based inks; offers superior water resistance without lamination; available in 24-, 36-, 42-, 50-, and 60-inch-wide rolls.

FDC Graphic Films offers a full range of versatile vinyls, including cast, metallic, and calendared products.

Graphics One GO 8 Mil PolyPro Gloss/Matte/Satin is an economical media that offers excellent tear resistance and durability. With a universal coating, the substrate is compatible with dye and pigmented inks, as well as thermal and piezo printers.

HEXIS SUPTAC is a 2.7mil high-performance vinyl film with eight- to ten-year outdoor durability; available in 83 colors.

MACtac IMAGin JT5000 Series Digital Media is compatible with a wide range of OEM and after-market inks; tested and approved by Scitex, VUTEk, Mimaki, and other print-engine manufacturers. Designed for solvent/UV inkjet applications, including indoor signage, outdoor billboards, fleet marketing, and building wraps. Applies to virtually any surface—flat or contoured—and is available in a range of widths up to 79 inches.

Neschen Americas Inkjet Solvent Vinyl utilize a permanent adhesive technology that enables them to adhere well to flat surfaces, or those with simple curves. The 3.2-mil calendared and monomeric vinyls are compatible with solvent inkjet solutions from Mimaki, Mutoh, Roland, Seiko, and others.

Oracal 3551 is a calendared PVC inkjet media with a permanent adhesive and seven-year lifespan.

Que-Media Monarch Backlit is a water-resistant scrim vinyl for outdoor applications; features a quick-dry coating designed to accept heavy ink coverage; available in 36-, 50-, and 60-inch widths.

Roland Vinyl Media is a comprehensive family of vinyl solutions, including high-gloss, water-fast, premium cast, and clear-adhesive vinyls, among others.

Sihl Digital Imaging 3988 Classic Vinyl is a white, self-adhesive, matte vinyl featuring a permanent, solvent-based adhesive with a siliconized kraft liner; WeatherPro certified and compatible with dye and pigmented inks. Recommended for use with select printers from HP, Mutoh, Roland, Encad, Epson, Mimaki, and Xerox.

Xerox Self-Adhesive Vinyl is available in several widths—24, 36, 42, and 60 inches wide.

Something Special
If a special project demands a special substrate, sign-shop owners might consider a specialty vinyl to do the job.

Arlon, for example, makes a 2-mil. cast vinyl that simulates an etched—or, sandblasted—appearance. Available in clear and silver, the manufacturer says it’s an ideal choice for both interior and exterior applications, such as windows, mirrors, and displays.

For wallcoverings—borders, murals, and indoor banners—Cooley Group developed COLLFLEX dreamscape, a vinyl substrate available in 12 standard textured surfaces, as well as a number of custom finishes. The 20-ounce vinyl materials may be used with most solvent, eco-solvent, and UV-curable print solutions.

FLEXcon offers some unique vinyl substrates. SHIMMERcal, for example—a metallic substrate available in polyester and vinyl metal-flake films—is often used to add pop to POP displays.

GBC’s Octiva Lo-Melt, available in 38"x250’ rolls, is a textured vinyl that simulates printing on canvas. And the company also offers SurePrint Window Vinyl, a perforated, calendared substrate with a black adhesive for installations that require one-way viewing and privacy.

KAPCO Graphic Products developed Ultra Cast Vinyl, a 2-mil. cast vinyl film with a permanent, clear, acrylic, pressure-sensitive adhesive. It has a seven-year outdoor life expectancy, and is available in a veritable rainbow of colors.

For an intense burst of color, KAPCO also has a line of fluorescent cast vinyl films in six colors. Designed for short-term exterior life, the product conforms best to flat surfaces.

Mutoh America promotes its Mutoh Diamond Shield 20-mil. Reflective Banner as a truly unique media for billboards, lamp-post banners, and other outdoor applications. The material has a high reflectivity index, enabling the print to be seen in low-light conditions. Ambient lighting is said to cause a flashing effect that naturally attracts attention. The substrate is water-resistant and boasts a one-year outdoor life expectancy with no lamination.

As with most vinyl media, printers may apply a pressure-sensitive laminate film or liquid laminate to extend the life of the print even longer.

Don’t miss the next issue of Digital Queue! Part 3 of this series profiles a shop that produces vinyl graphics.

Click here to read Part 1 of this exclusive online series, Vinyl, Vinyl Everywhere

Apr2007, Digital Output

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