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Laminate Roundup

Differentiating Between Products

Part 2 of 4

By Kim Crowley

Laminates provide protection and polish to large format graphics. There is an array of laminate options available. Finding the proper fit depends on longevity, media and ink, budget, and display of the print. Here, laminate manufacturers share details of their newest and most popular laminates.

3M Graphics Market Center
3M Screen Print UV Gloss Clear 9720i is a high-performance, UV-curable clear coat designed for use on most 3M brand graphic films printed with piezo inkjet inks or screenprint inks. The weather-resistant coat is for both indoor and outdoor graphics. It is designed to provide a tough, flexible, chemical-resistant and abrasion-resistant coating on flat, corrugated, or riveted applications.

The 3M Scotchcal Overlaminate line features gloss, luster, matte, and clear finishes. 3M Scotchcal Gloss Overlaminate 8518 is an industry standard for wraps, offering a cast conforming overlaminate with unsurpassed gloss for a wet paint look. 3M Scotchcal Gloss Overlaminate 8580 is a new super cast film. It features advanced conformability and lifting resistance on wraps with deep channels and difficult curves. This product is for use with 3M Controltac Wrap Film with Comply v3 Adhesive IJ380Cv3. 3M Scotchcal Ultra-Matte Overlaminate 8915 is a cast overlaminate that provides a unique, tough-looking finish on vehicle and motorcycle wraps. 3M Scotchcal Matte Overlaminate 3647 is a tough, durable, slip-resistant overlaminate for sidewalk graphics. 3M Scotchcal Luster Overlaminate 3645 is a slip-resistant overlaminate used for interior floor graphics.

Advanced Greig Laminator, Inc. (AGL)
AGL offers a range of thermal and pressure-sensitive laminates, laminators, adhesives, cutters, and more. The most popular laminate is the Cover-Rite V6 L luster overlaminate. AGL’s Cover-Rite V2 series is the company’s newest laminate. The film is a high-performance cast vinyl designed to eliminate stretching and distorting of the print during the lamination process, normally caused by too much tension.

Arlon, Inc.
All Arlon laminates are pressure-sensitive and do not require heat when applied. The company’s popular laminates include Series 3200, 3220, and 3420. Series 3200 is a 2-mil cast optically clear cast overlaminate. Optically clear laminates are most often used to protect perforated window film graphics and reflective graphics. Series 3220 is a 2-mil cast all-purpose laminate commonly used to protect a wide range of digital prints. Series 3420 is a 3-mil satin calendered laminate. This is an intermediate product ideal for cost conscious jobs that are applied to flat surfaces.

Arlon also offers an anti-graffiti laminate—Series 3350—for graphics placed in areas at high risk for vandalism, such as subways, malls, or bus shelters. The material has a ten year warranty when unprinted and a two year extended warranty for digital prints.

Avery Graphics
Avery offers a wide range of cast, high-performance, and promotional calendered overlaminate products with gloss, matte, and luster finishes.

The company says its cast overlaminates are highly conformable and are recommended for use with complex curves and rivets, especially on vehicle and fleet wraps. DOL 1560 Optically Clear is ideal for use with perforated window films, where optical clarity is important. DOL 1060 has a high-gloss finish for a glossy wet paint look. DOL 1360 3D Gloss is an ultra-conformable, thin 1.3-mil overlaminate.

Avery Graphics’ high performance calendered products—DOL 2060 Gloss, DOL 2070 Luster, and DOL 2080 Matte—are ideal for flat and simple curve outdoor applications like sports stadiums and high traffic indoor areas such as movie theaters.

The promotional calendered line—DOL 3060 Gloss, DOL 3070 Luster, and DOL 3080 Matte—is recommended for short-term campaigns.

DOL 6060 Anti-Graffiti is a durable, polyester overlaminate designed to protect indoor and outdoor graphics against chemical and mechanical damage.

BullDog Digital Imaging Products
BullDog focuses on liquid laminates for canvas and fine art prints. BullDog Ultra is a solvent coating suitable for gloss-type canvases. BullDog AquaLam is the company’s newest coating. BullDog AquaLam is developed specifically for water resistant canvas types.

Clear Focus Imaging, Inc.
Clear Focus finishing products are designed to maintain visibility through the company’s One Way Vision window graphics films. They can also be used to laminate other types of graphics.

ClearLam and CurvaLam are pressure-sensitive, cold overlaminating films. CurvaLam is Clear Focus’ most popular overlaminate. The optically clear, cast, conformable PVC overlaminating film is designed for use on flat or simple-curved surfaces. Originally offered in 36- and 54-inch wide by100-foot rolls, the product was recently introduced in 60-inch rolls to pair with a new 60-inch Clear Focus SuperVue window film. More conformable than the polyester ClearLam, CurvaLam is recommended for vehicle window, retail store, and graphic applications. ClearLam is used for graphics mounted on flat surfaces only.

PerfxCoat is an optically clear protective coating that lays on top of the graphics and does not bridge the film’s holes. PerfxCoat is 0.2-mil thick, so it does not increase the weight or thickness of the graphics. It is available in 54-inch by 300-foot rolls and is applied using a hot roll laminator. This product is recommended for graphics printed with solvent-based inks.

Clearstar LP
Clearstar’s core products include liquid laminates and inks for large and grand format digital printing. Production Clear is developed for the growing UV-curable market. Production Clear shows great adhesion over most UV-curable inks and hard to coat substrates. It is designed to offer abrasion resistance and to hide bi-directional lines associated with UV printing. Production Clear also works with the eco-solvent ink, true solvent inks, and is ideal for use with rigid substrates.

DreamGuard Protex3 is a water-based liquid laminate applied with a paint roller, spray, or machine. It is formulated to dry quickly and provide exceptional scratch and abrasion protection to vinyl surfaces. DreamGuard is available satin, matte, and gloss finishes, in one-pint samples, one gallon, five gallons, and a 55-gallon drum.

Drytac Corpration
The most recent addition to Drytac’s product line is Interlam EcoMatt, a completely biodegradable laminate made from cornstarch.

Drytac offers is Protac Emerytex PVC overlaminate, which provides a scuff-resistant pebble texture for a non-glare look without sacrificing color gamut. These properties make it ideal for trade show and floor graphics, mouse pads, graphic counter mats, and simulated frosted or etched glass. Emerytex is available in solvent and water-based PSA and heatset adhesive types. Emerytex is available in white for direct printing.

FDC Graphic Films, Inc.
FDC provides a broad line of laminates suitable for interior and exterior signage, vehicles, and common POP applications, including cast and calendered films for everyday use as well as specialty laminates for applications like floor graphics and vehicle wraps.

FDC’s newest laminates are Series 7004 and 7005. Series 7004 is a premium grade cast laminate with an optically clear adhesive. It is essential for laminating window graphics, high-resolution images, and reflective films. Series 7005 is a polypropylene laminate that is cost-effective for short-term, flat applications. The product features a high-gloss finish, and it can be substituted for a dry erase laminate targeted for limited duty use.

GBC, an ACCO Brands Company
GBC’s Arctic pressure-sensitive films come in a variety of finishes including gloss, matte, luster, and textured. Arctic matte overlaminates, available up to 79 inches in width, are ideal for highly reflective applications such as trade show and POP graphics. Arctic gloss is a crystal clear PVC substrate offering both moisture and UV resistance for indoor signage and POP displays. This product is available in rolls up to 71 inches wide and can be purchased in Arctic Photo Gloss or Arctic White Erase options. GBC recommends the Arctic Outdoor film line for applications ranging from vehicle wraps to billboard signage.

Hexis manufactures a full line of graphic vinyl and digital printing media for sign making and vehicle markings. The company’s most popular laminate is currently the cast matte PC30M2. The PC30M2 is a 1.2-mil laminate designed for use on cast vinyl and applications on complex curved and corrugated surfaces. PC30M2 features a sturdy 145g/m2 release liner combined with clear acrylic solvent-based adhesive with UV-filter, designed to protect against color fade and environmental aggressions. The laminate has an outdoor durability of three to five years depending on the substrate and is available in rolls up to 154 inches wide.

LexJet’s T-Flex is a 5-mil pressure-sensitive laminate, excellent for high-production runs on films, particularly continuous-tone LightJet prints.

All of LexJet’s laminates come with UV inhibitors, and many come with PreLume technology. PreLume technology visually enhances graphic output by providing a white point that is brighter, whiter, and lasts longer than substrates whitened with typical optical brighteners.

LexJet is also in the final testing phases for a sustainable laminate that will be introduced in the next few months. The laminate will utilize a water-based adhesive and a polypropylene base material that, when combined with a printable polypropylene, provides print shops with a fully-recyclable solution.

Lumina Coatings International Inc.
Lumina manufactures and sells products for use in the inkjet print industry including liquid laminates, laminators, and dryer systems. Two of the company’s liquid laminates are AquaResist and AquaCryl. The laminates are available in one, five, and 55-gallon containers, with gloss, satin, or matte finishes. Lumina product highlights include low volatile organic compounds and a cost-effective price point—AquaCryl’s price is listed as pennies per square foot.

AquaResist is an anti-graffiti coating that resists spray paint and permanent felt marker. The non-yellowing product can be pigmented for color applications. It has a five year durability rating, and is dry to the touch in 30 to 60 minutes.

AquaCryl is a water-based, highly flexible liquid laminate used in fine art finishing applications. The laminate provides UV protection, image clarity, and enhancement on most aqueous, pigmented, solvent, eco-solvent, and UV-curable inkjet printed, water-resistant substrates.

MACtac Graphic Products
Intermediate laminates from MACtac, such as ColorGard, are the company’s most popular, especially ColorGard CG7300. They are designed to offer an economical, enhanced, no-glare finish, and protect images from UV light and physical damage. These products are designed to adhere to and wet-out UV inkjet prints.  

MACtac’s 1.5-mil gloss and matte Permacolor RAYZor products improve conformability for easy vehicle wraps application. Permacolor PermaFlex and PermaGard Overlaminates are UL rated for flame resistance to meet and exceed building code requirements.

Neschen Americas
Neschen and Seal brand products are used to print, finish, and display graphics in a variety of commercial applications. SEAL Print Shield Floor Guard is a textured vinyl overlaminate that is UL listed for slip resistance. This feature makes it ideal for floor graphic applications, and it is often used for trade show graphics that encounter heavy traffic.

SEAL Write is a gloss, polypropylene, dry-erase laminate used for write-on-wipe-off applications such as calendars and restaurant menu boards.

Neschen filmolux PP gloss and satin matte are cast polypropylene laminates. The products are part of Neschen’s commitment to eco-friendly solutions. As with all polyolefins, they are a made from a byproduct of the oil refining process.

Neschen filmolx UV-E is a Tedlar overlaminate that offers the highest UV protection of any product in the Neschen range and is also graffiti resistant.

Optima International
Optima International offers liquid laminates and liquid laminators. Optima Millennium XE/Giclée Elixir is designed for commercial digital art and dye-sublimation. Optima Aqua Max II is a water-based, colorless, highly flexible, UV/LS/S fade resistant, water-resistant liquid laminate. Optima Aqua Max III is also available. Optima lists the price for liquid laminates at 12 cents per square foot.

Oracal USA
Oracal recently introduced ORAGUARD Series 293 Ultra Flexible Cast PVC Laminating Film. The 1-mil film is designed to work with ORALITE Series 5600 printable reflective film and with ORAJET Series 3551RA ultra calendered wrapping film.

Quality Media and Laminating Solutions (QMLS)
QMLS offers a number of large format print and finishing solutions. Instashield is a line of cold laminates in a variety of finishes and roll sizes. Instashield Gloss is a 1.5- or 3-mil polyester film coated with clear acrylic solvent adhesive and backed with a film release liner.

Instashield Dry Erase is a 2-mil Gloss polypropylene laminating film coated with an emulsion acrylic adhesive and backed with a paper release liner. The surface is specifically formulated for use with dry erase markers.

Instashield Graffiti Free is a durable laminate constructed of DuPont Tedlar. It is designed for superior UV protection and scratch resistance, washable with solvents and detergents.

The Harguard and Digiguard lines are thermal, PET laminates. These products come in many widths and finishes. Options include gloss, matte, satin, diamond, dry erase, UV luster, and velvet.

Ritrama, Inc.
Ritrama’s cast vinyl gloss, matte, and luster pressure-sensitive overlaminates are designed to offer conformability and durability for vehicle wraps. Ritrama products are also used for floor graphics, counter mats, wall graphics, dry erase, and window graphics. They come in 54- and 60-inch by 150-foot rolls.

Products 3-8954, 3-8955, and 3-8956 are vinyl laminates with a five year warranty. 3-7845 is a PET laminate with a two year warranty. 3-7843 is an OPP laminate with a one year warranty.

R Tape Corporation
R Tape recently added two new product groupings to its Eclypse overlaminate line—polycarbonate overlaminates and patterned overlaminates. Eclypse polycarbonate overlaminates are available in 3-, 5-, 10-, and 15-mil polycarbonate. Polycarbonate films have a velvet texture, which helps eliminate reflections from overhead lights in a store or trade show environment. The polycarbonate films are thick and stiff. 

For information on R Tape’s new patterned overlaminates read part three of this series on enhancer laminates.

Triangle Digital INX Co.
Triangle’s longest standing protective clearcoat is ClearFlex. It is designed to give greater outdoor durability to solvent billboards by inhibiting fade from UV rays.

Triangle recently introduced two liquid laminates—Cristal Bond and ClearFlex ME. Cristal Bond is designed specifically for images printed with UV ink. ClearFlex ME is a water-based coating designed for the fleet industry, vehicle graphics, and other outdoor applications that require better resistance to chemicals and abrasion.

Laminates Last
The variety of laminates on the market is a bit overwhelming. What to use depends on the application and whether it will be used indoors or outdoors. Next week read about a second function of laminates, enhancer products that provide different shines and textures to a finished graphic.

Click here to read Part 1 of this exclusive online series, Armor and Appeal.

Feb2009, Digital Output

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