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Extreme Wall Wraps

Wallcoverings Take the Ice

By Melissa Donovan

Digitally printed wallcoverings need to be durable, withstanding a variety of environments. Air temperature and excessive handling wears down a print. The type of wall the application is installed on effects intended life. Print service providers (PSPs) talented in wallcovering design, print, and install rely on media advancements to create successful wallcoverings for customers.


Photo Finish

Quality 1 Hr. Foto/SPX Sports, located in Mankato, MN, got its start in 1982. Strictly offering photo finishing, all signs were vector and billboards hand painted. It then became heavily involved in digital photography. With the high-resolution capabilities of its cameras, the company realized the potential of big print. Working with clients who were looking to do more than basic pictures, Quality 1 Hr. Foto’s wide format services evolved.


Its SPX Sports division offers banners, signs, floor graphics, trade show graphics, window decals, wallcoverings, brochures, postcards, and business cards. The company specializes in sporting photography—from K through 12 to community events, and many projects at the collegiate level.


For example, the PSP regularly works with Gustavus Adolphus College and Minnesota State University (MSU) to create graphics for their sporting arenas, practice areas, and locker rooms. Other items that might be created are senior gifts, which take on very different forms, for example wrapped basketballs or soccer balls. Wall graphics are commonly found in locker rooms, which Brian Fowler, owner, Quality 1 Hr. Foto, says boost team morale.


“We take something that doesn’t look good and refresh it by covering the areas that need attention. It visually celebrates teams’ successes,” he continues. The PSP installs the graphics. It relies on a Roland DGA Corporation VersaCAMM VS-640 with eco-solvent ink for its printing needs.


A large supporter of 3M Commercial Graphics’ media selection, Fowler finds the company’s commitment to its customers invaluable. Several applications have led to 3M technical staff coming out to installs with him to work with the media and ensure optimum performance.


Zeal for a New Product

Around February 2012 3M presented Quality 1 Hr. Foto with the opportunity to test the company’s new Envision Wrap Films portfolio. 3M Envision Print Wrap Film 480Cv3 features high application versatility, adhering to multiple, various surfaces. The film is highly conformable, yet easy to remove. Due to its greater tensile strength, big pieces of the application come off one at a time without tearing.


3M also promotes the eco-friendliness of the Envision Wrap Films. This non-PVC media is manufactured using 60 percent less solvent and no added chlorine or other halogens during manufacturing. Fowler says the “green” factor of the film is a big selling point for his clients.


Extreme Ice

Perhaps the biggest benefit of 3M Envision Print Wrap Film 480Cv3 for Quality 1 Hr. Foto is the ability to install in extreme temperatures. The PSP recently completed a wallcovering for MSU’s men’s ice hockey team, the Mavericks. Their practice hockey rink, the All Season Arena, is an Olympic regulation size facility. In one corner the organization requested a graphic promoting past players, David Backes and Ryan Carter, that have now gone on to find success in the National Hockey League.


Graphics placed in the rink are susceptible to a range of extreme settings. “The ice is melted several times throughout the year, exposing it to high humidity. It is also exposed to frigid conditions once the ice is in,” explains Fowler. Due to these variations in temperature, the new 3M Envision Print Wrap Film 480Cv3 was an ideal fit.


When installing the new wrap film, if it’s warm, it doesn’t become too soft or stretch out of control. In cooler atmospheres, the film remains soft and won’t become brittle or tear. In addition, once applied, the film offers protection again UV rays, high temperatures, and acid dew. For the Mavericks installation in particular, the material was easy to work with.


The final wallcovering application included two separate sides at 12x24 feet each. In addition, a graphic placed on painted sheet rock above offices also located in the building was created with 3M Scotchcal Graphic Film Series IJ40. A bulkhead below, made up of painted steel I-beam, was wrapped using 3M Controltac Graphic Film IJ180.

Darren Blue, associate head coach, Mavericks men’s hockey, MSU, says the graphic is influential. “The work not only upgraded the appearance of our facility, but the wallcovering is a visual that drives the players to work towards a successful future.” Fowler looks forward to continuing work with 3M Envision Print Wrap Film 480Cv3. 

Jan2013, Digital Output

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