Sign & Digital Graphics

2016 WRAPS

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2 0 1 6 • WRAPS • 47 We need them for installers who care about quality installations, for vinyl manufacturers so their products per- form their best and for customers so their graphics look good and also last. And we need them for people who are new to the industry, so they can learn, do a great job and help us grow our industry. Having well-defined standards that set a benchmark, will lend respectability to our craft. In this article, I pick some of the most important wrap fundamentals and offer my thoughts on them. It is my hope to get you thinking about application standards, what they might look like and how they could ben- efit our industry. The fundamentals I've chosen to focus on are: vehicle inspection, vehicle preparation, graphic positioning and alignment, application, as well as trim- ming and finishing. Okay, let's break them down and get specific. Vehicle Inspection The first thing I suggest is to inspect the vehicle. Should we wrap any vehicle regardless of the paint condition? Or lack of paint? I vote no. The paint and body should be determined to be "wrap worthy" before anything else. Vinyl doesn't adhere well to rust or primer. I prefer OEM paint. I look for any signs of vehicle damage or paint work. That's not to say you can't wrap a vehicle that has been partially or totally repainted; but, I've had lots of problems with repainted vehicles. Vehicle Preparation Properly preparing a vehicle for wrapping definitely includes removing some parts and cleaning. Before I clean, I remove things that make the applica- tion more difficult or would cause me to stretch the vinyl more than necessary. Mirrors, door handles and rear windshield wipers are prime examples. However, some parts break easily or can be so difficult or time consuming to remove, so I end up working around them. Many car wrappers today hire out- side help to disassemble and re-assemble vehicles for them. Body shop technicians in your area are a good resource. This practice is most common for high-end vehicles getting color change wraps. I think we all agree cleaning is criti- cal. The surface needs to be super clean, completely dry and free of oil and dust. Where we may disagree is what to clean with and how to clean. Most installers clean with a spray bottle and one rag. This common tech- nique is more apt to spread the contami- nants evenly across the surface than it is to remove them. Another common error is using only one cleaning solution. Properly cleaning a vehicle surface is not a "one size fits all" situation. My policy is to use only cleaners and procedures recommended by vinyl manufacturers. These have become the "standards" recommended by the PDAA and UASG. Not only do they work well, they keep the warranty in force. There are two standards I recom- mend for cleaning: First, use cleaners that will dissolve the contaminants that are present. Proper cleaning may involve the use of more than one cleaning solution. For example, one for dirt and mud (deter- gent and water), one for tar and grease (a petroleum-based cleaner such as V&M Naptha or a phosphate-based degreaser like Zep's Orange Gel Degreaser); and always use 70 percent isopropyl rubbing alcohol as a final rinse. Second, dry each solution off before it evaporates. This is best accomplished by putting the solution in a bucket and using two towels (one wet and one dry). Dip one rag in the solution and wring Rob Ivers has been teaching wraps installations since 1993.

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