Sign & Digital Graphics


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2 0 1 7 • WRAPS • 85 often visible on the surface of the wrap. As the industry primarily consisted of graphics installation viewed from afar on fleet vehicles, these visible channels were of little concern at the time. However, as the marketplace shifted towards instal- lations and personalized vehicle wraps that are viewed from up close, these channels slowly became a problem. Therefore lab technicians reformu- lated the product so it would generate air channels that were non-visible. The most recent developments have led to a network of microstructure air channels that exist within the adhesive, permitting air to escape laterally beneath the film. Today, this feature is present in high- quality graphic films, including 3 M's breakthrough Comply Adhesive with micro technology. Now films featur- ing non-visible air channels still allevi- ate bubbling, but don't compromise the aesthetic of a wrap project. Adhesive Variation & Film Selection Understanding the evolution and characteristics of adhesives technology is valuable and provides a baseline for selecting wrap films on their quality. However, not all films offer the same adhesive features, and many are spe- cially designed for different end-uses and unique application types. It's important to know what kind of adhesive a film fea- tures before selecting it for a project, as there may be a product better suited for your needs. Primarily, adhesives can be broken into three major (and largely self-explan- atory) categories: permanent, removable and ultra removable. Within these cat- egories are individual films tailored for specific tasks and primary applications. Permanent adhesives are designed for long-term installation with adhe- sives that promote strong and lasting bonds. This also leads to a more intense removal process when graphics have run their course, usually involving the use of heat and chemicals. Some examples of specialized wrap films featuring perma- nent adhesives can include: Low surface energy (LSE) wrap films— These films are designed to adhere to hard-to-bond surfaces, such as LSE plas- tics found on ATVs, motocross bikes, snowmobiles and other motorsports vehicles. Stainless steel wrap films—These films are expertly crafted to adhere to stainless steel vehicles like tankers, refrig- erated trucks and food trucks. The strong adhesive bond ensures they'll cling to the surface without lifting or peeling. Removable adhesives are engineered to strike a happy medium between dura- bility and removability. Most versatile, go-to wrap films feature removable adhe- sives, which require only heat to remove from the application surface. Products featuring this type of adhesive include print wrap films, color change wrap films and more. Ultra-removable adhesives function just as they sound. Designed for shorter- term applications and projects that need to be frequently updated or replaced. Products featuring ultra-removable adhesives can be removed without the use of heat or chemicals. An example of this film is the new 3 M Print Wrap Film IJ180mC-10UR. These films can even be applied over more permanent graphics to provide a promotional message or short- term campaign, and then removed with- out damaging the underlying graphics. Colored Adhesives Adhesive colors are another compo- nent of films that are often overlooked. Although most are grey, new break- throughs in technology have led to the development of clear adhesives, perfect for products used for window graphics, partial vehicle wraps and more. With clear adhesives, and optically-clear over- laminate adhesives, graphics installers can create graphics that allow sight of the base substrate, and in the case of window graphics, the ability to see through glass. Overlam Adhesives Apart from simply selecting a base graphic film, it's important to consider the properties of overlaminate adhesives and film chemistry. With the prolifera- tion of numerous print films and adhe- sive technologies, the varying chemistries that exist from product to product make it possible to encounter films and lami- nates that perform seamlessly together, and those that don't. Before finalizing a project, be sure to confirm that all layers are tested together the graphics manu- facturer. If properly tested/approved, comprehensive warranties like the 3 M MCS Warranty can be offered, provid- ing peace of mind that an installation will last and perform. Looking Ahead At the end of the day, advancing adhe- sive technology is all about improving installation and making people unafraid of using wrap materials. As the industry further enters the mainstream, adhe- sives will continue to change in tandem with the demand for more specialized and customizable wrap film selections. These possibilities could include further increasing installation ease, the ability to cure films at different temperatures, continuing the variation of adhesive per- manence, expanding the range of film removability and more. Whatever the case may be, you can bet that 3 M will continue to be at the forefront of adhe- sive innovation. Installers unravel a roll of 3M Wrap Film Series 1080 to determine the area needed to wrap a vehicle. The liner of 3M Wrap Film Series 1080 is removed from the product moments before application to a vehicle's surface.

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