Sign & Digital Graphics

July '17

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • July 2017 • 85 both are comparatively different when it comes to their characteristics. "Acrylic typically offers a broader color palate," says Cindy Race, mar- keting/communications at Covestro. "Polycarbonate is available in most col- ors, but sometimes requires a large mini- mum order quantity. Both polycarbonate and acrylic can be can be direct-printed. Digital printing is replacing many tra- ditional decorating methods including painting and silk-screening. Both prod- ucts are compatible with first surface vinyl decoration, but thermoforming with applied vinyl can be a little trickier with polycarbonate." So, obviously, for sign makers there are considerations to ponder when selecting the best plastic substrate to use in a project. And the decision should not be taken lightly. "Polycarbonates tend to be stronger and more impact resistant than acrylics," says Matt Buckley, business development manager with GPA Specialty Substrate Solutions, "whereas acrylics are usually less expensive than polycarbonates, but can be scratched more easily." But each have strengths when it comes to implementing them in a sign project. Sign Makers' Needs Many of the reasons why sign makers choose to use plastic products in their jobs can be broken down into distinct categories. A few of those are the listed here with some insight provided by sea- soned manufacturers. Lifespan—It's important for sign pro- fessionals to have an idea of how long their sign materials will last in each proj- ect. Many factors can go into how signage will hold up in different circumstances. Is Lexan polycarbonate sheeting is exception- ally hard. It is con- sidered unbreakable. (Image courtesy of Home Depot) Plastics, including Lexan and acrylics, can be used as replacement sign faces. (Image courtesy of The Sign Chef) Cast acrylic plastics are available in a wide variety of colors and opacity levels. (Image cour- tesy of Tap Plastics)

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