Sign & Digital Graphics

November '12

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Printable magnetic materials open unique opportunities BY KEN ME RGENT IME Ken Mergentime is Executive Editor of Sign & Digital Graphics magazine. removable signage solution for vehicles, SUVs and trucks, but magnetic signage material is increasingly being used in P.O.P. applications on shelving and other retail applications. Understanding the properties of the material and its print properties can help shops take advantage of these unique opportunities. M Material Types The most common types of magnetic signage material are based on magne- tized flexible substrates—either mag- netized vinyl or inkjet magnet paper. Magnetized paper is readily available, but it is generally sold in 8.5" x 11" sheets and is intended for small-format desktop inkjet printers for the home craft mar- agnetic signs have long been used as a Magnets Printing with ket. However, some manufacturers also sell rolls of vinyl-based magnetic mate- rial with a paper top coat material (up to 42" wide), for use with water-based wide-format printers. Magnetized flexible vinyl material is available from several manufactur- ers including Master Magnetics, Castle Rock, Colo., and Magnum Magnetics, Marrietta, Ohio. The material is much thicker than its paper cousin—typically 12 to 30 mil—and is either designed for use as a mounting substrate for self- adhesive vinyl, or for large-format direct printing. The imaged side of the material is generally white, but colors are avail- able, and you can choose between a gloss or matte finish. The most important distinction among magnetized vinyl signage prod- ucts is the thickness of the magnets. The thicker the magnet, the more magnetic pull it has. This is critical because the sta- bility of a magnetic sign depends entirely in its pull strength. Pull strength is gen- erally measured in grams per square inch or pounds per square foot. The required thickness of the magnet will vary depending on the application. For example, 30-mil magnetic sheet- ing will offer sufficient of pull strength to resist peeling off of a vehicle door at highway speeds. And 12- to 20-mil magnets Imaging onto magnetic media can be accomplished in many ways—from cut vinyl to mounting printed PSA vinyl, to direct digital printing, screen printing and other means. (Image courtesy Master Magnetics) 42 • November 2012 • SIGN & DIGITAL GRAPHICS are good for stationary signs, but might not cut it as a vehicle graphic. When looking at vinyl-based mag- netic signage products, it at first appears that the vinyl and pull strength are fairly standardized, but are they all really the same? "Shop owners should look at print quality," says Mike Gertz, marketing manager of Master Magnetics. "There DIGITAL PRINTING AND FINISHING DIGITAL GRAPHICS

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