Combat silvering to create gold-star work

Silvering can be a problem for photography and fine art, but one that can be solved. Drytac’s Gilbert Espinosa explains how to eliminate these silvery lines.

Authored by Gilbert Espinosa, Territory Manager for West Coast Region, Drytac

Silvering is a common issue that occurs when laminating a printed job. It’s caused by tiny bubbles of air getting trapped under the lamination, creating the appearance of hazy or silver reflective lines. It may go unseen on lighter media or light-colored printed areas, but can be far more obvious on darker colored or black images. In the photography and fine art sectors, silvering can be a problem – but one that can be solved.

First, it’s important to identify the cause of silvering. Not applying appropriate roller pressure, laminating too fast or using a media with an uneven surface – for instance paper with fibres or other media with a coarse or slightly coarse surface – may result in these silvery lines.

Silvering may also occur following wet out, the process of adhesives flowing out over the media and ink, which takes about twelve to 24 hours. Eco-solvent inks generally lay down smoothly on the surface of the media, so when the adhesive wets out it fills the area fairly evenly. UV inks, by comparison, lay down significantly less evenly, so when the adhesive flows out there are uneven areas or surfaces that are not covered with adhesive, potentially altering the graphic’s appearance.

If you are a user of UV inks, it is possible to avoid the issue of silvering by using an overlaminate product with a heavier than standard coat weight, as its adhesive can fill in the areas of uneven inks. This is especially true if the media is also uneven, such as a canvas or fibre-based product. Another factor can be the type of adhesive; softer adhesives flow out better and cover uneven areas better than harder adhesives.

Sometimes adhesion onto UV inks is an issue. Performing tests on UV inks for adhesion, peeling and silvering is recommended with a selection of different media and laminate products. It may well be possible to achieve an excellent finish by changing the combination of products rather than having to invest in another new type of ink chemistry.

If silvering is still an issue, one solution is using a matte overlaminate. The silvering is still there but is more difficult to see thanks to the matte finish; a glossy product would be more eye-catching. Drytac Protac Anti-Scratch Matte is a monomeric calendared PVC laminating film with an anti-scratch matte finish, which is coated on one side with a high-coat weight adhesive. It’s ideal for laminating over UV inks as well as eco-solvent and latex prints. Protac Anti-Scratch Matte is part of Drytac’s outstanding fine art and photography overlaminate range, which also includes Protac High Gloss and Protac High Gloss HD. In the UK and Europe, a line of high coat weight films are available, ideal for UV printed output. They include, Protac Glossy HCW UV, Protac Anti-Scratch Matte HCW UV and Protac Anti-Graffiti UV HCW. Drytac’s Interlam Pro Pressure Sensitive Overlaminating Films add depth and detail to a variety of flexible media substrates while simultaneously preventing the occurrence of silvering during lamination. There are many other options on the market that can add an incredible finish to graphics – take a look to see which is best for you.

Please reach out to one of our Drytac experts and we’d be happy to help you find the proper solution for your application.

Read more

Queensland libraries get storybook makeover from icatchers and Drytac

Exhibition display specialist icatchers has added fun and colour to children’s libraries in and around Brisbane using Drytac ViziPrint and ReTac self-adhesive media, supplied by Shann.

The children’s sections of two libraries in Queensland, Australia have received bright, bold makeovers from icatchers, using Drytac media products.

A specialist in signage and fit-outs for exhibitions and trade shows, showrooms and offices, shops and events, icatchers has been servicing customers from its Brisbane head office and production facility and Melbourne sales office for 16 years. It counts the governments of Queensland and Victoria, Queensland University of Technology, Aldi, Boeing, LG, BP, Xbox and Nintendo among its well-known clients.

Its customer base also includes Brisbane City Council’s libraries department, for whom icatchers updates children’s library areas every five years. The project comprises everything from design to manufacture to installation, including furniture, power and lighting, interactive games and computers, play equipment, flooring, wall graphics and signage.

“Usually these projects involve a six- to eight-week turnaround from concept to completion,” explains Kyle Lewis, Visual Communications Manager at icatchers. “There are strict health and safety guidelines as the spaces are used by children. We also have to use products that meet specific requirements to minimise damage and that can be replaced easily if damaged – it’s amazing how much damage these little humans make!”

Its most recent project at Holland Park Library involved wall graphics, which presented icatchers with additional challenges.

Kyle explains: “For the wall graphics we needed something that would be easy to use as we needed to wrap around columns and window openings, and found Drytac ReTac 150 Smooth was perfect. It’s a quality product with great printing results.”

Drytac ReTac Smooth 150 polymeric PVC film is a 6 mil (150μ) printable self-adhesive vinyl designed for wall graphics applications. Installation on a range of surfaces is easy, thanks to Drytac’s ReTac ultra-removable adhesive technology which maintains strength over the duration of the project but ensures the film can be removed cleanly at the end of its life.

This year icatchers completed a similar project at Beenleigh Library, 40km outside Brisbane, which included window graphics installed on the outside of curved glass. They were printed on an HP Latex 360.

 Drytac ViziPrint Impress Clear

“We used Drytac ViziPrint Impress Clear for the windows, mainly for its optically clear benefits as we needed something that would let a lot of light through,” says Kyle. “It was also used for its ease of installation and removal when required. The graphics floated on beautifully and the library was pleased with the vibrancy of the colours.”

Developed for glass and other smooth, flat surfaces, Drytac ViziPrint Impress Clear is durable and water-resistant for stunning window graphics and other decorative applications. This 5 mil (125μ) clear PET film is PVC-free and 100 per cent recyclable.

Drytac ViziPrint Impress Clear

The Drytac products were supplied by Shann DPM, appointed as the exclusive Australian distributor for Drytac’s extensive range of wide format print media, mounting and protective films earlier this year. Shann DPM is a division of the Shann Group, an established Australian company with over 60 years’ experience and a team of over 30 experienced sales representatives on the road.

Shann gave us a detailed and informative overview of the Drytac products, providing quick and precise answers to any questions we had,” comments Kyle Lewis. “The Drytac products fulfilled all our requirements for both jobs, with outstanding printing and installation results. We’ll definitely be using these products in the future.”

For further information on Drytac’s products and services, please visit www.drytac.com.

Read more

Marlow High Street gets a safety makeover with Drytac graphics

Globe Park Print Store has completed a project to install temporary safety signage throughout Marlow High Street using Drytac’s combined Polar Grip floor graphics vinyl and Interlam Pro Emerytex laminate solution.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Marlow Town Council has adopted an advisory one-way pedestrian system, enabling the local population and visitors to the popular riverside town to socially distance and keep themselves as safe as possible as the lockdown eases. The pedestrian one-way system has the support of Buckinghamshire Council and Marlow’s police and is being funded by Marlow Town Council.

Some 250 stickers have been adhered to the pavements of the town showing pedestrians which direction they are requested to walk. Nick Wintle, Managing Director of Globe Park Print Store explains: “By reminding people to keep their distance, the graphics are playing a key role in maintaining a safe but efficient flow of shoppers throughout the town.”

The temporary graphics were printed on Globe Park Print Store‘s Roland DG SOLJET EJ-640 eco-solvent printer and cut on a Roland CAMM-1 GR-640 large format vinyl cutter.

“The directional pavement stickers were installed by a team of four within a timeframe of two hours, using heat guns for extra adhesion,” adds Nick Wintle. “Safety is paramount. We had to ensure we weren’t creating a trip or slip hazard; that’s where Drytac’s solution came in. When public safety is a priority, it’s not enough to use any self-adhesive graphics media that sticks to the floor – only a product designed specifically for this application should be used.”

Thanks to its superior anti-slip qualities, and its scuff- and UV-light resistance, Drytac Emerytex can be used for laminating floor graphics in a wide variety of environments; it is perfect for applications in public areas that require compliance with strict regulations.

Link to short video showcasing the graphics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J05I8fjmu_8

Read more

Drytac SpotOn helps Pixel Imaging think ‘outside the box’

Pixel Imaging says Drytac SpotOn graphics media has allowed them to think ‘outside the box’ and offer non-traditional exhibition displays to its customers.

Based in Calgary, AB, Pixel Imaging is a leading supplier of event and trade show graphics. Projects range from booth wraps for a music festival’s VIP area to a wall mural for a women’s business conference, to floor graphics for an energy industry trade event. Pixel Imaging needs a specialist product for this type of work, as Owner John Bek explains.

He says: “We discovered Drytac SpotOn through our media vendor, ND Graphics. We were searching for a vinyl that was just as easy to remove as it is to install, without causing damage to walls or furniture surfaces.

“We now use SpotOn vinyl to create custom branding and decor for the event industry. SpotOn is a great product for this application as it allows us to easily vinyl-wrap just about any surface, and remove it when the event is complete without damaging any of the surfaces or spaces. They are ready for something new for the next event.”

Drytac has developed SpotOn specifically to meet this demand. SpotOn is a 100µ (4 mil) ink-receptive printable vinyl combined with Drytac’s unique ‘dot pattern’ adhesive that enables simple, bubble-free application on smooth interior surfaces such as walls and glass. Perfect for POP and retail signage, trade show and exhibition graphics and office interiors, SpotOn can be installed and repositioned easily, removed cleanly and reused if stored correctly. Even non-professionals can apply this high-quality product (available in clear matte, clear gloss, white matte and white gloss finishes) to create vibrant graphics.

John continues: “Drytac products have helped our business as they have allowed us to go outside of the box and to use printed vinyl wraps in very non-traditional ways. Our clients love seeing the results and we consistently work together with our event partner company in Calgary to come up with new and immersive ways to create stunning visuals.

“We would certainly recommend Drytac products to anyone who is looking to create vinyl graphics that can easily be installed and removed by the end user, without creating any frustrations for them.”

Read more
6