Cardiff University starts new academic year with Drytac social distancing signage

Cardiff University's in-house print department has printed more than 40,000 signs to prepare the campus for students and staff – the majority on Drytac SpotOn wall media.

Cardiff University’s in-house print department printed more than 40,000 signs to prepare the campus for students and staff – the majority on Drytac SpotOn wall media.

Cardiff University’s Print Services worked around the clock to prepare the campus for the new academic year, including printing thousands of social distancing graphics on Drytac professional self-adhesive media.

The university has benefited from an in-house print service for over 30 years, originally called Graphic Services and recently renamed Print Services. It fulfils all manner of printing needs, from business cards, flyers, booklets, stickers and posters – both academic and advertising – to pop-up banners, mounted poster boards, wall displays and floor graphics. It also provides laminating and thesis-binding services.

During the summer of 2020, Print Services was presented with a new challenge: to help prepare the entire Cardiff University campus for the new academic year in line with COVID-19 guidance on social distancing.

“From July onwards we were printing pretty much non-stop in order to help the Estates division get the 200-plus buildings on campus ready for re-occupation and re-opening in time for the autumn semester,” says Gareth Middleton, Senior Print Services Assistant, Bute Print Unit, Cardiff University.

“By our rough estimations, in that time we printed somewhere in the region of 2.5 to 3sq km of signage – more than 40,000 items. The majority of these were A4 wall signs which were printed on Drytac SpotOn and then guillotined or cut by hand from the roll.”

As well as the unprecedented amount of work that needed to be completed by the end of September, the print team had other hurdles to overcome.

Gareth explains: “Due to the campus being locked down and restrictions on building occupancy, only two of us were granted access to our unit in the Bute Building where the wide-format machines live. Added to this, that building was undergoing a massive refit and renovation project so rather than our usual peaceful (especially in the summer!) leafy campus setting in Cathays Park we had to work out of the middle of a building site!”

Cardiff University Print Services chose Drytac SpotOn White Matte, a 100μ (4 mil) vinyl film designed for short-term applications such as wall displays. Also available in White Gloss, Clear Gloss and Clear Matte finishes, SpotOn features Drytac’s innovative ‘dot pattern’ adhesive that enables easy bubble-free application without tools, and clean and simple removal.

“All the wall signage is being used internally and – hopefully! – for the short to medium term,” says Gareth. “Drytac SpotOn gives a great solid, vibrant finish using our Roland TrueVIS VG-540 and is quick and easy for the Estates team to handle and apply in large quantities.”

Gareth adds that the print team also uses the Clear Matte version of Drytac SpotOn.

“It’s great for all the same reasons as the SpotOn White, plus the added advantage of being able to mount it on the inside of windows or on glass screens without blocking out all the light.”

With social distancing expected to continue for the foreseeable future, Drytac has ensured its factories in the UK and North America have been working to meet unprecedented demand for graphics media for wall displays, floor graphics and other applications.


To meet these new social distancing requirements, it is important to use the right graphic media for each job. Understanding the location of the graphic and the surface it will be adhered to is key.  Download our Social Distancing Graphics Guide now!


We offer the correct ratings and insurance backed warranties to make your life easier. With hundreds of certifications on our print media and laminates we’d be happy to help you plan your next project.

Download the Drytac Floor Graphic Guides to help you select the proper floor material and navigate various environments.

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Protecting surfaces with antibacterial and antimicrobial technology

Drytac Antimicrobial Film

Drytac explains how new products imbued with antimicrobial technology can help protect surfaces from bacteria, fungi and mould in between cleaning.

Authored by Shaun Holdom, Global Product Manager, Drytac.

Keeping surfaces clean has never been more important. Doors, keypads, counters, tables – anywhere that people touch ­– must be cleaned regularly. Now there are some new products available that provide additional protection from within.

Microorganism-Fighting Technology

These products are imbued with microorganism-fighting technology during the manufacturing process, so it becomes part of the material’s physical structure and will not wash off or wear away. When bacteria contaminate the surface of the film – from human contact, environmental conditions or simply lack of cleaning – this technology helps inhibit bacterial growth. While not a replacement for regular cleaning, the treatment boosts the cleanliness of the surface in between cleanings.

Antibacterial vs Antimicrobial

There are two types of product to choose from: antibacterial and antimicrobial. Antibacterial films will protect only against bacteria, while antimicrobial films are effective against bacteria, plus fungi including mould, algae and mildew. The different effects depend on the chemistry – typically copper, silver or zinc.

Copper, Silver or Zinc Additives

The ions in copper prevent cell respiration and damage the bacterial cell membrane or viral coat to destroy it. Positively charged silver ions target and kill bacteria, fungi and certain viruses through several different means. Zinc-based additives, are broad spectrum antimicrobials, making them effective against many microorganisms including bacteria and fungi. The broader spectrum performance of antimicrobial substances makes them suitable for use in all environments.

Silver based technology can migrate out of the film and may become ineffective over 3-5 years.  Zinc based technology is designed to lock into the film and to protect the surface typically up to 15 years.

15 Years of Protection with Drytac Protac AMP Surface Protection Film

PRINTING United 2020 Product of the Year winner, Drytac Protac AMP Film is a 150μ (6 mil) textured polyester film incorporating Microban® technology, that provides antimicrobial surface protection. When microbes meet the Microban reservoirs in the film, the cell wall of the microbes is disrupted – resulting in 24/7 protection for up to 15 years, even if the film is cut. Protac AMP uses an organic zinc technology, providing the wide spectrum of protection most beneficial to sensitive environments. Every batch of Protac AMP is tested for antimicrobial performance providing the utmost confidence and peace of mind for any application. It also achieves up to 15 years’ adhesive durability indoors and 5 years’ outdoors and has so far been used on drinks machines, tray tables on aircraft, and in schools and healthcare facilities.

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Drytac wins three PRINTING United Product of the Year awards

Drytac has won three 2020 PRINTING United Product of the Year awards, recognizing the innovative Drytac Protac AMP, Polar Street FX and SpotOn SynTac solutions.

Drytac has won three awards in the PRINTING United Product of the Year competition, bringing its total wins in this awards program to ten in the past three years.

PRINTING United Product of the Year recognizes the most outstanding print solutions available in 2020 produced by members of the PRINTING United Alliance, the USA’s largest member-based association in the printing and graphic arts sectors.

Each of Drytac’s winning products reflect the brand’s dedication to developing new, innovative solutions that meet customer demand. In the Laminates, Adhesives, Films, Coatings category, Drytac Protac AMP came top. This film incorporates Microban® antimicrobial protection to provide reliable protection from bacterial contamination and mold growth 24/7 for up to 15 years. This breakthrough in antimicrobial technology is already being used in healthcare facilities, schools and aircrafts.

Drytac Polar Street FX, winner of the Media – Adhesive Back (Not Vinyl) category, was released this year in response to the unprecedented demand for directional and informative floor graphics. A PVC-free aluminium printable media, Polar Street FX has been designed for exceptional quality graphics in high-traffic outdoor areas, such as busy shopping streets. It has several slip-rating certifications to ensure safety, without the need for lamination.

Drytac’s third PRINTING United Product of the Year award went to Drytac SpotOn SynTac media for walls and floors, in the Media – Non-PVC category. This product has been engineered to meet market demand for eco-friendlier non-PVC graphics solutions that are easy to use. SpotOn SynTac is a one-part, peel-and-stick media for wall graphics that can be also partnered with Drytac Interlam EcoTex laminate for easy, bubble-free application of vibrant slip-rated floor graphics.

Drytac Product of the Year

“We’re excited to announce three more awards from PRINTING United Product of the Year,” says Hayden Kelley, CEO, Drytac. “Our R&D team have excelled themselves this year in creating incredible new products in response to market trends and these awards are a tribute to that amazing work.”

A new virtual PRINTING United Product of the Year awards gallery is now available to explore online, with digital badges for winning products including Drytac Protac AMP, Polar Street FX and SpotOn SynTac.

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Drytac helps ensure floor graphics are safe and legal in public spaces

Drytac guarantees flawless, certified floor graphics backed up with warranties and support – essential for every public space. New guides for the retail, construction and housing, stadiums, and schools and universities sectors explain more. 

Drytac, a specialist manufacturer of floor graphics media, has released several overview guides on this key applications. The four dedicated guides cover the essential aspects of floor graphic projects – such as safety obligations and insurance – in retail, construction and housing, stadiums, and schools and universities respectively.

The use of floor graphics has accelerated at an unprecedented rate in 2020, owing to the need for social distancing and directional signage that can be easily observed. Drytac is a major brand in this field, manufacturing floor graphics media – along with an extensive range of other sign and graphics products – around the clock at its factories in the UK and North America. As such, it has taken the lead on safety: the chief concern of any organisation using floor graphics for public use. 

The new guides provide a general overview of floor media, including locations and surfaces, types of graphic solutions and relevant Drytac products – and explains the legal responsibilities. A FAQ section explains slip ratings and certifications and the tests to achieve them, with advice on how to maintain graphics to avoid slips and trips. It also covers the legal responsibilities of the supplier, installer and customer. 

These legal responsibilities are based on testing and retesting of all Drytac products. Every batch undergoes in-house QC testing to ensure it achieves the British Standard BS 7976-2/European Standard EN 13036-4/North American Standard ASTM-E303 for slip resistance. Research has confirmed that this test and its result, called a Pendulum Test Value (PTV/BPN), is the most reliable and accurate method for evaluating slip resistance. The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) along with its global counterparts and many insurance companies have adopted this as the standard test method for assessing slip resistance. 

“At Drytac, safety is our priority,” comments Shaun Holdom, Global Product Manager, Drytac. “Slip ratings are not based on a one-off test sample done in a lab years ago, but on the results of the strictest assessment available, on every single batch.  

“We offer the correct ratings and insurance-backed warranties to make life easier for our customers, providing peace of mind that every Drytac floor decal offers legal and financial protection. In short, Drytac products keep you safe.” 

Drytac’s comprehensive range of specialist floor graphics media includes Polar Grip with Interlam Pro Emerytex for smooth outdoor floors, Polar Street FX for rough outdoor surfaces, SpotOn Floor 200FloorTac Textures and Polar Floor PET 170 for indoor public spaces and many other innovative solutions. Details on these products and more can be found in the overview guides, available to download for free via www.drytac.com/floorgraphicguide

Drytac can also supply a list of Drytac-certified print and install partners. Customers are recommended to get in touch for information or download the guides. 

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Globe Print prints over 15km of social distancing graphics on Drytac media

Marlow’s Globe Print has printed over 15km of graphics on a range of dedicated Drytac graphics products in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including thousands of floor graphics.

Drytac has been rushed off its feet manufacturing floor graphics products and other media in response to unprecedented worldwide demand, with many customers using miles of Drytac film. UK customer Globe Print alone has printed over 15km (9.3 miles) of advisory graphics on Drytac products including thousands of floor graphics.

Established in January 2019 as a division of CSL, Globe Print‘s 10,000sq ft print room in Marlow, Buckinghamshire is buzzing with over ten wide format printers using various ink technologies, flatbed printers and a range of finishing equipment. True to its motto of ‘Everything Printed’, the business produces signage, graphics, window films, banners, posters, floor graphics and more, including personalised work and direct-to-rigid-substrate output.

“We offer a huge range, but the skill is in the application the products are used for,” says Nick Wintle, Account Director, Globe Print. “There isn’t a typical client as we’re really keen to work with local businesses. Some customers just order a pack of business cards, while some will want a full re-branding. But key names include Waitrose, NHS, Transport for London, Andretti Formula E Team, local authorities and a vast number of golf clubs.”

Over the last six months, however, much of this work has been floor graphics designed for social distancing, directional and awareness communications in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. So far, Globe Print has produced over 100,000 floor graphics for ‘basically just about every type of business’, says Nick. Along with major and independent retailers, utility companies and Transport for London, clients have included the NHS, schools and adventure playgrounds.

The print specialist has even supplied floor graphics for entire town centres and shopping streets, including for an advisory one-way pedestrian system in Globe Print’s home town of Marlow. This project comprised 250 temporary outdoor floor decals printed on Drytac Polar Grip graphics vinyl combined with Drytac Interlam Pro Emerytex laminate.

Drytac offers an extensive range of floor graphics media, enabling print businesses and end users to specify the safest and most suitable product for each application. In addition to the Polar Grip/Interlam Pro Emerytex solution, Globe Print uses FloorTac Plus matte white monomeric PVC film designed for indoor graphics in heavy footfall areas, and SpotOn Floor 200 monomeric PVC film, developed for short-term, indoor non-slip floor graphics without lamination.

“We also use Drytac Polar PET 170,” adds Nick. “This is a PVC-free polyester film which was perfect for an environment-focused retailer looking for a green solution.”

Shaun Holdom, Global Product Manager, Drytac, comments: “Globe Print is just one print service provider who has produced many miles of floor graphics using Drytac media in 2020, with demand expected to continue for the foreseeable future. Drytac’s manufacturing facilities in the UK and Canada have been working around the clock to produce our wide range of products designed specifically for floor graphics, including new media for outdoor applications and eco-friendlier PVC-free films. We have made sure that Drytac inventory levels continue to be maintained to address demand going forward.”

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New antimicrobial film from Drytac helps keep surfaces hygienic 24/7

Drytac Protac AMP Film with Microban protecting a hospital door from the growth of stain and odour causing bacteria and mould.

Drytac launches Protac AMP Film, imbued with Microban® antimicrobial protection to help fight the growth of stain and odour causing bacteria and mould.

Drytac has announced the global launch of Protac AMP Film with Microban® antimicrobial technology a new product designed to help protect surfaces from microbes that can cause premature product degradation.

When bacteria contaminate a surface such as a door or touchpad – as a result of human contact, environmental conditions or simply lack of cleaning – they can multiply very quickly. Similarly, fungi and mould can proliferate on a surface. Regular cleaning with an effective detergent will remove these microorganisms.  Drytac Protac AMP Film can help maintain cleanliness in between cleaning. It offers reliable protection from the growth of stain and odour causing bacteria and mould.

This 150μ (6 mil) self-adhesive polyester surface protection film incorporates Microban technology at the manufacturing stage so it becomes part of the material’s intrinsic physical structure at a molecular level – it will not wash off or wear away. Microban reservoirs in the film disrupt the microbes’ cell walls, inhibiting their growth. The film provides protection 24 hours a day for up to 15 years, and is durable to withstand regular cleaning.

Protac AMP Film is ideal for protecting doors, keypads, counters, tables and any other flat surfaces. It is transparent with a hard top coat and provides scratch and chemical resistance for up to 15 years. Every batch of Protac AMP Film is tested for antimicrobial performance providing the utmost confidence and peace of mind for any application.

“Our new Protac AMP antimicrobial Film with Microban technology delivers protection in one easy-to-use product,” says Shaun Holdom, Global Product Manager, Drytac. “It is prepared with Drytac’s innovative adhesive, so users can simply apply the film to the surface and leave it to do its job: helping reduce growth of microbes on the surface for many years.”

Protac AMP Film has already been used on drinks machines, tray tables on aircraft, and in healthcare facilities and schools, with literally hundreds of other potential applications. This product can help maintain the highest standards of cleanliness.”

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One film does not fit all – Why specialist products can pay off

A multi-purpose graphics film could seem like a good deal, but you may end up spending more money and time than you bargained for. Jerry Hill from Drytac explains why.

Authored by Jerry Hill, Vice President of Sales, USA, Drytac

The term ‘multi-purpose’ sounds great. One product for different applications, helping your business keep costs low and stock keeping units (SKU) simple – what’s not to like? However, in reality, that smart multi-functional product will be better for some jobs than others, in terms of appearance, performance, cost efficiency and longevity. This might seem like an acceptable balance, but some products claiming to be effective across multiple applications might do well for some jobs but perform downright poorly for others.

This is especially important when choosing graphics media. The type of product, and particularly its adhesive element, should be dictated by the application’s environment and required longevity. A multi-use product might perform well for a few weeks but may cause problems if left in place for months, after which the adhesive will fail. In the case of floor graphics, curling edges would pose a safety risk aside from looking unsightly. Conversely, the product may be designed for long-term or permanent use when the application is short-term. If so, you will spend more time and money removing it than you expected.

Naturally, the cost to your business – in money and time – is the big factor. Nobody likes paying more or taking longer to get results. It’s therefore understandable to look at the price and ease of use of graphics media developed for indoor applications and hope it will work just as well for outdoor graphics, for example. However, in this case, the indoor product will lack the weatherproof adhesives specifically engineered for exterior use, meaning it may simply fail. A specialist outdoor product would cost more but will offer peace of mind that results will last. Again, the reverse can be true: one product could be priced correctly for floors and the specialist adhesive this application requires but overpriced for walls where this adhesive would be too aggressive.

Indeed, even for indoor applications, the product must be compatible with the intended surface. In addition to remaining safely in place, it should be cleanly and easily removed at the end of the project. Products that are designed for high-tack applications such as brick can also work on windows, but be aware: apply it to drywall or plasterboard and it may never come off without pulling the wall surface away with it.

Alongside its suitability to do a job, consider the aesthetics of the product. There is a fantastic variety of textures and finishes available for graphics – why restrict yourself to a matte finish when you could choose glossy, or even sand, linen, canvas or woodgrain effect?

If you’re still leaning towards a product marketed as multi-purpose, consider a loaf of sliced bread. Perfect for toast in the morning, but how about as a hot dog bun? You could use it, but why would you want to? It completely changes the experience. That sliced loaf might be ideal for the kids’ packed lunches, but would you serve it at a dinner party? What if you or your guests have a gluten intolerance, or you simply want to serve something more special with your soup? One product might seem to tick all the boxes, but in reality it needs more thought. For a graphics application, just like in a bakery, the best thing since sliced bread might be a lot more sophisticated.

Here at Drytac, we have solutions designed for specific applications. You can view our solutions here! Please reach out to a team member if you have any questions.

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HugePrints shines bright with Drytac Polar Chrome

Drytac Polar Chrome

HugePrints says its ‘gamble’ in using a product new to the graphics business – Drytac’s Polar Chrome – paid off with a set of ‘flawlessly’ printed signs for a car show.

Founded in 1999 and owned by Ben Boese since 2018, Rockford, IL-based HugePrints produces a wide range of signs, banners, posters and displays. However, Ben says the team ‘loves to tackle unique graphics projects’, including a recent project for the World of Wheels car show in Chicago.

A local customer planned to submit three restored motorcycles to the show together with displays listing their key information. The signs were based on an existing one from a previous event at which it had exhibited a car. HugePrints decided to print the motorcycle signs slightly smaller, since the bikes themselves were on a smaller scale than the car, but still wanted them to stand out and draw attention.

“We decided to use Drytac Polar Chrome for the printing,” says Ben Boese, President of HugePrints. “Just hearing the word ‘chrome’ made us think it would be a good fit for a car show. This was our first time using the material and the first time working for the customer, so this was a little bit of a gamble. Luckily, it printed flawlessly on our HP Latex 360.”

Drytac Polar Chrome at Motorcycle Show

Polar Chrome is a silver satin reflective PET film ideal for eye-catching billboards, exhibition graphics, POS displays and public transport advertisements, as well as labels. It offers three-year indoor and two-year outdoor durability thanks to its clear permanent adhesive and is easy to apply. The 75 micron (3 mil) product is available in rolls up to 60″ wide and has excellent compatibility with eco-solvent, solvent, latex and UV printing technologies.

The signs were 6mm PVC, bent to shape with the printed graphics applied on top. HugePrints added a protective glossy laminate and finished the displays with a carbon fibre vinyl and knifeless tape to free-hand a curve at the bottom and add contrast – matte black against the glossy chrome, carbon fibre texture against the smooth gloss, and black against the colour print.

Ben adds: “The customer was thrilled with the end result, saying that the reflective material made the print almost look 3D. And the three bikes took first, second and third place awards in their category. We’d like to think that the chrome shine of the signs helped draw more favourable attention from the judges.”

HugePrints has been using Drytac products since meeting the representatives of the manufacturer at the SGIA Expo in 2018.

“At the time, we were pursuing material for a few sports-related projects, and one of the reps had done something similar to one of those projects with an NHL team,” Ben says. “So not only did we get to talk hockey, but found some great materials that helped more unique projects!”

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Get instant attention with new Drytac Polar SandTac Floor one-step media in the USA

Drytac has released Polar SandTac Floor in the USA, a new economical print-and-go floor graphics product that provides slip resistance without lamination. This makes installation safe, quick and simple.

Drytac has expanded its floor graphics media range even further with the release of Polar SandTac Floor, an economical, one-step product that can be applied in seconds, grabbing attention straight away.

As a leading international manufacturer of adhesive-coated products, Drytac has met unprecedented demand for floor graphics media this year. Polar SandTac Floor sits within an extensive range of new and established products that provide the ideal combination of safety, professional appearance and ease of use.

Ideal for short-term indoor advertising and social distancing markers, Polar SandTac Floor is a one-part product and has achieved several slip ratings without the need for lamination. It can be applied directly to ceramic tiles, sealed wood, concrete, waxed vinyl, marble or terrazzo flooring without any kind of top layer, saving time, money and labor.

Its textured, matte white finish helps printed graphics stand out for the duration of the project – up to six months indoors – while its non-damaging adhesive makes removal quick, clean and simple.

“Floor graphics are the biggest application story of 2020 and Drytac has responded with a wide range of suitable media, to give customers as much choice as possible for their advertising or directional project,” says Jerry Hill, Vice President of Sales, USA; Drytac.

Polar SandTac Floor is a print-and-go product, providing slip resistance without lamination, so users can simply print their graphics and install them as quickly as they are needed.”

Drytac Polar SandTac Floor, 7 mil (175μ) PVC film with a removable, solvent pressure sensitive acrylic adhesive, is now available in the USA in roll widths up to 60″ (1524mm). It is compatible with UV, latex solvent and eco-solvent printing technologies.

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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.

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