In case you missed it: Drytac’s blogs in 2022

Drytac has published a series of blogs throughout 2022 covering some of the most talked-about subjects in the industry. From the importance of mounting adhesives at the start of the year, to preparing for cold-weather installations ahead of the busy festive period, there was plenty for Drytac’s specialist staff to explore.

Other articles this year included removable adhesives and their potential to help print businesses with their growth plans, while the core challenges in application installation and the issue of grey versus clear adhesives was also explored.

Michael Morano, North American Sales Support Specialist at Drytac, investigated the importance of testing and approving materials to save on time and costs in March, while Dennis Leblanc, Drytac’s Senior Business Development Manager for North America, looked at transitioning from ‘Just in Time’ to ‘Just in Case’ in a thought-provoking blog in September.

All these blogs are available below, so if you have some spare time over the Christmas period and want to expand your knowledge of self-adhesive materials, these articles offer plenty of advice and guidance on how Drytac’s products can help your business grow.

Winter is coming, so how do you prepare for cold-weather installations?

Blog authored by Dennis Leblanc, Senior Business Development Manager – North America at Drytac. With the chill of winter now very much in […]

Reposition your print business for growth

Authored by Glen Fitzgerald, Technical Sales Manager, at Drytac; and Daniel Farias, Technical Engineer, at Drytac. Wide format is regarded as one of […]

Transitioning from ‘Just in Time’ to ‘Just in Case’

Authored by Dennis Leblanc, Senior Business Development Manager for North America at Drytac. Whether you are working in the print industry or another […]

To tint or not to tint?

Authored by Dennis Leblanc, Senior Business Development Manager, North America, at Drytac. Selecting materials and media for a print job can be a […]

Building a bond with adhesive solutions

Authored by Glen Fitzgerald, Technical Sales Manager at Drytac. Adhesives are one of the most common and necessary components of many applications across […]

Profit from Drytac’s pattern coating science

Authored by Phil Webster, Head of Industrial Sales, EMEA at Drytac. Adhesives are absolutely critical to the success of applications across a range […]

Add an extra dimension to your graphics with clear varnish

Authored by Gareth Newman, Academy Manager at Drytac. Like its lamination cousin, varnishing was previously seen as a process that was only really […]

Test and approve to save time and costs

Authored By Michael Morano, North American Sales Support Specialist, Drytac Material choice is an incredibly tricky process and can cause all sorts of […]

Can you coat it? Yes, Drytac can!

Authored by Glen Fitzgerald, Technical Sales Manager of Industrial for Drytac North America. Selecting the right adhesive is critical for the success of […]

Understanding the true value of mounting adhesives

Authored by Jerry Hill, Vice President of Sales, Drytac Mounting adhesives, sometimes referred to as double-sided adhesives or double-sided mount film, were used […]

In case you missed it: Drytac’s blogs in 2021

Throughout 2021, Drytac has published a plethora of blogs on wide-ranging topics. We kicked off the year with three guest blogs from HP, [...]

Capitalising on rising demand for seasonal work

Authored by Shaun Holdom, Global Product Manager at Drytac The holiday season has, and always will be, a hugely important time of the […]

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Winter is coming, so how do you prepare for cold-weather installations?

Blog authored by Dennis Leblanc, Senior Business Development Manager – North America at Drytac.

With the chill of winter now very much in the air, the minds of print service providers, sign-makers and specialist installers begin to turn to how they are going to cope with installing graphics in cold conditions.

While keeping themselves warm in often-sub-zero temperatures is one thing, ensuring that graphics are installed properly and do not fail is a different matter altogether. After all, the last thing you want is a graphic installation failure that could have been avoided with proper research.

Traditionally, pressure-sensitive print media has a minimum application temperature of 5˚C (41˚F), which in cooler climates only allows for graphic installation for half of the year. When choosing a print media, it is important to select one that has an application temperature to match your climate.

Drytac has several solutions that are cold weather install rated down to as cold as -20˚C (-4˚F). In fact, the aptly named Polar range features products that are all designed with low temperatures in mind, from installation, throughout the life of the graphic, and its removal.

The Drytac Polar range comprises a full selection of media for almost any graphics project need including:

Polar Transit, for example, is often used for NHL rink board advertising across the US and Canada, demonstrating its durability in low temperatures during action-packed ice hockey games, just as much as for bus graphic applications.

The entire Polar range is extremely versatile; Polar Smooth 150, Polar Smooth 150 Air, and Polar Grip also fit the bill for the lifespan required and ease of application for rink boards, as well as multiple other cold weather applications.

Then there is the Drytac Air range of products – Polar Premium Air P, Polar Smooth 150 Air and Polar Transit Air – all of which have an air egress release liner with bubble-free technology allowing for easy-to-apply graphics without the need for wet installation. This is absolutely key in cold weather environments as it eliminates the need for messy or frozen wet graphic installations, making the whole process much easier for installers.

Crucial to the success of a cold weather application projects is selecting the perfect combination of film, laminate (if necessary), and adhesive. If you’ve got any queries, Drytac’s knowledgeable experts are able to advise which products will best suit the application you are working on.

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Reposition your print business for growth

Authored by Glen Fitzgerald, Technical Sales Manager, at Drytac; and Daniel Farias, Technical Engineer, at Drytac.

Wide format is regarded as one of the most exciting areas of the print industry, with one of the main reasons for this being that every day is varied. Each customer you deal with will want something different; every project will have unique specifications; and, to some extent, every surface has distinctive properties that will affect how a graphic film can adhere.

One of the main, stand-out trends in the current market is short-term branding for special events, pop-up stores and other promotional activities. This has led to a spike in demand for films with removable adhesives – products that adhere well to most surfaces, but are only required to do so temporarily.

While traditional removable adhesive technologies are proving popular with printers, once these materials are applied to a substrate, they don’t always offer a good option for repositioning or re-use if desired, thus limiting their use.

Then throw in the fact that the removable adhesive will provide an increased bond over time and can turn permanent after six months. This may result in difficulty removing the product, excess adhesive residue that needs to be cleaned up, or even worse, damage to the substrate, which might be a display window, painted wall surface or high-end flooring.

For situations like this, Drytac ReTac repositionable adhesive technology offers the perfect solution for printers, providing excellent adhesive qualities, with the ability to both reposition and reuse the graphics.

So, what is ReTac adhesive technology? What makes such a unique process possible? When Drytac formulates the ReTac adhesive, it uses larger spherical particles which, although individually invisible, together they have a noticeable effect.

When dried, these spherical particles will break up the continuity of the surface of the adhesive since contact is limited to the tangent point of the sphere. As such, this limited contact results in low peel adhesion levels, as well as removability and stable peel adhesion over time.

Comparing these products with typical removable adhesive technologies, the more traditional materials are produced using smaller adhesive particles, which, when dry, form a continuous film. These products create a larger surface area over which an adhesive bond can form, so peel strength will be initially higher and will increase over time.

While these products may indeed be removable, they are not intended for continual re-adherence, and as a result will limit the user to what they can achieve with their printed graphics.

So, what are the benefits of Drytac’s ‘microsphere’ adhesive technology over traditional options? First and foremost, Drytac ReTac is low peel and offers high removability with no residue. The fact it can be repositioned and reused means less waste over time.

As these materials are suitable for use across a wide range of substrates and surfaces, they make an ideal choice for use in short-term graphics projects such as wall graphics, temporary signage and repositionable notes.

Add in that they are friendly to the environment since they are water-based, and it is easy to see why ReTac is fast becoming the product of choice for many print service providers.

To further support customers with their choice of product when applying wall graphics and similar applications, Drytac has produced a dedicated Wall Surfaces Guide. This easy-to-digest guide sets out how the type of surface will have an impact on the adhesive bond of materials, and offers expert advice on the different types of surfaces and how these may impact performance.

To access Drytac’s Wall Surfaces Guide, please click here.

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Transitioning from ‘Just in Time’ to ‘Just in Case’

Authored by Dennis Leblanc, Senior Business Development Manager for North America at Drytac.

Whether you are working in the print industry or another sector, it is highly likely that you will have been impacted by well-documented supply chain issues and raw material shortages in recent years.

Be it long delays caused by staff shortages and company shutdowns during the pandemic, or extra paperwork and logistical issues as a result of Brexit, there has been an impact on all sorts of companies, especially those trying to meet tight deadlines.

With no sign of relief in the near future, and with rising costs hitting businesses already struggling with shortages and delays, now is the time to take a look at your business and identify a cost-effective solution that will make working life significantly easier in the long run.

Take the time to review the products and services you are offering, with a view to streamlining the consumable materials you need. This will ensure you can continue to meet client demand without feeling the pressure of the ongoing supply issues.

Consider reaching out to your distributor and manufacturing partners to isolate your core print and application requirements. Doing this will enable you to forecast, and in some cases even reduce, the number of different materials you need for day-to-day business, allowing your company to operate much more effectively.

Another obvious benefit is that you could significantly cut back on costs related to materials and consumables. Planning ahead and forecasting for the future will allow you to develop a much more accurate budget enabling you to acquire all the materials you need to operate, without the danger of incurring too many additional costs.

When we say shifting to from a ‘just in time’ model to a ‘just in case’ approach, this is mainly related to higher volume purchases. Obviously, this may be more expensive initially, but if you have all the materials in stock earlier on, you will avoid issues such as supply problems later in the year, allowing you to carry on working and delivering products to customers.

This approach will also avoid the panic of having to source materials and consumables during times of shortages; something that, more often than not, is an expensive process as the cost of products inevitably rises. Having excess materials in stock will remove this issue and allow you to operate as normal.

Finally, this model fits in well with certain trends that have been emerging recently, primarily that the “I need it tomorrow” level of demand has dipped as more businesses look to plan ahead with their purchases. Being able to deliver this sort of service will mean a much more relaxed experience for both your business and customers.

One of the key lessons we have learnt from the past few years is the importance to plan ahead to safeguard your business. Adopting this forward-thinking ‘just in case’ approach will certainly help you achieve your long-term goals.

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To tint or not to tint?

Authored by Dennis Leblanc, Senior Business Development Manager, North America, at Drytac.

Selecting materials and media for a print job can be a tricky process, with the pressure firmly on the print service provider to ensure they make the right choice and achieve a high-quality result.

One of the primary reasons for this tricky selection process is the wide range of factors that you need to consider when choosing the media you are going to work with. Can it adhere to rough surfaces? Is it compatible with a certain type of print technology? Can it be used outside as well as indoors?

Among the many questions you need to ask yourself when picking out your next material is whether you require a grey adhesive or a clear adhesive. This will likely come down to the type of application you are working on, with one type of material offering certain advantages over the other, and vice versa.

First and foremost, acrylic adhesives in their original state are typically clear and manufacturers will add a “tint” to the adhesive to provide blockout properties to the media.

But why is this important? In some applications, a blockout adhesive is necessary to avoid colour shift in the graphic due to darker substrates, or if you are applying the media to a surface with existing graphics and want to avoid these from showing through the new graphics.

Take for example producing a set of wall graphics for a retail store; there is a chance that the walls in the store will have some form of graphics already installed, or they could be painted a dark colour. Opting for a material with blockout adhesive will mean the graphics will stand strong in front of any existing designs or colours, helping the application “pop”.

However, blocking out an existing background, or indeed the light – natural or otherwise – that is behind the graphic may not always be the most sensible or effective approach. In fact, when it comes to certain applications, materials that allow light to pass through will allow for a much higher-quality and impactful result.

If, for example, we are to look at window graphics; in the majority of cases, the customer or client will want natural light from outside to pass through the graphics to light up the interior of the shop, restaurant or other venue. Materials with a clear adhesive will enable the user to achieve just this, allowing for the production of a high-quality design that is effectively lit up by the light that flows through it.

Similar advantages can also be seen when viewing window graphics from the opposite side. If the graphic were to be backed with blockout adhesive, this would mean the non-printed side would be a dull-looking, solid colour. However, clear adhesive lets the light pass through and produces a mirror image of the graphic on the other side of the print, which is more pleasing to the eye.

There are advantages for using either of these materials, with the choice simply coming down to the type of application you are working on. The key to a successful outcome is to fully understand your application, your substrates and choose your adhesive science and adhesive colour appropriately.

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Building a bond with adhesive solutions

Authored by Glen Fitzgerald, Technical Sales Manager at Drytac.

Adhesives are one of the most common and necessary components of many applications across a whole host of markets and industries. With this wide-ranging demand and use comes the core challenge for manufacturers and suppliers – how are you able to offer a product that can deliver on all these project types?

The most important factor for any supplier in this market is to listen to what the customer is trying to accomplish, then look at ways at how to work with the client to both design and manufacture products that meet their exact needs.

Industrial tape converters certainly have the option to supply their own materials, but there is also the opportunity to work with other specialist providers in this sector to ensure they are delivering the absolute best solution to the customer.

This is where Drytac comes in; we can help with our different face materials or adhesives and release liners in stock to choose from. These materials have an extremely successful track record in some of the most demanding applications in the large-format graphics market but these skills are easily transferable to other industries such as medical, transportation, renewable energy and packaging, thus opening up their use across all manner of applications.

Remaining on the subject of the wide-ranging use of adhesive products in projects of all shapes and sizes, there are some more unique and challenging applications that require customised adhesives and materials in order to succeed.

Again, Drytac is ideally positioned to advise and support with these trickier jobs. Customers are able to create their own adhesive-backed materials and then laminate, slit or die cut to the customer’s specifications, once again ensuring you deliver exactly what they want, all with high-quality results.

At Drytac, we actively encourage customers and partners to challenge us with their own specialty material performance requirements. Working together, our specialist and highly experienced team will custom engineer and manufacture a pressure-sensitive adhesive to meet the unique needs of any job.

Finally, it is only right to address the elephant in the room that is seemingly impacting almost all markets and industries around the world – issues with the supply chain.

Be it the ongoing situation in Ukraine, Brexit, or the lasting effects of Covid-19, many companies are finding it hard to get their hands on some of the most common raw materials required to produce adhesives. As such, this makes developing new or custom products a rather tricky, and often slow, process.

However, at Drytac, we have a huge stable of raw materials that we use to produce a wide range of adhesives materials. With such a large amount of materials available to us, we are able to keep all product ranges fully in stock, as well as work with customers to develop bespoke solutions for their individual jobs, thus significantly reducing lead times.

Please note: Glen Fitzgerald will be in attendance at Foam Expo North America in Michigan, USA, between 28 and 30 June 2022. If you would like to schedule a meeting with him at the event please reach out to him via LinkedIn or by email glenfitzgerald@drytac.com.

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Profit from Drytac’s pattern coating science

Authored by Phil Webster, Head of Industrial Sales, EMEA at Drytac.

Adhesives are absolutely critical to the success of applications across a range of sectors. Simply put, if you get this choice wrong, then you put the entire project in jeopardy and run the risk of undoing your hard work earlier on in the process, thus costing you valuable time, money and, potentially, repeat business.

To make sure you avoid this, before commencing a project that requires an adhesive solution, no matter what industry you are working in, you should take a look at the products available to you on the market.

A great starting place would be media with pressure sensitive adhesive; this type of adhesive offers a reliable way of keeping your application in place for as long as required. Be it medical, label, filtration or even construction applications, this will give you and your client peace of mind.

There are three core pressure sensitive adhesive technologies to choose from: water-based, solvent-based and hot melt. All of these options offer properties that make them better suited to certain jobs, whether that is a BS5609 certified durable label or a double-sided technical tape.

For this reason, it is key to check all the criteria with your supplier to ensure that you are matched with the right product that will meet the relevant requirements for your application.

Taking this a step further, Drytac, which offers products across all the main adhesive technologies, has developed a pattern coating process to apply adhesive in dots, lines or various differing shapes to offer maximum performance to customers.

The core benefits of this pattern coating process include the flexibility available to users, whereby the dot size, spacing frequency, thickness and overall coat weight can be tailored to each customers’ specifications, thus delivering a solution unique to their requirements.

Low adhesive coverage also enables permeable materials to be laminated and remain breathable, improving the overall performance of the application, while high moisture vapour transmission rates are also possible using this technique.

Another advantage of pattern coating is the reduced consumption of adhesive products. Coverage can be as low as 15%, which will significantly lessen the amount of adhesive that customers need to complete a project, helping them save on material costs.

Materials with pattern coated adhesive are also incredibly easy to apply to a wide range of surfaces, without trapping air underneath. The specially developed process allows air to escape between the patterned adhesive, thus removing one of the most common issues when it comes to applying products.

Pattern coating is available across both water-based and solvent-based adhesives, meaning there are a variety of options for users, especially those that are seeking more planet-friendly materials for their work, with water-based technology achieving a more eco-conscious solution.

Drytac’s pattern coating is key to its SpotOn range of printable, self-adhesive products, which are designed for easy application to walls, floors and windows.

Upon application, the dot pattern allows air to flow through the spaces between the adhesive dots without creating bubbles. The graphics can be applied – using the dry method – and removed, without the need to get professional installers involved.

Pattern coating is one of the most unique coating options available to other manufacturers and coaters as part of Drytac’s Custom Coating service. The company provides major manufacturers with pattern coating options to utilise on their own products.

The fact is that there are many applications for pattern coating across multiple diverse markets. To find out more about Drytac and its wide range of adhesive solutions, please click here.

For more information on Drytac’s coating services, please email coatinguk@drytac.com.

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Add an extra dimension to your graphics with clear varnish

Authored by Gareth Newman, Academy Manager at Drytac.

Like its lamination cousin, varnishing was previously seen as a process that was only really useful for adding an extra layer of protection to a piece of printed work without impacting the image underneath.

However, fast-forward to the modern market and while varnish does indeed play a critical role in protecting printed work from damage, it is now regarded as a tool that can help add a whole new dimension to applications – particularly those in the wide-format print sector.

At Drytac, we have seen clear gloss varnish being used much more effectively in wide-format print, with customers coming up with a range of innovative ways to add that extra bit of sparkle to applications with this tried and highly trusted technique.

Perhaps one of the best examples of this innovation at work is with wallcoverings. Often in this area, applications can be rather flat and stagnant, not offering a great deal to passers-by or to customers inside venues such as restaurants or cafés. However, the simple step of adding a clear varnish can add a whole fresh look to the piece, making it much more likely to achieve its primary goal of attracting the attention of consumers.

Drytac customers working with ReTac Smooth 150 polymeric PVC film or ReTac Textures embossed film can add a layer of varnish to their printed work, allowing them to bring greater depth to the texture of the printed piece or even insert additional pattern designs to the application.

Evidence of innovation with varnish goes much further and can also be seen when working with both stickers and decals. A clear varnish can add a tactile finish to a normally flat decal, thus shining a new light on the application and helping it come to life in an eye-catching way.

Further still, varnish can play a vital role in applications where Braille is required. You can add a layer of clear varnish to media with ADA/UEB criteria, such as Braille signage environments, which could in turn open doors to new work.

Aside from the obvious benefits of adding extra value for customers, there is also a point to be made in term of costs. By using clear varnish, you can reduce the amount of waste ink by turning it into more eye-catching prints that can boost profitability.

We have seen a trend where customers are now starting to use the clear varnish – that had been previously under-used – and adding an extra dimension to flat, sometimes bland, print jobs.

However, while all the above may be true, it is important to remember how clear varnish is only an option when printing with UV technology.

Luckily for us, there are all sorts of UV printing machines on the market today, and plenty of high-quality inks to accompany them, so varnishing, and its benefits, is an option available to print service providers of all shapes and sizes.

If you have any other questions, please fill out the below and we’d be happy to help!

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Test and approve to save time and costs

Drytac Polar Grip

Authored By Michael Morano, North American Sales Support Specialist, Drytac

Material choice is an incredibly tricky process and can cause all sorts of headaches for print companies. After all, if you don’t get this decision right, you put the quality of valuable projects at risk and could incur additional, unnecessary costs.

Incorrect media choice could lead to in-house issues such as having to re-print jobs if you selected the wrong material in the first instance, while when working on-site, using the wrong media could damage a surface, which could then mean further costs to repair.

For this reason, you should never underestimate the importance of specifying the correct film and laminate; doing so will save you time and money.

While all print shops may not always have the luxury of being able to test and approve a material, not doing so for a difficult application or particularly challenging install could cause serious issues.

There are several key factors that you should be looking out for when testing your chosen materials. These include ease of installation, the time it takes to install the material and also how long it takes you to remove the graphic.

It’s important to remember that not all adhesives perform the same way; each product brings with it different features that can help this process. For example, some will carry a dot or air egress adhesive, while others may have clean removal science, allowing for them to be removed after use without leaving any residue or damaging the surface underneath.

Then there is the strength of the adhesive, which again differs from product to product. With any complicated installation, you should always look to perform an adhesive adhesion test to ensure it will apply to the surface, remain in place for the desired amount of time and be removeable when the project is complete.

Similarly, not all surfaces are the same and each will cause materials to perform differently. If you are installing graphics on low-energy or rough surfaces, this may require selecting different products than you would when applying materials to surfaces such as smooth walls and floors.

Drytac is the leading solutions provider when it comes to adhesive materials and can work with customers to ensure they select the right product for their project. The unique adhesive science on Drytac products creates print media and protective films that deliver outstanding results time after time.

At Drytac, we have several solutions for rough surfaces. Drytac Polar Grip is a polymeric self-adhesive PVC film, that is designed to deliver up to five years’ indoor or outdoor durability thanks to its unique high-bond adhesive. It is flexible, making it ideal for curved or rough walls and comes in a choice of matte or gloss finishes

For example, Drytac SpotOn products feature removable dot pattern adhesive science, making the media incredibly easy to apply and remove, making it the ideal choice for projects such as window, wall and floor graphics.

Drytac also offers Drytac Retac Smooth products, such as ReTac Smooth 150, for wall graphics. These films feature permanently peelable adhesive science, offer indoor and outdoor durability, are easy to apply and can be removed without leaving residue, even years later.

To make the test and approve process that much easier, Drytac offers printable films in smaller roll sizes of 25.5”x 10ft, as well as over-laminate samples of 25.5” x 15ft and 8.5” x 11” printed hand swatches of most our products.

With Drytac sample rolls, you can produce a sample print add an over-laminate and present a mock-up to your client for approval, ensuring you are achieving the desired results before committing to the full project.

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Can you coat it? Yes, Drytac can!

Authored by Glen Fitzgerald, Technical Sales Manager of Industrial for Drytac North America.

Selecting the right adhesive is critical for the success of many different types of applications and projects. Simply put, if you do not get this choice right, you risk ruining the hard work you put in to creating the application and put the entire job and installation in jeopardy.

In my role at Drytac, it is my responsibility to grow the custom coating side of the business and our existing product offering. This covers both signage and print applications, as well as a range of key manufacturing industries such as medical, renewable energy and transportation, where Drytac is challenged to provide the right adhesive for all kinds of projects.

A big part of my focus is introducing industrial tape converters to Drytac as a partner to help fabricate PSA components that are an integral component of a manufacturer’s final product. The adhesive choice is very much an important part of this process.

Initial tack or wet grab, shear strength, optical clarity, colour, permanent or removable characteristics, temperature and solvent resistance all need to be considered when designing a custom tape or adhesive to a specific customer application. If the wrong adhesive is chosen, it can lead to product failures which can damage the reputation of our customer’s final product.

With that in mind, what should companies look out for when selecting adhesive materials for work? First and foremost, you need to consider the quality of the product you will be working with and the reputation of the manufacturer that supplied the material. As is the case with all kinds of material, you get what you pay for, and opting for cheaper, less-known brands can be a bit of a risk.

Next, do some research into the type of technical support you will get from the tape manufacturer. Not only is the adhesive choice important for the final product, but the other components play just as significant a role. The adhesive carrier and release liner, if required, are critical for the overall performance of the tape throughout the manufacturing process, from coating the material, to the converting or fabrication of the product to the final use of the tape in the manufactured component.

Finally, consider the level of post-sales customer support you are likely to receive from the tape manufacturer. Once the tape is produced and sold, customers need the proper level of support to ensure that they receive their product on time every time. It is for these reasons that Drytac is extremely well placed to help customers from a wide range of markets with their adhesives queries, no matter what base materials they are working with.

The Drytac team can help with customers’ most challenging applications or ideas by serving as a design consultant and sounding board throughout the product development process. The technical sales and engineering teams can assist with proper material selection, functional prototypes and working with our tape converting partners to bring your product ideas to market.

We have plenty of examples of how by working with customers, they have been able to use Drytac adhesives new products across areas such as renewable energy, PSA labels, point of purchase display, military, and wallcoverings. The knowledgeable and experienced Drytac team, working out of our manufacturing facilities in North America and UK, help to establish a global footprint for your ideas

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