Why Drytac is the leading developer of custom coatings in the UK

Authored by Phil Webster, Technical Sales Manager, UK

In any industry, getting the right tool for the job is essential. Having a product custom-made might seem like an expensive or time-consuming option but, by working with a specialist, it will pay off in the long term. Drytac is an expert in producing custom coatings in the UK, building on over 40 years’ experience in adhesive science to create tailor-made coated products for customers across dozens of industries.

Working from a state-of-the-art R&D facility in Bristol, the Drytac team develops contract coatings for markets such as construction, packaging, medical, pharmaceutical, automotive, security, chemical, durable labelling, tapes, industrial, archival, marine and many more. As well as four decades’ worth of expertise in developing self-adhesive products, Drytac understands the importance of communicating and collaborating with every customer to understand their unique requirements. The client is part of each step in the process, from choosing the initial raw materials and compatible adhesives, to receiving prototypes to see and feel. Drytac has the ability to then carry out small-scale production trials, tests and evaluations. Once the final product formulation is agreed, Drytac can manufacture bespoke self-adhesive coated products in runs as short as 5,000 linear metres and as long as over a million.

Unlike other manufacturers, Drytac does not specialise in one type of chemistry, instead able to offer custom coatings with solvent-based adhesive, water-based adhesive and hot-melt adhesive, giving a much wider range of options. Drytac has also pioneered its own pattern-coating process for laminating breathable and permeable materials, with a dot adhesive coating.

There is no typical customer and no standard product; Drytac produces mounting adhesives, overlaminating films, printable media and practically any other adhesive-coated material – high coat weight double-sided tapes, cloth tapes, tissue tape, perm/peel tapes, medical transfer tapes, horticultural labels, BS5609-approved chemical drum labels, protection films for carpets and hard floors, spray booth liner and many more. For any business looking for custom contract coatings, in any market, personal service from an expert will yield the best results.

Learn more about our custom coating services here!

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Wall graphics: Fail to prepare or prepare to fail!

Authored By Dave Newbery, Regional Sales Manager at Drytac

It’s no surprise that over the past decade wall graphics have become more and more relevant. The explosion of higher quality and more affordable large format printers has enabled graphics companies to offer their customers more than just their standard signs, vehicle graphics and posters. Offices, schools, gyms and hospitals, to name but a few, are all benefiting from using formerly blank wall space to convey a mission statement or promotional message – or simply to brighten things up.

However, wall graphics can all too often go wrong, and sometimes very badly. This is due to the minefield that is different types of paint (particularly interior paints) and their compatibility with wall graphics products. Factors such as the incorrect face film and incorrect adhesive (including the wrong coat weight of adhesive) can have a disastrous effect.

A common cause of failure is lack of a proper site survey. This should include peel testing the products that will potentially be used, checking the paint in situ, finding out if there are any air conditioning units or heaters in the vicinity and what the local ambient atmosphere is, and, if possible, discovering what is under the paint and how long ago the paint was actually applied. There’s lots of detective work to do!

Printers and sign makers can easily fall into the trap of thinking any wall graphics media will work with any wall – only to then get a call the next day from their client complaining that their wall graphics have overnight become floor graphics. Explaining to the customer that they would like to visit the site to check the walls and do some testing in advance of producing the graphics can eliminate a world of pain – and embarrassment. The end user won’t always grant this request but most will understand that a day’s disruption is better than several extra days on site to correct any faults later. A survey will make everyone’s life far simpler in the long run.

Washable or wipeable paints that have become very popular over the past few years never make for an easy install when it comes to adhesive. Put simply, if a paint wants to chemically repel dirt, ink and fingerprints it will want to do the same to adhesive. If not prepped correctly, the highest strength adhesives can still fail when applied to these types of paints. Even if the bond is a ‘pass’ but the face film isn’t stable enough, a ‘pass’ can quickly become a ‘fail’ as the film is effectively pulling on the adhesive. And it is often the case where wall graphics need to be fitted when the wall was only painted a matter of days (sometimes hours!) ago.

Paint needs to have been applied a bare minimum of 72 hours in advance (ideally a lot longer) to give any adhesive a fighting chance of working. And if the printer has input into the type of paint to be used, a basic emulsion paint is a far better choice as this has no washable properties to it. However, if a washable or wipeable paint has been used, there are some fixes. Ideally, this type of paint needs sanding to remove the ‘washable’ surface. Sanding generates a whole new problem of dust – and lots of it – but this is the preferred work-around for this type of paint. If this is not possible, a good quality sealer or primer to lock in the washable properties of the paint is a viable alternative. All finishes also need to be clean; a seemingly obvious fact that can be overlooked.

Here at Drytac we have several products which offer excellent performance when these guidelines are followed. Drytac Polar Grip is an 80 micron polymeric PVC film coated with a high coat weight/high strength adhesive. The polymeric film with its lack of phthalates makes for a very stable face. This coupled with its 44gsm high peel/high sheer adhesive makes this an excellent solution for permanent wall graphics. Polar Grip is available in both matte and gloss white finishes and is even suitable for application to brickwork for exterior use.

The extensive range of Drytac ReTac products add a new dimension to wall graphics. Not only are there various finishes and thicknesses but the unique ReTac adhesive allows for wall graphics to easily be changed around if the image starts to look dated or is no longer suitable. There is even a glossy wipeable version, so dry-wipe boards can be moved around a building with the end user safe in the knowledge that there will be no adhesive residue left and no damage caused. The world of wall graphics can be a minefield. Fail to prepare or prepare to fail – or, do your homework and get great results.

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Elevate your graphics with the right media

Authored by Brad Haupt, Regional Sales Manager, Drytac

If you’re looking for a captive audience for your advertising or branding, you can’t get much more focused than an elevator – exterior or interior. Your market may only be exposed to the display for a few seconds at a time – although possibly several times a day – which means it must have an immediate impact. But if you get it right, there’s incredible potential for engagement.

Elevators, or lifts, situated in environments such as airports, hotels, casinos and convention centres offer a great opportunity for semi-permanent advertising campaigns or displays. These spaces tend to be used by visitors who may be unfamiliar with the local area, so are ideal for displays advertising nearby restaurants or tourist attractions. Lifts in offices, colleges, shopping malls and other places used frequently – daily or weekly – are prime candidates for displays designed to be changed often. Ads for events, retail campaigns, holiday messages: these can all be switched up to grab people’s attention.

The outside of an elevator can have a bigger impact, as people wait for it to arrive. You can incorporate the moving doors into a creative idea, complement or contrast the colour schemes of the building, use it as wayfinding, and much more.

Whether your elevator display is long-term or destined for just a few days, it’s essential to use the right graphics media. Drytac SpotOn White for example, is ideal for short-term elevator graphics. This is a printable vinyl designed for use on smooth interior surfaces – such as the metal box of a lift – and offers up to three years’ durability indoors. It is compatible with UV, latex, solvent and eco-solvent printing technologies, and is available in clear or white, matte or gloss finishes, making it the ideal partner for colourful, impactful printed graphics.

However, the true beauty of SpotOn is its adhesive. Using Drytac’s innovative dot pattern design, the adhesive enables incredibly easy application of graphics to suitable surfaces – so easy, in fact, they can be installed by any non-professional, without special equipment. It doesn’t even require a squeegee to achieve bubble-free application. And, whether the display is in place for three months or three days, it can be removed simply, cleanly and with no residual mess. This allows employees to change out graphics when required, putting more control in the hands of local businesses.

Drytac’s SpotOn is also suitable for applications including wall murals, window graphics and exhibition displays, so an entire project can be printed using the same media. Step through the doors and take the elevator to explore a whole world of eye-catching graphics.

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Cakes and PVC: What do they have in common?

Authored by Steve Broad, Drytac’s European & Asia Sales Director

Vinyl is a standard sign and graphics material, with great results for a whole range of applications. But there is more than one type, and it’s important to choose the correct media for your project.

There are three categories of display vinyl: monomeric, polymeric and cast. Each are polyvinyl chloride – better known as PVC – of different sorts. To understand the difference between these three types, simply compare the PVC to baking a cake. The three types of PVC have very similar ingredients in their build; it’s just their quality and manufacturing processes which differentiate them.

Monomeric film is one of the cheapest forms of PVC available. It has the lowest cost of ingredients and it is stretched or rolled out to make it thin and printable – a little like using a rolling pin to roll out pie crust – in a process called calendering. All calendered PVC has a memory and wants to shrink back to its original state, but the additives in the chemical formulation prevent it from doing so. Typically, monomeric PVC will have an application lifespan of around three years, making it very cost effective for many short-term display projects.

Polymeric film is typically more expensive than monomeric. Its production uses the same kind of raw materials and calendering process as monomeric, but the ingredients of polymeric PVC are of a higher quality – hence this PVC has a longer life, of around five to seven years. It also can be used on a greater variety of surfaces than monomeric vinyl, such as those which are not flat or regular. In terms of cakes, polymeric films have higher quality ingredients than monomeric films.

The third type of PVC is called cast. Again, this uses the same type of raw materials as monomeric and polymeric, but the manufacture of cast uses the highest quality ingredients available. Additionally, the production process of cast PVC is not calendered; instead the PVC is poured into a casting tray where it is made flat from the beginning. Back to the analogy of baking: making cast PVC is like making a cake or brownies where you pour the ingredients into a cake tin, bake it, and it comes out the shape and size of the tin. This is the same way cast PVC is produced, so thanks to the high-quality ingredients and casting process, the PVC has no memory and will not shrink, allowing it to be formed or wrapped into many different shapes. The life of the product can therefore be in excess of seven years and is ideal for high-end applications such as vehicle wrapping for the auto industry. Think of it as a beautifully decorated cake for a special occasion.

While monomeric and polymeric PVC media are engineered with lower grades of ingredients, that’s not to say they aren’t ideal for a range of applications, such as  simple, short-term displays. All types of PVC vinyl are available in gloss and matte finishes and with white and clear face films, offering a multitude of options to create the perfect project. Get in touch with your Drytac representative to discover the best product for you.

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Wrap up for winter: prepare for cold-weather installations

Authored by Dennis Leblanc, Territory Manager, Eastern Canada + GTA; Drytac

It’s that time of year again: here in the northern hemisphere the leaves are falling from the trees, the nights are drawing in and the temperatures are dropping. While many of us would like to stay indoors with a warm drink, work goes on – and that means installing graphics in cold conditions.

As well as looking after ourselves in wintry weather, it’s important to keep in mind install temperatures when applying graphics outdoors in order to avoid failures. Typical install temperatures for pressure-sensitive materials rate at 5ºC (41ºF), but it’s essential that your chosen media, and its adhesive, can handle temperatures far below that.

Drytac has several solutions that are cold weather install rated down to -20ºC (-4ºF). In fact, there is an entire range of products, called Polar, designed specifically with low temperatures in mind – during installation, throughout the life of the graphic, and for its clean removal. The Drytac Polar range comprises a full selection of media for almost any graphics project need.

In fact, Polar Transit (available in North America) is even used for NHL rink board advertising across the USA and Canada, demonstrating its durability in low temperatures during action-packed ice hockey games, just as much as for bus graphic applications.

However, as much as winter may seem to drag on, it’s also crucial to bear in mind the highest temperatures your graphics may have to endure; summer is never far away. Drytac has also tested its Polar products for warm-weather performance – including an unofficial but extreme experiment carried out on Polar Chrome by Jerry Hill, Vice President of Business Development at Drytac. In March 2019, Jerry rode from Richmond, VA to in Las Vegas, NV on a motorcycle adorned with specially printed decals on this new reflective film. During the 2,400-mile, 36-hour journey (and back again), Jerry and the decals suffered temperatures of -2ºC (28.5ºF) in the southern Colorado mountains and 44ºC (112ºF) in Death Valley – and all survived.

The success of an application project lies in the ideal combination of film, laminate if necessary, and adhesive. Reach out to your Drytac adhesive science specialist for the right adhesive solution to meet your install needs.

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The people behind the products

Peter Bourgeois, Territory Sales Manager, Western Canada, Drytac

When you’re surrounded by exceptional people, innovation and creativity every day, it’s easy to take for granted what can be achieved. As an employee of Drytac I have visited our coating facility in Brampton, Ontario many times, but recently I had the pleasure of accompanying one of my customers on a tour, giving me the opportunity to see the plant with fresh eyes. It truly was a great experience to see the pride in quality and service that everybody takes – at all levels – at Drytac.

From the moment you walk into the office you see professionals who are dedicated to our customers’ success. Kam and Doreen in the front office consistently provide our customers with a level of service and care that is unparalleled. When you arrive in the manufacturing plant and put on the required safety equipment (a stunning orange vest!) Luigi takes over. Luigi knows more about adhesives and adhesive media than most of us will learn in a lifetime and is instrumental in the quality of Drytac products. As you journey through the plant you see the methods used to analyse our processes and the quality control that ensures all Drytac products meet the high standards required by our end users.

But the main thing I began to realize as we continued our tour is that it is not just the testing, manufacturing processes and quality of components that let us make a great product: it is the individuals involved. Everybody in our plant, from the operators to the directors, are working towards that same goal of creating a product we can be proud to stand behind.

Over the next two years, all of Drytac’s Canadian operations will be consolidated into a single, state-of-the-art facility. Spanning over 70,000sq ft, this new plant will include improved R&D facilities, expanded space for the production and storage of media to meet growing demand, and much more to improve the efficiency of operations. However, perhaps more importantly, the move to new premises will allow Drytac’s entire Canadian staff to work under the same roof for the first time. Already a business built on teamwork, Drytac will strengthen the relationships that maintain its success and progress.

No matter what you do, it is important to stop and look at the bigger picture of how your company, product or service gets from here to there. It does not matter what policies, procedures and processes you have in place if you do not have the buy-in from everybody within the organization. At Drytac we have that in excess and for that I am proud – and wish to thank everybody who is involved in making the products that I am lucky enough to sell.

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Epic journey through desert and snow proves Drytac Polar Chrome’s endurance

Authored by Jerry Hill, Vice President of New Business Development, Drytac

Drytac®‘s new metallic print media has been put to the test during an epic cross-country journey – and survived.

This March Jerry Hill, Vice President of Business Development at Drytac – a market-leading international manufacturer of self-adhesive materials for the large format print and signage markets – decided to travel from Drytac’s US HQ in Richmond, VA to the ISA International Sign Expo in Las Vegas not by plane, but by motorcycle.

The 2,400 mile, 36-hour ride to Las Vegas (and back again) presented a great opportunity to test out Polar Chrome, Drytac’s bold new reflective film designed foreye-catching indoor and short-term outdoor signage, billboards and exhibition graphics, POS displays, bus and subway advertisements, and ultra-reflective labels and decals. Tests have shown Polar Chrome offers exterior durability of up to two years, and Jerry’s extreme motorcycle ride proves it can withstand even the toughest conditions.

Jerry Hill explains: “A decal was specially designed for the occasion and applied to my black powder coated panniers. The decal would tag along for the ride.

“I never thought that I would have to endure the extremes of 112ºF (44ºC) of Death Valley and the snow, sleet, and hail of the southern Colorado mountains, with temperatures dropping to 28.5ºF (-2ºC).

“I ended up with a 5,600 mile journey of personal exuberance with the decal performing flawlessly, never budging, shrinking, or peeling – even a smidge.”

Jerry adds that Polar Chrome was not developed as a vehicle graphic media but his test more than prove its endurance for applications such as signage, award plaques, and POP displays.

“I now know that I can tell my customers, with confidence, that whatever graphic they build, that Polar Chrome will be at their side until the end of the journey,” he says.

Polar Chrome is a 75 micron (3 mil) reflective satin silver PET film, available in rolls up to 60″ wide and compatible with eco-solvent, solvent, latex and UV printing technology. For indoor applications, it offers durability of up to three years, and is easily and cleanly removed after use.

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The hidden cost of ‘box movers’

Authored by Dennis Leblanc, Territory Sales Manager for the Greater Toronto Area at Drytac.

In today’s ‘show me your invoice, I’ll beat it’ environment it’s difficult to compete against the ‘box mover’ business model. Everyone wants the lowest price and many people think the product is the only thing that counts, so why pay more?

However, this mentality has one goal: to move the same product as the competition at a lower price, with no concern for the customer experience, no support for if things go wrong and no added value. As the term suggests, it’s about moving those boxes off the shelves, period.

So have any of us looked at the back-end expenses that this approach actually cost our businesses? Buying from box movers rather than experienced, knowledgeable industry professionals can create a host of problems for your purchasing team that – I can almost guarantee this – you’re not taking into consideration before or after a purchasing decision. Your chosen supplier might have provided the same product as a more expensive competitor, but what if it’s the wrong product for what your client or project needs? Without the industry and application specialists whose knowledge is imbued in buying products from a professional company, it’s impossible to know. You could do the all the research yourself, but this costs you money and takes your focus away from what’s important: your business.

Let’s look at an example. You’ve been asked to quote on rigid POP displays for a short-term retail application. Your purchasing department calls a box mover dealer and requests a quote for the same cast film you always buy. Makes sense – they don’t use the product, so how are they going to know any different? The box mover quotes on the cast film as requested which, of course, is the cheapest price in the land. You submit your final costs to your client. Then the crickets start chirping; you wonder why you never heard back.

Here’s the alternative story. You’ve been asked to quote on rigid POP displays for a short-term retail application and your purchasing department reaches out to your dealer or manufacturer partner. These are trained experts in not just their product range but in the market and its typical applications. They ask the right questions to truly understand the project’s requirements and, as a result, recommend a low-cost monomeric film for short-term POP applications – the most suitable product for the job. You get your pricing back from the purchasing department and voila: no more crickets. And, by using the right material for the right application, you are more cost effective for your client, and are likely to actually achieve better margins.

It’s important to understand and remember that price is not the only important factor in the total equation: using the right materials for the application is paramount to success. It’s this knowledge and support that true industry professionals are here to provide. By working with the right dealer or manufacturer partner, there are no hidden costs, just happy customers.

Drytac has an extensive range of products for every display application – and a team of experts to help you choose the right one. Contact Drytac now to discuss your needs.

For more information on Drytac’s other products and services please visit www.drytac.com.

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Stickers and decals: stay on message without the mess

Authored by Dave Daniels, Northwestern Regional Sales Manager – USA, Drytac

We’ve all seen or placed stickers on things like laptop computers, refrigerators or the ubiquitous car bumper. Vibrant, punchy sticker art on items like skateboards – often called slaps – are everywhere. Stickers and decals are a great way to convey a message, to show loyalty to a brand or band, to promote your own business and much more.

But what happens when you want to change the message? When a brand identity has a refresh, or when you have a new campaign to promote? Unfortunately, most stickers and decals are difficult – or nearly impossible – to remove. They leave a sticky residue that attracts dirt and using cleaning chemicals can damage the surface further.

Luckily, some folks have paid attention to one of Drytac’s amazing products that has great adhesion yet is permanently removable: ReTac. ReTac Smooth 75/150 is a polymeric vinyl film available in thicknesses of 3.2 mil and 6 mil (75 and 150 microns), compatible with latex, eco-solvent and UV printing technologies. Using ReTac you can apply stickers to any compatible surface safe in the knowledge that when they wear out or the message becomes outdated, they can be removed easily and cleanly, even years after initial installation.

Another key feature of ReTac’s innovative adhesive is that it makes ReTac graphics repositionable too, so if you’ve applied your sticker in the wrong place or slightly askew you can move and reinstall it without losing adhesion now or later; despite these incredible qualities ReTac maintains its adhesive strength over time.

Importantly, ReTac Smooth 75/150 is easily cut to the shape you want with vinyl cutting systems – making it perfect for producing stickers and decals in an infinite range of designs. It’s also wipe-clean, so ideal for keeping those refrigerators and laptops hygienic, and car bumpers and skateboards on-message.

With an excellent white point for vibrant results and roll lengths of 54″ x 150′ and 61″ x 150′ available, ReTac Smooth 75/150 is also used worldwide for much larger applications, from window decals to large wall displays – like Wembley Stadium! Just like small but eye-catching stickers, these graphics are repositionable, removable and easily cleaned, meaning you can let ReTac do the talking when you want to send a message and remove it when you don’t.

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Say I do to customized wedding floors

Authored By Jerry Hill, Vice President; New Business Development

Floor graphics are fantastic way to grab attention in a range of environments. Displaying special offers in a shopping centre, directional information in a hospital or transport hub, marking out zones at an exhibition or trade show – floors offer a new dimension. Graphics are also ideal for customizing what can be a featureless empty space, turning a room into something magical, even making a newly married couple’s first dance extra special.

Recently, I gave my daughter a beautiful surprise for her wedding by transforming a plain floor into a customized dance floor. I had a custom checkered design with the couple’s new monogram printed on an EFI VUTEk onto Drytac SpotOn Floor 200, a media specifically designed to add effective graphics to standard common floor coverings. This 8-mil (200 micron) embossed printable white matte monomeric PVC film designed for short-term, indoor floor graphics with no need for lamination, featuring Drytac’s innovative ‘dot pattern’ adhesive for clean removal.

Drytac SpotOn Floor 200 has been developed to be so easy to use that, as I’ve said, ‘a salesperson can do it’ (yours truly!). I was really impressed; despite having no prior large floor graphic installation experience myself, I was able to complete the install in under an hour. In doing so, I was able to ensure my daughter had the perfect surprise for her wedding.

All Drytac floor graphics media is developed with safety in mind too – no-one wants the bride or groom to slip over during the couple’s first dance, after all. Drytac SpotOn Floor 200 has an R-10 anti-slip rating and a ‘low slip potential’ post-print, as well as a Class B1 Fire Rating making it suitable for any public areas with strict fire regulations – including wedding venues.

I went for a classic and sophisticated design for my daughter’s big day, but couples can be as creative as they like. Why not take inspiration from Print Three’s transformation of a shopping mall into a tennis court? They used Drytac SpotOn Floor 200 to promote the Calgary National Bank Challenger event in Canada. The temporary blue and white tennis court offered some fun to shoppers, and a sporty couple could even do something similar to add personalization to their wedding. Alternatively, why not go for something totally different? The possibilities to design something unique for a wedding are practically endless.

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