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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

Facemounting to acrylic for high-end fine art

Authored by Steve Yarbrough, Product Support Specialist

Face-mounting a print, especially a photograph, can really make the image the focus of the space. At Drytac we have developed Facemount®, a high-quality, optically clear mounting adhesive, specifically for this application, but that’s not all you need to produce a stunning result.

In fact, there are five critical physical material aspects to consider when completing or ordering acrylic face-mounts in order to get the results you are looking for.

Photo Paper/Print Media

First of all, an essential aspect to acrylic face-mounting is the choice of photograph paper or print media. Use only top-of-the-line photo paper for an acrylic project print – remember you’re creating an eye-catching display. The most popular photo paper – and the one I prefer for most projects – is a metallic paper. Be it metallic satin or metallic glossy, metallic paper truly enhances the vibrancy of the photograph. However, not all pictures call for metallic paper; portraits, for example, very often benefit from a photo paper with a pearl finish. Every surface has a Roughness Average (RA) and, keeping that in mind, the smoother the surface of the photograph, the better your results when face-mounting. If you do not have a completely smooth surface, you may see very tiny air bubbles in your print called silvering – not something you want in your finished photographic display.

Acrylic

Next on your list is the acrylic itself. Not all acrylic is alike. Specifically, there is a choice between cell cast acrylic and extruded acrylic. Cell cast acrylic is harder, has a more uniform thickness, is more scratch-resistant and is typically clearer than extruded acrylic. Most people in the industry only use cell cast acrylic for face-mounting, regardless of the thickness. If you are shopping around for a face-mounted photograph, always ask the vendor what type of acrylic they are using. If they tell you that all acrylic is the same, chances are they are using sub-par material and you may well have issues in the future. There is also a vast range of prices, from cheap acrylic only good for running experiments, to museum-quality acrylic that sells for four-figure sums per sheet. A reliable business will talk you through the options.

Facemount

The third essential aspect to face-mounts is an optically clear mounting adhesive, a two-sided adhesive that is used to adhere the photograph to the acrylic. It’s imperative that this is of the highest quality to ensure a clear picture with no distortion. Drytac’s product, specifically designed for this application, is called Facemount® – a pressure-sensitive permanent mounting adhesive protected on each side by a clear polyester release liner. Drytac’s Facemount® has been valued and relied on in the fine art sector for more than 30 years. Facemount® is engineered for the face-mounting of virtually any image to clear substrates like PetG, Plexiglas, acrylic and polycarbonate, which means that it is a fantastic option for high-quality photographic and inkjet printed images. It is particularly good for lenticular imaging applications, backlit display transparencies and touchscreen displays too – it really is of the highest quality in the market.

Backing

You should also consider the backing to be used with your photograph – indeed, this could be the most important aspect if you are hanging your picture on a wall. The backing must support the weight of your acrylic without tearing away from the back of the photograph to which it is adhered, and also maintain its adhesion to the mounting hardware. For wall-hung pictures, Dibond backing or coloured 1/8″ cast acrylic sheet is typically used. Dibond is basically an aluminium sandwich: a composite that consists of a high-strength aluminium skin on both sides, sandwiching a super-strong polyethylene centre core. It provides the utmost protection to the back of your picture while providing an incredibly strong substrate from which your acrylic can safely hang. The same applies to cast acrylic backings. This step requires another double-sided adhesive to bond the back side of the image to the backer – Facemount®.

Hanging Systems

Which backing to use depends on the hanging system, and this is the final critical aspect when acrylic face-mounting a print. No matter how good your backing is, if your hanging system fails, then everything else ceases to matter. It should be large enough to support the weight of the material, for if the weight exceeds the dimension of the hanger it will pull away from the backer, causing a failure. A cleat style hanging system requires Drytac Facemount® to be used on the front and back of the photo, because Facemount® has a very high shear strength and will hold, whereas other mounting adhesives have a lower shear strength and the acrylic and image will eventually release from the backer over time. This could cause the image to slide down the backer, or simply separate altogether.

Alternatively, standoff style hanging systems are essentially metal bolts that hold an image to the wall with anchors installed into the wall surface. This style of hanging system will provide enough weight distribution and support lower shear strength options as the adhesive for the backer. This is because the standoff goes completely through the sandwich of the Facemount®, holding it together and supporting the entire weight of the piece on all four corners from front to back. With this system, there is no way for the image to slide down the backer because they are supported equally. There are other hanging systems that are patented; research all the types to find the best system to meet your needs.

Acrylic face-mounted prints can look great. Make sure you choose the right photo paper or print media, acrylic, optically clear mounting adhesive, backing and hanging system to make them look incredible.

Explore the full range of Drytac’s media and adhesives to be inspired – and prepared – for your next project. Learn more about Facemount® and the steps on our youtube page: https://youtu.be/xBVnpOHmUOU 

Read More

Safety comes first with graphics

Authored by Shaun Holdom, Global Product Manager, Drytac

Safety should be at the forefront of everyone’s minds when creating a public space, with the choice of building materials, exit routes, sprinklers and alarms top priorities. But the safety of graphic materials should also be considered when planning campaigns in public buildings including hospitals, schools, transport hubs and retail environments.

At Drytac we have several certified product ranges. One of our most popular brands, SpotOn®, has achieved a Class B1 Fire Rating to the DIN 4102-1 standard. This widely recognized accreditation means this product range can be used in public areas that must adhere to strict fire regulations – opening up a variety of new applications and markets. Featuring Drytac’s unique dot-pattern removable adhesive, it allows for tool-free, bubble-free application to most flat surfaces and clean removal after use.

The SpotOn range is designed to be easy to use which allows non-professionals to install it – people who may be less aware of safety regulations – so it’s important that the product is as safe as possible. In addition, specialist floor media SpotOn Floor 200 has an R-10 anti-slip rating post print according to DIN 51130 and classed as ‘low slip potential’ according to EN 13036-4. This 200 micron (8 mil) embossed printable white matte monomeric PVC film is therefore ideal for a multitude of high-impact floor graphics applications.

For wall graphics, ReTac® Smooth 75 polymeric PVC film and ReTac Smooth 150 polymeric PVC film have also been developed with safety in mind. These products are designed for longer-term applications but are also easy to apply, reposition and remove. Each product has a Class 0 fire rating according to BS746 part 6 & 7 to provide certified graphics for airports, hotels, retail stores, hospitals and more.

It is important to understand that typical graphic media will do little to prevent a building fire from spreading, however certified materials will not contribute to it or spread it through flaming particles. It is essential to carry out research ahead of all display projects based on their intended location and use – with Drytac able to provide advice on its extensive range.

Learn more about the safety features of the Drytac range to ensure your business and its people are protected.

Read More

Grab your customers’ attention with eye-catching floor graphics

Authored by Steve Yarbrough, Product Support Specialist, Drytac

Many of us use our phones while out shopping: researching products, comparing prices, downloading coupons, taking photos of items to think about later, looking at a shopping list or simply checking the time. So, with so many shoppers looking down at their phones, retailers need to find new ways to grab their attention.

Innovations in printing technology, inks and – of course – materials now enable display and advertising potential to reach floor to ceiling and wall to wall. Window displays encourage shoppers into a retail space, inside which POS and shelf-edge displays can boost sales of a specific product or range. But floor graphics can do all this and more: they can be used to guide customers into and around a space and create a fuller experience. This method can also be incredibly effective in city center environments, trade shows, museum exhibitions, theme parks – anywhere you want to grab and maintain the attention of your visitor. They’re also ideal for places like hospitals, transport hubs and educational facilities, where effective way-finding systems keeps foot traffic moving in the right direction.

The safety of floor graphics was, naturally, a concern in the past; installing a tripping hazard is never good business. But materials have been developed to ensure floor graphics are non-slip and securely fixed and, at Drytac, we make media that is easy to install and to remove too, even for the non-professional.

Indeed, we have a full range of display materials designed specifically for safe, user-friendly and effective graphics on a whole variety of common floor coverings. This includes award winning SpotOn Floor 200, a 200 micron (8 mil) embossed printable white matte PVC film designed for short-term, indoor floor graphics with no need for lamination, with a post-print anti-slip rating. It’s also achieved a Class B1 Fire Rating, meaning it can be used in public areas governed by strict fire regulations, and has Drytac’s innovative ‘dot pattern’ adhesive for clean removal – leaving no sticky residue.

Drytac’s FloorTac range is tough enough to withstand medium to heavy foot traffic in indoor environments, offering a great addition to short-term graphics campaigns. This specialty floor graphics media features a removable, pressure-sensitive grey acrylic adhesive making it easy to apply, maintain and remove. Recommended to be paired with Drytac’s Emerytex overlaminate to provide slip-rated floor graphics. FloorTac is available in North America and FloorTac Plus is available in Europe. In North America, Drytac users can also find the multi-purpose Polar Polymeric and Polar Polymeric Clear RC self-adhesive vinyls, great for floor graphics as well as POS displays, window graphics, vehicle wraps and general signage.

 All Drytac’s materials that are suitable for floor graphics are compatible with UV, solvent, eco-solvent and latex ink technologies, making them incredibly versatile products. With floor graphics it’s all about being eye-catching, so spend time experimenting with colors and designs to create something far more enticing than a smartphone.

Take a look around the Drytac range to discover the perfect floor display media for your campaign.

Read More