Vehicle wrapping has developed massively since the early days of using standard signage vinyl to wrap vehicles! No more 1220mm wide rolls resulting in countless joins!
Manufacturers have developed more and more advanced adhesives to make application as smooth as possible. But, as with most things in life, you get what you pay for and vehicle wrapping vinyl is no exception.
A trouble-free application thanks to a technically advanced film, will save you time and therefore money; turn a two-man application into a one-man job, speed up fitting times, reduce wastage and minimise failures. But do you know which features are worth their weight in gold?
Let’s take a look at the vinyl features all vehicle wrappers need to know about:
This is probably the most handy of all the adhesive features, allowing the installer to glide the film over the vehicle surface without it grabbing and sticking before you are ready.
Avery Dennison have Repositionable and Slideable, whilst 3M label their repositionable technology as Controltac and Arlon’s goes by the name of FLITE Technology, but essentially, they all do the same job! How does it work? I hear you cry. Well, let me enlighten you.
The secret behind 3M™ Controltac™ is tiny beads that sit on the surface of the adhesive, creating a buffer between the vehicle surface and the adhesive. This allows the gliding motion of the film over the substrate. Only when the beads are embedded into the adhesive by the pressure of squeegee strokes, does the adhesive come into contact with the surface of the vehicle – this is what is meant by pressure activated adhesive.
Other leading bands such as Arlon and Avery Dennison achieve the same adhesive feature but through different means. Avery Dennison employ a system of adhesive pyramids topped with UV ink, whilst Arlon’s FLITE Technology is achieved through a combination of liner and adhesive technology.
Some of the newest adhesives on the market have such fantastic repositionability, you would be forgiven for thinking the film had no adhesive what so ever! Unsurprisingly, films with this technology are proving invaluable for single installer roof and bonnet wraps.
2. Air Release
The last thing you need when you’ve almost finished wrapping a panel is to look up and see a huge air bubble that’s trapped with nowhere to go, right? These days, thanks to air release technology this is not a common problem.
Whether it goes by the name of Easy Apply (Avery Dennison), X-Scape (Arlon) or Micro Comply (3M), they all use the same basic technology to achieve an air release system. Manufacturers emboss the liner to shape the adhesive, creating micro channels for air to escape through. The structure and pattern of theses air release channels differ from brand to brand and all have developed over time to be super effective.
Strictly speaking, air release is a liner technology, but it affects application through the adhesive.
I’m sure it’s happened many times; a wrapper completes a job, stands back and admires their work. It looks good. But a few weeks later the customer returns the vehicle. The wrap has failed. It’s popping out in the recesses. What’s gone wrong?
To ensure your wrap won’t fail dramatically, you need to select a wrap film with the appropriate conformability.
Luckily, most cast wrap products on the market today feature enhanced conformability. Some vinyls with 3D conformability will stretch up to 130%. 3D conformability reduces the need for filleting and stress cuts, making a wrappers job a lot quicker and easier!
But don’t forget, each product will have limitations. Don’t assume because it’s a cast vinyl it can go in any recess. It’s vital you choose a vinyl that’s up to the job.
Don’t worry if this sounds a bit daunting, we’re always happy to advise. It’s also important to follow the specific installation instructions for the vinyl you are using for a successful wrap.
So, if you want a stress-free wrap, take advantage of the amazing vinyl features on offer and you shouldn’t go far wrong. Vehicle wrapping films have come a long way in 15 years.
Want to checkout which films have which features? Download our Vehicle Wrap Brochure here.