Home' Australian Printer Magazine : November 2013 Contents from applying to surfaces affected by
Bleeding occurs when a natural
property of the substrate like oil or
resin rises to the surface. This can
result in adhesion problems and
lifting of the graphic.
Outgassing is similar to bleeding
but in this case moisture is released
in a gaseous state from the substrate.
The gases, trapped between the
substrate and adhesive layer, cause
the appearance of tiny bubbles. Not
only does this look unsightly but
if the gas is of a chemical nature it
can also cause the adhesive to break
down leading to failure.
Painted substrates may
look and feel dry but if you can
still smell solvents, outgassing
is still occurring. Some paint
manufacturers recommend waiting
for three weeks before applying
graphics to newly painted or
repaired vehicles, so it pays to check.
With so many paints on the
market it is sometimes impossible to
know the nature of the paint used.
Paints for interior walls that are
hard wearing by being washable,
scuff and stain resistant can contain
special polymers that make adhesion
Adhesives require a surface to
have good wet out properties to form
a good bond. If the surface has a wax
or other anti--adherent coating, then
the wet out property will be poor.
A good test is to place drops of
water on the surface. If the water
forms into small beads it indicates
the presence of a coating on the
surface that will affect adhesion, like
a polished vehicle. This coating will
have to be removed for a successful
This is also a good test for surface
energy levels. The lower the surface
energy of a surface, such as silicon
or Tefon, the more likely it will repel
water and adhesion will be diffcult.
The higher the surface energy,
as with glass, the more the water
droplets will fow and indicate an
adhesive friendly surface.
Test it rst
state in the fne print of their data
sheets that the customer must
determine the suitability of the
product for the intended application.
This takes into consideration the
many variables of any application
including substrate variations.
If unsure, test the flm prior to
any installation. Simply applying
a sample of the material, ideally in
the format you intend to use it, can
go a long way in avoiding problems
further down the track.
After 24 to 48 hours of testing
the sample piece will give you a good
indication of any outgassing, surface
contamination or other substrate
incompatibilities. If the test sample
does not stick well in that time
period, then it never will.
Vinyl and adhesive technology is
forever changing and today a wider
range of applications are possible.
There is greater confdence and
a perception that self-adhesive
vinyl can be applied to just about
anything. While this is almost
true, it cannot compensate for poor
surface preparation and evaluation.
Taking the time to evaluate your
surface prior to any application is a
worthwhile investment in preventing
30 November 2013 - Australian Printer
WIDE FORMAT: APPLICATIONS
Deal with surface
and place an
strain on client
THE cost of any self-adhesive
flm only represents a small
part of the overall expense of
an installation, but it has a
huge impact on the job if it fails.
Today myriad self-adhesive
brands and flms offer an
opportunity to make the right
choice, which is the frst step in
Reputable manufacturers will
stand by their recommendations and
back their products with warranty
programmes. However, you can
choose the right flm, within the
manufacturer’s specifcation, and
even so fnd the graphic fails.
The other variables that impact
on the flm’s performance do
not form part of any warranty
Take the substrate to which you
apply the graphic. An understanding
of the surface you are applying
the flm to and possible threats to
performance and adhesion, both
short and long term, is critical.
A pre-existing substrate, or
one specifed by the client, can be
diffcult to evaluate. Many graphic
failures simply result from an
incompatibility with the surface or
incorrect surface preparation.
You can eliminate surface
contaminants such as dirt,
grime and grease by following
recommended cleaning procedures.
Cure contaminants are a less
obvious threat. These include water
or chemicals that exist within a
substrate that migrate to the surface
and are released as the substrate
reaches its ultimate physical
property. Manufactured substrates
such as MDO board, fbreglass and
painted surfaces typically require
Applying vinyl before completion
of this curing process can mean that
water and chemicals remain trapped
between the surface of the substrate
and the adhesive.
Care with installation
THE installation process can also
introduce contaminants. Some
cleaners and soaps may appear to
clean the surface of a substrate but
upon evaporation leave a chemical
or soapy residue. Soaps containing
creams or lotions can lead to further
Solvents must also be fully
cleaned off the surface and not
just allowed to evaporate leaving
dirt behind, as solvent residue can
interfere with graphic adhesion.
Applying vinyl to a contaminated
surface can lead to problems such
as lifting, shrinking or failure of the
graphic to adhere.
Bleeding or outgassing can result
Nathan says applications have many variables, including substrate variations,
which you need to take into account before applying self-adhesive graphics
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