Glossary

Application Advice Problem Solving

A brief jargon buster about the different types of material and other techy stuff


Calendered Vinyl

Calendered films start life as solid pellets that are melted, extruded and drawn through a series of rollers so stretching and flattenning it ouit to a uniform thickness. Though not as high quality as cast films in demanding applications, film produced by this process can nevertheless be adequate in less demanding conditions. Calendered films come in two types: polymeric and monomeric (see below).

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Monomeric Vinyl

The least expensive vinyl film is monomeric calendered. These films are not suitable for demanding exterior applications such as vehicle liveries or fascia signs. The face film of monomeric film is not stabilised so it will almost certainly shrink to reveal the adhesive beneath. Dirt will adhere to this revealed adhesive and will be clearly visible as a sticky, black outline around the lettering and other elements. The sticky black outline is usually only the start of more severe degradation to come. Eventually, the vinyl face film will begin to curl up and flake off like peeling paint. Monomeric films, therefore, are best suited to short-term exterior applications and interior work.

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Polymeric Vinyl

Polymeric calendered films have added polymers to reduce shrinkage. However, although they have developed significantly over the years, they still fall short of the stability and durability of cast films. Polymeric films fare much better in exterior applications than monomeric films but are not suitable for application over surface irregularities such as rivets and corrugations. For less demanding exterior work, polymeric films offer a workable alterative to cast. If there is any doubt as to which film to use, avoid risk and choose cast film.

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Cast vinyl

A cast film is a premium grade vinyl that starts life as a liquid, which is then allowed to spread out to an extremely thin layer. Cast films have no memory and are stable, so shrinkage is barely perceptible. Because cast films are thinner and softer, they are easier to cut, weed and apply. Cast films conform over substrate irregularities such as rivets and textures, making them the preferred option for the most extreme exterior applications, especially vehicle wraps. Cast films are also often used for interior or less challenging applications when special or Pantone colours are required. If there is any doubt as to which film to use, always choose cast for its enduring quality and long life.

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Hybrid vinyl

These films use special pvc compounds and high quality pigments to create a film with a high degree of dimensional stability and outdoor durability.   The softness that is inherent in this type of vinyl makes it perfect for full vehicle wrap use.

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Micron

The European measurement commonly used to display the thickness of a vinyl film.  1 micron () equals one thousandth of a millimetre, 0.001mm.  A typical 75 vinyl is therefore thinner than one tenth of a mm.

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Mil / thou

The American measurement commonly used to display the thickness of a vinyl film and not to be confused with mm.  1 mil (one thousandth of an inch) equals 0.0254mm.  A typical 75 vinyl could therefore be described a 3 mil.

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gsm

This acronym stands for Grams per Square Metre and is the weight measure for various non-adhesive flexible media such as paper, canvas and banner.

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Blade Angle

The angle of the cutting blade is measured in o degrees. The correct blade angle depends entirely on the material being cut. Here is a general guideline:

Product Blade Angle
Standard Signmaking Vinyl
45o
Heat Transfer Flex Films
45o
Flock
60o
Reflective Vinyl
60o
Floor Laminate
60o
Sandblast Films
60o
Magnetic
60o

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Offset

The offset value is the distance from the centre of the blade to the cutting edge of the blade and is specified by the manufacturer of the blade. The offset determines the blade's turning radius and how it compensates for distance while turning corners.

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Cutting Force

The cutting force value is measured in grams (gf) and depends entirely on the material being cut and the angle of the blade being used. Here is a general guideline:

Product Grams of Force Value (gf)
Standard Signmaking Vinyl
30-100
Heat Transfer Flex Films
30-100
Flock
80-160
Reflective Vinyl
100-350
Floor Laminate
100-350
Sandblast Films
100-500
Magnetic
150-600

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Paper Sizes

The dimensions of the A Series paper sizes are graded from A8 to A0 (A5 - A0 shown on the diagram below) with A4 being the standard size for documents in the UK

fyi

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Please feel free to contact us at any time.

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