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Problem Solving

Problem Solving
Problem Solving
App Advice Here are just a few frequently discussed topics that we hope to provide you help with.

Adhesive Removal

This should be done by using a solvent based adhesive remover such as Right Off which will remove all traces in under 2 minutes before a final wipe down using an Isopropyl alcohol.  This will leave the surface ready for the new graphics to be applied.

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Air Bubbles

To avoid air bubbles it is important to remove trapped air beneath the surface of the vinyl. Whether the vinyl has been applied using a Dry Application method or a Wet Application method then this is best done by meticuously squeegeeing outwards from the centre of the graphic. It is also important when removing the application tape that this is not done too soon after the graphics have been applied and not too quickly either. For the best results work at a slow and steady pace and make sure that the application tape is pulled back at 180o instead of pulled up at 90o.

If applying to rougher surfaces be sure to use a soft squeegee or roller.

Newly painted vehicles require at least 5-10 days after painting before graphics are applied as the paint continues to release solvents while hardening. If graphics are applied too quickly these solvents can become trapped under the vinyl causing bubbles to appear and th eperformance of the adhesive can also be adversely affected. Some plastics such as polycarbonates and acrylics are prone to out gassing, which becomes trapped under the face of the vinyl and causes bubbles to appear. To reduce the chance of this happening remove any protective film early in the signmaking process and avoid high temperature exposure after application.

For a full compatibility list please go to the  Application Advice page.

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Banding during printing

Generally the printer should print slower for high quality prints when it is outputting more ink and faster for lower quality prints when less ink is being used.

Fine banding can be caused by overspray when using the incorrect feed calibration so check all set up details are correct.  Wider banding may be caused if printing with a low number of passes in high speed Bi-Directional mode so increase the number of passes or switch to Uni-Directional mode.

If the banding is even wider then the cause may be that the roll has been stored laying down unsupported at the core therefore causing pressure marks or 'flat spots'.  Rolls should always be stored in the original packaging and standing upright preferably on a storage system.

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Banner material doesn't feed properly

This is often due to the weight of the material roll causing too much resistance against the friction feed of the printer. 

To overcome this issue, which is more of a problem with some older printers we offer to rewind down 50m rolls to 2 rolls of 25m at no extra cost. If this is not practical you can overcome this by manually unwinding the required amount so that it feeds into the printer without resistance.

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Colours appear washed out

When printing onto transparent or translucent media for window graphics and backlit signs the colours can looked washed out.

The best way to overcome this is to overprint the graphics again so doubling up on the amount of ink and colour depth.

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Edge curl

This can be a problem on self adhesive materials if it is contour cut or die cut straight after printing especially in darker coloured areas where there is the most ink output.  Freshly printed graphics should be left to dry before any cutting or laminating so that the residual solvents from the ink can evaporate.

The recommended time for this 'gassing off' is 24 hours but we would recommend 72 hours if possible. The printed media should be hung vertically in a dust free area with ventilation.

If the media needs to be cut before this time then allow a minimum of 6mm border around the image and always conduct a suitability test.

It should also be noted that if the contour cutting does cross into the printed area this can contribute to excessive shrinkage of the vinyl face film when applied.
If freshly printed vinyl is cut in the printed area too soon the vinyl might shrink. Laminating too early might, depending on the amount of ink used, affect the functionality of the film (adhesive power / service life) by preventing the residual solvents from evaporating.
If the drying process of the vinyl takes place after application to the substrate the vinyl will probably shrink and come away at the edges.

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Flecks appearing in the print

This can be caused by dust or debris contamination from the print room environment. The inks tends to either accumulate around this settled debris and so appears as a dark fleck or disperses around the debris and appears as an unprinted white dot. Either way it is important to clean the area thoroughly and dry wipe the roll using a clean lint free cloth before trying again. 

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Image appears pixelated or blurred

The reason for this is generally the quality of the original file source or the editing of the file. It is important to ensure that the resolution of the original file is of a quality high enough to give satisfactory results.

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Ink pooling during printing

This stands out on areas of solid dark colour when too much ink has been used and is especially noticable on gloss surfaces. It is often caused when the printer is running too fast to reproduce solid colour correctly.  To correct, check that a suitable setting has been used for the media type selected and slow down the head speed, increase the number passes or print in Uni-Directional mode.

If the problem persists it may be possible to re-print the job onto a matt vinyl or paper and then overlaminate using a gloss laminate to give a quick drying solution as matt surfaces tend to absorb more ink.

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Ink bleeding at the edges


Too much ink is being laid down too quickly onto the media so slow the head speed down and increase the number of passes.

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Uneven colour when printing

More apparent when printing light pastel colours, the effect being a slight noticeable difference of colour across the width of the roll.

The easiest way to prevent this happenning is to print using the uni-directional mode or slowing the head speed down.

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Vinyl not releasing from its backing liner

It is sometimes easy to assume that the application tape is too low tack to remove the cut and weeded text / graphics however this rarely the case.

More often than not the reason for this problem comes down to excessive cutting blade pressure, which scores into the backing liner. The best way of checking is by peeling back some cut graphics and checking that the blade has only just marked the backing liner and that there is no scoring into the liner. Now check the reverse of the backing liner to check there are no visible impressions of the cut path coming through. If this is visible you need to reduce the cutting pressure incrementally and produce a number of test cuts to acheive the optimum pressure. Once this has been done the graphics should lift away easily.

The best method of removal instead of pulling the application tape away from the surface of the graphics is to turn the graphics over and remove the backing liner away from the adhesive side.

Please note that each type of material will require you to perform this test cut routine to ensure optimum cutting pressure. Thicker materials such as fluorescents and reflectives as well as some polyester films generally require greater pressure than standard vinyls while thinner materials such as cast vinyls will require less pressure. It may also be neccessary to change the cutting blade for one with a greater angle for sandblast vinyls, reflectives and fluorescents as well as flock materials.

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Vinyl peeling, cracking or edge lifting

The most important factor here is selecting the most suitable film for the job and remembering that although cast vinyl can be worked into channels and recesses as well as around compound curves using heat. Calendared vinyl should applied without onto these areas without putting the film under any stress.  It is lso important to check that the substrate is compatible with the media being used.

It is important to promote the initial adhesive contact to ensure that graphics do not lift or peel. Surfaces should be cleaned, dried and wiped with Isopropyl alcohol before any graphics are applied. In cold conditions it is best to apply heat after application to further enhance the bond.

Flexible pvc such as the type used to make banners contain higher levels of plasticizer which migrate through the pvc over time and can cause any applied graphics to distort. It is important to use a flexible vinyl such the Banner Vinyls

For a full compatibility list please go to the Application Advice

When applying lettering to the sides of tankers and other vehicles transporting aggresive liquids such as fuel or solvents we advise that the edges should be sealed with a protective varnish.

To prevent digitally printed vinyl from peeling from a substrate after application it is essential to allow a 72 hour 'gassing off' period prior to any lamination.  This is because the trapped solvents in the ink penetrate into the adhesive layer thus weakening the bond to the substrate.

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Vinyl removal

The best way to remove self-adhesive vinyl is to use heat. Either a hairdryer or an heatgun can be used to create temperatures of at least 200o but care must be taken not to actually melt the vinyl. It should be heated so that once softened the corner can be lifted enough to start gently peeling back at 180o and slowly removed. Never pull the film towards yourself at 90o, always peel flat along the substrate at 180o to prevent damge to the surface underneath. Once the vinyl has been removed it will probably be neccesary to remove some residual adhesive.

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Vinyl tunnelling when printing

This is noticable at the point of printing when a tunnel appear at the edge of the roll and works its way towards the centre of the roll. It is caused by the heat of the printer being set too high, often done to speed up the ink drying process. This excess heat caused the face film to expand and contract on the relase liner resulting in delamination.

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Watermark appears during printing

This effect is noticed towards each end of the media roll and may be due to the fact that the roll has been left loaded in the printer stationary for some time, perhaps overnight. The weight of the roll resting on the support rollers for this long period causes pressure through the roll and when printed the uneven surface causes this random effect.

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