Manufacturing

The Differences Between Monomeric and Polymeric Calendered Film

Are you unsure of what type of calendered film to use for different types of projects? Have you ever asked yourself, “which film should I use, monomeric or polymeric?”

If you’ve ever asked yourself this question, keep reading. By the end of this article you will have a clear understanding of calendered film. Additionally, you will also know when to use each type.

The Calendering Process

We make calendered films through a “melt” process. First, we melt PVC (Poly-Vinyl-Chloride) resin, plasticizer and colorant together. As they cool, we roll the molten PVC through calendering rollers. This creates the final width, thickness, and surface finish of the film. Finally, we wind up the calendered film for further processing.

Let’s Talk About Plasticizer

A plasticizer is a substance added to a synthetic resin. Basically, plasticizer promotes plasticity and flexibility, reducing brittleness. So without plasticizers, PVC products are hard and brittle. They would shatter if you tried to bend, squeeze, or flex them, even a little! From the earliest days of using PVC as a commercial material, it has been mixed with a wide range of additives. These additives change durability, color, opacity, and flexibility.

Of course, the biggest concern with plasticizers is migration. To reduce this, we purchase top shelf plasticizer that is migration resistant. Plasticizer that stays in its original product prevents all manner of film problems. This includes cracking and splitting, poor adhesion of ink or glue, and incompatibility with the screen or digital printing process. So, the longer plasticizer remains in your product, the longer your product will last.

What do Monomeric and Polymeric mean?

Now that we understand plasticizers, we can tell a lot by the names given to the two types of calendered film. To summarize, “Mono-” means one, “poly-” means many and “-meric” means body or unit. Monomeric and Polymeric describe the type of plasticizer used to create a flexible finished vinyl.

The Real Differences between the Two Types of Film

Monomeric Film
Monomeric films are made of short-chain plasticizers. These short chains do not bind into film very well. Overall, the short-chain plasticizers tend to migrate out of the film, making it brittle. Additionally, monomeric film varies in thickness. It can be between 3 – 4 Mils (70 to 80 micron) thick and has a tendency to shrink. Therefore, these films are best for indoor flat applications and have a 3 – 5 year outdoor durability. Lastly, monomeric films have a short-term outdoor durability that varies by manufacturer, making them more economical.

monomeric film

Polymeric Film
Polymeric films are made of long-chain plasticizers that bind well into the film. Above all, this bond prevents the plasticizers from migrating. Generally, polymeric film feels softer and varies in thickness. Polymeric film can be 2.5 – 3.5 Mils (60 – 80 microns) thick, is more stable, and is less likely to shrink. For this reason, polymeric film is best for both indoor and outdoor applications including mild curves. Also, polymeric film usually has a medium-term outdoor durability of 5 – 7 years, which is longer than monomeric film.

polymeric film

The next time you ask yourself what type of calendered film should you use, remember this:

Monomeric Film: Polymeric Film:
  • Tends to shrink
  • Flat short-term applications
  • 3 – 5 Year outdoor durability
  • Economically priced
  • Less shrinkage
  • Mild/soft curves medium-term applications
  • 5 – 7 Year outdoor durability
  • Moderately priced

Now, could you casually drop the term “monomeric plasticizer migration” during your next cocktail party?

To learn more about the difference between cast and calendered film, read our Cast Vs Calendered blog post!

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Digital Printing

The Importance of Printer Maintenance

All machines should receive proper care and maintenance to prevent issues or mechanical failures. Similar practices apply to large format printers to ensure the longevity of the machine. Regular printer maintenance can also increase productivity and allow for consistent, high-quality prints.
Printer maintenance is very important!

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Digital Printing

Installing Exterior Wall Graphics

Things To Consider

Printed graphics on walls are a great way to transform a plain blockade to an exciting, money-making and eye-catching display. Additionally, installing exterior wall graphics are still the best way to express creativity and generate another means of promotion.

Compared to interior walls, exterior walls present more challenges when it comes to the product selection and application techniques. For example, exterior walls can be made out of concrete, bricks or cinder blocks with finishes ranging from smooth to extremely textured. With this in mind, take note if the surface is primed, painted, sealed or has no coating at all.

Relatively smooth exterior walls can share the same installation procedure as interior walls, but what about textured walls? We’ll explore how to apply printed graphics on exterior cinder block walls.

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Digital Printing

5 Key Factors When Selecting a Banner Substrate

5 Key Factors When Selecting Banner Substrate

Banner is considered the bread and butter of a sign shop. There is a wide selection of banner in the market that can make your choice overwhelming depending on what the job requires. Let’s take a look at five key factors of banner substrate that should be considered and what types of questions you should ask yourself when making a decision about which banner substrate to select.

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Digital Printing

Removing Adhesive Build-Up From Your Printer – Arlon DPF 8000

 

Removing Adhesive Build-Up From Your Printer - Arlon DPF 8000

For additional inquiries, please contact Arlon Technical Services at 1-877-275-6698.

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Digital Printing

Proper Ways to Store Your Vinyl

how to store vinyl films

When it comes to storing vinyl there are a few things to keep in mind that will prove to be the difference between being able to use that roll of film you have been saving for a job “just this size” or throwing it away in frustration.

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Digital Printing

Choosing the Right Overlaminate – Made Easy!

Overlaminated Made Easy

Have you ever wondered how to choose the right overlaminate for your large-scale graphic application? Did you know that the right overlaminate will increase the life of your graphics as much as 50%? Overlaminates are just as important as the vinyl choice itself. Here is a brief explanation of the considerations that need to be made when choosing which overlaminate you are going to purchase.

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Digital Printing

The Importance of Overlaminates

In the world of digital graphics, emphasis is often placed on selecting the correct media for each application type. Picking the right media can be crucial to meeting your customers’ expectations. Choosing to add an overlaminate is just as important. There are a number of reasons why using an overlaminate film is beneficial to a pressure-sensitive printed vinyl graphic.

The Importance of an Overlaminate

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Digital Printing

Importance of a Printer ICC Color Profile

Printer ICC Color Profiles are essential for a professional print shop to produce outstanding advertisements and consistent quality prints. Data from a digital file is what a RIP software relies on to translate color information or values from the source (RGB) to the destination or printer’s color gamut (CMYK) smoothly and efficiently. The bundled information takes into account the variables associated with the printer and ink performance, shop environmental conditions and media performance. Printing without printer profiles will result in prints that do not resemble the original proof and some of the common failures are banding, ink pooling or inaccurate colors.

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Manufacturing

LEAN’ing Into The Future

Unlike the modern waistline these days LEAN as a business model is seriously trending. If you haven’t tried this excellent diet already you and your company are probably following an unconsciously sloppy lifestyle and leaving much cash on the table as a result. The money that is not going into your collective pocket is going either directly or indirectly into the pockets of your collective competition. Something to think about isn’t it?

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