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cast versus calendared for wraps- New technology?

Discussion in 'Vehicle Wraps' started by MikeD, Oct 1, 2013.

  1. MikeD

    MikeD Active Member

    Oct 25, 2011
    I've always thought that cast was a must for vehicle graphics until I read this:

    "Media Advancements
    Cast films are often categorized as high performance, providing advanced durability and conformability. Calendared films are typically used for intermediate, short-term, and economy projects. Both are advancing.

    “In the last five years, improvements in the construction of calendered films has created products that work more consistently, especially digital films,” notes Matt Buckley, technical specialist, FDC Graphic Films, Inc. “We point to increased durability and compatibility with wide format solvent and eco-solvent inks,” he adds.

    Jeffrey Stadelman, technical marketing manager, MACtac Graphic Products, agrees, noting the greatest advancements are found with high-performance calendered vinyl films and their general overall acceptance in the U.S. market. “With new manufacturing advances in the calendering process, better temperature and processing controls and improved formulating abilities, high-performance calendered vinyl films are rivaling high-quality cast films in durability, conformability, and overall dimensional stability in almost every application,” he adds.

    Traditionally, cast vinyl was considered a better product, but also carried a higher price tag. “Now, thanks to advances in the manufacture of calendared vinyl, graphics providers can receive a less expensive calendered vinyl that yields similar results to a high-performance cast vinyl,” says Dione Metnick, product manager, LexJet Corporation."

    Has something really recently changed? Has anyone ever used calendared successfully? What if it's not a full wrap, but a rally stripe? It'd be great to be able to rely on a less costly material.

    Thanks for the insight.
  2. MichaelAlmand

    MichaelAlmand Member

    Sep 27, 2008
    one thing i learned is to just stick to CAST for vehicles. Don't cheap out to make a greater profit because that profit will be lost when you are re-doing the failed project.
  3. DKgrafix

    DKgrafix Very Active Member

    Note bold letters. High-perfomance, like Oracal 3551RA, which is just slightly cheaper than 3751RA.
    Regular calendered products are still not recommended.
    And, you still have to use higher end laminates with them, like 290, which makes the savings even smaller, I believe around 10-15%.
    I do not know if that is worth to compromise the quality.
    I do not know about the other Manufacturers, but I believe it would be the same.

    This comes from the newb in digital films, but I believe I'm right.
    Someone more credible should chime in.
  4. MikeD

    MikeD Active Member

    Oct 25, 2011
    Also, does anyone use liquid laminate for vehicle graphics? I would guess that one disadvantage would be the possible requirement of application tape since the liquid laminate would be very thin. In regard to film versus liquid, is one inherently more abrasion / chemical resistant? Is one capable of giving more UV protection over the other?

    I'm specifically interested in Rally Stripes more than full wraps at this point.

    Last edited: Oct 1, 2013
  5. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

    Jun 7, 2006
    As for wear 'n tear, I would put as much faith in one as the other. As for ease of application, sometimes it will work and sometimes it won't. It just stands to reason it will work under certain conditions.

    Try asking yourself this one, cause this comes from a guy who did a lota screen printing back in the day........ One had to stock your basic colors and many other colors in aqueous, enamel, multi, GV inks and others just to be ready to print on anything.

    Do you want to stock three rolls/laminates in both cast and calendared, to be ready to save a few cents on the dollar.... or just stock 1/2 as much inventory and not worry about a few cents ??
  6. MikeD

    MikeD Active Member

    Oct 25, 2011
    Right now, everything will be solvent printed on a JV33.
    I'm aiming to make it the least complex for our printer & laminator operators as well as the applicators.
    The less variation I have in material stock the better.
    At the same time, I want to be able to warranty for 3-5yrs, unless its installed on a car out in the desert or any other extreme environment.
    Thanks for all the advice so far!
  7. BlueFishDesigns

    BlueFishDesigns Very Active Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    Huntsville, AL
    But how long do you think someone will want a wrap on their vehicle? I think most people will want to change it, or remove it, after a couple of years. Products change, jobs change, graphics need updating, or they might sell the vehicle.
  8. MikeD

    MikeD Active Member

    Oct 25, 2011
    I like the leverage that a long-term warranty offers, however I would also want to sell replacements sooner than 5yrs of course. I wonder if anyone really keeps a wrap on for that long anyway; things change, as you point out.
  9. Seano32

    Seano32 New Member

    Mar 24, 2011
    Tampa Florida
    We use 3M IJ40cr which is a calendered product on most of our flat wraps(box trucks with small rivets and trailers with screws or without). It works great and helps keep the cost down. Some situations with calendered films calls for a high performance laminate(8518 vs 8508) for more conformability. But the films have come along way from even five years ago.
  10. fresh

    fresh Very Active Member

    May 16, 2011
    General Formulations makes a calendared wrap material w/ laminate. I used it on a trailer, and it worked well. They claim it is as good as any cast product.
  11. signworldusinc

    signworldusinc Merchant Member

    May 16, 2012
    Rancho Cucamonga, CA
  12. SightLine

    SightLine Premium Subscriber

    Thing is.... at least for me. I have built my companies reputation on top quality products and service. Over the years, the few times I caved in and gave something besides 3M or Oracal a try for a vehicle wrap - it blew up in my face. Made us look bad, and ultimately we re-printed it on a proven material and replaced at no cost. Still made us look bad. For now (for us at least), no name materials and lower tier materials are for the other shops who only compete on price.
  13. CanuckSigns

    CanuckSigns Very Active Member

    Nov 11, 2008
    3-5 years seems excessive to me, i don't think you will find anyone offering a warranty that long, even using the best materials on the market.
  14. 4R Graphics

    4R Graphics Active Member

    Jan 28, 2008
    Watson there are people out there that do offer long warranties.

    There is a company here in my city that gives a 5 year warranty.

    When I heard that I was like what the manufacturers only give you 3 on vertical and 1.5 on horizontal especially in the Florida sun.

    I will say they are not cheap but the do offer a price match program (never put them to the test on it )

    They are one of the biggest companies here (really grew fast in the last few years)
  15. SightLine

    SightLine Premium Subscriber

    We personally warrant our wraps for 3 years against fading, installation issues, and material failure. Of course horizontal surfaces and perf are excluded (1 year on those). We are far from the cheapest around as well. In 10 years the only time I've ever had to replace anything we have done was the couple of times we tried other materials. We are in the middle of 8 full bus wraps (big project - also fully painting the roof and rear, and wrapping the entire inside ceiling as well). We were the highest bidder (out of several bids)..... and this was a government project put out for public bids. A LOT of places are finally getting it in their head that price is not everything and as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for.
  16. Seano32

    Seano32 New Member

    Mar 24, 2011
    Tampa Florida
    If the company is an approved 3M MCS graphics provider it can offer a 5/2 year warranty on all its latex prints. And if they use high end solvent machines that warranty can go up to 7 years. 3M backs IJ180/380/480 with 8518/8519/8520 printed on approved printers and inksets for 5 years on vehicles and if you use the new 8548g lam on your horizontal prints they say 2 years. But you must be an approved MCS graphics supplier. Not all companies can acquire this nor is all printers able to qualify. And this warranty status my not matter to smaller shops or their consumers, But i believe that with some larger companies and or some government contracts it will give the company an advantage.
  17. ORAFOL Americas

    ORAFOL Americas Merchant Member

    Dec 17, 2010
    Black Creek, GA
    ORAFOL Americas Wrap Warranties

    Depending on the material used and the climate zone where you are located, we warrant our wrapping films (applied to vertical surfaces) for up to 7 years. All of the details are explained in our warranty documents (http://www.orafol.com/9840), you just need to follow the guidelines. If you have questions about what's covered, just give our tech support a call. They will gladly answer any questions you come up with. 888-672-2251.

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