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How can this happen?

Discussion in 'Digital Printing' started by pixel_pusher, Oct 24, 2012.

  1. pixel_pusher

    pixel_pusher Member

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    We printed two 3x6 outdoor sign faces last year with MacTac vinyl and laminate and mounted them to Sintra. The side of the sign that faces east blackened like crazy, and the west facing side still looks OK. The link is to a side by side comparison of east and west. Any ideas what could have caused this to happen? And only on one side?
     

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    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2012
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  2. pixel_pusher

    pixel_pusher Member

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    MacTac IMAGin B-free Gruv vinyl and MacTac ColorGard laminate.
     
  3. noregrets

    noregrets Member

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    totally out there suggestion, but..... could something have burned next to the sign? e.g. car fire or something?
     
  4. pixel_pusher

    pixel_pusher Member

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    It certainly looks like fire damage, but the sign face is smooth to the touch. The black stuff doesn't flake off or anything. Plus, a fire close enough to do that kind of damage would have effected the other side as well. The customer sent me a photo of it a couple weeks ago, and it wasn't quite as black as it is now. It's very strange.
     
  5. sfr table hockey

    sfr table hockey Very Active Member

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    I thought I seen posts in the past that talked about laminate that looked burned. Might have been on window perf but simmilar result due to bad batch or wrong type for outside sun and heat.

    What was the laminate? And is the sun that much hotter when hitting that side compared to the other side later in the day?

    Would not think it was the ink as the white areas are bad as well.
     
  6. sfr table hockey

    sfr table hockey Very Active Member

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    Does Sintra not warp if it gets too hot? If so you would think it would be bent out of shape if heat was the issue.
     
  7. Mosh

    Mosh Major Contributor

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    MacTac vinyl is your answer....
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012
  8. letterman7

    letterman7 Very Active Member

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    The only thing I've seen close to that is the reflective failures of the old Avery products when the adhesive let go and affected the top layers. Looked exactly like this.. maybe the same thing happening? Maybe whatever you cleaned the Sintra with hadn't evaporated completely? Dunno... strange it's only one side.
     
  9. ucmj22

    ucmj22 Very Active Member

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    I was struggling to figure this out, but this idea about the substrate makes the most sense so far. Either the cleaner you used, or if the Sintra had something on it that wasn't completely cleaned off. I don't think it would be the vinyl or the lam. if the two sides were printed and laminated at the same time, and the vinyl was the culprit, you should see some failing on the good side. I can't see the failure affecting one side completely and not touch the other.
     
  10. Mosh

    Mosh Major Contributor

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    I have never seen that happen with 3M...just saying use cheap film/lam, that is what you get.
     
  11. john1

    john1 Guest

    I have used cheap General Formulation Concept 203 outdoors with liquid laminate and after a few years they just now are starting to look bad.....
     
  12. lazaros

    lazaros Member

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    We have this effect happened all the time here. the reason is cheap lamination gets burned easily in the sun. The sun is harder during morning hours until noon. that's why your sign facing east got burned.
     
  13. visual800

    visual800 Very Active Member

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    might sound crazy but is there a sprinkler nearby....If you get wet every morning and then are baked by sun this could happen!
     
  14. BIG EASY DOES IT

    BIG EASY DOES IT Very Active Member

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    Is it possible the light on the inside of the box is to close to the panel on that side?
     
  15. Gino

    Gino Major Contributor

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    Is any of it reflective ??
     
  16. pixel_pusher

    pixel_pusher Member

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    The sign hangs about 15 feet in the air next to the street. I wouldn't say that the materials are cheap, really, Mosh. Do you WORK for 3M or something? I've printed thousands of signs with the same vinyl and lam as this sign, and this has never happened before.

    It looks like burn damage, but can better be described as discoloration. There's no soot or charred materials that scrape off. The vinyl appears to have simply blackened. Some of you guys may be on to something about the sintra panel not being cleaned properly...
     
  17. pixel_pusher

    pixel_pusher Member

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    Not reflective and there's no light inside the box. The metal box was their old sign, and we bolted the sintra panels on top of the two faces of that old sign. That way, they could still hang it from their existing frame. Maybe styrene or poly metal would have been a better choice?
     
  18. tsgstl

    tsgstl Active Member

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    I have a customer that had a truck lettered by someone else and it looks very similar to this. He thinks it is some type of mold that is blackening the image. I don't know what materials were used and it was a little over a year ago. I can't disagree with his mold theory and in almost 20 years in the business I have never seen anything like it.

    Edit: we have had issues with maroon more than any other color. Looking at it again I think you have 2 problems, 1. maroon has faded A LOT 2. something is blackening the vinyl
     
  19. Gino

    Gino Major Contributor

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    Well, it looks or sounds more like something I've been noticing with lotsa sign these days, including some of our own...... a type of mold that is not washable. I believe there is a kind of fungal transitioning due to possibly incompatible inks with laminate, not enough drying time before laminating, to morning dew not evaporating or just which way the sign faces in traffic.

    The traffic one could easily be the exhaust as vehicles go by traveling up in the air and clinging and finally taking hold from air flow of the direction.

    I'm noticing around us, that trees along the sides of certain roads and highways the leaves are dying off long before Autumn gets here.... and it seems to be the foliage closest to the roads. Whether or not stacks from freighters or just exhaust fumes are causing this is not known, but I never saw this stuff years ago. I originally thought is was from snow plows and salts, but they aren't plowing near as much anymore and putting down a brine which doesn't work the same way. Also, you don't see the same effects on inner city streets, just heavily traveled roads.

    Just a thought.............
     
  20. Border

    Border Very Active Member

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    I've seen it happen just like that, and my case I figured out that it was a combo of calendared lam on top of cast vinyl.
    Don't know if that is exactly why it happened but the side of that van that had more sun exposure really went to hell fast.

    The prints were subbed out to someone else and It wasn't my decision to use that combo of vinyl/lam.
    I don't use that print source anymore, needless to say!
     
  21. gabagoo

    gabagoo Major Contributor

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    That rust look is what I see on my test decal I put on my rear south facing door. I have a calendered decal with calendered lam and that is the effect, but after 5 years. I also see a sign face someone did about 5 years ago around the corner from me doing the same thing, but again, it has been up for over 4 years so it is expected you might say.

    I think your lam failed way to early in this case and would have a mac tac rep take a look at it
     
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