Welcome To Signs101.com: Largest Forum for Signmaking Professionals

Signs101.com: Largest Forum for Signmaking Professionals is the LARGEST online community & discussion forum for professional sign-makers and graphic designers.

 


  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Retroreflective vinyl?

Discussion in 'Vinyl' started by gabagoo, Sep 25, 2012.

  1. gabagoo

    gabagoo Major Contributor

    5,431
    61
    48
    Oct 10, 2006
    Vaughan, Ontario
    A customer sent me a spec sheet for some vehicle lettering and the term retroreflective vinyl keeps being mentioned.

    I called my 3m dealer and they have no idea what kind of reflective it might be. I looked it up on google, but get to many conflicting sites.

    so...anybody have an idea why the word retro is used to describe reflective material?

    I can't quote this paramedic vehicle until I fully understand what sort of reflective they are requiring and if it is that super high reflective diamond grade sort of material, I am so not quoting...
     
    Tags:
  2. laserman70

    laserman70 Very Active Member

    1,269
    1
    38
    Dec 25, 2007
    usa
    came up with this on google.
    Retroreflection
    At a –4
    o
    entrance angle and a 0.2
    o
    observation angle,
    unprinted film series 680 has the following typical
    coefficient of retroreflection. It is expressed in
    candlepower per foot-candle per square foot
    (candela/lux/square meter) per ASTME 810.
    The entrance angle is formed by a light beam striking the
    surface at a point and at a line that is perpendicular to the
    surface at the same point.
    An observation angle is formed by the light beam striking
    the reflective surface and returning to the observer. From
    245 metres(800 feet), a motorist normally views a graphic at a 0.2 o
    angle.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/theredproject/2927497238/
     
  3. gabagoo

    gabagoo Major Contributor

    5,431
    61
    48
    Oct 10, 2006
    Vaughan, Ontario
    yes i saw that but what does it all mean and what reflective is it?
     
  4. skyhigh

    skyhigh Major Contributor

    4,861
    9
    38
    Jun 16, 2005
    PA
    Coincidence....
    Today I get a request for "retroreflective" signs. First thing I did, was to contact the 3m rep at the number I got from this website (they list examples of "retro" reflective).

    http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/...rces/Education/Retroreflective_Technologies+/

    The tech I spoke with said that ALL 3m reflective vinyl are "retro"reflective. I asked when they invented this word....she just laughed.

    To make sure we were talking apples to apples, I decided to talk in extreme laymen terms......."So, your engineer grade vinyls....ya know the type that looks just like a metallic paint job, and has no prisms or anything.....the flat finish with little sparkles.....THAT is RETROreflective???" Answer was YES, its all retro, from the EG to the HIP, to the diamond grade. Its all considered RETRO.

    I'm just the messenger....
     
  5. Browner

    Browner Member

    374
    3
    18
    Jun 28, 2005
    Winnipeg
    ret·ro·re·flec·tive   [re-troh-ri-flek-tiv]
    adjective
    of or pertaining to a surface, material, or device (retroreflector) that reflects light or other radiation back to its source; reflective.


    It's the RETRO part that's important: light is returned in the direction from which it came.
     
  6. SightLine

    SightLine Very Active Member

    Reflective is retroreflective is reflective.
     
  7. skyhigh

    skyhigh Major Contributor

    4,861
    9
    38
    Jun 16, 2005
    PA
    Do we really need to invent new words?
    Guess I'll have to go back to my customer and ask if thats, EG-RR, or Diamond-RR, or HIP-RR

    Somebody needs thumped in the head.
     
  8. KRC SAFETY CO

    KRC SAFETY CO Member

    46
    0
    0
    Oct 24, 2007
    Around here all the old guys (been in traffic control for lots of years) call the High Intensity Reflective signs retroreflective signs. think it is an old spec i still see it pop up here and there on plans from caltrans.
     
  9. peavey123

    peavey123 Active Member

    868
    11
    18
    Jul 25, 2007
    Ontario Canada
  10. retroguy

    retroguy New Member

    1
    0
    0
    Sep 27, 2012
    "Retro"?

    Retroreflection is a word that describes what happens to the light after it hits a surface. Like Browner pointed out yesterday, when light hits a retroreflective surface, like a traffic sign, the light is returned back towards the source. In most cases this would be back towards a vehicle's headlights. Since a driver's eyes are relatively close to the headlights, some of the returned light from a sign goes into the driver's eyes, which makes the sign visible at night.

    Mirror reflection is when light strikes a mirror-like surface and the light bounces off in an equal and opposite angle from where it entered. Diffused reflection is when light hits a surface and is scattered in all directions. Most surfaces are diffused reflectors - tabletops, walls, furniture, etc.

    Retroreflection is difficult to spell, and say, so most of us in the field of sign retroreflection just say "retro" for short. That leaves more time for other things, like drinking beer.
     
  11. thesignexpert

    thesignexpert Active Member

    841
    2
    0
    Oct 21, 2007
    Worked on a project a few years ago that had "retro-reflective" specified. What they actually wanted was a 3M film that was translucent and lit up well in a cabinet BUT if the power went out the film's reflective properties kicked in for safety. It actually worked perfectly in a parking garage. I believe we had to get in touch with 3M's Safety Division (or something like that) to get it. Also, we had a considerable amount of text that had to be cut but the film was too tough for a plotter... we had to cut everything on a CNC router.

    For clarification, this was specified for a completely different application than the "Diamond Grade" reflective which is for safety, ambient lighting situations.
     
  12. SightLine

    SightLine Very Active Member

    :rolleyes: Inventing new words? School me please on what new words I made up.

    Yes there are definitley different grades of reflective such as engineering grade, prismatic, etc. Different brand and grades also have different level of reflectivity which can vary by color for colored versions and also vary by the types of ink (or clear overlay vinyls) used and laminates used on print versions.

    For the most part on most emergency vehicles standard engineer grade is just fine. Sometimes on newer vehicles where a rear chevron pattern is specified that is generally done with a high intensity prismatic material.

    Since we literally decal over a hundred ambulances a year I do keep up with the requirements pretty well in regard to the federal Certified Star of Life (see KKK-A-1822F sec 3.16.4 for the most current revision) ambulance requirements (the unit only must conform the the revision in effect at the time the unit was manufactured) as well as our states requirements which will often have additional requirements beyond the federal requirements. For example the federal spec requires a 32" star of life on the roof but the Staff of Aesculapius (the snake and staff) is not required on the roof emblem, the state of SC however, does require the roof emblem to have the staff.

    The federal requirements are not truly mandatory for all ambulances though. That requirement is for new ambulanced bought by the GSA. That being said most states require ambulances to meet the federal KKK spec but with state provisions having precedence.

     
  13. gabagoo

    gabagoo Major Contributor

    5,431
    61
    48
    Oct 10, 2006
    Vaughan, Ontario
    I quoted the job using regular vehicle grade reflective...anything past that they better be coming up with a spec...
     
  14. skyhigh

    skyhigh Major Contributor

    4,861
    9
    38
    Jun 16, 2005
    PA
    Let me rephrase..... Do THEY need to invent new words. My quote of you, was because I found your post humorous. Nothing more nothing less.
    Read my post number 7
    I guess I must have assumed the quote specs came from you???? Nah, I knew it wasn't you.

    According to 3m, you are incorrect. What they told me was that all of THEIR reflective is "retroreflective", only because it meet a certain level of reflectivity....and that not ALL other manufacturers of reflective meet the criteria to be called RETRO. :rolleyes: (now there is a line to roll your eyes over).

    The funny part to me is, One of the 3m reps never heard the term. I also had my supply rep (27 year veteran.....20 of those with Glantz) stop in yesterday and shake his head when I asked him about it.

    I'm just glad we have people like you Sightline, to inform us bungling idiots.
    "Reflective is retroreflective is reflective" I'm going to get that as a tattoo.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
  15. jfiscus

    jfiscus Adobe Shinobi

    2,852
    128
    63
    Apr 2, 2009
    Cincinnati, OH
    Retroreflective is a term they propagate along with "diamond grade" reflective. Since only they make vinyl called those two terms, guess what vinyl the graphics shop has to be use (buy) in the project when the customer requests "retroreflective" or "diamond grade" reflective materials? There are other manufacturer vinyls that are at or above the same standards for reflectivity, some are cheaper, some are more pricey.

    Personally- the only reflective vinyls we use here are 3M, unless matching existing fleet graphics which use other mfg colors; we do however use many other mfg's specialty products.

    The more they propagate the term, the more people buy their product. I see this a LOT in the Fire Dept specs.
     
  16. jfiscus

    jfiscus Adobe Shinobi

    2,852
    128
    63
    Apr 2, 2009
    Cincinnati, OH
    If it's on the sides of the vehicle, then regular reflective is what they're after, more commonly called "Engineer grade" in the market/catalogs.

    If it's the Chevron striping on the rear; the majority of the time it is called "diamond grade" striping, which is just a 3M term. Reflexite makes a V98 Flexibright striping equivalent to the 3M Diamond Grade & FireHouseDecals.com sells it converted and ready for installation in 6" strips - and you DO NOT have to seal the edges like 3M's Diamond Grade requires...

    Also, not all ambulances use a "diamond grade/conspicuity reflective" material on the rear.
     
  17. skyhigh

    skyhigh Major Contributor

    4,861
    9
    38
    Jun 16, 2005
    PA
    Unless you leave your backer paper behind, only you and the shadow knows.....:ROFLMAO:
     
  18. GAC05

    GAC05 Major Contributor

    5,031
    345
    83
    Dec 27, 2005
    Guam USA
    Retroreflective sounds like something Kirk would have used to wrap the Enterprise to cloak it from the Klingons.

    wayne k
    guam usa
     
  19. signage

    signage Major Contributor

    9,185
    18
    38
    Oct 5, 2005
    Penn
    Found this definition while doing some research!

    Retroreflectivity is when light is reflected directly to the source of the light.
     
  20. gabagoo

    gabagoo Major Contributor

    5,431
    61
    48
    Oct 10, 2006
    Vaughan, Ontario
    Odd that this thread raised it's head today, as I am working on these EMS vehicles. I used 3M vehicle grade and that in itself doing striping is taking far to long. I am so careful with reflective as I don't want to re-cut or God forbid have to take any off. I am not using the 3M comply but the Gerber 3M brand as i get much better pricing on that material. Of course I have to make everything fit into 15" punched, but it all works out.

    This customer decided after I quoted by some Govt spec sheet, that simple stripes were not good enough for them and after about a month I get a file that the guy designed himself and he now has a wild blue stripe going across and then angling up and getting much thicker plus he adds a red reflective heartbeat and changes every spec I quoted. I called my connection and politely told them that I will not requote this and don't want the job.

    3 weeks later I get called to do the original layout as some of the prices they got were well over $3000.00 per vehicle....duh, what did you expect... anyways I am just finishing up vehicle 1 and although it has taken a full day I now am ready for number 2 which will move much faster now that I have all the measurements and material ready to go.

    I just want to ask you guys if your suppliers of 3M reflective have stopped stocking 24" and 48" 680. Mine now says I have to buy a 50 yard roll of either size if i want it and that they don't stock it anymore but now have the comply series. OK thats all fine and dandy for things like wrapping or stripes, but try cutting lettering out of that stuff. the weeding takes me back to using those awful reflectives from years back and you fight every letter and then if your not careful before premasking they just jump off the sheet as there is very little holding them on. Now why would a supplier expect us to tolerate this?
     
  21. SightLine

    SightLine Very Active Member

    3M 680 is very nice stuff but I imagine with the ever increasing prices of it not as many are buying it anymore. For literally about 1/4th the cost I can live without comply and air release.... try Nikkalite. :)
     
  22. Browner

    Browner Member

    374
    3
    18
    Jun 28, 2005
    Winnipeg
    Gabagoo... check some suppliers from the 'States. Fellers, Grimco, Advantage, and Gregory all come to mind. Pricing (even including shipping) is generally much more favorable, and most of the suppliers a) have stock b) let you order less than a full roll.
     
Loading...

Share This Page

 


Loading...