HEAVY METAL GLITTER and EXTRA SPARKLE VINYL
SIGN SUPPLIES and the SIGN TRADE SUPPLIERS are constantly scouring the VINYL PRODUCERS of the World to produce the Individual, the Unique and the Eye catching SPECIALITY METALLISED VINYL FILM. The demand is driven by many varied markets from the Automotive Industry to the Retail Shop fitters to the Film Studio locations and set builders, So how is it made?
VINYL or POLYESTER
Several different plastic films are metallised such as :acrylic, poly carbonates to polypropylene for a variety of everyday uses from crisp bags, wrapping paper to WINDOW TINTING FILM. However, within the SIGN MAKING Industry the main choice is between VINYL or POLYESTER . VINYL along with acrylic, poly carbonate,polyethylene and polypropylene are THERMOPLASTICS, these are solid plastics that can be heated and extruded into a film and embossed with an engraved roller. POLYESTERS are a different type of plastic called THERMO SETS, these plastics start as a liquid and cure with heat.
METALLISED SPECIALITY VINYL is rapidly becoming a popular alternative to polyesters as it’s softness makes it much more user friendly for the VINYL CUTTER and thermal die cut and a much more receptive substrate for SOLVENT, ECO SOLVENT, UV and LATEX printing processes.When extruding and embossing VINYL FILMS the colourant is added as an integral part of the resin mix, which prolongs the life and colour fastness of the vinyl, whilst resisting fading and abrasion discolouration.While the VINYL is still hot and malleable the underside of the film is “COINED” or embossed with a textured pattern to enable the metallised layer to bond to the vinyl.
To improve the bond between the metal layer and the FACE FILM the film will require a pretreatment, such as a CORONA treatment prior to metallisation, this increases the surface energy of the plastic and makes it easier for the aluminium to form a smooth and even layer, which will bond better to the VINYL FACE FILM.A very strong bond is required between all three elements of this SPECIALITY VINYL sandwich,( The Face film, the metal reflective strip and the adhesive) otherwise delamination could occur during or after the application process, To ensure that this bond is strong the preferred method of manufacture is VACUUM METALLISATIONwhich is a two step process of evaporating aluminium in a vacuum chamber and then allowing the metal vapour to condense on the film, this must be carried out at extremely high temperatures – 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The second step is the condensing, directly above the vaporisation of the aluminium is a cooling drum and the film is passed around the cooling drum as the vapour condenses on the embossed textured underside of the face film, this metal layer is extremely thin, this is the reflector that creates the SPECIAL EFFECTS and scatters the light in a KALEIDOSCOPE of colours and three dimensional illusions in tiny prisms at various angles and configurations, diffracting and deflecting the light beams.This very thin metallic layer is very well protected between the vinyl face film and the adhesive coating.Not ALL speciality metallised films are vinyl, some are still manufactured on polyester, which is harder and not always receptive to SOLVENT PRINTER INKS, so it is advised to check the specification and data sheet prior to processing or printing SPECIALITY VINYL FILMS