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Vinyl Troubleshooting

We sometimes have customers that call us with different issues regarding different films.  Below are the answers for some of the most common questions 

The film does not sit flat on the plotter or printer

When a self-adhesive film isn’t sitting flat on the plotter or printer, the reason is that the humidity of the room is either too high or too dry.  The quantity of water present in the room has an enormous influence on the silicone paper that in it’s nature tends to absorb or release the water present in the fibres. To solve this problem it is advised to keep the film in and air conditioned room with temperature and humidity as stable as possible, and to let it get used to the conditions of the new room for at least 24 hours. It is advised to ‘warm’ digital media in an air conditioned room before putting on your printer as the heater can cause rippling if media is too cold and not acclimatised to the room. It is also important the keep the film in the polythene bag: it protects the vinyl not only from dust but also from brisk temperature-changes.

Why is the film harder to cut with a plotter in the morning?

In the morning a PVC film is always harder due to the lower night temperatures. This can also happen over the cooler Winter months. The PVC being a thermoplastic is sensitive to temperature influencing the workability of the film with cutting, removal and application. If possible it is advisable to keep the temperature of your cutting room at around 15-18°C or give the vinyl time to ‘warm up’ before cutting. 

Is it possible to use just one type of application tape?

Unfortunately not, as each film type has different adhesion strengths onto the silicone paper and onto the application surface. There are many application tapes in the market with different adhesion strengths from a low tack to a more aggressive high tack.  In the warmer months we would recommend using a medium tack application tape and in the cooler months we would recommend using a higher tack application tape.  We recommend using Maintape PerfecTear application tape.

Application tape curls or lifts from the decoration’s paper liner

The paper tape suffers greatly from the humidity. To avoid any inconvenience of lateral lift you could use a paper tape that is more stable and resistant to humidity or a tape with a stronger adhesion. In this case the tape should be adhered to the decoration for the minimum amount of time possible, as in time the tape could completely stick onto the silicon paper

Why at low temperatures does self-adhesive film have difficulty sticking?

Self-adhesive films designed to adhere to metal plates, glass and cars have very dry glues capable to provide very high adhesion levels and minimum shrinkage. In rigid temperature conditions these glues, in general pure acrylic without sticky resins added, become drier and less adhesive.  This is felt not only with cold film but also when applying a film with a temperature of 20°C on a very cold surface (happens often when one brings a car parked outside in the cold into a heated work area). It is recommended to apply always at a temperature of about 15°C, and make sure that also the surface on which the vinyl is applied to is of the recommended temperature

Printing the same image onto different films obtains different colour results

This is due to the capacity and absorption speed of the film. In the case of a film with low absorption capacity on the surface, a high quantity of ink will remain and the print colours will be very deep. On the contrary, a film with a very high absorption capacity will result in the same image appearing duller.

The print definition on a gloss film is superior to the one printed on a matte film

The gloss film gives to the print a brightness that heightens the definition. The print on matte film results in a less shiny definition and this often doesn’t make the quality of the print stand out. However, it is an optical effect as the definition usually is the same.

Once printed, spots appear on the surface of the film

It is likely that the film entered into contact with something before being printed: a mere hand placed on the film could contaminate the surface and compromise the print quality.  Dust may also cause this.  By keeping the vinyl in a polythene bag and wearing cotton gloves when handling you can reduce the risk of contamination.

The film printed with solvent ink, once applied, tends to lift at the border

The cause is the solvent in the inks passing through the film and interacting with the glue and the stability of the film. This becomes even more so when the film is applied to surfaces that are not smooth and have a poor adhesion.  It is recommended to leave an edge of 1 or 2 millimetres of non-printed film at the sides of the image especially when printing solid dark colours.

The surface of the film isn’t very glossy

PVC films are very soft by nature.  This makes them easy to work with but also very delicate. It is the softness of the film that makes its surface so delicate.  When the film is rolled up, at the major pressure point, it can easily transfer the imprint of the rough matte surface from the silicone paper to the PVC.

The matte finish is more visible in gloss films, whereas with matte films it isn’t clearly visible. The matting is amplified by the change of temperature in the seasons, as in summer periods, and with very soft films like cast film.  To limit this we recommend keeping the rolls in the warehouse in vertical position.

Once the film has been applied and been exposed to the sun its natural gloss should return to the film. Should you wish to have the film glossy immediately, when still on the liner, warm it up with a heat gun.

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