Whether you are installing trailer graphics or doing a full wrap of a car or van, surface preparation involves a three-step process of detergent washing, solvent cleaning and a final wipe down with IPA. Read more
Troubleshooting Vinyl Graphics Failures
As self-help guru Anthony Robbins says “if you want better answers, ask better questions”. In troubleshooting a graphics problem, you need to ask better questions, so you can provide the film manufacturer the information they need to discover what caused the failure. Use the troubleshooting guide that follows to record the information from the end user.
Who experienced the graphics failure? Include the customers' contact information, a description of their complaint, and the number of signs, vehicles or other substrates involved.
Which raw materials were used? Learn the product series, lot number and other pertinent information. If inks, clear coats or overlaminates have been used, record the manufacturer, series and lot number. If you do not have the lot number, provide a sample of the material used.
How were the graphics made? Were the graphics computer-cut, screen printed or digitally printed? What finishing operations were involved?
On what type of substrate were the graphics installed? Was the surface smooth, riveted, corrugated or textured? What was the condition of the substrate? Was there any damage to the surface? If it was an old surface, indicate whether the paint was chalked, pitted, peeling, etc.
What was the substrate's paint history? When was it painted? Who is the paint manufacturer, and what the product series was used? For installations on newly painted surfaces, how long did the installer wait after painting before graphics were installed?
How were the graphics installed? What was the installer's level of experience? What tools did the installers use? Were the graphics installed wet or dry? If it was a wet application, what type of application fluid was used? Were the graphics edge-sealed? What type of edge sealer was used? Obtain a sample of the failing graphic and take plenty of pictures.
Other particulars about the application? Where were the graphics installed, and under what conditions? What was the surface temperature of the substrate at the time of application? How was the substrate cleaned? When was the surface cleaned?
Provide information about cleaning and environmental conditions. Following the installation, by what method and how frequently were the graphics cleaned? What types of chemicals were used? Were the graphics cleaned using a high-pressure sprayer? Were the graphics subjected to chemical spillage? If they were, find out what kind of chemicals, and how often.
By providing a materials manufacturer with as much information as possible, you will help them determine the root causes of a graphics failure. When you have problems, the material manufacturers need you to submit a complaint. If there is a problem with a particular lot number or the way their product is engineered, the manufacturer cannot take corrective action, if they don’t know that the problem exists.