Cast vinyl vs. calendered vinyl for Vehicle WrapsOur business clients use vinyl graphics to communicate sales messages and branding details to consumers via effective marketing displays including vehicle wraps. A typical application for vinyl decals is found on vehicles as parts of a graphics package. Yet not all vinyl is created equal. Most notably, there is a difference between cast and calendered vinyl. What is the difference between cast vinyl vs. calendered vinyl? Why does it matter?

Casting is a Manufacturing Process

There is more to vinyl than meets the eye. The manufacturer begins the production with a polyvinylchloride (PVC) polymer, to which other ingredients are then added. Depending on the order and the properties required of the finished product, you might find color pigments, varying amounts of plasticizers and UV absorbers added to the mix.

Experts have already determined the correct quantities of these additives to create a vinyl film that perfectly meets the requirements of the intended use. Once these ingredients are mixed, they are combined via heating. What was previously a liquid is now turning into a pliable film. Finally, technicians cast the film on a casting sheet. The finished product is durable, thin and meets the order specifications.

Calendered Vinyl Calls for a More Pressure-intensive Process

Kansas City Vehicle GraphicsWhile the ingredients of a cast vinyl film undergo mixing and heating, the ingredients of a calendered product undergo mixing and kneading. The material receives pressurized treatment with heated rollers. Calender rolls thin out the vinyl and put increasing pressure on it. Due to the processes involved and ingredients added to the mix, this type of vinyl is not easily scratched and works well on flat surfaces. It can present with the highest gloss levels possible.

Cast Vinyl vs. Calendered Vinyl for Vehicle Graphics

Durability is a big factor in this setting. Cast vinyl reaches a longevity of up to 12 years while its calendered counterpart usually lasts up to seven years. The cast product is ideal for vehicles that feature rivets and plenty of curves. For a long straight trailer wall, the calendered product is a good fit. When the client wants a look that is glossy, then the calendered vinyl makes sense. Although cast products do provide some gloss as well, there is a good bit of difference in the final look of the pieces.

What Does This Mean for the Sign Maker?

Kansas City vehicle wrapsThe experts at Forerunner Signs & Graphics are well versed in the differences between the vinyl products currently on the market. Moreover, we understand how even the top manufacturer brands vary with respect to performance. Not surprisingly, our business clients appreciate this expertise when we discuss the manufacture of a vehicle vinyl graphics package.

Rather than following a one-size-fits-all approach, we recommend a raw material based on the makeup of the vehicle, the desired longevity of the wrap or graphics products, and the extras of the design that the client desires. If the client intends to use a wrap in an area where abrasion because of blowing sand is a problem, it is clear which type of product works well. When you like the idea of having your vinyl vehicle graphics customized not just with your designs but also the intended use in mind, contact our professionals today to set up a client consultation.
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