I decided to continue with the Frequently Asked Question Theme (FAQ) since I was able to come up with a wide variety of questions. These are two questions that the Avery Dennison Graphics Solutions technical specialists get on a regular basis.
Avery Dennison’s Easy Apply RS™ technology (also referred to as EZ RS) was designed with vehicle wrapping in mind. The Easy Apply portion of the name is in reference to the tiny air channels that allow the air to escape and virtually eliminate air bubbles. These channels are hexagonal in shape so the air can escape in any direction as the installer squeegees the film into place. For those of you that have applied film without the air egress technology, you know how annoying those little bubbles can be because you need a pin tool to go back and pop every bubble and push the air out.
The RS portion of the name refers to the Repositionability and Slideability features of the film. Installers using EZ RS will find that they can strip the entire backing paper from a panel and not have to worry about the film prematurely tacking to the substrate. This feature also allows the installer to easily move the film into position by sliding the film across the substrate (i.e. the hood of a car).
Another great benefit of the EZ RS film is the ability to reposition the film even after squeegeeing the film into place. The Avery Dennison adhesive builds up over time so you have time to make corrections during the installation. Even after snapping the film up from a substrate you will maintain the slideabiltiy and air egress features. For those that apply films, I’m sure you understand the value in this.
The “outgassing” or drying of the graphic after printing is very important, especially when the ink loads are high. This rule is primarily focused on printers using solvent-based inks, including both the harsh or strong solvents as well as the mild and eco solvent inks. If the inks use solvent as a carrier, it is necessary to give the prints added drying time.
There are a few different schools of thought on this. Some shops are not doing large vehicle wraps and can just lay their prints out on a table overnight and be fine. However, if you are producing vehicle or fleet graphics this isn’t really an option. These shops will generally take the roll from the take-up reel and spin the roll out so it is loosely wound. For the most part, this method is effective. However, note it could take longer for prints with high ink loads longer to dry.
I have seen some customers be more efficient with the drying process by using a fan to push air across the print and help drive off the excess solvents. You'll see photos of a very large dryer box that Avery Dennison built for testing purposes. Note the graphics are still on the take up core and the roll is then spun out so it is loosely wound and air can flow between the layers of vinyl on the roll. A smaller version of this box could be made to accommodate just one or two rolls. You can also purchase dryers from distributors.
So, what happens if you don’t take this extra step? I have to admit that sometimes nothing bad happens, BUT are you willing to take the risk. Issues that have been found to be caused by excess solvent in the print when laminating and then applying include: poor overlaminate adhesion, gummy film that is difficult to install, the feeling of the adhesive being overly tacky, possibly poor ultimate adhesion, and shrinkage of the graphic. Hopefully, you will be able to build the additional dry time into your workflow to minimize the impact of this step.