Welcome to MTEC Graphics - Vehicle Wrapping, Livery and vinyl Graphics Specialists

Choosing your materials

Vinyls

Calendered vinyl:

Calendered vinyls – 1,2,5,10 year vinyls are less dimensionally stable and may shrink due to the mechanical manufacturing process whereby the PVC retains 'memory' of it's original shape and will attempt to return to this.

PVC is naturally a rigid material so 'plasticisers' are added to soften the vinyl for practical use, other additives are 'stabilisers' in the vinyl to protect against the effects of heat, UV light and also to create coloured vinyls.

Two types of calendering are currently available; 'monomeric' and 'polymeric' - differentiated by the two types of plasticisers used in their manufacture and these two types of calendered vinyls perform slightly differently.

Monomeric Vinyl:

Monomeric vinyls can become brittle over time and are suitable for most internal applications and certain low wear short-term external applications. These are recommended for flat-sided applications only as they do not perform as well over curves.

Recommended for: Interior work and short term external applications where life span is expected to be 2, 3 and 3-5 years.

PROS:
Ideal for flat sided applications
Suitable for most customers job requirements
Lower in price than polymeric and cast vinyls
Short to medium life span
Stiffer/thicker films make handling easier
Expected life span is 2, 3 and 3-5 years

CONS:
Not suitable for applications onto uneven or contoured surfaces
Can be shrink over the life span of the vinyl

Polymeric Vinyl:

Polymeric vinyls, sometimes known as extended life films are generally less prone to shrinkage, typically 50% less than a Monomeric vinyl. Polymerics have a longer outdoor life expectancy compared to monomerics and are suitable for most external applications, but and can work over limited contours and curves.

Recommended for: Interior work and intermediate external applications where cast films are not an option. Polymeric vinyls are ideal for flat or slightly curved surfaces, with a 5-7 years and 8+ years life span.

PROS:
Longer life span than monomerics
No shrinkage
Ideal for flat and slightly curved applications
The thicker films allow for greater abrasion resistance
Expected life span is 5-7 years and 8+ years life span

CONS:
More expensive than monomeric calendered vinyls

Cast Vinyl

Cast vinyls are the choice where shaping and curves are required. An extremely thin film of vinyl and are the ultimate in terms of conformability over complex contours i.e. rivets, corrugations etc. and are the preferred option for the most extreme exterior applications and vehicle wraps.

Recommended use: Cast films long life, stability and quality it is suitable for most types of work where there is any doubt as to which type of vinyl is best to use, and is a premium vinyl for interior and external applications. Normally cast films are 8-10 year films and are ideal for all types of vehicle wraps.

PROS:
The longest life span for vinyls
The quality raw materials used give cast vinyls the highest levels of durability
No shrinkage
Soft, flexible and thin so is conformable over complex contours (i.e. rivets, corrugations etc) as well as for use on flat sided surfaces
A greater level of vinyl colour choices are available
Bespoke colours can be more easily manufactured than with calendered vinyls
Expected life span is 8-10 years

CONS:
None

Sign materials

Mtec Graphics use 3 main materials in signage manufacture. They variously get called by generic industry names and / or manufacturers’ brand names. The materials and their aliases are detailed as follows:

Corriboard

Fluted plastic board, corrugated polypropylene sheet
4mm, 6mm, 8mm or 10mm thick, cheap, low durability

Corriboard is a brand name for fluted plastic board, or corrugated polypropylene sheet. It’s a very lightweight material and is the cheapest form of rigid signage. However, it’s light weight and fluted construction mean it’s best used for short term promotional signage. The most popular use for Corriboard signs is as estate agents boards, but it is also used for exhibition directional signage (indoors and out), building site signage or miscellaneous other short term signage jobs. In exposed areas the sign can be mounted to an additional wooden board to add strength, otherwise it can be prone to bending along the flutes when subject to a high wind load.

Corriboard can be screwed using normal wood screws although it is advised to use large washers when doing this to avoid the heads pulling through the boards. Our Corriboard signs are printed straight-to-board with UV, waterproof inks and can be over-laminated with a clear (matt or gloss) laminate for extra durability. The material has a white finish front and back (although other colours are available on request).

Forex

Forex is a brand name for PVC foam sheet (or foam PVC), sometimes known as Foamex, Foamalite or Foamboard. Don’t mistake it with the soft, spongy board known as “Foamcore” used for mounting pictures which is rubbish!

It’s a dense, cost-effective material with a smooth finish, available in three thicknesses 3mm foam PVC, 5mm Foam PVC and 10mm Foam PVC. The 3mm and 5mm thicknesses are light for their size. Due to its density, the 10mm thickness is quite heavy for its size and you may be better off with Dibond (especially for large signs). Forex can be shaped and mechanically fixed with great workability for complex and creative applications. The boards are water proof and can be used both indoors and out provided it is used in the correct thicknesses.

Forex is the ideal material for exhibition and point of sale graphics. The Forex panels can be backed with velcro tape that is compatible with the velcro walls of most shell schemes. Other applications for Forex signs include shop signage or outdoor exhibition signage, visitor attraction directional signage, shaped display signs. The 10mm foam PVC boards offer excellent strength and rigidity and will withstand the toughest of outdoor conditions.

Aluminium Dibond

Dibond is a brand name commonly used for aluminium composite sheet, these can also be found under the name Skybond or Alucobond. Dibond sheets consist of a solid polyethylene core sandwiched between 2 sheets of aluminium that is approximately 0.3 to 0.5mm thick, giving the panel a total thickness of 3mm.

Dibond sheets can be drilled, screwed and shaped on a CNC cutter to create signage with great impact. It will never rust or deteriorate in the sun. Dibond can be used for general shop signage and fascias, directional signage, event and exhibition signage and much more. Mtec Graphics also stock a range of rails, clamps and fixings to allow a wide range of fixing methods from posts to paneling. Dibond is the premium form of signage, and has the highest durability of the available materials and the greatest strength to weight ratio and offers excellent rigidity in exposed outdoor applications.