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> Self Adhesive Plotter Vinyl
> Self Adhesive film and Digital Print Media
 
     
   
 

FAQ

 
  Self Adhesive Plotter Vinyl
   
Cutting
 
1. The film is not flat on the plotter
When a self-adhesive film isn’t flat, the reason is to be found in the humidity of the room being too high or to the contrary to a environment that is too dry: the quantity of water present in de room has enourm influence on the siliconed paper that for 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 rooms 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 important the keep the film in the polythene bag: it signifies protect it not only from dust but also from brusk temperature-changes.
2. 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: the PVC being a thermoplastic is sensitive to temperatur influencing the workability of the film with cutting, removal and application. If possible it is advisable to keep the temperature of the warehouse never below 15-18°C.
3. The plotter struggles to cut the self-adhesive film
The vinyl film, being thermoplastic, is sensitive to temperature and this reflects also on the cut.

Temperature low = film hard
Temperature high = film elastic.

In both cases a blade in good condition is recommended.
   
Weeding
 
1. Why letters cut with new blade cannot be removed from the backing paper?
Do the test of corner closure of the plotter, as it is possible that the letters aren’t cut in the corners.
2. Removing a decoration the small letters don%u2019t remain onto the siliconed backing paper
Check the conditions of the plotter blade, the corner closures and the cutting depth of the blade that has to cut just a bit into the siliconed backing paper. Select a film studied precisely for the removal of small decorations.
3. When weeding the film the paper backing liner lifts with it
The silicon liner has been cut in too much by the blade: reduce the pressure of the plotter blade.
4. When removing the film the paper backing liner lifts with it
The silicon liner has been cut in too much by the blade: reduce the pressure of the plotter blade.
   
Applying Application Tape
 
1. Is it possible to use just one type of application tape?
Unfortunately not, as each film type has different adhesion strengths onto the siliconed paper and onto the application surface. Not by chance there exist on the market application tapes with different adhesion strenghts, from the very low tack to the more aggressive ones, to satisfy every need.
2. It is not possible to lift the adhesive film decal up from the silicon liner with the application tape
The causes could be the following:
  • The ‘tack’ of the tape is too low
  • The cut into the liner is too deep (the paper has to be barely marked by the blade)
  • Very humid climate conditions or harsh environmental temperature.
3. The paper application tape curls or lifts from the decoration’s paper liner
The paper tape suffers greatly from the humidity. To avoid to the inconvenience of lateral lift you could use:
  • Paper tape that is more stable and resistant to humidity
  • Tape with a stronger adhesion. In this case the tape should be adhered to the decoration for the shortest time possible, as in time the tape could completely stick onto the silicon paper)
4. After how long the application tape can be removed?
There is no preset and absolute time for the removal of application tape. The main reasons that determine the removal time are the following: adhesion type of the used film, surface onto which is applied, application method and room temperature.
A perfect removal of the tape is always obtained when the adhesion strength of the film onto the application surface is stronger than the adhesion strength of the tape onto the film surface.
In general using film with medium-high tack, dry application method, hard / rigidapplication surface and temperature not below 15°C, the application tape can be removed immediately.
In all cases in which applying the film the adhesion onto the surface results low it is useful to wait some minutes before removing the tape: doing so lowers the risk that pulling the application tape also removes the film.
The reasons could be the following: low application temperature, applying the film with water, use of film with low tack, applyin film onto flexible surfaces like banners or truckcurtains or porous surfaces, use of high tack application tape.
For all application tapes, either paper or transparant, the correct rule to remove is tearing it close to the surface making an angle of 180°: in this way the tape exerts least pull on the film surface, lowering the risk of letting lose.
With some paper application tapes, the trick to an easy removal is wetting the paper with water and wait some minutes before removing: the paper of the tape getting soaked with water (more effective if luke warm and vaporised) loses adhesion strength and separates from the film with ease.
5. How to remove the application tape?
For all application tapes, either paper or transparant, the correct rule to remove is tearing it close to the surface making an angle of 180°: in this way the tape exerts least pull on the film surface, lowering the risk of letting lose.
With some paper application tapes, the trick to an easy removal is wetting the paper with water and wait some minutes before removing: the paper of the tape getting soaked with water (more effective if luke warm and vaporised) loses adhesion strength and separates from the film with ease.
6. The transparent application tape leaves glue residue on the decorated surface
The main transparent tapes have an acrylic water-based glue. This can result in releasing some glue during the transfer of decoration with the wet application method. In these cases it is recommended to use paper application tape or to quickly remove the transparent tape.
7. Application with wet method: during the removal the application tape the film gets lose of the surface
With the application of wet method the water on one hand makes it easier to position the decoration impeding the self-adhesive foil getting a hold onto the surface, on the other hand it slows down the adhesion of the film: in the phase of raking it is essential to make sure that all the water has been removed and it is necessary to wait some minutes so the self-adhesive film gets a good grip on the surface before removing the application tape.
If the tape is of paper, the trick to an easy removal is wetting the paper with water and wait some minutes before removing: the paper of the tape getting soaked with water (more effective if luke warm and vaporised) loses adhesion strength and separates from the film with ease.
In any way it is recommended to remove the tape is tearing it close to the surface making an angle of 180°: in this way the tape exerts least pull on the film surface, lowering the risk of letting lose.
8. The adhesive film lifts and stays attached to the application tape after applying the decoration to its intended surface (when attempting to peel off the application tape)
The causes could be any of the following:
  • The application tape too strong and used with a wet application method.
  • A wet application method with a film with water-based glue.
  • Application of the film with temperature below 15-20 degrees.
  • Harsh temperature + application wet method
  • The surface is not sufficiently clean of dust, grease or cleaning solvents
   
Use and Application
 
1. The self-adhesive fim doesn%u2019t remain stuck to a porous surface
The self-adhesive films for decorations in general stick very good on smooth surfaces, studied to adhere to metal plates, glass, cars, thus having very dry glues with very high adhesion levels and minimum shinkage. As a downside these kinds of glues have difficulty to adhere to porous surfaces.
Seen through a microscope a porous surface is irregular, full of cavities small or big: for this kind of surface it is necessary to use a film with a glue that is very soft, and elevated thickness capable to enter and anchor to the porosity.
2. Why at low temperature the self-adhesive film has difficulty to stick?
The self-adhesive films to adhere to metal plates, glass, cars have very dry glues capable to provide very high adhesion levels and minimum shinkage. In rigid temperature conditions these glues, in general pure acrylic without sticky resins added, become drier and less adhesive: this is felt not only at cold film but also applying the film on a temperature of 20° on a very cold surface (happens often when one brings a car parked in the cold into a heated working place). It is recommended to apply always at a temperature of about 15°, and make sure that also the surface on which is applied is of the recommended temperature.
3. How to avoid bubbles during the film application?
The bubbles are formed as a part of the air during the application remainded imprigoned between the film and the surface: if the application has been done with the wet method the bubbles could also be of water.
There are different application techniques depending of the type of decoration and surface, for this it isn’t easy to suggest one universally valid method.
In general to all various methods are the used instruments, rakes of plastic or of anti-scratch felt, rubber application rollers.
Hypothesizing a flat or slightly curved surface the method to apply the film is raking energetically towards the outside left and right, starting from the top and the center of the decoration, descending towards the lower parts.
Especially in the decoration of big surfaces, a efficient method to not imprison air bubbles is applying with the wet method: it is however essential to apply the film at a temperature not below 20°C, raking any water residue out of the film and to use this method with films of which the technical sheets have clearly stated that it is allowed.
4. The Cast film, after application, show small bubbles in surface

It happens when applying cast film or very soft film with application tape that is too strong: it is recommended, after the application, to wait some minutes before removing the tape. In this way the glue of the cast film has time to strengthen and adhere to the surface.
If the bubbles are very small, it may be sufficient to wait for the decoration to respond to exposure to the sun to turn perfectly smooth. If the bubbles are of a larger size, try to warm the film with a heat gun. Usually with very soft film it is easier to apply using the wet application method.

5. The calendered film lifts on the corrugated surface
Calendered film, different to the cast film, has a so-called memory effect. In essence, it means it does not have the ability to follow non-flat surfaces. The memory effect means that calendered film, unlike cast, once heated and deformed, in time returns to its original (flat) state.


The calendered film lifts on the corrugated surface
6. The film begins to lift off the surface a while after completion
Before application, the surface must be smooth and perfectly clean, free of dust, grease and oily substances that could compromise the adhesion of the film. It is recommendable to clean the surface with alcohol and ensure that the room temperature where the application takes place is around 15-20 degrees. It is recommended to use an application tape that is not too strong. In the case of using the wet application method, make sure to not leave liquid residue under the decoration.
7. What happens to a film if deformed in application?
The film to adapt to a non-flat surface often undergoes prolongations and strains that end up to reduce the thickness and with it also the glue: therefore in the point with main stress the film, besides tending to return to the original dimensions, has an inferior adhesion power. This the application of a film in these condition is a very delicate operation and to do always with very much attention starting with the cleaning of the surface.
8. . Why the film got lose from the very curved surface and not from the flat surface?
The film on a very curved surface undergoes strains and prolongations that put the material at a tough test: prolongation means not only making the film thinner but also the gluelayer, thus diminishing the adhesion capacity. It is therefore easier that, when the surfaces is poorly cleaned or with other events that compromise the adhesion, the detachment of the film happens where the film is applied in limited conditions.
9. Why does the Cast film lift from a recess?
The main causes for the lift of a cast film from a recess are:

- poor cleaning
The cleaning of a recess isn’t easy and often the internal zones aren’t well reached by the cleaning instruments: in these places the film has an inferior adhesion and could soon let lose.

- release of substances that have interacted with the glue
Before applying the film it is important to be sure that the curved plate hasn’t been painted recently: the solvents contained in the paint end their complete evaporation after 3-4 weeks and these could react with the glue diminishing the adhesion. Also the cleaning products if not appropriate could release substance like oil.

- wrong application
It is advised not to never deform the film even if cast: closely follow the film at the inside of a recess means not creating stress and bring the behaviour of the film likewise to a flat surface application. However, there are application where it nearly impossible not to deform the material, as for instance with the fake windows of vans: in these cases it is mandatory to follow a precise procedure of heating the film during and after the application to avoid future detachments.

10. The water-based film doesn’t stick with the wet method
Film with water-based glue, when applied with the wet application method, has difficulty sticking onto the surface as the water used for the application has a delaying action on the glue. It is recommended to use the dry application method or, if applying with the wet method, to do the operation as quickly as possible and at a temperature above 20°C. Then leave the decoration and give it time for the water to evaporate.
11. After painting, the masking film, once removed, leaves glue residue on the support
There is not a masking film that during the removal absolutely guarantees to not leave any glue behind. The cause has to do to the quantity and quality of solvents present in the paints. It is necessary to verify the full compatibility of the masking film with the chosen paint and with the applied working method.
 
  Self Adhesive film and Digital Print Media
   
Printing
 
1. Printing the same image onto different films one 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.
2. Lowering the print definition increases the print “banding” (stripes) effect
When the definition of a print is reduced, the print speed increases. This leaves the film with less time to absorb the ink and thus remains the signs of the width of the print heads.
3. The print definition on a gloss film is superior to the one done on a matt film
The gloss film gives to the print a brightness that heightens the definition. The print on matt 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.
4. The colour of the print, even when laminated, tends to become dull
The lamination usually gives to the print a mechanical protection. If the image tends to get dull quickly the cause has to be sought in the resistance of the inks to solar light.
5. The film is not good flat on the printer
When a self-adhesive film isn’t good flat, the reason is to be found in the humidity of the room being too high or to the contrary to a environment that is too dry: the quantity of water present in de room has enourm influence on the siliconed paper that for 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 rooms 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 important the keep the film in the polythene bag: it signifies protect it not only from dust but also from brusk temperature-changes.
6. The ink tends to float on the surface of the film
  • the ink is not compatible with the used film. For example, a water-based ink can only print onto specially treated film, otherwise it cannot be absorbed.
  • the printer profile is not the right one: there are calibrated profiles to release a large quantity of ink. It is recommendable to try other profiles compatible with the absorption capacity of the film.
7. 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.
8. Cannot print onto the film
The causes could be the following:
  • compatibility with the ink
  • print profile
  • cleanness of the printer heads
9. Identical printer, identical used film, different print results
Check the following:
  • Software and related version
  • Type of ink
  • Print profile used
10. The print material doesn’t enter into the printer (printer cannot pull it through)
This problem usually happens with materials of great thickness such as PVC banners. Check and amend the distance between the pulling rollers and the base of the printer.
11. The print is deformed
This happens as a result of a high traction pressure (or ‘pull pressure’). Check the pressure of the pulling traction rollers.
   
Use and Application
 
1. The film printed with solvent ink, once applies, tends to raise at the borders
The cause is the solvent of the inks that pass through the film 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 recommendable to leave an edge of 1 or 2 millimetres of non-printed film at the sides of the image.
2. The film, once printed and applied, after a short while lifts from the surface
The causes could be one the following:
  • If the print has been done with solvent bases ink, the solvent present in the print ink is able to pass through the film and reach the glue, which, softened by the action from the solvent, can lift from the surface onto which it has been applied. This becomes more likely if the just printed film is laminated with protective film without giving time to the solvents in the inks to dry naturally.
  • Insufficient cleaning of the surfaces before the application
3. During the application of a film, the printed image is damaged
It is very easy to damage the image when applying if the right precautions aren’t taken. For the application of a film, it is recommended to use rubberised rollers and anti-scratch applicators with felt protection. The best solution is to laminate the print with a good transparent film/lamination that gives to the image a excellent mechanical protection.
4. A laminated film, applied onto curved surfaces, tends to lift up
The lamination acts as an extra force (extra thickness and therefore extra tensile strength) and is contrary to the curve onto which the decoration has been applied. The selection of the lamination is essential and has to be compatible with the film with which is has to be combined, and applied ONLY after the inks are perfectly dry. Lamination film designed for cold lamination must be used with cold calendered rolls.
 
 
A.P.A. S.p.A. - Sede legale: Via Marradi 1, 20123, Milano - Cod.Fisc./P.IVA/Reg. Imprese Milano-Monza Brianza-Lodi 04072260153 - R.E.A. MI 992370 - Cap.Sociale €130.000,00 I.V - PEC: apaspa@pec.it - Rev: 12/2017
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