Equipment decals serve many purposes. They are essential elements of heavy machinery that can identify a manufacturer’s brand, label control panels, and/or contain vital safety information to help reduce risk and liability.
But the critical nature of equipment decals can easily become an after-thought among so many other considerations found throughout the manufacturing process – from engineering to material waste management to asset coordination being higher on the priority list.
The reality is, if you purchase and apply low-quality equipment decals to your rugged products, it can very quickly devalue your high-performing equipment in the eyes of customers – which is a big deal.
So…What Are Your Options?
The most important thing to consider when choosing graphics/decals that last is the materials used to produce them. Matching the right material to the functional requirements of your decal is truly the difference between its success or failure.
Polycarbonate Equipment Decals
The top material we suggest for rugged applications is Lexan. This is a polycarbonate comprised of thermoplastic polymers which are incredibly tough – bulletproof at a ¼ inch thick tough.
Easily the most durable form of decal we create at WISPI, these solutions are commonly produced at 10-15mm grade with various textures.
Polycarbonate can also be printed transparent for use on panels or LED displays and steel rule die cut to specific shapes and sizes for further customization.
Lexan material is most effectively applied to:
- Heavy Machinery (Concrete Pumps, Construction Equipment, Lawn Equipment)
- Electronic Equipment
- Automotive Components
- Aircraft Components
- Medical Components
Vinyl Equipment Decals
The slightly less durable but more versatile and cost-effective option is a heavy-duty cast vinyl material, which can last 5 to 7 years (and often longer).
The solution is comprised of multiple polymers which work well around compound curves and allow for protection against UV damage, heat, gases, and other damaging environmental factors. A clear coat or laminate layer can also be applied to your vinyl decals which adds an extra layer of protection.
Flat, steel rule die, thermal, or saw cutting may all be utilized for this type of material, depending on your ideal applications.
Vinyl graphics/decals are best used for:
- Vehicle Branding & Wraps
- Contoured Surfaces
- Abstract Signage & More
Another integral factor to consider concerning your equipment decals is the proper adhesive for the surface they will be applied to.
No matter how robust and rigid a polycarbonate or cast vinyl graphic is, it won’t do you any good if it doesn’t stay on the product that you need it to. That’s why every heavy-duty decal must be combined with a quality adhesive.
Rubber-Based vs. Acrylic Adhesives
There are two primary forms of adhesives: rubber-based and acrylic. Each has its own advantages depending on your scope of application and can range from permanent to semi-permanent.
- Rubber-based adhesives have good tack and shear properties allowing them to bond with both high and low surface energy materials. Elevated temperatures and UV exposure, however, can prove problematic to these systems over time.
- Acrylic adhesives offer solvent resistance and long-term stability as they perform well under prolonged exposure to heat and UV rays.
The degree of permanency, surface application, and level of abuse your decals will encounter can determine which adhesive system is right for you.
Why Choose WISPI as a Heavy-Duty Decal Provider?
“We pride ourselves on providing our customers with some of the toughest and highest-quality graphics on the market. To illustrate, we once had a client explain (only half-jokingly) that their work trucks were so old our decals were the only things holding them together.” – Kevin Smith, WISPI Sales Director
WISPI specializes in heavy-duty, industrial graphics for equipment manufacturers, energy companies, and municipalities as well as many other businesses.
Our distinct expertise in robust decal solutions offers you valuable advantages that other commercial printers cannot. WISPI’s comprehensive in-house capabilities, include:
- Screen Printing Equipment w/ Great Ink & Color Selection
- Steel Rule Die Cutting & Flat Cutting for Mass Production
- Laminating Equipment
- A Team of Highly Skilled Graphics Professionals
If you have concerns your graphics/decals won’t hold up to the abuse of another tough winter, feel free to request a quote for quality, durable equipment decals today or give us a call at 262.639.0990.