High-Performance Inkjet Vehicle Graphics Endure Desert Sands

During 5200-mile rally from France to Egypt

Big Picture

Thermal-transfer printing is typically the output method of choice for the sponsor graphics found on motorcycles and other racing vehicles because thermal-transfer graphics produced with resin ribbons are inherently resistant to abrasion and other outdoor hazards. However, the graphics on this motorcycle driven by a member of the Brazilian team in the Paris-Dakar Rally, were part of a larger collection of graphics that was quickly output on 6 1/2- and 10-ft wide Vutek solvent-system inkjet printers.

For the rally team's four cars, three motorbikes, and accompanying support truck, Artfix of Sao Paolo, Brazil output more than 1830 sq ft of graphics in approximately two hours. To accomplish this feat, Artfix used their four-color Vutek UltraVu 2360 FC and UltraVu 3360 FC printers.

Artfix, a screen-printing company equipped with digital capabilities, considers vehicle graphics to be one of its core strengths. For this job, the company developed special vinyls to produce high-performance graphics in combination with Vutek's inks.

High-endurance graphics were critical for this event, during which rally teams traveled more than 5200 miles and journeyed through five countries between the starting point in Marseille, France and the finish line in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. An Artfix executive notes that "Each component of the job had to work well together to withstand the intense heat and abrasive sand of the North African deserts." Each graphic also had to be precisely cut and positioned so it wouldn't detach when exposed to sandstorms and temperatures exceeding 100"?F. (Artfix: www.artfix.com.br)

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