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After the Wrap Hits the Road

(April 2014) posted on Wed Apr 09, 2014

Corrective actions for your shop post vehicle wrap.

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By Jared Smith

Another reason for lifting laminate is improper curing of solvent inks post-print and before lamination. We all get in a hurry to laminate after printing because schedules and deadlines never seem to take a break. But rushing to the laminating stage before properly allowing the ink to out-gas will only wreak havoc in the wrap game. Doing so can cause the gases to penetrate the printed vinyl and change the properties of the adhesive; it can also cause the laminate to lift from the vinyl. This issue seems to be most prominent when there’s heavy saturation, high-ambient humidity, not enough dry time, or any combination of these factors.

Corrective action: Product bulletins state the process and time required for proper curing. In the event you’re in a humid environment, have extremely fast printers, or just don't have time to wait, there are curing or drying devices that are commercially available. Make sure the vinyl properly out-gasses or you’ll be doing the job all over again.

‘Weird markings’
Once a year or so, we get a call from a client describing “weird markings” on certain areas of their wrap. When the client brings the vehicle in, we see the areas they’re talking about: This effect looks like someone took a squirt bottle of “something bad” and squirted it onto the vehicle.

To date, we have traced down three different causes. Our first encounter with such a scenario was a result of someone putting a harsh chemical cleaner in their windshield-washer system. When they deployed the spraying system, it did indeed clean the window but then proceeded to run from the top of the vehicle down its sides, eating away at the protective vinyl laminate. We have also seen this problem come about as a result of headlight washers spraying up on the vehicle’s hood.

The next mystery we solved was after a client had some salt spray on the rear of their vehicle (from salt on icy roads), which they decided to clean with an abrasive cleaner. It took them a while to confess what they had done, but in the end it was pretty obvious that it was a sprayed-on external chemical that caused the resultant pitting and discolorations.