Floor graphics are the last blank canvas.
For shorter-term installations, he says, 3M offers its newer Scotchcal IJ40C film with Comply Adhesive for solvent and UV inkjet printers, protected with the 3648 Scotchcal High Gloss overlaminate. “[IJ40C] is a lower-grade calendared film for carpets and tradeshows.” To ensure durability, he recommends installing graphics in rectangular sheets to minimize avoiding jagged edges, which can catch and begin to peel when exposed to foot traffic.
3M also has a product for exterior sidewalk and street applications, although it’s officially approved for screenprinting, not inkjet: 2-mil Scotchcal 3662 Graphic Film, and the company’s 19-mil Scothcal Matte 3647 overlaminate film. For solvent inkjet use, notes Larson, “the product tends to worm up (because of the solvent ink), but when an overlam is applied the worming goes away. UV, eco-solvent, and latex do not seem to present any issues with this product.”
Asphalt Art (www.asphaltartusa.com) launched its namesake product in the US almost two years ago as a specialty media with unique properties. “Ours is a foil-based product that easily conforms to the irregularity of materials like asphalt, concrete, and brick,” points out Michael Gillette. “And because it’s foil-based and a non-slip material, it can be run through UV inkjet and latex printers.” The material’s glass bead surface gives it slip-resistant qualities and eliminates the need for a protective laminate film or coating, he says.
“Once it’s properly applied, it can be walked or driven on,” Gillette asserts. “We don’t have durability issues because of the way that foil backing sticks to the surface.”
In Europe, where the product originated, Asphalt Art is used for all types of ground and floor applications. In the US, most early applications have been for event graphics, although there have been some novel installations. For instance, the material served as the finish line for a recent Chicago marathon, and on another project, oversized goldfish were printed on the material, then cut and applied to the bottom of a swimming pool. It’s also been used to define and advertise on the lines separating spaces in parking lots.
Ensuring safety and beyond
“The most important feature floor graphics must have is anti-skid protection,” says Lisa Humrick, marketing manager for Oracal USA (www.oracal.com). Without that feature, she says print providers, as well as their clients, could leave themselves exposed to potential liability should someone slip on the graphic.