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The Bottom Line

(December 2010) posted on Tue Dec 07, 2010

Floor graphics remain a popular option for catching the attention of consumers.

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By Britney Grimmelsman

So over it: lamination
Perhaps one of the most important factors when it comes to floor-graphic materials is lamination, which not only determines the finish of the final product but can also help print providers and their clients avoid any legal implications that may arise from inadequate slip resistance. The manufacturers we talked to recommend utilizing only laminates that are ASTM- or UL-listed for slip resistance to ensure consumer safety and business liability.

Companies like MacTac have their entire line of floor-graphic overlaminating films tested according to ASTM standards by an outside laboratory to ensure pedestrian safety. All the specifications and test results are identified on each laminate’s individual performance guide, which is available to any customer. MacTac recently developed three new floor-graphic laminate options for short, medium and long-term slip-resistant applications. All PermaColor overlaminates use a clear acrylic permanent adhesive and have been tested for slip resistance.

“The biggest considerations when choosing a laminate are slip resistance, the right product for the required durability of the graphic, and the amount of traffic to which the graphic will be exposed,” says Stadelman of MacTac.

For short-term budget-friendly applications, MacTac offers PF6400 as part of its PermaColor Permaflex line, a 3.75-mil clear, textured polyolefin film with a glossy glare-reducing finish. For medium-term applications, its PF6500 is a 4.3-mil textured scuff-resistant overlaminate designed to last up to three months. For long-term applications, the company’s Rayzor Gloss LF3640 is a 1.5-mil clear gloss cast PVC film.

LexJet offers several varieties of anti-slip laminates including a vinyl-free, rigid, velvet textured laminate, a slightly embossed laminate, and an economy floor laminate for shorter-term floor graphics. Its laminates are designed to provide clarity and visual pop, and the textured laminates minimize glare from overhead light. According to LexJet product manager Dione Metnick, embossed gloss laminates work better if you want to see the graphic from the longest viewing distance.

And says Paul Roba with Avery, “One advantage of Avery Dennison's floor graphic system is its flexibility -- Avery Graphics overlaminates are UL-certified for floor graphics but can also be used for other applications like vehicle wraps or window graphics. Therefore, a converter doesn't have to stock specific overlaminates for floor graphics. Avery Graphics overlaminates can be used for a multitude of projects.”

Oracal’s OraGuard 250AS is a 4.75-mil PVC film with a raised, non-skid texture and a clear, solvent-based permanent adhesive. It’s designed to protect indoor floor graphics in normal traffic areas. For heavier traffic loads, the company offers OraGuard 255AS, a 6.5-mil PVC film, also featuring a raised, non-skid texture and clear solvent-based adhesive. Both meet ASTM D 2047 specs.

GBC’s 7-mil Arctic Floor Mat is a durable, cast vinyl and textured film for applications requiring a unique look and feel. Its slip-resistant UL rating makes this film suitable for retail floor graphics, GBC reports, and it also works well for counter graphics and other applications requiring long-lasting graphic protection.

In the Facebook era…
As marketers continue to look for new and exciting techniques to intrigue consumers, floor graphics certainly would appear to play a major role now and in the future – their growth and development limited only to the imagination of designers, their clients, and the print providers providing the output and installation.

“We expect floor graphics will be a growing market,” says LexJet’s Dione Metnick. “All types of businesses are looking for creative ways to attract attention in the ‘Facebook era.’ Consumers are inundated with advertising, and making an impression on the floor is something they’re not used to seeing, thus tend to notice it.”