IAPD

November 2009 | Focus: Signs

Signage for exhibits
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David Benko’s first exhibit features large-format graphics (including a full-size man) laminated then spray mounted onto Kapa®-Bloc Material from Alcan Composites USA Inc. of St. Louis, MO.

David Benko’s first exhibit features large-format graphics (including a full-size man) laminated then spray mounted onto Kapa®-Bloc Material from Alcan Composites USA Inc. of St. Louis, MO, USA.

Signs are a vital part of exhibits, ranging from those at trade shows to museums, where signs are expected to attract attention, point the way, inform, persuade and more. These signage roles can be accomplished using modern, innovative, plastic products of various types — even when the exhibit illustrates the history of signs and historic sign materials. David Benko discovered this as he began to construct an exhibit to display some of his vintage signs, from the birth of neon in the 1920s through the end of the 1950s.

For the base structure of his exhibit, Benko selected square tubular steel and attached ½" sheets of a composite board with a foamed polyurethane core, using industrial strength Velcro. (Three sheets of 5' x 10' material and eight sheets of 4' x 8' material were used.) One of the most recently available substrates, this composite board was introduced to North American and Latin American markets in 1999. “The material has excellent rigidity and stiffness, resulting in good bending strength, pressure resistance and humidity resistance,” Benko said. “The construction proved to be a strong but lightweight combination that assembles, transports, and knocks down easily.” Read more.

This article was written by Alcan Composites USA Inc.


Coextruded high density PE for outdoor signs
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This sign was routed out of PolyCarve™ coextruded HDPE engraving stock produced by Vycom/ Scranton Products.

This sign was routed out of PolyCarve™ coextruded HDPE engraving stock produced by Vycom/Scranton Products.

Exterior signs are exposed to the harshest conditions — extreme cold and heat, ultraviolet light, snow, hail, acid rain and severe treatment perpetrated by vandals.

For quite some time, the sign industry has been trying to find a material that can withstand these forces and also be economical. One such material is a high-density, coextruded polyethylene. It is produced in what is known as an A-B-A format. The top and bottom layers are usually about .100" thick of one color, and the inner core is a contrasting color. The inner core is generally between 5/16" and 1/2" thick, but there are many variations available. There are at least one dozen various color combinations. Some of the unique advantages of this material are that no pre- or post-treatment is necessary. It has extremely good cold impact properties, excellent resistance to ultraviolet light, and the ability to repel inks, paints and other types of graffiti. Read more.

This article was written by Bruce Merklinghaus, Vycom/Scranton Products.


New uses for traditional plastics
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Column cladding is an excellent application for WeatherPro™ high-impact acrylic/ABS sheet manufactured by Spartech Plastics.

Column cladding is an excellent application for WeatherPro™ high-impact acrylic/ABS sheet manufactured by Spartech Plastics.

Sign manufacturers have historically relied on acrylic, impact-modified acrylic and outdoor grade polycarbonate when thermoformed faces or shapes are part of sign design. Over the past few years, the convergence of several technologies has enhanced the effectiveness of one of the most versatile thermoplastics — high impact, easy-to-fabricate ABS (acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene).

This is where you say “Wait! ABS has very poor weatherability, and has to be painted to be used outdoors.” Although primary surface painting has long been the most common way to protect ABS, the advent of more sophisticated co­extrusion capabilities, new resin developments, and improved thermoforming techniques has resulted in a breakthrough. By combining ABS sheet with a top surface layer containing more UV-stable plastics, most often an acrylic or ASA (acrylonitrile-styrene-acrylate) terpolymer, weatherability can be achieved. Read more.

This article was written by John Hirsch, Spartech Plastics.


The trend toward edge-lit ultra-slim signage
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Evonik CYRO’s acrylic sheet enables construction of extremely slim, compact luminous panels with high light output —  creating a dazzling effect for outdoor signage, particularly at night.

Evonik CYRO’s acrylic sheet enables construction of extremely slim, compact luminous panels with high light output — creating a dazzling effect for outdoor signage, particularly at night.

Sign makers always need to be forward thinking and on the lookout for the latest technologies and industry trends. One of the more recent and innovative developments to hit this market is incorporating edge lighting with a new type of acrylic material to produce ultra-slim, illuminated signs. This new acrylic sheet contains a filler material that diffuses light and redirects it to the side surface of the sheet, offering uniform illumination and neutral color presentation. This allows light sources to be concealed along the edge so that an ultra-slim profile is possible with high light output. Such signage takes up less space, is lightweight and im­pact-resistant and often is more energy-efficient.

By utilizing this new material, sign makers now have a cost-effective solution that offers a superior new level of luminous clarity, eye-pleasing color, and ex­tremely bright illumination. Soon more of these ultra-slim signs will make their way into poster panels for airports, malls, hotel hallways, restaurants, bus shelters, and numerous other indoor and outdoor applications. Read more.

This article was written by by Steven J. Vaccaro, Evonik CYRO LLC.


Test Your Knowledge

What do you know about plastics in signage applications? (Answers are at www.iapd.org/popquiz.html.)

1. What percentage of UV light is filtered by ultra violet filtering acrylic?

a. 66
b. 100
c. 84
d. 98

2.  HDPE is not recommended for which of the following processes:

a. Thermoforming
b. Painting
c. Hot air welding
d. Injection molding

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In this issue

Signage for exhibits
Use unique signs to attract attention, point the way, inform, persuade and more.

Coextruded high density PE for outdoor signs
HDPE stands up to the environment.

New uses for traditional plastics
ABS does more than you think.

The trend toward edge-lit ultra-slim signage
Light up your signage with acrylic.

Test your knowledge
What do you know about plastic materials used in signage applications?

About IAPD
The International Association of Plastics Distribution, founded in 1956, is an international trade association comprised of companies engaged in the distribution and manufacture of plastics materials.

Members include plastics distributors, processors, manufacturers, resin manufacturers, manufacturers’ representatives and associated products and services, all of whom are dedicated to the distribution channel. Visit www.iapd.org for more information.

IAPD
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Phone: +913.345.1005 | Fax: +913.345.1006
Designing with Plastics is published by the International Association of Plastics Distribution. While every effort has been made for accuracy, IAPD encourages you to verify information with a plastics distributor to ensure you select the correct plastic products to meet your needs.
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