Reflective films are leading the wrap world in an exciting direction, and with no surprise, a product like this can sometimes bring about new challenges.
What is Reflective Film?
Reflective film is a type of film that is layered with an array of glass beads or prisms that reflects light back to the observer; the arrangement of these light-reflecting components has a direct effect on the film’s overall reflectivity. Our reflective films today are of the glass bead type and have the following cross section:
People are considering reflective films not only for additional brand awareness but for cut graphic lettering, decals, fleet markings, and vehicle and fleet wraps.
What is Bruising?
Reflective films have more delicate components in their construction. Keeping this in mind reflective products needs to be handled differently than other cast vinyl film. If a reflective film is mishandled it causes bruising. Bruising occurs when the uniformity of the reflective components is disturbed either by drastically stretching or creasing the film. Once bruising occurs, it can be very difficult to heal the film back to its original state.
NOTE: The product on the top is Arlon IllumiNITE Wrap™. The product on the bottom is a leading competitive brand. Both products were subject to the same techniques to amplify bruising.
There are ongoing technological innovations that are proprietary to each vinyl manufacturer; Arlon’s latest innovation with FLITE Technology™ gives more power to the installer by providing ease of installation and efficiency.
Tips to Avoid Bruising
After working with some of the best installers around, we have gathered a few helpful tips to avoid bruising your reflective graphic.
- Handle your reflective film with care to avoid creasing the film during printing or pre-trimming.
- Plan out your wrap in advance. Being able to foresee areas of difficulty in your application will help minimize errors along the way.
- Avoid overstretching reflective film in concentrated areas by using inlays/overlays techniques. This will help minimize bruising in areas with high curvatures.
4. Applying pressure and post-heating your application is a best practice that we always recommend! Avoid applying unintentional pressure, like leaning on your graphic.
5. Vinyl can stick to itself quite easily. If this happens and you peel apart your graphic, bruising is likely to occur, especially in areas where more pressure has been applied. Apply a little bit of heat to help relieve the vinyl.
6. Invest in a product that addresses the pain points of installing reflective graphics. Each product varies in construction, technologies, and benefits to the installer.
FLITE Technology™ featured in IllumiNITE Wrap™ has changed the reflective wrap game. Unlike other films on the market, if something goes wrong on an install and you are not able to follow the tips above, your film and project are not ruined. IllumiNITE Wrap™ is a forgiving reflective film with room for common mistakes.
If you find with other films that bruising is something you can’t seem to avoid, be sure to try IllumiNITE Wrap™ and save money and time.