Reference Arlon product brochure for recommended marine marking vinyl and laminate.
A. Polyester Gel Coat
1. Treat surface as if it has silicone mold release agent or wax by washing thoroughly with mold release remover recommended by the boat
2. Dry surface completely using lint free towels to prevent moisture becoming trapped underneath graphics and causing premature failure.
3. Do not use harsh solvent such as acetone, MEK or lacquer thinner
1. These surfaces will be oxidized and must be cleaned with soapy water and a nylon abrasive pad. It will most likely take more than one pass to remove oxidized pigment or gel coat. This is a critical step because when the installers reposition the graphic on a chalky hull, the adhesive will quickly pick up the chalk and detackify. There is nothing you can do to regain the original tack if this happens.
2. Dry surface completely using lint free towels to prevent moisture becoming trapped underneath graphics and causing premature failure
KEY NOTE: All surfaces (Gel Coated or Aluminum) should be cleaned with a final pass of 1:1 IPA and water.
A. All graphics must be installed above the waterline.
B. Arlon recommends using a dry application with overlaminated graphics. The use of a wet application runs the risk of subsequent adhesive failure by virtue of surfactant (from detergent) rewetting under the adhesive when the boat is in constant contact with water. For graphics on interior and structures well above deck height, a wet application is acceptable.
C. Recommended application temperature is between 60-90°F or 16-32°C. Avoid installing graphics under high humidity environment to avoid premature adhesive failure.
D. Allow graphics 48 hours for complete adhesive wet out before use.
A. Heat: Where graphics had been shaped to severe contours, heating (90-100°C) is recommended to achieve the distortion during installation as well as to set the film afterwards.
B. Trimming: Where possible, open edges should be smooth and continuous; jagged shapes and points tend to fail prematurely due to excess edge exposure.
C. Edge Seal: Where edges are exposed especially near the waterline, at chafing points, and around fueling cap, edge seal should be used to avoid premature failure. 3M 3950 edge seal is recommended.
Best practice is to use Series 3220 overlaminate on graphics. This reduces abrasion and oxidation risk while protecting printed image from the effects of cleaning. Cleaning should be done with a standard soap and water solution and a soft sponge followed with a clear water rinse. If using a pressure washer, nozzle pressure should not exceed 1300 PSI and water temperature should be maintained below 140°F (60°C). It is recommended that the angle of spray be no shallower than 60° vertically or horizontally (see figure 1). Cleaning should start from the center of the graphics and move outward (see figure 2). Detergents without harsh chemicals should be blended at a proper ratio followed by a fresh water rinse to remove all residues.
Many of these TIPS come from our customer feedback and questions so be sure to reach out to us so that we can help you and in turn help others as well! Arlon Technical Services is here for you.