The Process: How Compliant Photopolymer is Achieved
There are four main steps in creating a photopolymer sign – artwork design, film generation, photopolymer processing, and finishing.
We start by reducing the actual size of the Braille diameter in our Workflow Manager (WM) software. WM is designed to follow all the current ADA guidelines which include kerning, character size, Braille placement, fonts, and more. The dot size is reduced to .044″ so that we can build a shoulder during the exposure process.
Once the files are created a film negative needs to be generated with high enough density that allows for the proper exposure. Our InkStar Film Solution creates a film with the proper density.
The exposure of the photopolymer is measured using a 21 Step Stouffer Scale. This scale measures UV output which takes into account the wear on the bulbs ensuring proper exposure throughout the bulb’s lifecycle. By using the scale we can accurately measure the exact size of the Braille.
Once you have the proper dot size in the artwork and adequate exposure, you will need to apply a topcoat. This means a coating of paint for surface decorated signs or a clear coat for signs that are decorated sub-surface. We work very closely with Matthews Paint and, per their specification, you will need to apply a 4mil wet/2mil dry topcoat on all photopolymer signs. This coating is the final step in creating complaint photopolymer Braille dots that “have a domed or rounded shape.”