It’s Monday morning and two employees are mounting reverse-printed panels on aluminum-framed signs for a new bank in town. It’s not a complex job, but has to look right, with clean edges all the way around. The older of the two workers, a master of laying down a bead of adhesive, puts down exactly the right amount of adhesive. His work is a thing of beauty. But the other guy is new to the job, had a rough weekend, and is less than skilled with the tube of adhesive. The beads he lays down are too fat in some places, too thin in others, and some adhesive oozes past the edges when the panel is put in place. With 40 signs to go, the promised 1 PM delivery time is not looking good.
The Right Tape
This is just one instance where the right tape can make a winning difference. Liquid adhesives will always have their place, but when it comes to productivity in sign production the right tapes can win the day and help deliver jobs on time. Tape, from high performance acrylics to Ultra High Bond (UHB) versions are becoming the go-to option for mating similar and dissimilar surfaces by automakers, aircraft manufacturers, boat builders, and now sign companies. Modern tapes are faster and easier to apply than liquids or semi-solid pastes, require less skill to use, and create bonds with mating surfaces that are second to none.
For instance, consider a sign that has a half-inch along each edge that will mate to an aluminum frame, and has some curves to negotiate. A one-half inch wide, high performance acrylic or UHB tape can be easily applied to the edge of the sign or the frame, trimmed to the exact length required with a knife or razor blade, and with its protective paper backing removed, the sign and frame can be quickly bonded together and ready for use. Curves are a non-issue and the elastomeric properties of top quality tapes allow for expansion and contraction, which is especially important for signs that will be exposed to swings in temperature. Some tapes also have viscoelastic properties—basically flow characteristics—that let their adhesives conform to the microscopic surfaces of materials. In liquid adhesive terms this is “wet out,” and maximizes the surface areas to be bonded, enabling tapes to work in much the same way as liquid adhesives. Using tapes also eliminates the need for mechanical fastening (along with the associated problems) and helps reduce callbacks from customers because once the sign is assembled it is not likely to fall apart—a different story than is the case with signs using liquid adhesives, rivets or other hardware. Remember, every screw or rivet creates a tiny entry point for moisture, shortening the life and appearance of even the best possible signs.
These factors were key to Nova Polymers’ recent addition of Orafol’s line of ORABOND® tapes engineered specifically for signage applications. The German company has a legacy of producing industrial-strength tapes in its two million square foot facility near Berlin. Focused primarily on tapes for commercial applications, the facility has some 30 coating lines for adhesives and vinyls, relies on extensive automation for precise process control, and makes all its own adhesives and substrates in-house. These and other internal efficiencies provide ORAFOL with nearly total control over all the costs in its supply chain, enabling high quality products at very competitive prices.
Nova now offers ORABOND 1375 and 1377 high performance acrylic transfer tapes in several widths, designed for metal and plastic nameplates, fascia panels for electronics, and signs and displays. When permanent binding is paramount, ORAFOL’s 3599 and 3600 UHB tapes are compelling options. All the ORAFOL tapes Nova Polymers offers are UL-certified for use in most electrical installations. Whatever your need, Nova Polymers and ORAFOL can provide top quality, attractively priced tapes developed specifically for signage applications.
When you think about difficulties that can come with producing top quality signs, how individual employee performance can impact your finished product, and that the signs you make have a direct impact on the image of a business, it is clear that the details and subtleties of sign production—like the tapes used—can have a huge impact on the work you produce. Think about tapes as a way to ensure your signs meet every standard and expectation. From durability to ease of use to solid performance, tapes can be a compelling solution.