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  • Sticky edges of vinyl when printing on high tack media

    Posted by Myles Brewer on July 9, 2024 at 10:52 am

    Hi all,

    Just wondering if anyone else ever has issues with the edges of High-tack media being tacky?

    I’ve had it with GF Roughmark previously & now recently with Arlon DPF8000 which seems to be even worse.

    Initially when you start to unroll the media you can hear & feel it sticking to itself as it unwinds and tiny amounts of adhesive are visible at the very edges.
    This then becomes a bit of a nightmare when printing as it smears it all over the machine including in places that you can’t reach to remove it after, so the next media you print also gets stuck on it.

    I’m not sure if it’s possibly older stock from the supplier as you can see a small amount of shrinkage at the edge, maybe 1mm on each side, but this seems to be sufficient to release the adhesive onto media.

    I’m sure I can’t be the first to experience this.

    Myles Brewer replied 1 week, 4 days ago 2 Members · 2 Replies
  • 2 Replies
  • RobertLambie

    July 9, 2024 at 11:21 pm

    Hi Myles

    I have had this issue too, and you are correct, it is very annoying and can get messy.
    It sticks to the media pinch rollers on our latex printers and builds up a gluey gunk.
    The attached picture illustrates where the glue builds up on the rollers and the vinyl shrinks back.

    If I go with what I “can see”, then the vinyl has shrunk or curled back slightly exposing the strong adhesive along the edge which tacks onto the rollers and any dust or grime, making it more visible.

    The part that I do not like is, “Why is it shrinking or curling?”

    Vinyl typically has a two-year shelf life from its manufacturing date. After that, it remains in the factory until ordered by a supplier. The vinyl then travels to suppliers around the world in a container on a ship, where it may then sit on the supplier’s shelves until we place an order. Finally, it reaches us and sits on our shelf until needed. I can imagine that the 2-year window closes up quickly throughout this process.

    I know I bang on about products like vinyl should be identified by their brand, series, manufacturing date and more. and NOT just the batch codes etc I want to lift a bit of vinyl and see everything I need to know before using it to manufacture a sign. All that is required is a QR code, scan it on your phone and the full information is presented.
    I would go one further than to see there should be watermarks on the face of premium vinyl for the same purposes. Reflective vinyl gets it for identification and H&S purposes, so why not all others?
    There is a list of reasons why there should be easy identification of materials, but very little other than cosmetic purposes as to why not to have it.

  • Myles Brewer

    July 10, 2024 at 9:40 am

    Hi Rob,

    Well firstly I’m glad it’s not only me!! & it really is a PINA because like I said it get’s into places on the printer where you feed the media in that can’t be reached to clean it off, so then gets onto whatever media you next load in!

    I also find that these high tack rolls are tricky to load as the vinyl on the leading edge tends to curl back when loading as it’s pushed around the curve before it reaches the pinch rollers, often getting stuck at that point. I’ve managed to resolve this issue by attaching a strip of 25mm width masking tape to the leading edge & folding it around the edge onto the backing paper, then it feeds smoothly in.

    In the end regarding the gluey sides, I decided to unroll the media I had left (Approx 7m) & trim about 4mm off each edge as although this took a bit of time it was better than trying to clean up the gooey mess from the printer!!

    I think you’re spot on that it’s probably old & maybe even out of date vinyl & that it’s probably been through various temperature changes during it’s storage helping to contribute to the shrinkage.

    I would think it would be extremely easy for manufacturers to add a production date to boxes or labels but I do think there would be some sort of kickback from suppliers as I’m sure they’d end up either with customers sending out of date rolls back or insisting they only get in date rolls & they would end up with heaps of unwanted out of date media! BUT, at the end of the day WE need to be able to know what we are using is still within it’s use by date, the same as ink & print heads etc.

    I don’t see it changing anytime soon unfortunately as it’s the big boys holding the power as usual.

    I will certainly mention this issue though to my supplier.

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