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  • Which polymeric vinyl for general use?

    Posted by Myles Brewer on May 22, 2024 at 4:09 pm

    Hi All,

    I’m looking for a new general-use polymeric print vinyl to print on with an HP Latex 365 printer.
    For general medium-term (5yr-ish) outdoor composite panel signs, vehicle flat panel signs etc.

    I’m looking for any views on how they might compare in price and spec wise they are all pretty similar.
    The comparable ones that are readily available from local suppliers are the following…

    • Metamark MDi
    • Avery 2800
    • Arlon DPF4550
    • Ritrama Ri-jet P75 5yr

    Alternatively a step up to:

    • Metamark MD5
    • Avery 2000
    • Ritrama Ri-jet P75 7yr

    Interested to hear comments if anyone has tried/compared them in use.

    Myles Brewer replied 2 weeks, 2 days ago 8 Members · 14 Replies
  • 14 Replies
  • Graham Scanlan

    May 22, 2024 at 5:31 pm

    You missed off LG 😀

    Seriously though, it’s all down to preference. The polymeric face films will give you a similar service life.

    The adhesives vary from water-based to solvent-based, water-based clear films can emulsify if applied wet and don’t perform as well as solvents at lower temperatures, during application.

    The backing paper can also vary, Kraft paper and P.E lined paper, P.E liner performs better under humid conditions and performs well under heat so ideal for latex,

    Ideally situation would be a premium face film, solvent adhesive with a P.E liner at a great price….

    I think only Avery offer you a printed guarantee, all the rest give you an unprinted up to 5 or 7 years etc, which doesn’t mean anything once it’s printed.

  • Colin Crabb

    May 22, 2024 at 6:19 pm

    Metamark MDi-A (air free, plus it has a better (more expensive) backing than MDi standard)

  • David Hammond

    May 22, 2024 at 7:30 pm

    The LG is good value for money, but it boils down to personal preference. I do a lot of print and cut, and found the LG lacked the adhesion to the backing paper when weeding & taping. Mactac was nice.

    I’ve found myself back on MD5A, I don’t really want to stocking umpteen different media’s.

  • Jeff

    May 23, 2024 at 10:07 am

    Image Perfect hasn’t let me down. 👍

  • Myles Brewer

    May 23, 2024 at 12:28 pm

    Thanks all for your inputs.

    I’m slowly getting more confused as to which way to go the more I look!!🤣

    Graham, I would have included the LG but as far as I know there isn’t a supplier in ROI so at least it rules one out for me!👍

    Most of them appear to have the PE liner & solvent based adhesive bar the Avery which I think is just acrylic & the Image Perfect says “Advanced Acrylic” whatever that means!!

    At the moment the Ritrama P75 7yr looks to be working out the best of the 7yr vinyls for price & looks to be ticking all the boxes Graham mentions. But I’m just waiting on prices for the Image Perfect (Thanks for mentioning that one Jeff) which I didn’t think I could get in Ireland but Dennis Evans do it up North I just remembered.

    I have one supplier (Rep is ex sign maker with experience) who is recommending the Arlon 5yr over the Ritrama 7yr, saying it’s a better product for cheaper price but I’m finding that hard to believe.

    David, you mentioned about the LG separating from the backing & it was something I was wondering about all of the air release vinyls when it comes to printing on the HP latex printers. Something I have experienced in the past when I did try an air release I found it was cockling during printing due to the heat. I’ve never bothered with one since but wonder if anyone has successfully used any of these with a latex printer (specifically HP365)

    I agree 100% regarding having to stock multiple different media’s but annoyingly as time goes by there seems to be more choice & more specific media’s rather than less & more all rounders!!

    • David Hammond

      May 23, 2024 at 5:22 pm

      I’ve no issues with cockling on the more reputable brands, I think that’s more to do with the liner. A good quality liner doesn’t seem to hold as much moisture, and handles the heat better. My issue was once I had cut the vinyl, and moving around on the bench, or hanging it over the laminator before applying app tape, I’d find letters would ‘fall off’ 😂

      Check the data sheets closely, as some get quite creative with their wording 😂

      • Myles Brewer

        May 23, 2024 at 5:27 pm

        That’s good to hear David, Like Graham said above the PE liners are less prone to moisture issues.

        Data sheets are quite annoying for that very fact, they all seem to use different wording & parameters making it extremely hard sometimes to compare like for like!! There should be a law against it!!🤣

  • Myles Brewer

    May 24, 2024 at 9:28 am

    Anyone got any experience with the Ritrama Ri-jet P75 7yr & using it on HP latex?

    I’m leaning towards this one now as the Image Perfect is working out a good bit more with shipping from NI.

  • RobertLambie

    May 24, 2024 at 10:03 am

    For around 20 years I mainly always used oracal. I still do for cut vinyl graphics.
    I switched to Arlon for wrapping.
    I then switched to Arlon for my Polymeric.
    Around covid time it was a split between Arlon, Oracal and Image Perfect for Polymeric.
    Currently, I am using mainly Image Perfect for Polymeric and Arlon occasionally.

    I base my choice on giving great quality based on the job requirements. In the past I would be exclusively a premium polymeric and laminate for signs, and always the case for wrapping casts. but due to the volume of signs we are doing, amongst other applications, I have mixed the brands of polymeric between, Oracal, Arlon and Image Perfect.

    Our machines are HP latex.

    With regards to Ritrama, I have not used it in many years, so I cannot comment fairly.
    However, I am sure that HP used or uses rebranded Ritrama under their own digital brand name. so I would say HP will most definitely be compatible with the vinyl. By that I mean, that even if the profile is not there under Ritrama, use an HP profile based on the same type of media.

    • Myles Brewer

      May 24, 2024 at 10:22 am

      Hi Rob,

      That’s very interesting re HP & Ritrama, I wasn’t aware of that.

      Can I ask if you were using the Arlon 4550? & if so how did you find it? As mentioned above I have a rep who is recommending it over the 7yr Ritrama. Also do you tend to use the air release or standard versions?

  • RobertLambie

    May 25, 2024 at 5:55 pm

    That’s very interesting re HP & Ritrama, I wasn’t aware of that.

    I doubt many will know this.
    I know this one specifically through work that I did before covid started, hence why I said they “used to or still use”. Most vinyls on the market today are a combination of re-brands, others using the same face-films with licensed adhesive systems, etc. with others having manufacturing plants making the entire product for them, based on their own spec. This is pretty much common knowledge, but who’s using what etc is where the secrecy part comes in.

    I forget the exact series spec of the Arlon polymeric, I also used their cast for wrapping and budget monomeric strictly for large-volume correx short-term signs.
    I like Arlon in general. I think they have competitive rates and I have never had any fails with what I have tried, and I find their quality consistent. I like dealing directly with them as a company too. I only deal with the UK and Europe though, so I can’t speak for elsewhere.

    Regarding the adhesive system.
    I prefer not to use an air-release adhesive. I think it makes staff lazy and dependent on the adhesive to do the job, as it slowly absorbs the skill from the applicator. That said, It won’t stop me from using it and occasionally do, it is just my gripe with it mainly when it comes to vehicle graphics because the graphics greatly depend on the best bond it can get, to last the test of time.

  • Jamie Bowes

    May 27, 2024 at 4:01 pm

    Weve used MD5 for 18 years now for vehicles but the last few years weve used MD5A all for vehicles and Drytac Air release (8 yrs now) for all other work and has never failed

  • Hugh Potter

    May 28, 2024 at 10:20 am

    99% I use Arlon DPF4550 gtx (grey back air release), I began using it a few years ago as I found the MD5AB’s matching laminate was ruining some light grey prints (made them green) and it cost me a lot of money on the floor! Having used it for a few rolls for that job I just liked it and stuck with it.

    MD5H i use for high tack, prints well and I only really use it for some brand / product specific work that doesn’t involve light grey! I did switch to vion 5000 high tack for about ten rolls following some issues with MD5H cockling in the HP365, I suspect that was down to a backing paper thing and, it seems to have sorted itself out now as I’ve been back on it for 18-24months.

    I wouldn’t hesitate to reccomend either MD5 or the Arlon tbh.

  • Myles Brewer

    May 28, 2024 at 1:02 pm

    Thanks everyone for your input.

    I’ve decided (On the back of Hugh & Rob’s posts above, Thanks both) & having also just spoken again with the supplier, to give the Arlon 4550G a go.

    I’ll follow up down the line once I’ve had chance to assess is but sounds positive.

    Thanks again all for your views.

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