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  • Michael Granata

A Closer Look: Cast vs. Calendared Vinyl - Which One Is Right for You?

Vinyl, the workhorse of many print shops, can be produced as either cast or calendared film. While much of the ingredients are the same, the difference is seen in the manufacturing process.

Cast Vinyl:

  • Manufacturing Process: Cast vinyl starts as a liquid that is poured into a mold (cast) and solidifies. It is approximately 2 mils thick.

  • Properties:

    • Stretchy and Conformable: Cast vinyl is more flexible and conformable, making it suitable for complex surfaces with curves, rivets, brick and corrugations.

    • High Performance: Often referred to as the industry premium. This dimensionally stable film retains color well.

    • Durability: Typically lasts 5-7 years. Duration will vary based on application and environment.

  • Ideal Applications: Cast vinyl is recommended for long-term applications like vehicle wraps or surfaces that require a smooth finish.

    • Wall Graphics: The most common application is on wall graphics, painted brick or corrugated metal like outfields.

    • Lasting Signage: It withstands weather abuse and sun energy effectively.

Calendared Vinyl:

  • Manufacturing Process: Calendared vinyl starts as a solid and goes through rollers to flatten it out. It is usually 2.5 mils to 4 mils thick.

  • Properties:

    • Inexpensive: Calendared vinyl is cost-effective.

    • Less Conformable: It doesn’t stretch as well and is best for flat, simple surfaces. It is less dimensionally stable and conformable. It tends to shrink when exposed to heat.

    • Shorter Lifespan: Typically lasts 3-6 years. Duration will vary based on application and environment.

  • Ideal Applications:

    • Short-Term Signs or Indoor Signs: Perfect for applications like “Sale” signs and ever-changing displays.

    • Flat Surfaces: Works well on flat surfaces where appearance or cost is crucial. The most common use of this product is on rigid signage.

Sign Champ predominantly uses cast vinyl due to its durability, flexibility, and suitability for long-term projects. It's conformability allows for better adherence and ease of application.

Remember, choosing the right vinyl depends on the specific application and desired longevity. Sign Champ will always choose the most suitable vinyl for each project's unique needs. Whether it’s cast or calendared, understanding their differences ensures better results! 🎨🔍


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