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Laminates: got it
Specifying the right laminate depends on the conditions it is expected to
withstand. Regional sales manager, UK and Ireland, Seal Graphics, Andrew
East, explains how UV resistance affects filmic laminates
Q. What makes a laminate UV resistant? A. As the absorption takes place at a industry needs and have evolved and improved
A. A laminate is made UV resistant by the molecular level, there are no chemicals created over the years.
components added to the film and the to run off.
adhesive system of the film. At Seal Graphics, Q. How long are laminates durable in
we use two components: UV absorbers Q. How does the adhesive react with inks? application?
dispersed within the adhesive and UV A. As long as the ink/image is dry, there is no A. This depends on the type of film and the
inhibitors, which lie within the film. reaction. In most cases, an image can be geographical site of the finished product. At
Inhibitors prevent the film from breaking laminated so long as it is touch dry. Seal Graphics, we provide a factor which
down under UV exposure but do nothing to should give an indication of how long a
affect the image itself. Their only purpose is to Q. How do you test for UV resistance? laminated image will last compared with an
protect the film. PVC would otherwise A. There are several methods that can be used unprotected image. For example, if an
discolour under UV exposure and will still do so to determine the level of protection that a unprotected image would only maintain its
if insufficient inhibitors are used. PET and OPP laminate film provides. To achieve original appearance for one day in a south-
films do not contain UV inhibitors and will comprehensive results, all of the following facing location in the south of France, then a
become brittle under UV exposure resulting in need to be used in conjunction: UV film with a factor of 100 would maintain the
cracking and splitting over time. spectrometer and UV black light in a laboratory original image appearance for a period of 100
Absorbers absorb light at a molecular level setting, the use of QUV/Atlas weatherometer days.
at the wavelengths of the UVA and UVB equipment and site testing, usually in Florida or
spectrum. This energy is soaked up by the Colorado to test for extreme sunlight Q. How important is UV resistance when
adhesive, thus protecting the image surface. conditions. developing new laminates?
A. UV resistance will always be important, but
Q. Are there any chemical or physical Q. What published guidelines are available? it depends on the application – whether the
processes that run off when laminates are A. There are no government guidelines. The film is intended for indoor or outdoor use. If
subjected to UV light? standards Seal holds have been driven by outdoors, what are the likely climatic
conditions, the amount of rainfall and
humidity expected? What types of media will it
be used with: water-based inkjet (UV or dye-
sub inks), UV inkjet, solvent or photographic
Q. Are there any laminates now available that
are not UV resistant?
A. Yes but these are primarily for indoor use.
Q. Which Seal products best retard the fading
A. All our films offer UV resistance but, due to
the adhesive formulation, the Print Shield Pro,
Print Guard and UV Sol Lam ranges are the
only films presently available that have been
specifically developed to retard the fading
process of the image.
Visit us at November 2009 l SCREEN PROCESS AND DIGITAL IMAGING 11
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