Should I use Cast Vinyl or Calendered Vinyl?
For many involved in the Sign and Digital printing industry this is almost the first decision to be made when quoting for a contract. We endeavour to explain in layman’s terms the difference between Cast vinyl and Calendered vinyl and when to use them.
Calendered vinyl is made by extruding a heated mixture through calendering rollers. The films when cooled generally range in thickness between 70 – 100 micron. The manufacturing process of calendered vinyl is much faster then that of cast vinyl and this ensures bulk production at a lower cost. Hence calendered vinyl is cheaper than cast vinyl and is generally used in applications where durability is between 0 – 5 years (Short or medium term).
It is recommended that calendered vinyl should be used on flat surfaces in short to medium term applications. Due to the manufacturing process which includes plasticizers, calendered films when exposed to high temperatures after application may shrink slightly and return to there original state.
The shrinkage amount depends on the grade of vinyl as polymeric vinyl would have higher grade plasticizers in their mix as opposed to monomeric vinyl.
This brings us to another question what is polymeric and monomeric vinyl? They are both calendered films but the monomeric film is generally a 1-3 year grade and the Polymeric 4-6 year grade.
Examples of vehicle wraps using cast vinyl:
Cast vinyl is made by pouring the liquid mix onto a very slow moving casting sheet. It then passes through a number of ovens which enables the solvents to evaporate and a solid film is formed. Because the manufacturing is a slow process there is obviously a higher production cost and this is relevant in the pricing.
However the benefits are little shrinkage and a highly conformable film which can be used over rivets and curves particularly on vehicles. Most cast films have a durability of 7-10 years.
As the cast process is slow this enables small production runs for colour matching which is not economical for calendered films.
A very easy way to note the difference between calendered and cast vinyl is that the feel of cast is soft and supple whereas calendered vinyl feels more rigid.
Orafol cast vinyls available from Access Plastics Limited: