Vinyl Tips and Tricks - 3 ways to reduce curling on vinyl
By Stefano Lioia from Hexis in Italy
If you have found edge curling on printed vinyl, then Stefano Lioia from Hexis has offered these suggestions on how to overcome the problem.
I suggest to use a high-quality vinyl: for example, you can use a type with a strong adhesive or with a liner PE because the liner can reduce curling effects and block the heavy ink saturation on media.
I also recommend printing at lower temperatures (35-40⁰C) and to leave at least ¼” border all the way around the printed image. If you are running original inks then the only reason for a significant shrinkage is low-quality vinyl and/or wrong media profile. The more PVC and the less CaCO3 in the media the less shrinkage and curling up you should experience. Or try with a white border on the edge.
Another recommendation is that all solvent or eco-solvent prints should be allowed to outgas for 24 hours before cutting or laminating. If you contour cut the graphics right after printing, some edge curling is quite common, therefore wait a day to perform the contour cut which should produce edges that lay flat and stay flat.
The best way is to either hang the graphics up or use a solvent extractor unit. This way the solvent is not able to re-wet the ink ( It reduces the curing time by about 80%). Heavy saturation of inks (dark colours) will have a heavier saturation of solvent. Heavy concentrations of ink, especially eco-solvent inks, will contribute to shrinking and edge curling of the media. If the maximum ink limit exceeds the one the media is able to take, the more likely it will be that curling will take place because of the interaction between the ink and the adhesive. Try to use a profile ICC on media manufacturer's website.
Every digital graphic technology has its tradeoffs. Eco-Solvent printing offers excellent out-door durability, economy, and versatility. To fully enjoy those benefits, you must understand the processes involved and manage your workflow accordingly. Allowing solvent or eco-solvent prints to fully cure before cutting or laminating is a best practice that will enhance your decal’s quality. This will increase customer satisfaction and ensure repeat business.
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Stefano Lioia is from from Hexis in Italy and has offered to write articles for Wide Format Online.