Cold Weather Application Tips
Written by: Cindy Richards, Regional Technical Specialist, Graphic Solutions, Avery Dennison news.averydennison.com/blog
It’s that time of year where the leaves start changing, daylight hours are shorter and the temperature starts to drop. Sign shop owners and wrap installers do not have the luxury to wait for warmer weather to do installs – the job must go on. There are a few things to note when applying vinyl as the temperature begins to drop.
- When you receive your vinyl, it is very likely that it has been sitting in the back of a delivery truck for a day or two. It is important to acclimate the vinyl before printing, cutting, or applying vinyl. To acclimate the vinyl, let the film rest until it comes back up to ambient temperature. Trying to convert the vinyl before it does come to ambient temperature can cause issues, such as poor ink adhesion or brittleness in cutting.
- The temperature of the substrate (substrate is the surface where the vinyl is being applied) should also be taken into consideration when applying vinyl. The average minimum temperature for applying vinyl to a substrate is 50°F. Adhesives don’t like cold temperatures and applying vinyl to cold surfaces can cause the adhesive to be less tacky. Applying vinyl to a cold substrate can create a risk of the vinyl not adhering.
- Avery Dennison vinyl films have a Minimum Application Temperature range. These are found on the Product Data Sheets page of our website in the Literature Library. It is important to always check the website for the most current information on our products before choosing a vinyl. If you look at the MPI 1005 films series, you will see there is a range of recommended minimum temperatures for applying this vinyl based on different types of substrates. For example, for flat surfaces the minimum application temperature is 45°F (7°C). For flat with rivets, its 50°F (10°C). And, finally 60°F (16°C) for complex curves and watercraft. There are films, such as theMPI 2126 Hi-Tack Easy Apply™ and MPI 1006 Hi-Tack Easy Apply that can be applied at 40°F (4°C). An infrared thermometer should be used to gauge the substrate temperature when you are in doubt.
- Another temperature to be aware of is the service temperature. This is the temperature that, once the vinyl is applied, it can be exposed to. Again, for the MPI 2126 Hi-Tack Easy Apply and MPI 1006 Hi-Tack Easy Apply, they can be exposed to -40°F to 180°F (-40°C to 82°C) while the MPI 1005 series films can tolerate -50°F to 180°F (-45°C to 82°C) temperatures. Exposure to temperatures outside this range can cause premature failure of the vinyl.
It is important to remember for fleet and vehicle wraps to allow the installed graphics or wrap to remain indoors for 24 hours before being exposed to severe cold elements. The adhesion takes time to build and achieve acceptable adhesion values. If the graphics are exposed to cold temperatures before the adhesion has a chance to build, it may result in the vinyl lifting off the substrate.
This information can be found on our website at graphics.averydennison.com in the Resource Center and Quick Links tabs.
Now it’s time to make sure my snow blower still works, dig out my winter clothes and enjoy some hot chocolate.
To learn more about our Graphics Solutions, visit us at: graphics.averydennison.com