Everyone in the graphics industry has heard the terms cast and calendered to describe vinyl, but not everyone knows what they mean to your daily buying decisions. This video explains the general difference between cast and calendered vinyl films. Why should you use cast vinyl and on what types of projects? Watch this video to find out.

I’d like to spend a little bit of time going through the difference between cast and calendared film, in such a way that makes it clear why you would select one over the other for different applications.

The difference between colors of films and sorts of films within those grades is not nearly as important as the difference between cast and calendared film. The sun is never your friend if you’ve been selecting for economy instead of durability. The UV rays of the sun are very short, close together, and very sharp. They are very damaging. They are the reason you get a sunburn when you lie on the beach. But they are also the reason a lot of these fabrics that you see, like for the tourist umbrella, or that fabulous blue tarp that you use to cover things during a rain storm. That’s why it’s good for one season. When you think of the difference between a good well made umbrella and a cheap tourist beach umbrella, you really start seeing again the difference between cast and calendared film. Some are made for promotional applications, and some are made for durability. Cast film, if you think of it in those kind of terms, is the durable one. Calendared you can get pretty cheap, and can do a lot of things. But it’s not really made to go beyond the common application for the common time period- 2, 3, 4, 5 years. Think of those signs on the front window of a business. Often times you walk by those things and it looks like they’ve shrunk up on both edges and end up looking like bamboo characters rather than the Helvetica Nueue that was cut out in the beginning. It effects all materials. Ultraviolet light turns into heat. And if you’ve ever seen a cracked sign face, you know that heat has been too much for the vinyl to bear.

As anyone who has had the pleasure of redoing a sign job can easily tell you, the cost of the vinyl is the least costly part of the whole process. When you think of having to go up on the ladder, get the cherrypicker, remake the vinyl sign, tear down the old sign, take off the old adhesive, clean up the sign face, and then hang the new vinyl, you’ll notice that the cost of the vinyl itself is a fraction of the total loss. So should that unfortunate day ever arrive and you are on that ladder, and you are scraping that vinyl off the sign face, and scrubbing the adhesive off and trying to save the banner, that little voice in the back of your head is probably saying, “Should have used Cast.”

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Chuck Bules

Chuck began working at Arlon in 1981. He has helped with the development of film laminates for everything from pin striping to digital printing and full vehicle wraps.

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Chuck Bules

Chuck began working at Arlon in 1981. He has helped with the development of film laminates for everything from pin striping to digital printing and full vehicle wraps.

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