Pitching a polymeric calendered wrap film can be the difference between bidding and winning a job. Knowing when and how to use calendered film is going to be key.

There are many variables to be aware of when you’re qualifying whether a cast or calendered film is right for your wrap project. Cast film will give you a level of conformability and durability that a calendered film cannot provide. While a polymeric calendered wrap film might not be suitable for ALL types of applications, it can be considered if the decision is price-driven…if a shorter term wrap is needed…or if the VEHICLE is suitable. An important part of the process is managing your customers’ expectations from the beginning whenever using a calendered wrap film.

So let’s take a look at the limitations you may need to keep in mind when wrapping with a calendered film, considerations in your vehicle wrap design, and some recommended installation techniques.

Surface Limitations

Because of its superior conformability, a cast film will work best on deep channels, rivets, and compound curves like a bumper or door handle. It is also recommended for longer-term wraps or when you have to guarantee clean removal over extended time periods. A calendered film will work best on flat surfaces and simple to moderate curves. It can be applied to rivets using the poke and brush method, but expect some tenting around the rivets. A calendered film can be used to wrap a bumper with soft curves, but a sharp corner will require a seam.  If stretched into deep channels, a calendered film could result in popping or lifting over time; so there are recommended techniques to ensure performance of the product. 

Design Considerations

Having control of the design will allow you to adjust the graphic to avoid certain areas that might slow you down during installation. In this example, we’ve created a partial wrap, allowing us to avoid the entire front bumper and fenders. Another area to consider is the door handles; trying to bring your design around or under the handles will help you avoid additional work later on. Keeping important text where you know you won’t be making relief cuts is also important.

Installation Techniques

This vehicle is well suited for calendered wrap film. The body lines along the side of the vehicle and across the hood are soft and simple curves.  We’re using Fusion Wrap, a polymeric calendered film than applies easily and allows us to reposition as needed.

Door Handles

The deep recess of this door handle will be a challenge for calendered film, especially if you attempt to install it with one piece for the handle and the recess.  Instead, we’ll make a relief cut along centerline of the handle and lay the film into the cup. The handle itself will NOT be wrapped.

To begin, fully protect the handle with tape, then apply the film across the area. Cut two half-inch circles at the far edges of the handle, and make a clean relief cut straight across the centerline.  Work the film into the recess.  Trim the edges, and postheat. When completed, any gap or seam in the film will be hidden behind the handle.

Bumpers

The majority of this bumper has nice soft compound curves and can be easily wrapped with a polymeric calendered film.  The corner, however, is too sharp for a calendered film and will require a seam along this body line.  Apply the main portion of the bumper first, laying the film completely down into the simple compound curves along the top of the bumper.  Trim the film directly along the corner body line.

Next, apply the film to the side portion of the bumper.  Use heat…apply firmly along the seam with a ½ inch overlap…and trim.  Postheat the seam and all edges of the bumper.

Rivets

This box truck is ideal for calendered wrap film.  The majority of the surface area is flat with no rivets. Polymeric calendered film can be applied to the sides and front of the vehicle quickly and easily with a single installer.  Repositionable film allows us to precisely align all panels.

To apply rivets, use two hands on the squeegee and apply firm pressure across the rivets.  Poke holes around the raised film…set with a rivet brush…and postheat.  Make it clear to the customer that over time, some tenting should be expected.

Deep Channels

To apply calendered film into a deep channel, span the material over the channel. Then, make a relief cut along the top edge, allowing you to apply the film into the channel, leaving a small, even gap along the inside top edge of the channel.

Conclusion

Prepping your customer ahead of time on the limitations of calendered film will give you a successful vehicle wrap project, as well as a happy repeat customer.

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Matt Braswell

Matt started his career in the vinyl industry 6 years ago working as an installer at a large Atlanta wrap shop. There he quickly acquired the skills and certifications to transition into freelance. As a freelance installer, he continued to work on custom and commercial vehicle wraps. In 2018, Matt began working for Arlon.

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Matt Braswell

Matt started his career in the vinyl industry 6 years ago working as an installer at a large Atlanta wrap shop. There he quickly acquired the skills and certifications to transition into freelance. As a freelance installer, he continued to work on custom and commercial vehicle wraps. In 2018, Matt began working for Arlon.

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