Application Spotlight - Digitally Printed Overlays Using Hardcoated Polycarbonate
As the digital printer options become more efficient and affordable, more and more industrial printers are realizing the value in digitally printing pieces that have traditionally been screen printed. Overlays is one of the applications that has gained popularity.
The advantages of digital printing have always been smaller runs sizes and variable data. But in the past, that came at a cost that needed to be weighed against the traditional methods. Now that the machinery is faster and the inks are becoming more reliable, the market has become more ‘on-demand’. The expectation that minimum order quantities are lower and that items can be custom-tailored is increasing. Markets that require high-end equipment, such as the medical world, are finding this to be an advantageous way to produce smaller batches of specialized equipment.
Tekra's Digitally Printable Hardcoated Polycarbonate
The benefits of Tekra’s Hardcoated polycarbonate offers the chemical and scratch resistance needed for ensuring longevity of the overlay as well as the ability to consistently clean and sanitize without degradation of the film. Meanwhile, the printable side offers a coating that can be intended for UV inkjet or HP Indigo printing, which creates an ink adhesion level that will allow for 467MP or 468MP adhesive to be applied. Polycarbonate is often the film of choice, as it offers a wide array of textures allowing for a tactile feel, which can often be desired for a touch panel overlay. Tekra also offers several options that are not only hardcoated for chemical and scratch resistance, but also offer specified matte levels, weatherability or are flame-retardant.
With the visual appeal and durability options available for digital print methods, the gas pump market seems to be shifting from traditional print methods as well. Although these can often be mass-produced, making traditional print methods the obvious choice, the desire to customize the graphic regionally breaks the mass-production down in to multiple mid-sized runs. Being able to alter the graphic quickly and easily for each request allows for reduction in downtime, prep time and post-process time. Multiple graphics can be set up at once, and simply changing the file is all that is required to make an entirely new piece!
By not only offering the time-tested chemical and scratch-resistant hardcoated products the industrial market is accustom to, but also allowing for more customization and lower minimums, choosing Tekra’s digitally printable hardcoat lines creates a niche within these markets.
Tekra offers a variety of digitally-printable Hardcoated polycarbonates to fit the needs and machinery you may already have. Ask about our line of Dura-Go hardcoated and JetView UV hardcoated materials to learn more about how to expand your portfolio.