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Cast Versus Calendered Vinyl | How to Choose Vinyl Material for Your Application?

cast vinyl production process
Vehicle Wraps

Cast Versus Calendered Vinyl | How to Choose Vinyl Material for Your Application?

When our customers asked us about the material we use for vehicle graphics, we’ll suggest them casting grade vinyl and explain why. But to be honest, for most people, they don’t care about whether the material is cast or calendered vinyl, all that really matters is that they get the product that will work for their applications. Unless you’re in the sign industry or car wrapping field, it’s unlikely that you will be interested in the knowledge of cast versus calendered vinyl.

Both types of vinyl use the same ingredients, the core one being a polyvinylchloride polymer (PVC) to which are added various additives. A plasticizer gives the vinyl film its flexibility, while a pigment gives it its color. It’s the manufacturing process that makes them different.

 

What is Cast Vinyl?

Cast vinyl is made by mixing up all the components with a liquid solvent and pouring it onto a casting sheet as paint. This liquefied mix, known as organosol, naturally falls on the casting sheet and squeegeed by a coating head. Then it passes along through a series of ovens, with the help of a conveyor belt. This process will evaporate the solvent and leave behind a solid film.

cast vinyl production process

Advantages of Cast Vinyl Film

  • Since no stress is applied to casting vinyl film during the manufacturing process, its shrinkage rate is very little.
  • High binding force between various components results in more durable performance.
  • Maintain the color and other properties.
  • The thickness of cast vinyl is about 1~2mils(0.05mm). So they can conform to compound curves and corrugations.

Check more information about 3M cast grade vinyl wrap

What is Calendered Vinyl?

Production of calendered vinyl uses similar ingredients, which are mixed and melted to a regulated temperature. Then the mixture is extruded through a die and fed through a series of calendering rolls. Next, the film will become thinner and wider as they passing through the rollers till it has reached its standard dimensions.

calendered vinyl production process

Advantages of Cast Vinyl Film

  • Thickness 3~4mils(0.1mm), stiffer and thicker, easier to handle the film.
  • Less expensive than cast vinyl.
  • Higher scratch & abrasion resistance.

 

Cast Versus Calendered Vinyl

Basic Properties

Item Cast Vinyl Calendered Vinyl
Thickness 4 mils(including adhesive) 8 mils(including adhesive)
Adhesive Air release channels for bubble-free installing
Pressure-activated for easy repositioning
Pressure-activated
Print Compatibility Latex, UV, eco-solvent,screen print Latex, UV, eco-solvent, screenprint
Applied Shrinkage 0.015 inch (0.4 mm) Less than 0.019 inch
Temperature Range After Application -60°C to 107°C -40°C to 80°C
Finished Graphics Application Surface type: Flat, with and without rivets, simple curves, compound curves, and corrugations Surface type: Flat, with and without rivets, simple curves
Application Method Dry Wet
Graphic Removal Removable within the warranty period Removable with heat
Durability 5~9 years 3~5 years

Thickness Compare

cast-vinyl-film feature

 

How to Choose Vinyl Material for Your Application?

Now you have understood the differences between cast and calendered vinyl film, but you may still not know which one to choose for your application. Don’t worry, the 2 simple questions below will help you confirm the correct material you need.

1. Is it for a long-term application or short-term? Long-term (over 5 years) – cast vinyl; Short term(less than 5 years) – calendered vinyl is ok.
2. What kind of surface will it be applied to? Surface with compound curves or corrugations – cast vinyl; Flat/simple curves surface – calendered vinyl is ok.

Of course, each project is unique, and we can not offer a universal solution. ACME will offer suggestions based on your application, expectations, and budget. Please contact us for a quotation!

Recommended Uses for Cast Vinyl

Vehicle wraps and graphics
Building wraps
Smartphone wraps

 

Recommended Uses for Calendered Vinyl

Floor graphics
window decals
small size car stickers

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