A countless number of products that we use in our everyday life have a focus on graphics. Ranging from calculators to microwaves, the equipment that have a strong presence in our everyday life is often achieved with the use of graphic overlays.
Overlays are today being increasingly adopted for most types of machinery and equipment. They are used throughout many different industries from security, medical, instrumentation to catering and fire. Their easy to clean and durability make them the ideal solution for many sectors. This feature is popular with the customers who know that simple care instructions will keep the product looking fresh for years.
The Right Substrate for a Graphic Overlay
Selecting the right substrate for the graphic overlay is a key part of the product development process. The first step is to review the durability or performance requirements of the component and that is considering the below-mentioned points on will the graphic overlay be exposed to any of the following:
The two major plastic types recommended for graphic overlays are: Polycarbonate and Polyester. Let’s have a brief discussion about each one of them.
The reason why polycarbonate is a great choice for graphic overlays is the combination of the impact resistance of the surface of the plastic. It is a thermoplastic holding a melting point of 155 degrees Celsius. Polycarbonate provides many of the positive features of the glass at a lower weight. However, this is not recommended for overlays which will get exposed to chemicals in the end-use environment.
Finishes available: Matte/Velvet, Gloss with custom selective texture application
Polyester can either be a thermoset plastic or thermoplastic which can be used in applications with heat exposure of up to 245 degrees Fahrenheit. They are the tougher and more durable plastic than polycarbonate. Polyester is harder and can withstand to almost any commercially available solvent. A polyester substrate is ideal for the graphic overlay components that get exposed to chemicals, heat, abrasion or more tough conditions.
If graphic overlay’s main function will be cosmetic, and the panel will be in low environmental exposure or risk, polycarbonate is the obvious choice of material. It comes in a broad range of thickness, easier to die cut and emboss, and available in more finishes. Overall, the polycarbonate graphic overlay will cost you less than the polyester one.
However, in the case of more challenging projects, considering polyester overlay becomes a better option for ensuring the durability of the component.
ElecFlex’s Graphic Overlay Artwork
Welcome to ElecFlex for graphic overlay artwork. We can exactly screen-print what you need an immediate basis. Just send us a clear photo with full dimension info or scan version of the graphic or a jpg and we will complete the artwork for you and screen-print the overlay for you.