We Stick To Things We Know

December 6, 2013

And generally we know about things that stick. A significant portion of the work that we do involves decals, stickers, and labels. Although we call them different things, it's the terminology surrounding them that is most often the source of confusion.

Liner

The liner is the part you throw away, and sometimes it's the part that holds everything together. Liners are generally constructed from a fairly heavy paper stock with a silicon coating on one side to ease the adhesive peel. Because of the use of silicon on the carrier side of the liner the default state is that liners can not be printed. So if this is a critical part of your design check with Albion for a list of available materials that do have printable liners. If you've ever been frustrated by trying to lift the edge of a liner to install a decal then you'll appreciate it when the liner is slit so that a gentle bend will provide an easy starting point with which to peel back the liner layer. Albion backslits all of our linered adhesive decals.

Adhesive

The layer that does all the work, adhesives come in different types and thicknesses, each has it's purpose and we're experts at navigating all the products available. At Albion we ask our clients where they plan to install their decals, so that we can help you to choose the adhesive that's best for your purpose. For example, powder coated paint finishes result in surface that have lower surface tensions than raw metals, glass and most plastics, so a special adhesive is required. the Rougher the surface the thicker the adhesive needs to be, Albion stocks products with 2, 3.2 and even 5 mil adhesives. Performance isn't the only feature of an adhesive, we also use grey coloured adhesives to add light blocking features to white vinyls decals that are used to cover existing graphics, and many of our clear films have optically clear adhesives that make the decal itself seem to dissapear once installed. If you want to know more give us a call.

Facestock

This is the part you can see and touch and feel and it can be made from paper or a range of synthetic materials all suited for specific applications. There are so many options that it would be impossible to even mention them all, but the majority of our work is classified by clear or white polyester of poly vinyl based facestocks. Over the years Albion has also produced labels and decals on Aluminum, paper, polypropylene, polyethylene and even wood fibre facestocks, some we procured with adhesive some of them we added a custom adhesive to make the perfect decals.

Topcoat

While you probably never think about it the topcoat is a layer that's typically sprayed or roll coated onto the surface to allow various inks and glues to adhere to the synthetic surface, not all materials require one, but it's a layer that can also add some special functionality. There are top coats to stabilize the exposure to UV light, and even special topcoats that allow vinyl and polyester facestocks to be printed in a laser printer. Although found more comonly on credit cards, there are decal films available with smudge evident topcoats to make anything printed tamper evident.

lamination

Really a lamination is a decal all in inself with liner, adhesive, and facestock properties. but because it's typically installed before you get your decals, the facestock is normally the most talked about part of the lamination. It's generally any clear film that's added to enhance durability, but it can also be used to alter a gloss level, add a security feature , or sometimes as a temporary protection. We recommend laminations for any decal that might be exposed to abrasion or an excessive cleaning regiment.

Transfer Tape or Pre-Mask

Some decal applications have multiple pieces or sections and their postion relative to each other is vital to their design. It's impractical to remove the components individually from the liner and attempt to mimic their position on the liner towards the final installation site. Transfer Tape looks and feels like traditional masking tape, but it has a much lower strength of adhesive. It's purpose is to be used just long enough to hold multiple components together during installation, and then it's peeled away and discarded.