An Introduction to Cast Vinyl Film


An Introduction to Cast Vinyl Film

When it comes to enhancing the durability and visual appeal of printed materials, few materials rival cast vinyl film. This specialized material, like overlaminate film, plays a critical role in protecting and extending the lifespan of a wide array of applications from vehicle wraps to signage, and more. 

Read below and explore the enormous advantages that cast vinyl provides and how it compares to another popular vinyl material. 

Understanding Cast Vinyl Film

Cast vinyl is the latest self-adhesive, colored vinyl film and provides a wider range of colors than calendered due to smaller casting machines giving more pigment options. The "cast" name comes from the production method used to manufacture cast vinyl, which begins as a liquid that is similar in consistency to paint, but thicker. The machine blends polyvinylchloride (PVC) with pigments and plasticizers into a consistent mixture at a specific speed for a specified amount of time. The mix that is produced is called organosol, which is then cast (squeezed into a flat mold) into a casting sheet which determines the final texture of the vinyl. 

After the mix is cast, the organsol mixture is sent through several ovens so the existing solvents evaporate, leaving behind a solid film which is then rolled onto a large-diameter core to add the adhesive coating. Finally, the cast film goes through a drying process and the film settles as 1 or 2 millimeters thick. 

Types of Cast Vinyl

Just as there are various types of overlaminates, cast vinyl films offer versatility in their applications. The most common types include:

  • Standard Cast Vinyl: Known for its high conformability, making it ideal for wrapping vehicles, architectural applications, and more.

  • Seven-Year Cast Vinyl: Specifically designed for outdoor use, providing extended protection against the elements for up to seven years.

  • Textured Cast Vinyl: Introducing a velvet or matte finish for a distinctive textured look, although not recommended for outdoor use.

Benefits of Cast Vinyl Film

The advantages of utilizing cast vinyl mirror the benefits of overlaminates, emphasizing protection, durability, visual appeal, and easy maintenance:

  • Protection: The top benefit of cast vinyl is its ability to act as a protective barrier against external elements. Moisture, UV rays, scratches, and abrasions are blocked, preserving the original quality of prints and ensuring their longevity.

  • Durability: By adding an extra layer of film, applications become more resilient to wear and tear. Cast vinyl enhances the durability of applications exposed to outdoor or high-traffic environments, such as vehicle wraps and architectural applications.

  • Versatile Look: Just like overlaminates, cast vinyl offers a variety of finishes, including gloss, matte, and textured options. This aesthetic versatility allows for customization based on the visual impact wanted.

  • Easy Maintenance: Maintaining materials wrapped with cast vinyl is extremely easy. The protective layer helps the cleaning process, allowing for the removal of dust, dirt, or smudges without compromising the underlying designs.

Cast Vinyl vs. Calendered Vinyl Material

Understanding the differences between cast and calendered vinyl film is essential for making informed decisions in various applications. Beginning with cast vinyl, it is known for its exceptional conformability and longevity and undergoes a different manufacturing process than calendered vinyl, giving it a thin and flexible film. 

The inherent flexibility allows it to conform seamlessly to complex surfaces, making it the go-to choice for applications like vehicle wraps while the durability acts as a strong guard against UV rays, abrasions, and scratches, ensuring a vibrant and long-lasting finish. When longevity and high conformability are crucial, cast vinyl is commonly understood as a better option.

Calendered vinyl film is created through a calendering process where the vinyl is pressed between rollers, making it thicker and less flexible than its cast counterpart. While it may lack the extreme conformability of cast vinyls, calendered vinyl film is more cost-effective and better suited for flat or slightly curved surfaces. Calendered films are typically used for short to medium-term applications, like promotional graphics or indoor signage, and are a practical choice where budget concerns align with the project requirements. 

The key distinction lies in the balance between flexibility and cost, choosing between cast and calendered lies in matching the specific application needs with the characteristics of each film type.

A Flexible Adhesive Solution

Whether you're considering a standard cast for wrapping vehicles or a textured cast for a unique finish, the adaptability of these films ensures that your materials are not just protected but also visually enhanced.

The superior quality of Mactac selection of cast vinyl is why we are a leading manufacturer of them, ensuring businesses can protect their materials with confidence while extending their lifespan. Protection meets flexibility, that is cast vinyl.