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Cast Vinyl vs Calendared Vinyl: Differences and Applications


Cast Vinyl vs. Calendared Vinyl: Differences and Applications

When a business knows it needs vinyl graphics, it can be difficult to settle on which type of material; cast vinyl vs. calendared vinyl is a decision that can significantly shape the outcome of projects, impacting everything from durability to precision. To help settle on which type of vinyl is best for a particular application, read below and review the manufacturing processes, common applications, and key distinctions between these two vinyl options and become equipped to make informed choices tailored to a project's unique needs.

How Cast Vinyl is Made and How Calendared Vinyl Is Made

The differences between these two vinyl options begin with how they're manufactured and how those processes inform their advantages or drawbacks. Before discussing the specific benefits of each and how they relate to various applications, we need to detail how they're manufactured:

Cast Vinyl Manufacturing Process

The production of cast vinyl begins with liquid PVC, which is mixed with pigments and plasticizers into a consistent mixture at a specified speed for a specific amount of time. Once that step is finished, the mix is called "organosol" and is spread onto a casting sheet. Once cast, the mixture is sent through several ovens so the existing solvents can evaporate, leaving behind a solid film. This film is rolled onto a large diameter core, which adds the adhesive coating. The result is a thin, high-quality film that not only looks impressive but also has great longevity against various environmental conditions.

Calendared Vinyl: The Roller Effect

In contrast, calendared vinyl undergoes a different manufacturing process than cast does. PVC plastic is passed through heated rollers (called calendars) that apply pressure and smooth the material into a thin and uniform sheet. During this process, the sheet is heated and compressed into the desired thickness and surface texture, meaning a smooth, glossy, or matte finish.

Common Applications of Cast Vinyl and Calendared Vinyl

Part of the consequence of the different manufacturing processes is how either vinyl type interacts with various applications:

Common Cast Application

  • Vehicle Wraps: The thin and highly conformable nature of cast vinyl makes it an ideal choice for vehicle wraps. The precision in application ensures a seamless appearance and the durability ensures longevity in the face of constant exposure to the elements.

  • Outdoor Signage: The strength of cast vinyl makes it the go-to option for outdoor signage. Whether it's storefront displays or directional signs, cast vinyl is highly against environmental elements, providing vibrant and long-lasting graphics.

Common Calendered Applications

  • Indoor Graphics and Banners: Calendared vinyl finds its niche indoors, where versatility and cost-effectiveness are essential. It's a common choice for indoor banners, wall graphics, and other applications where extreme precision is not a critical factor.

  • Short-Term Graphics: The budget-friendly nature of calendared vinyl makes it a practical choice for short-term graphics projects. When the project's lifespan is limited, calendared vinyl can offer a cost-effective solution without compromising on quality.

Compare and Contrast: Cast vs.Calendared

When navigating the decision between cast and calendared vinyl, businesses must consider several crucial factors:

  • Durability and Longevity: Cast vinyl excels in durability, making it suitable for long-term applications where graphics need to withstand the elements and time. Calendared vinyl, while more budget-friendly, may show signs of wear and tear sooner in challenging outdoor conditions.

  • Precision and Detail: Cast vinyl, owing to its liquid form during production, ensures unmatched precision. This makes it the preferred choice for graphics requiring intricate details and a seamless appearance. Calendared vinyl, while versatile, may not achieve the same level of precision.

  • Cost Considerations: Calendared vinyl is generally more budget-friendly, making it an attractive option for businesses with cost constraints. However, businesses should weigh this against potential shorter lifespan and reduced performance in demanding conditions. Cast vinyl, while often pricier, may prove to be a more cost-effective solution over the long term.

Making an Informed Choice

The choice between cast and calendared vinyl is not a one-size-fits-all decision. It hinges on the specific needs and goals of each application, whether it's the thin and precise cast vinyl or the thick and versatile calendared vinyl, each option has its strengths and is well-suited to particular applications.

Whether cast or calendared, the superior quality of Mactac selection of vinyl film is why we are a leading manufacturer of them, ensuring businesses can protect their materials with confidence while extending their lifespan.