Plastic: take care of acrylic signs
Choosing the Right Material for Your Signage: A Guide to Plastics
When it comes to creating durable and visually appealing signs for indoor and outdoor use, selecting the right material is crucial. Over the past three decades, three types of plastic materials have emerged as staples in the sign production industry: acrylic, impact-modified acrylic, and polycarbonate. In this article, we’ll explore the unique advantages of these materials and provide essential tips for their maintenance.
The Significance of Material Selection
The material you choose for your signage can significantly impact its longevity, appearance, and effectiveness. Among the three prevalent options—acrylic, impact-modified acrylic, and polycarbonate—each has its distinct set of attributes that make it suitable for various environments and applications.
Acrylic is a versatile material widely favored for both indoor and outdoor sign production. Its lightweight nature and ease of machining make it a top choice for signage. What sets acrylic apart is its exceptional clarity, which allows for vibrant and visually striking signs. To clean acrylic signs effectively, avoid harsh chemicals like Windex or cleaners containing citrus or ammonia. Instead, opt for a mild soapy water solution. When cleaning, use gentle circular motions to prevent scratches, and always ensure your signs are thoroughly dried to maintain their pristine appearance.
2. Impact-Modified Acrylic
Impact-modified acrylic combines the benefits of standard acrylic with enhanced durability. This material is more resilient and better suited for outdoor use, where signs may face rougher conditions. It retains the optical clarity of acrylic while providing added resistance to impact and weathering. Cleaning impact-modified acrylic signs follows the same guidelines as regular acrylic, with gentle cleaning techniques and thorough drying.
Polycarbonate is another popular choice for sign production. Like acrylic, it is lightweight and easy to machine, but it offers superior impact resistance. Polycarbonate signs are ideal for areas where vandalism or rough handling is a concern. Cleaning polycarbonate signs involves the same precautions—avoid strong chemicals and opt for gentle cleaning methods to preserve their integrity.
The Widespread Use of Plastics
Plastics, as a category of materials, encompass a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic substances characterized by their plasticity. Their versatility allows for molding, extrusion, and pressing into various shapes, making them indispensable in various industries, including signage production. Plastics are favored for their lightweight properties, durability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness.
It’s important to note that modern plastics are primarily derived from fossil fuel-based chemicals, such as natural gas and petroleum. However, recent advancements have introduced variants made from renewable materials like corn or cotton derivatives, aligning with sustainability efforts.
The Growing Impact of Plastic Production
The global demand for plastics has seen exponential growth over the years. Between 1950 and 2017, an estimated 9.2 billion tonnes of plastic were produced, with more than half of this production occurring since 2004. In 2020 alone, a staggering 400 million tonnes of plastic were manufactured. If current trends persist, projections indicate that annual global plastic production could exceed 1.1 billion tonnes by 2050.
Selecting the right material for your signage is essential for achieving the desired visual impact and durability. Acrylic, impact-modified acrylic, and polycarbonate each offer unique advantages, catering to a range of indoor and outdoor sign applications. By understanding their properties and following proper cleaning guidelines, you can ensure your signs maintain their brilliance and effectiveness for years to come.