Choosing the Right Adhesive for Your OEM Decals

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Welcome to the Visual Marking Systems' blog where you can learn about how to care for vehicle wraps, what you need to consider when purchasing fleet graphics, choosing the right materials for your OEM equipment decals, or designing custom branded apparel for your sales team.

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When it comes to OEM graphics printing, the adhesive used can make all the difference in the longevity and effectiveness of your decals. Deciding on the appropriate adhesive involves considering various factors, each crucial to achieving the desired outcome. In this guide, we'll delve into the general types of adhesives and the key questions to ponder when selecting the perfect adhesive for your OEM decals.

Types of Adhesives

  • Permanent Adhesive
    • Best For: Nameplates, faceplates, overlays, and caution/warning labels.
    • Characteristics: These pressure-sensitive adhesives enhance bond strength over time, typically reaching ultimate adhesion 72 hours after application. Ideal for applications where a long-lasting, durable bond is required.
  • Removable Adhesive
    • Best For: Short-term window, wall, and floor graphics.
    • Characteristics: A pressure-sensitive adhesive that achieves ultimate adhesion within one to 24 hours. The bond strength remains low for up to two years, making it suitable for temporary applications. After this period, the adhesive stiffens up and becomes permanent.
  • Repositionable Adhesive
    • Best For: Applications where precise positioning is crucial, such as vehicle wraps.
    • Characteristics: This adhesive boasts low initial tack but high ultimate adhesion. It is pressure-activated, making it ideal for situations where repositioning is necessary during application.

Questions to Consider 

  • What type of surface will the decal be applied to?
    • Consider the surface characteristics: Is it rough, smooth, porous, riveted, painted, or unfinished? The adhesive choice should align with the surface to ensure optimal bonding.
  • How will the decal be placed?
    • Does the label, decal, overlay, or nameplate require exact positioning? Certain adhesives are better suited for applications demanding precision.
  • What is the material composition of the application surface?
    • Is the surface of your product composed of materials with high surface energy (e.g., acrylic, PVC, polycarbonate, polyester, and ABS) or low surface energy (e.g., polystyrene, polyethylene, polypropylene, Tedlar®, and Teflon)? The adhesive must match the surface composition for optimal performance.
  • What range of temperatures will the decal be exposed to?
    • Consider the temperature range your product will be exposed to. Does it need a quick-bond adhesive for rapid exposure to varying temperatures? Matching the adhesive to the temperature conditions is vital for adhesive performance.
  • What environment will the decal will be in?
    • Will your product be used indoors or outdoors? Will it be exposed to chemicals, UV light, cleaners, or abrasive environments? The environmental conditions play a crucial role in selecting an adhesive that can withstand these factors.
  • How long do you need the decal to stick?
    • Determine how long the adhesion needs to last. Different adhesives have varying lifespans, and selecting the right one ensures longevity in the intended application.


Maximize Your OEM Decal’s Potential With Proper Application

Remember, the adhesive's performance is directly linked to the application procedure. Ensure surfaces are clean, dry, and free from contaminants. Pay attention to surface conditions, such as humidity and temperature, during application.

Selecting the right adhesive for your OEM decals is a nuanced process. By carefully considering the type of adhesive, surface characteristics, environmental conditions, and application procedures, you can ensure that your OEM decals not only look great but also maintain their integrity over time. Make informed choices, and your OEM graphics will stand the test of time. Contact us today to get started on your next OEM decal project.

Topic(s): Original Equipment Manufacturing, OEM Overlays, OEM Decals, OEM Labels

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