Are we using terms that you’re not familiar with? Here are some of the more common products that we use, and their uses. Our clients often specify a clear or transparent material for product display, we use terms such acrylic, polycarbonate and PETG but what does our ‘jargon’ mean
Polycarbonate – a performance material which displays incredible strength and durability whilst still looking great. It is as much as 200 times stronger than glass, polycarbonate sheeting is virtually unbreakable and also has very high impact strength, and is available as UV resistant and hard coated. This makes it a superb choice of clear plastic for the most demanding of environments; it is very versatile and can be thermoformed, cut, drilled and glued to suit almost any requirements. Common uses are screens and machine guards. Although a fantastic material, polycarbonate is less easily worked than some other sheet plastics and is less cost-effective than some materials.
PETG (Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol) – displays its own unique advantages as a great alternative to polycarbonate. PETG is an easy to mould clear plastic material with about 70% of the impact strength of polycarbonate, but it is still fantastically strong when compared with extruded acrylic or glass. It is more cost-effective than polycarbonate which makes it a popular choice of material in more general purpose applications, and it is suitable for hot line bending and gluing. PETG is most commonly used for high strength display units and impact resistant glazing. Both PETG and Polycarbonate are suitable for indoor and outdoor use and guarantee a superb length of service. Also good to know that PETG is one of the most environmentally friendly substrates of the ‘plastics’ family.
Acrylic – Acrylic looks deceptively fragile, but it can support a great deal of weight. Size is not necessarily proportionate to weight, the same acrylic stands could be used to display something big and heavy as well as light or small. It is easy to form making it ideal for applications where shaping is required. Acrylic is not as impact resistant as Polycarbonate or PETG, therefore many use PETG as an alternative. If you have specific environmental concerns perhaps you may consider recycled acrylic? Which is becoming more readily available.
HIPS (High Impact Polystyrene) – is a tough, solid colour, rigid plastic material with good impact strength: it can be guillotined, punched, routered or sawn easily, vacuum formed and is readily available in a wide variety of colours. Used for packaging, signs, kicking plates, display and point of sale where a lower cost finish is required. HIPS is particularly suitable for forming meaning various shapes and objects can be produced from this material. When compared to PETG, HIPS is more suitable for functional applications, where a superior fine finish isn’t essential, it’s ideally placed for more rugged applications.
PVC Foam Board – is a lightweight, rigid, solid colour material used primarily in the manufacture of signs and displays. It is considered robust for indoor use, being a great alternative to carton board. Ideal for shorter life spans where you need something lightweight and transportable. It is easily fabricated and formed and readily accepts screen and digital print.
You may hear names such as perspex and plexiglass, these are brand names, much like how we refer to our vacuum cleaner as a ‘Hoover’. If you are unsure which product to use then talk to us and we will ask about your application, shelf life and cost implications and specify the best solution for your needs.