Vehicle Graphics: Cast Vs. Calendered Vinyl
We are often asked, “What is the best type of vinyl for my vehicle graphics?”
Vehicle graphics are the best and the most cost friendly branding technique. There are a lot of factors when determining which type of vinyl is going to be better for your vehicle. The choices of vinyl are forever changing and advancing.
The two main types used on vehicle wraps are Calendered and Cast Vinyl.
Let’s start with the similarities. Both cast and ultra-calendered vinyl provide outstanding print quality due to good dot gain control and a high white point. The result is good image clarity with crisp detail and vivid color for all major printers. Almost all vinyl designed for wrap applications use some form of air withdrawal technology to assist in the removal of trapped air pockets during installation.
Calendered vinyl is the cheaper, short-term route to use on a vehicle wrap. Calendered vinyl is great on flat surfaces but not recommended on curved surfaces. Calendered vinyl has come a long way and they can almost compete with cast vinyl for the gloss and thinness. It is kneaded and then pushed between metal rollers in a process known as calendering; this type of vinyl is stretched repeatedly to 3-4 mm thickness, which can be smaller as well. The thicker film is easier to handle than cast vinyl and gives a great effect on simple shapes. Calendered vinyl is slightly more scratch resistant than cast vinyl which makes it a great choice for someone who wants a short-term vehicle wrap that leaves your car looking as good as new.
Cast vinyl is a premium product that is more conformable to any surface. Casting also produces exceptional dimensional stability which means that once the vinyl is applied and cured to the desired surface, these wraps will stay put for years. Because cast vinyl isn’t stretched or stressed like calendered vinyl, it’s much less likely to shrink. More durable and easier to work with over complex shapes than calendered vinyl, the UV absorbers and colorants in cast vinyl also perform better for a long-lasting impact. This vinyl can be produced in small batches to match custom colors, but of course, the price rises with the different variables that can be added in. Because the vinyl is cast on the casting sheet, this material offers great dimensional stability. This process allows the vinyl to be thin which helps with the conformability of the product to your vehicle.
The chart below compares some of the differences in the two types of vinyl.
|Characteristic||Cast Vinyl||Calendered Vinyl|
|Durability||7-10 years||3-7 years|
|Product Diversity||Many Types||Many Types|
No matter what type of vinyl you choose, we laminate EVERYTHING so it lasts as long as we can possibly get it to. We use 3M products when we buy our vinyl for vehicle graphics. We also use a 3M certified installation. There are cheaper types of vinyl out there but here at Riverbend Signworks, we only use premium. We do this so the customer gets the best bang for their buck!
Our goal is to not just put a graphic vinyl design on your vehicle but to create a solution to your challenge. View past Riverbend Signworks vehicle wraps: