Graphic and Print Plastic Film – Polycarbonate vs. Polyester

gas station display using plastic films for graphic and print
gas station display using plastic films for graphic and print

If you need plastic film for graphic and print projects, there are two main material options — polycarbonate and polyester. This type of large display format film can help businesses and organizations share marketing, branding, or promotional messages on a large scale. Whether you want to create outdoor signage or large graphics for retail spaces or special events, these materials 

Polycarbonate and polyester both offer plenty of benefits when it comes to large image format films. But there are also some key differences between these two options. If your company or organization is currently considering which material to utilize for large display format film, here’s a rundown of each type of plastic and tips for choosing between them. 

About Polycarbonate Film

Polycarbonate film is an amorphous thermoplastic material that is well known for its strength. Specifically, it is significantly more impact resistant than glass and most other types of plastics. Polycarbonate is simply a thinner version of its more solid counterpart, but still offers much of the toughness it’s known for in other formats. So this can help companies and organizations share messages in environments where films and graphics may come into contact with debris or other items that may cause damage in weaker materials. 

In addition to its high level of impact resistance, polycarbonate film material is able to retain its physical properties over a high range of temperatures. So it’s also a good choice for exterior graphics and areas that may experience a wide range of temperature conditions. It’s also known for being resistant to chemicals, holding up against fog over time, and demonstrating exceptional dimensional stability.

While creating and modifying this material, it offers superior workability for secondary processes. These may include die-cutting, embossing, and thermoforming. Basically, the material can be machined in a variety of ways to help clients achieve the exact size, shape, and look they need, whether you need polycarbonate film for graphic and print or other purposes. 

Finally, polycarbonate plastic film is offered in a variety of textures and finishes. These include gloss, velvet, matte, and suede. So those looking for large image format film solutions can achieve the exact look they had envisioned. And high performance polycarbonate coated films are even resistant to scratches on the exterior and can be enhanced with additional grades to make them even more resistant to conditions like extreme weather and fire.

About Polyester Film

Polyester film is a commonly used term for PET or Polyethylene Terephthalate plastic. It is a thermoplastic polymer that can be either amorphous or crystalline. And some even combine the qualities of these two categories depending on how each one is processed. Polyester is used in a variety of applications and comes in a wide array of forms, including those used for image format film. 

Polyester plastic film for graphic and print is known for offering several clear performance advantages. The material brings together an optimal combination of optical, physical, mechanical, thermal, and chemical properties. This makes it well suited to deliver clear graphics and to hold up well over time. 

Polyester film is one of the most environmentally friendly options when it comes to large display format films. It also offers exceptional clarity, heat stabilization qualities, low shrinkage levels in various conditions, and anti-fog and anti-glare properties. And with the addition of certain chemical treatments, it can adhere well to a variety of coatings, inks, and adhesives. This makes it especially well suited for large graphic signs and similar applications.

This material is often offered with a clear exterior coat and a gloss finish. However, you can also get it in different finishes, including matte, hazy, and no masking options. Basically, the surface of the film can be modified to match pretty much any texture you want, whether you’re looking to create a very smooth even look to a rough or matte surface. 

How to Choose the Right Plastic Film for Graphic and Print Projects

Ultimately, choosing the right plastic film for graphic and print projects comes down to picking the qualities you care about most and then going with the option that best lines up with your wishlist. For example, if you’re looking for exceptional visual clarity for a glossy indoor graphic, you may want to go with polyester film. However, if you’re looking for an extremely strong material that can hold up in extreme conditions, polycarbonate film may be better suited to your needs. 

Both of these options provide plenty of benefits and usability for both handheld and large format displays. So your graphics and signage products are likely to be off to a great start with either material. And you may even try using each one for various projects over time. 

Finding a quality provider of both polycarbonate and polyester films can go a long way toward the success of your image format film projects. If you’re ready to take advantage of the benefits of these materials, contact PolymerFilms right away. We’re proud to offer both polycarbonate and polyester plastic film for graphic and print applications. And our in-house conversion capabilities allow you to order film products that meet your exact specifications. In addition to these two products, we carry a wide selection of plastic films perfect for everything from printed electronics to ID cards. As a division of PolymerShapes, a firm with more than 70 years of experience providing high performance plastics to organizations around the country, we’re well equipped to meet the needs of clients in various industries. Additionally, we have five distribution centers throughout North America to deliver fast shipping and efficient service. To discuss polyester or polycarbonate plastic film for graphics and print, simply visit our website to request a free consultation.

Graphic and Print Plastic Film – Polycarbonate vs. Polyester

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