Shiny New Objects

A new chrome wrap film and a different system for truck graphics.
WrapArtist.com used 3M's 1080 Chrome wrap on this vehicle for an auto dealer tradeshow.

While dodging fast-moving and stationary attendees in the aisles of the recent SGIA Expo in Las Vegas, I saw something both startling and amazing. Startling was my own reflection, reproduced almost as accurately as a full-length mirror. Amazing was the wrap film causing the reflection – 3M’s new Wrap Film Series 1080 Chrome – beaming from a car being demo’d in 3M’s booth. At the show I was told that a trusted 3M Preferred Installer, Jamie Mullican, owner of WrapArtist.com (Nashville, TN), was among the first to have installed this new color-change film. “Mully” as he is known, was only too happy to share his insights and enthusiasm.

POLISHED TRIM

Mully’s first paid gig with Chrome was a referral from an industry friend, Matt Richart of Digital EFX Wraps (Louisville, KY) whose client, VISCO, wanted a chrome wrap in Nashville for an auto dealer tradeshow. “I had just returned from 3M [in] St. Paul [MN] where I was lucky enough to play with the new Chrome prior to its launch,” Mully said. “I saw this as the perfect opportunity.”

3M’s 1080 Chrome requires some special care and attention. At SGIA, I heard a presenter at the 3M booth instruct the audience watching the demonstration to release air from bubbles in the applied film immediately, because to do so later leaves unwanted traces. Still, Mully favors the new 1080 Chrome, noting that the 60-in. width “is really nice for hoods and avoiding butt seams.” For years, shops could only get chrome films in 48-in. widths so “3M’s 60-in. [size] is a gamechanger for sure,” he said. 

The film offers an initial low-tack and excellent reponsitionability, Mully reported. In addition, the backing comes off easily, the film is conformable and, most importantly, the edges stay down. “The icing on the cake,” Mully said, “is that we found you can actually use [3M] Knifeless Tape [for trimming the film edges]. Both Finish Line and Design Line cut it nicely… even when it’s laminated.” However, “Chrome is a different animal,” Mully noted. “It doesn’t matter the manufacturer.” 

The tradeshow job took Mully and fellow installer Phil Aquin approximately 30 hours, not including vehicle breakdown and reassembly. “This is typical for chrome wraps; you have to go a little slower and be more methodical,” Mully said. Precutting panels, cleaning the work space and having no distractions are key to faster installations.

Upon delivering the wrapped Nissan for the area’s tradeshow, Mully provided the client with a one-year warranty and wrap-care instructions, which amounted to “basically, be careful.” He also recommended hand washing and using microfibers. With a surface so shiny, one could almost be forgiven for spraying it with Windex.

TENSION RELIEF

Agio Imaging (Kalamazoo, MI) utilized Tensioning Solutions’ TS23 Stretch Frame system on this truck graphic.
Agio Imaging (Kalamazoo, MI) utilized Tensioning Solutions’ TS23 Stretch Frame system on this truck graphic.

Agio Imaging (Kalamazoo, MI) recently installed graphics on two trucks for CLS, a locally based, regional provider of uniforms and linens. The two companies have worked together since 2015, so there was no mystery as to what CLS wanted: “an easily interchangeable billboard-like graphic solution and the [Tensioning Solutions] TS23 Stretch Frame system offered just that,” said Davina Logan, director of sales, marketing and administration for Agio Imaging.

The TS23 system involves installing frames on truck sides, then mounting the graphics on the frames – not the truck itself. TS23 graphics offer quicker installation and removal than traditional wraps, keeping costs significantly lower as well, Davina said. It’s the kind of detail that leads to repeat jobs. Granted, removing the system leaves holes in the sides of the truck, but with CLS committed to the concept, that’s not anticipated and the job proceeded twice as fast as usual. “From the initial contact to installation, this project was completed within one business week, including design, the proofing phase, printing and installation,” Davina said. Usually, the process takes the shop about two weeks.

Agio Imaging designed CLS’s graphics using Adobe Creative Suite then printed them on Agfa Duratex vinyl using their HP Latex. No laminate was required for this short-term graphic. “Our team has the [installation] process down to a ‘T’,” Davina said, “and installed the system and graphics to both sides of the 23-ft. truck in less than five hours.”

Agio Imaging (Kalamazoo, MI) utilized Tensioning Solutions’ TS23 Stretch Frame system on this truck graphic.

Agio Imaging (Kalamazoo, MI) utilized Tensioning Solutions’ TS23 Stretch Frame system on this truck graphic.

Signs of the Times January 2019

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Photo courtesy Sopita Gvng

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