Cast Vinyl vs Calendered Vinyl
When choosing a vinyl to wrap your vehicle in; It can be a difficult decision with all the options on the market currently. With the option between Cast and Calendered, it is hard to distinguish the difference along with the benefits. Here is where we can help make the decision a little easier for you.
What is Cast Vinyl?
Cast vinyl starts off as a liquid very similar to paint but is thicker and has more plastic. The liquid is then poured into a mold or cast and left to cool. Once the material has been cooled it is reheated to be cured. Once the process to make the cast vinyl is done you will be left with a thinner and longer lasting vinyl. The process also creates a more durable, and flexible vinyl which can be used on vehicles wraps or applications where a high-quality finish is needed. Cast vinyl is usually 2 mils thick.
Advantage of cast vinyl:
- High durability due to the plasticizers and raw materials used.
- Maintains color and properties better than calendered.
- Lasts up to 7+ years outdoors.
- Stretchy and more conformable.
- “There are many connections between the ingredients that are bonded via process temperatures far higher than any application will experience. Now we can see why cast film can take so much distortion, heat abuse (such as that in thermoforming a sign face) and sun energy without losing its flexibility and cracking, fading, or popping away”
Uses of Cast vinyl:
- Vehicle wraps
- Architectural wraps
- Smartphone wraps.
What is Calendered Vinyl?
Calendered vinyl is similar to rolling out fresh pasta. The formulation of calendared vinyl uses raw materials that are similar to the ones used in cast but instead of being poured into a mold, the mixture is kneaded and expelled by an extruder. Calendered vinyl is pressed down through giant, heated steel to make it into a thin sheet. It is usually 2.5 mils to 4 mils thick. Calendered vinyl is generally stiffer and thicker than Cast vinyl. It is also best used on surfaces that don’t have a lot of ridges or curves, flat and simple surfaces are best used.
Advantages of Calendered Vinyl:
- No solvent cost
- No casting “mold” cost
- Lower energy cost
- Stiffer and thicker film made for easier handling
- Higher resistance to abrasion
- Great performance on flat, simple, and moderate curves
Uses for Calendered Vinyl:
- Sunshade visors
- Floor graphics
- Pre-spaced lettering
- Window decals.
“What vinyl Should I use to wrap my Vehicle”?
While Calendered vinyl can be used on wraps along with cast vinyl. Sunlight and heat can cause cracking, peeling, shrinking, and fading. Whilst Cast vinyl can survive the weather abuse making It longer lasting, less possibility of shrinking and making an easier application. Our friends at Arlon have said that “Calendered film is designed with a short to mid-term range of durability (0-5 years); the film can also shrink up to 1/4”. Calendered film is an excellent option for short-term lettering, spot decals, or partial wraps” and that “Cast films are manufactured for long term use (5-11 years); when compared to Calendered, this vinyl will have immeasurable shrinkage. For long-term, full, seamless vehicle wraps, or long-term lettering, decals, and partial wraps Cast vinyl is a must.”