Good signage is a sure sign of success for a business. In this article we explore the best adhesives used in the signs and graphics industry, alongside an overview of the significance of outdoor signage.
The Significance of Signs and Graphics
Signs and graphical prints are playing an increasingly important role in our society, being commonplace in almost every environment. A good, well-fitted sign indicates a trustable store, which often leads to a higher purchasing rate. A survey by Fedex found that 76% of a store’s new customers enter the store based entirely on the outdoor signage, and 68% of customers actually purchase a product because a sign caught their eye. Conversely, 60% of people refuse to enter a store altogether if it doesn’t have an outdoor sign. As a business owner, therefore, it is essential that your signage and graphics are assembled and displayed successfully, ensuring brand visibility and a powerful first impression.
Advantages of Using Adhesives for Signs and Graphics
There are various reasons why using adhesives instead of mechanical fasteners, such as rivets and welds, leads to a more successfully assembled sign. These reasons include:
- No design compromises in the sign to account for the fasteners – full image can be shown.
- Lack of rusting over time – better aesthetics and less required maintenance.
- Lack of bumps formed from welding – more uniformity throughout the sign.
- Lower weight – easier to assemble, reducing chances of damages.
- Lower cost – a result of cheaper equipment and labour.
- Dimensional irregularities (small gaps and holes) can be filled.
- Adhesives can act as a sealant, protecting electrical components.
- Bond to a wide range of substrates
- Time saved
For more information on the benefits of adhesives over mechanical fasteners, read our article “What Are Structural Adhesives?”.
Factors to Consider When Using Adhesives for Signs and Graphics
As signs are being placed in increasingly different environments and on varying surfaces and materials, a few factors need to be considered before choosing the right adhesive for them. Some of these factors are explored below:
- Weatherability – extreme conditions, such as extreme temperatures or wet environments, require a strong permanent bond to ensure durability.
- Surface material – a company might choose to attach their sign to a concrete, metal, or plastic surface, depending on their brand’s preference. Therefore, it is essential that the chosen adhesive is compatible with the surface material that the sign is being bonded to.
- Electronics in the sign – components such as LED strips, common in many signs, must be protected from water and moisture through the use of sealants.
- Bond strength – it must be ensured that the bond provided by the chosen adhesive is strong enough to tolerate the stresses caused by thermal expansion.
- Joint design – adhesives are most suitable for use in signs if the joint is loaded in compression or shear, not peel or tension.
Top Adhesives for Signs and Graphics
Araldite 2021-1 is a two-part, toughened methacrylate adhesive that provides excellent bonding to plastics, metals and composites. This product is used repeatedly for the bonding of Dibond® aluminium composite sheets, which are used in a sandwich panel format in both indoor and outdoor signage. It provides rapid curing and is suitable for service temperatures as high as 100°C.
Araldite 2050 & Araldite 2051 are two-part toughened methacrylate adhesives that provide superb bonding to thermoplastics, composites and metals. They provide ultra-fast curing, are suitable to use under water and in humid areas, have excellent aging and weathering resistance, and require little to no surface pre-treatment. Additionally, they are designed for extreme conditions, and are suitable for service temperatures as high as 120°C. Araldite 2050 provides its fast curing from -20°C to 25°C, while Araldite 2051 does so from 0°C to 40°C. They have been repeatedly used for bonding laser-cut letters and metal-to-metal applications, such as vehicle signage.
Araldite 2028-1 is a two-part, transparent polyurethane adhesive that provides great invisible bonding to a variety of metal and plastic substrates. It is fast curing, UV stable and resistant to thermal aging, making it ideal for uses in outdoor applications.
Surface Preparation Tips for Signs and Graphics Installations
Although adhesives such as Araldite 2050 and Araldite 2051 require minimal surface preparation; as a general rule, it is optimal that substrate surfaces are wiped with a clean rag and isopropyl alcohol to remove all traces of dust, dirt, grease and oil. Contaminants can be dissolved with isopropyl alcohol, although grinding or etching may be required in some cases. For more information on surface treatment, read: Surface Preparation for Adhesive Bonding.