Benefits of Flexible-Face Mounting Systems
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2015 Ad & Sign Shanghai China March 11-14, 2015


Benefits of Flexible-Face Mounting Systems

Vendors are manufacturing a variety of mounting systems to making installing flexible face signage a snap (and click).

By Jennifer LeClaire

Is it taking you longer than you’d like to install flexible face signage? Discover the time saving advantages of newfangled flexible-face framing systems and watch your profits soar.

Cyrious Control - quote faster. deliver better. screenprinting, wide format, electric signs, vinyl signs, vehicle wraps

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  • How long does it take you to change out a flex face in a sign cabinet? One hour? Maybe two? How about changing self-adhesive graphics on a 48-foot trailer of a long haul truck? Two days using three workers? If you aren’t taking advantage of some of the latest tools and techniques to install flex face signage, then it could be taking longer than it needs to.

    Changing sign faces can be a labor-intensive job, but new products are helping sign makers make better use of their time and make more money to boot. Some products allow sign makers to reduce an hour or two into 15 or 20 minutes on a standard six-foot by eight-foot sign cabinet and reduce the time it takes to change out that trailer to a mere two hours.

    Indeed, manufacturers like IG3, Excellart Sign Products and Awning Innovations are coming to the rescue of busy sign makers with time saving tools that make flex face work less painful and more profitable.

    IG3 maximizes opportunity
    A Canadian player called IG3 offers advertisers greater versatility, which offers sign makers more revenue. But that repeat business doesn’t have to be a pain in the neck, thanks to the IG3 framing system.

    “We offer an open-ended system that doesn’t use any proprietary tools to tension the graphics in place,” says Guy Langevin, principal of IG3, a flex face framing system manufacturer in Canada. “You don’t have to weld a mushroom bead into the graphic, either. The finishing specifications of our system only require putting a pole pocket on all four sides. The relationship of the size of the banner versus the actual frame is identical.”

    The IG3 framing system is extruded in only two components, resulting in fewer moving parts than some other brands, which require up to five components. The system is constructed of durable aluminum, according to Langevin.

    “We extruded a thicker, more durable mill thickness for our product so it stands up to just about any hostile environment for trucks and most moving vehicles. That’s important because they face extreme temperatures. Our system is designed to endure temperature changes. That strength also reduces the need for replacement parts.”

    Coupled with a good quality printed vinyl, Langevin says a graphic in the IG3 system could last up to a year without any major defects, color variation or fading. And because it’s a Canadian-made product, special export programs are available for foreign buyers, saving the sign maker additional costs.

    Excellart seeks excellence
    Stateside, Olathe, Kan.-based Excellart Sign Products is seeking product excellence with its EC-Flex Standard and Hinged Frame systems. The system is designed to work with all of its frame systems or can be retrofitted to new or existing sign cabinets. Greg Ambrose, principal of the aluminum frame system manufacturer, says this system is best used with hinge frame profiles so that the sign cabinet can be serviced easily.

    “The EC-Flex system’s patented tensioning system easily tensions any size flexible sign face into position,” says Ambrose. “We have two different trim covers available ­ a two-inch standard trim cover and a bleed trim cover. The bleed trim cover allows light to travel to the edge of the extrusion, which gives the face a frameless look.”

    The EC-4R Frame System is one of the company’s narrowest frames and is designed for single face cabinets and lightweight interior applications. The EC-7R Frame System is also designed for single face cabinets, but works for exterior as well as interior applications. And the EC-8R system is eight inches in depth to work with double-faced cabinets in interior or exterior applications.

    Clarke Systems- Slatz Capture was designed to meet the challenge of change.

    All three systems have a one-inch radius retainer and will hold up to 3/16-inch material in its built-in retainer system. When closed, the removable retainer integrally locks itself into the EC-4 frame showing no exterior fasteners. Corner angles have also been raised off the bottom of the frame to avoid any visible fasteners around the cabinet. These features make for a more attractive sign.

    Meanwhile, the EC-Retro Flex frame system lets sign makers retrofit to any size sign cabinet. Ambrose says the retrofit system is simple to assemble, making it a good choice for signage installed in manufacturing facilities. Like the original system, the retro-flex product has a two-inch trim cover to allow maximum visibility of the sign face. Finally, the EC-8 system is designed for double-faced applications and can be used for enter and exit signs or directory signs.

    Flex-Trac offers new possibilities
    Down south, Dallas-based Awning Innovations is touting its Flex-Trac System for exhibit halls, sports facilities, convention centers, POP walls, theaters or fleet trucks.

    “Flex-Trac is a tensioning system for fleet graphics that will allow us to tension a digitally printed banner or a sign face down the side of a tractor trailer for an advertisement,” says Frank Green, principal of Awning Innovations. “If you put applied vinyl on the side of a truck panel, it’s a labor-intensive process to remove it and you obviously can’t use it again.”

    The Flex-Trac patented system works on a principle similar to a Zip-Loc bag. All you need to do is line up the gripper PVC with the grooves in the extrusion, and the tool does the rest of the work. As you roll the tool along the track, your face is automatically tensioned and securely attached in one motion.

    Green says Flex-Trac lets sign makers tension flex faces as tight as a drum and adjusts horizontally and vertically in case your vinyl is not perfect.

    General advantages
    At the end of the day, flexible faces aren’t always the exact size, which makes the finishing aspect more difficult. Flexible face tensioning system manufacturers understand this and are accommodating for quality control of the graphic.

    “Printers are saying, we can get close, but sometimes in production it may be off by a millimeter or two,” Langevin says. “So instead of designing a system with really tight disciplines, we made ours very forgiving, so you can be off by five millimeters and still make it work. That was a big advantage for a lot of sign makers.”

    Leading flex face system manufacturers also offer another benefit: easy maintenance. In fact, most of the frames are fairly maintenance free. Even if it’s visibly damaged, the frames can often be cut out and replaced in sections. The graphics typically get the most wear and tear, but the framing system makes it easy to replace those in a hurry.

    “If there’s damage to the side of the truck, you can do on-site repairs within minutes and very inexpensively as opposed to pressure sensitive graphics where it tears right into the metal and they have to replace the metal panel and change the whole graphic on that side,” Langevin says. “That’s very expensive.

    “A flexible side graphic can be sort of repaired on the road and then when it goes onto its maintenance yard the new graphic is rolled off within 20 minutes and rolled back on. Within an hour the trailer the truck goes back out on the road. That’s the advantage.”

    And that, agree experts, is an advantage to the sign maker and his customer. What will they think of next?

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