Protective laminates and overlay films for traffic signs protect the reflective foil on the image carriers from unwelcome defacements such as graffiti or stickers. But natural influences can also damage traffic signs: Dew or frost makes the lettering partially illegible, while UV rays cause the colour of the imprints to fade. In order to keep the road signs in the best condition for a long time, the use of appropriate protective films is recommended. Because the protective laminates are applied over the reflective film, they are also called overlay films. In the following section, you will learn how the individual protective films | for traffic signage differ and how they work.
Protective films against graffiti, stickers, dew and UV rays
If traffic signs have been sprayed with paint, it will not stand up to cleaning for long on the special coating of the overlay film. Reflective films are often somewhat sensitive to cleaning agents, which is why the removal of graffiti often becomes a problem. The surface of the Anti-Graffiti film | is structured in such a way that the paint can usually be removed with simple soapy water.
Anti-sticker films . are based on the same principle. Due to the special surface texture of the overlay film, average stickers do not stick to it. Stickers with particularly strong adhesive stick only weakly to the sign and can be removed effortlessly.
Anti-dew films prevent dew or frost from depositing on the reflective film of traffic signs and thus impairing the reflective power of the signs. Since anti-dew films are usually quite thin and sensitive, they should not be cleaned with a brush.
To ensure that the print on traffic signs remains colour-intensive for a long time and is thus better perceivable and legible, transparent UV-resistant protective laminates | made of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) should be pulled over the printed reflective foil of the signs. Especially in areas with extreme environmental influences such as high salt content in the air (on the coast) or high sun intensity (in the mountains), these protective laminates can significantly extend the durability of traffic signs.
The common features of the overlay films for traffic signs
What all protective films have in common is that they do not restrict the reflection of the underlying sign film. As they have been specially developed for outdoor use, they have the corresponding durability in terms of weather and temperature.
Protective laminates can be easily cut to size, for example on cutting plotters, to suit the different sizes and shapes of road signs.
If signs with protective laminates have been superficially damaged or made unrecognisable, they do not need to be completely replaced, but only cleaned. In the worst case, the protective top film must be renewed.
This results not only in cost savings for possible replacement signs, but also in plus points with regard to environmental protection: resources are conserved because fewer signs have to be produced.
The compatibility of overlay foils with reflective films
Protective laminates cannot be combined with all reflective traffic sign films. The manufacturers 3M™ and Orafol® have each coordinated their products so that only reflective films from 3M™ can be laminated with protective films from 3M™. The same applies accordingly for Orafol®.
Example: For the ORALITE 5910 High Intensity Prismatic Grade | reflective traffic sign film in white, only the protective laminates
- ORALITE 5061 Transparent Film | (UV protection),
- ORALITE 5090 Anti-Dew Film,
- ORALITE 5097 Astifol Anti-Sticker Film |
- or the ORALITE 5095 Anti-Graffiti Film |
be applied. It is therefore important to check the compatibility of the two types of film, reflective film and protective laminate, in the data sheets.