James Meylan, Mulitpanel UK European Sales Manager, notes that Aluminium Composite remains a popular choice owing to its versatility, affordability and durability.
Alupanel is both cost and time effective, giving the best results for print and fabrication due to its flat, smooth composite characteristics,” he affirms. The material can be cut to a high-quality finish either by hand or with a CNC router, and sign makers can improve their finished piece by downloading the Fabrication Guide from Multipanel UK. It offers hints, tips and recommendations on how to get the best out of Alupanel sheets.
With regards to Aluminium Composite materials there are 3 standard aluminium gauges available depending on the application:
- A Standard (0.30mm) skin is designed for full fabrication, which includes routing for sign trays, light boxes, etc, in load bearing projects.
- A Lite (0.21mm) skin is designed for FLA, non-load bearing signage, and printing in non-load bearing projects.
- An Eco(0.15mm) skin is designed for temporary signage, such as hoarding panels around construction sites and banners around football grounds. The latter would both be great examples of substrates suitable for vinyl application.
“For display application where the edge of the panel may be visible we have developed Alufoam, and aluminium composite sheet with a foamed polyethylene core,” James reveals. “Not only is Alufoam 30% lighter than standard aluminium composite, its enhanced flexural strength mean it can be used over large spans.”
Choosing the right aluminium gauge
Not all aluminium composite panels are made alike, and not opting for the right one can lead to issues down the line. James notes the large majority of mistakes seen by the experts at Multipanel UK can be attributed to not selecting the correct aluminium gauge for the project. “As a cost saving exercise, cheaper, lower quality materials are often used on projects which can result in a false economy when the materials prove to be inadequate for the application,” he says.
Another key factor is correct installation to avoid the effects of thermal expansion, which can be easily avoided by compensating for the 2.4mm expansion rate of ACM materials over 1m at temperature. According to James, incorrect installation can cause panels to expand and warp if they are fixed rigidly without space for expansion and contraction.
This versatile substrate has many applications, and can potentially help sign makers get the best out of each project when the right type of ACM is selected. “Used correctly, Aluminium Composite material provides the best price-quality ratio for most sign making projects,” says James.
For more information, visit www.multipaneluk.co.uk.