What to Consider
Color matching is of critical importance to brand owners.
Choose a vendor that has a computerized color formulation system to achieve consistent results from printing to print run to print run. Good suppliers can color match to the Pantone Matching System, Federal Standard Guide, a color swatch, or to your bezel. Calibrated light booths and/or digital densitometers are then used to inspect and measure results to ensure conformance.
The colors on the overlay are screen printed, digitally printed, or a combination of both, and applied on the backside (sub-surface) of the clear overly material. The thickness of the overlays protects the graphics from the environment and operator wear. Selective textures and window clearing agents are printed on the first surface and UV cured to produce a very durable finish. They can also be used to create some very cool graphic enhancements.
Inks & Finishes
By implementing different material finishes and ink technologies, manufacturers can create visual impact and differentiation via unique textures and colors.
Surface finishes can be created by selecting appropriate materials and treatments, which provides a great deal of design freedom. Manufacturers with the latest digital printing technologies can reproduce photographs onto surface materials, allowing engineers to specify most any type of background pattern. If you can think it, digital can print it.
Inks can add another dimension to the visual appearance, and a variety of colors, tones, and reflective qualities are available to create the ideal user experience.
Embossed features can dramatically enhance the look and functionality of the graphic overlay. There are three basic styles of embossing: pillow, rim and dome. Depending on shape and size, logos and multi-level shapes can be embossed.
There are two ways to emboss an overlay. The first method is with male and female magnesium dies. This method is fine for most applications but there are height limitations: embossing height is usually 2 to 2-1/2 times the material thickness, the minimum width of a rim emboss is 0.050”, the distance between embossed objects should be .100” and the minimum inside radius should be .005”.
Hydroforming is the second method and has more design flexibility, but higher tooling costs.