Testing label durability

Durability plays a huge role in decision-making when it comes to purchasing decals for your outdoor equipment. While many of our suppliers test their materials in weather chambers, which exaggerate and accelerate the effects of different weather elements, Graphics Output is taking the direct approach to see how long our decals actually last.

This scientific journey is our Weather Testing Board. We’ll use this board to test the durability of various print methods and materials in Midwestern weather over several years.

Photographing the weather board, November, 2019.

Changes we’ll be watching for:

  1. Image fading
  2. Vinyl peeling or cracking (5+ years)
  3. Polycarbonate or polyester yellowing
  4. Adhesive failure
  5. Polycarbonate or polyester delaminating

The Conditions

  • The test board is made of painted metal and sits against a building facing east, with all other directions exposed to the elements.
  • The test board was thoroughly cleaned with alcohol before we applied any decals.
  • Over the timeline of the test, the board will be exposed to sun, wind, rain, snow, and ice.

Section one tests various ink durability for:

  • Digital roll solvent ink
  • Digital roll solvent ink with 1 mm. of polyester lamination
  • Screen print UV ink
  • Digital flatbed UV ink
  • Digital gel UV ink

The hypothesis: Graphics Output believes the digital roll solvent ink will fade first, and the screen print UV ink or the digital gel UV ink will fade last.

Section two tests screen print ink color durability for:

  • Yellow
  • Orange
  • Red
  • Blue
  • Black

The hypothesis: Graphics Output believes that the red and yellow ink will fade first and the black ink will fade last.

Section three tests subsurface printed materials and various flatbed UV ink colors durability, including:

  • Standard polycarbonate
  • Hard-coated weatherable polycarbonate
  • Hard-coated weatherable polyester

The hypothesis: Graphics Output believes that the standard polycarbonate will fade or delaminate first, and the weatherable polyester will fade or delaminate last.

This is the first in a multi-part series. Check out our latest update here. We plan to take monthly photos documenting the board and the effects of the elements and post occasional updates. Stay tuned for our results!