Various Banner Types – Vinyl, Cloth Fabric, and Polypro Banners, Plus Other Varieties
I am often asked if there are more than one variety of PVC vinyl banners. If the meaning of this questions is in regards to weights or sizes or whether or not a banner can be printed on both sides or just one side, the answer is “yes.”
Conversely, if you are speaking of multiple types of vinyl, then the answer, for all intents and purposes, is “no.”
However, the nylon threading that the fiber is wrapped around may vary in size and closeness together, the flexibility of the material (additional plasticizers are added to make the material more supple in some cases) – these things can vary, but PVC is polyvinyl chloride, and it doesn’t change it’s chemical composition.
Banner weights vary and are based on ounces per square foot or on grams per square meter, depending on where you are or where the material is manufactured. Light-weight PVC banner material may way as little as eight ounces per square foot and can go very heavy, although rarely beyond 21 ounces per square foot.
Now if the question is regarding varieties of banner material, that is an entirely different question. A very lightweight material used for temp banners or indoor banners is known as a polypro banner, which, if spelled out completely would be a polypropylene banner. This is a banner that is best suited to screen printing of very high volumes of banners in an inline screen printing press such as the “oval eight.” They tend to be cheap, throwaway banners that are used for a short duration such as a week or month long special at a fast food restaurant or the like.
Another banner material, also best known for being screen printed, is the Tyvek banner, although due to the cost of this material, I don’t hear about it much in the market any longer, although it may be, just not anything I hear about.
Finally, cloth fabric banners are a commonly dye sublimation printed material that is popular in trade shows and retail environments. Dye sublimation printing involves the use of a different type of printing than standard digital printing of PVC banners. Rather than using the standard direct-to-substrate printing that is standard to digital printing, the dye is printed to a transfer paper as a mirror image.
Once printed, the paper is matched up to the right sized fabric, typically a polymer-based fabric like polyester – a versatile fabric that can take many forms from a silky satin to heavy duty knits to sheer materials, and even some double-sided banner materials. The fabric is run through heated rollers at high pressure, converting the dye into a gas which is then forced into the open pores of the fabric, creating a gorgeous continuous photographic-type print that will last a long time because the dye has become part of the fabric itself in this print process.
So, yes, there is one type of vinyl banner that can be digitally printed or screen printed, then others that are best screen printed, and finally, dye sub printed fabric banners. Most banners now are the first and last types mentioned here. At least with the clients we deal with.
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