Graphic overlays are printed using a reversed image on the second surface (back side) of clear plastic sheet, usually polycarbonate (e.g., Lexan) or polyester (e.g., Mylar) with a laminated, linered adhesive backing.
A graphic overlay, whether it’s the top layer of a membrane switch or a stand-alone component, may be your customer’s first impression of your product. Not only does it need to make a good first impression, but it should continue to look good and endure the service wear it is expected to provide. Our design team can assist you in selecting the proper materials, inks, adhesives and dies to meet your requirements.
- Overlay Materials: Graphic overlays are produced mostly on transparent materials such as polycarbonate and polyester but occasionally on transparent vinyl. Remember to take into consideration the type of surface the overlay will be applied to and the environmental conditions. These are important when selecting the correct overlay material and adhesive.
- Overlay Printing: IMS uses a screen printing process wherein the substrate is normally back printed so the ink is viewed through the transparent material which provides wear resistance for the printing when the overlay is in use.
- LCD and LED windows are commonly created in graphic overlays by leaving selected areas unprinted.
- Light Block (Blocker) Usually a printed color like white, black or sometimes even metallic inks are used to increase opacity. Especially needed on overlays with illuminated displays to prevent light from “bleeding” into other areas of the panel. A blocker would also be needed with an overlay that has a light colored background that is being applied to a dark surface.
- Adhesive The adhesive is on the underside of the base material, which will adhere the overlay to the product. The specific type of 3M adhesive will depend on the surface to which it’s applied.
- Adhesive Spacer
Adhesives can be cut and “selectively applied”, known as the adhesive spacer, voiding out areas for keys, windows, led windows, or any other area where no adhesive is required. (Special die may be required for your specific needs, die charges will apply)
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