Installation Process

As Vehicle Graphics and Wraps are gaining popularity everyday, more companies are now offering vehicle graphics solutions to their clients. It is therefore important to ensure that your sign company has the proper installation training to apply digital graphics to your vehicles. Some of the important procedures that we follow at GTi Vehicle Graphics, and tips that we recommend to our customers are as follows:

Graphic Design and Measurement
It is important to make sure that the vehicle is measured before printing the graphics. For most standard vehicles, templates are available that provide a good designing guide. Even then, it’s always better to take measurements on the actual vehicle and verify that the design will accurately fit the vehicle. GTi Vehicle Graphics encourages customers to bring in their vehicles to our fitment centre for measurements or schedule a vehicle measurement at their site.
If graphics are designed by an advertising agency, it’s a good idea to ask them to submit the design in the original software in which the artwork was created. For example if the artwork was created in Adobe Photoshop then it should be submitted in the native format with all the layers intact so that GTi Vehicle Graphics can modify the design (if it needs to) fit the vehicle.

Vehicle Cleaning
GTi Vehicle Graphics highly recommends that vehicles are washed in a car wash a few hours before it’s is brought into our warehouse for graphics installation. The vehicle should be car washed preferably at a place that can use brushes or pressure-washing to remove road grime from the low-lying parts under the wheel well, inside the door panels etc. where dirt usually accumulates. Wax, polish, grease, or grime interfere with the graphics adhesive and therefore must be cleaned—if necessary—using industrial cleaners and / or silicone-based detergents (any cleaning chemical must be tested on the vehicle in an inconspicuous area to make sure it will not mar the paint surface).

Once the vehicle is brought into our fitment centre we clean it with isopropyl alcohol or other chemicals to remove any remaining oily residues / dirt / contaminants. Special attention is placed on the vehicle's cracks and crevices, where contaminants generally accumulate. We then perform a vehicle inspection and take note of places that have any kind of surface damage like paint scratches, dents etc. This inspection helps as a guideline to ensure that our clients know about any surface problems on the vehicle.

Installation Environment
It is best to apply the graphics indoors, especially for small vehicles with curved surfaces. This prevents wind, dust, and other contaminants and at the same time helps control the temperature. However, for large vehicles like delivery trucks and trailers, outdoor installations work fine. The sheer size of the graphics and flat surfaces of trucks and trailers, combined with the aggressive adhesives available today, allow successful outdoor application of graphics.

Graphic Installation
GTi Vehicle Graphics uses dry installation techniques with all wraps for the proper adhesion of graphics. Wrapping is performed following standard procedures established by manufacturers like Avery & 3M. During the graphics installation process the material is heated and applied using industrial heat guns so that it takes the shape of the vehicle body and achieves almost a paint-like finish. After the wrapping is completed, sometimes the material is reheated in places with complex curves and corrugations where the material is highly stretched. The reheating moulds the material and prevents it from reverting back to its original state.
During the installation process, air bubbles are a common occurrence which is easily taken care of by puncturing the bubbles with a sharp pin. Bubbles are also common problem after the installation process, so there is no need to panic. They can easily be removed using a sharp pin and pressing against them with a thumb or squeegee. The porous nature of vinyl also means that after a few days in the sun bubbles will naturally evaporate.
Also worth noting is the fact that in most cases graphics can only be installed on painted surfaces. Unpainted plastic parts such as bumpers, fenders etc are usually non-receptive to vinyl adhesive and the graphics may peel off from these places in a few days. GTi Vehicle Graphics can test plastic surfaces on your vehicle to check if they are capable of retaining the vinyl. Please ask us to perform testing on such places before printing.

Vehicle Graphic Maintenance
After any graphic installation it is advisable to leave the graphics for at least 3-4 days before taking the vehicle through a car wash. If possible, use a brushless car wash and always avoid high-pressure cleaning and caustic chemicals.

With the advent of hi-tech digital print media removal of graphics is very easy. In most cases, all it takes is a gentle application of heat to soften the adhesive and the graphics are easily pulled away from the surface. Any remaining adhesive on the surface is cleaned up using regular automotive cleaners. In fact, with the newly available removable and changeable graphic materials the removal process does not even need any heat or chemical cleanup.


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