With truckside advertising becoming a $30-million business, 3M has rolled out several new products to help fleets capitalize on that market. On the materials side are 3M's Scotchcal 3500/8655 and Scotchlite 5100 reflective graphics, designed for short-term, low-cost use.
Both films incorporate several 3M-patented items. The newest technology, called “Comply,” employs thousands of miniature air channels within the adhesive to allow air to escape when the decal is pressed down, eliminating bubbles. Controltac has a series of microscopic beads that enable the graphics to be placed on the side of a truck and maneuvered around without sticking.
3M has also unveiled the Scotchprint Graphics Applicator, a forklift-style machine with rollers that apply the graphics in two sections. This reduces application time on a 53-ft. trailer to about 4 hours, rather than 15-25 hours. The device, which at present is used only for application of graphics — not removal — is being field-tested by a trailer maker.
According to Dan Pohl, 3M's business and technology development manager, two preproduction models are scheduled to be built later this year. The company also plans to lease the devices, which will help further reduce the cost of manufacturing truckside ads. “We're looking at commercial availability of this device by mid-2002,” adds Pohl.
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