Today's variety of vehicle graphics systems are giving fleets more choices than ever before on how to mark their vehicles. The most recent trend is for short-term applications as fleets and advertising agencies have come to recognize the benefits of truckside advertising. What makes short-term fleet graphics cost-effective can be attributed in large part to the newer products and application processes available.
3M Commercial Graphics has an adhesive product specifically designed to be easy to install and remove in short-term applications. A bus, for example, now can be fully wrapped in 30 min. using the changeable graphics, versus 8 hr. with non-changeable products. The decals can also now be removed without heat or chemicals by simply peeling them away.
3M's Controltac and Comply features are utilized in the short-term product line as they are in 3M long-term graphics products. With Controltac, graphics can be moved around and positioned precisely on a vehicle's surface. Comply technology eliminates the bubbles that often form when vinyl is applied to a vehicle's surface. The company says the two newer technologies are enabling graphics to be applied quicker and easier; they also produce better looking finished products.
3M's Scotchprint Graphics Application system (SGA) also makes graphics application easier and faster. The machine automates the process of applying graphics, using 60-in.-wide rolls of graphics that are placed in two horizontal panels along the truck's side.
According to Avery Dennison, the trend in truckside advertising for larger fleets of 50 to 200 vehicles is for more targeted marketing. Through the use of individualized vehicle graphics, fleets can change their advertising messages from region to region, for example, or city to city, based on a current promotion.
The newer digital technology that's available to graphics installers, the company says, makes these short-run graphics applications easier and more economical. For these applications, Avery offers a range of digital products, the MPI Series (multi-purpose inkjet print media).
Tapping into the trend for individualized graphics, Avery Dennison has also focused its fleet graphics products on speedy application and removal. Fleets that change graphics frequently do not want long periods of vehicle downtime while the decals are being reapplied. The Avery MPI 1005 EZ vinyl is designed specifically for easy application and removal over time. Another product that uses Avery Dennison's Easy Apply Technology — EZ 1000 Fleet Marking Film — is also available for graphics applications that use traditional screen-print or cut vinyl technology.
3M Commercial Graphics also notes another new interesting concept in vehicle graphics: As opposed to placing decals of company logos and other graphics directly over a painted truck — which when removed after 3-4 years will leave ghosting images of the graphics due to paint fade — some fleets are choosing to completely cover their trucks with vinyl that has their logos already printed on it. 3M notes the potential for increased resale values on equipment marked with removable graphics that don't damage OE paint finishes.
COMMERCIAL FLEET FINISHES
OE paint and refurbishing trends mirror that of the general economy, with fleets looking for new technology and more effective systems to streamline their operations. They want durable transportation coatings that will extend the time between repaints, including longer warranties, and also improved shop operations to minimize downtime when a truck needs to be refurbished.
Environmental regulations continue to influence the products offered by paint manufacturers. PPG has a brand new low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) product line, DELFLEET, that will be offered in both 2.8 VOC and 3.5 VOC versions to meet or exceed national environmental standards. Low-HAPS (hazardous air pollutants) and no-HAPS versions of the product will also be offered. DELFLEET will be made available as an OE finish and refinish product.
To help fleet owners and refinishers streamline their operations, PPG says it is committing itself to providing new business solutions. For example, PPG now offers classes on a regular basis on how to conduct proper estimates for Class 6-8 truck repair.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CIRCLE NUMBER ON REPLY CARD:
Avery Dennison 352
Martin Senour 355
PPG Industries 356