Signage & graphic solutions are only as good as the equipment and materials used to make them, and all sign making materials are not created equal. At AD Bell we only use the best materials to make our signs and graphics, giving long life and excellent performance – see list below of the most commonly used products and signmaking equipment. Always make sure to check the materials being used if comparing quotes from other graphics suppliers.
We use HP Latex 360 printing machines which offer several advantages over standard solvent and eco-solvent printing machines that are normally used by sign and graphics companies.
- Top Quality Print – Much less banding than solvent printers
- Excellent Colours – Vibrant, accurate colours, time after time
- Instant Drying – No need to allow graphics to dry after printing
- No Solvent Smell – Better for us & better for the client
- No Laminate Required – Print doesn’t need a laminate if being used indoors
In short, our HP Latex printers offer high quality, great usability and excellent green credentials. At Ad Bell we have come to rely on their fantastic quality and are proud to offer print that is better than the rest.
We use genuine, HP sourced inks designed specifically for our printers. These offer accurate colour reproduction and long life, as well as resisting fading and weathering. Many companies use aftermarket inks to save cost at the expense of quality and compatibility – AD Bell do not. Aftermarket inks are not 100% compatible with the machines and do not offer the same quality as the inks that were designed specifically for each machine.
Plotter Cutting Machines
A plotter is a machine that cuts text and graphics from coloured vinyl for all kinds of signage and vehicle graphic applications. Ad Bell employ a Summa S160T for this important task. This machine has several key benifits over the competition:
- Tangential Cutting – Cuts with more force and accuracy than any plotter in its class
- MicroSprocket(TM) Drive Drum – Jaw dropping accuracy of cut, time after time
- OPOS Contour Cutting Alignment – Advanced optical sensor allows accurate cutting of printed graphics
Aluminium Composite Panel
Aluminium composite panel is a popular signmaking material. It is a rigid weather proof sheet material that’s 3mm thick and is made with a polypropylene core faced on both sides with a thin sheet of aluminium bonded to it. The popular term used to describe this material is Dibond, although Dibond is a trade name that refers to a specific brand – not all aluminium composite is Dibond.
Ad Bell use Dibond branded material as it is the highest quality ACP (aluminium composite panel) available. Other brands and cheap non branded ACP panel are also available, but we do not use them as they are inferior and do not last as long. The cheaper versions have lower aluminium content which can mean that the sign will ripple and buckle in the sun, much like a thin Foamex sign when used outdoors. As ACP is used generally to overcome these issues, it makes no sense at all to use a cheaper version that does not have all of the advantages of true Dibond.
True Dibond is also available in a range of coloured painted finishes, as well as brushed and mirror metallic finishes which look truly amazing.
Foamex – Forex Print
Again, Foamex is a trade name for foam board. This is a rigid PVC sheet material available in a variety of thicknesses (1mm, 3mm, 5mm and 10mm being most common), for a variety of signage applications. Foam board is a short term signage solution ideally meant for interior display use, but can also be used externally on a temporary basis where cost effectiveness is paramount.
Ad Bell use Forex Print, which is a high quality branded foam board that is designed for use in conjunction with printed vinyl and laminate. Forex Print is flatter and smoother than cheaper alternatives, so any printed vinyl graphics that are applied to it will look excellent, with no rippling or texture showing through the printed surface.
Sign vinyl, be it self coloured or printed, is a massive part of the sign trade and is responsible for much of the quality of a finished sign or display. Cheap vinyl looks poor and doesn’t last, and when you’re investing in quality signage it need to look good and stay in top condition for as long as possible. We only use top quality branded vinyls at Ad Bell, and here they are:
Avery 700 Series
This is a self-coloured polymeric calendared vinyl that is used for a wide range of signage and vehicle applications. It’s available in a wide range of colours and is rated to last a minimum of 5 years for metallic, 7 years for colours and 8 years for black or white. The only thing we don’t use it for is wrapping and other jobs where extreme conformability is required.
3M Series 1080 or Avery Supreme Wrap
When a self-coloured vinyl is required for wrapping and other jobs where the Avery 700 Series won’t do, we use either 3M Series 1080 or Avery Supreme Wrapping vinyl, depending on the colours required or the specifics of the job at hand. Both of these cast calendared vinyls are the very top of their respective ranges and offer outstanding performance, appearance and durability.
3M IJ40 is our go-to printable vinyl for a whole multitude of signmaking jobs. It’s a top quality calendared polymeric vinyl suitable for printed sign panels where only simple 2 dimensional contours are apparent. It’s used on Foamex, Dibond and Corex panels, as well as window and vehicle graphics where it offers long life and excellent performance.
3M Ij80 is a more flexible cast vinyl suitable for applying graphics to contoured surfaces, and is used routinely on vehicles – cars, vans, trucks and other commercial equipment. Being a quality cast vinyl it offers a high level of conformability, excellent appearance and long life. Ad Bell have many vehicles out on the road that have been done with IJ80, and as we’ve been around since 1999 we know that it lasts like no other vinyl in its class.
When a printed wrapping vinyl is required, we turn to the amazing 3M LX480. It’s a PVC-free wrapping vinyl with a life of up to 12 years that’s perfect for wrapping anything from cars to boats to buildings. Truly one of the modern marvels of sign making technology.