We do not use cheap reflective vinyl. Most sellers don't declare what type of refletive vinyl they use, but thrust me you don't wan't to buy cheap reflective vinyl sticker.
Reflective vinyl is difficult to cut (but that's our problem :-), have different outdoor durability and needs to be flexible to be applied on helmets or curved surfaces.
Vinyl that we use can even be applied over rivets, and have 5-7 years outdoor durability.
When you read this text you will know the differences beetwen various types of reflective vinyl.
Reflective vinyl is not self luminescent. Its properties aren’t apparent in normal daylight conditions. It’s specifically designed to be visible at night when stricken with artificial light such as that from motor vehicle headlights. This reflective property is what makes road signs legible after dark without the cost of electric illumination. Because of this, there is sometimes a color shift that occurs when viewing reflective vinyl in different settings.
White reflective for instance, is only white when it’s doing its thing. In normal daylight settings, it tends to look slightly grayish or pearlescent At the other end of the spectrum, black reflective has to look different when light hits it because black is the absence of light. So black reflective looks brownish when it reflects light after dark.
Not all reflective vinyl is the same. There are two basic kinds, usually characterized as retro-reflecitve, and prismatic. These are further segmented into different Types and grades determined by their construction and reflective properties.
Retro-reflective is made by mixing glass beads in the pigment of the face film. The embedded beads reflect light back toward the viewer when illuminated. Therefore retro-reflective film is also referred to as beaded reflective.
Prismatic reflective film is made by layering small prisms in the face film. These would look like tiny pyramids in the vinyl. Just as a prism splits and reflects light, prismatic reflective film reflects light back through the face film toward the viewer.
This densely layered construction makes prismatic reflective sheeting very difficult to cut than retro-reflective film, so we are using retro-reflective film and we will explain more detailed differences beetwen different vinyls in this category.
There are standards of reflectivity that grade the effectiveness of different films. These standards form the basis of government regulations and specifications controlling the use of reflective vinyls. The amount of light reflected by reflective vinyl is measured and reported in a number called cd/lux/m2. In lay terms, it’s the reflected light measured in candlepower taken at various viewing angles. If you wanted to compare reflective vinyl based on its visibility from different angles you would look at this value.
Different manufacturers use varying labels called ‘grades’ to promote the quality of their reflective vinyls. How do you know that quality of vinyl?
Look for durability rating and flexibility. The outdoor rating is easy as most films tell you what to expect. They generally range from three to seven years outdoors.
That leaves conformability as the last critical factor. This is important because reflective vinyl is not made from the same PVC compounds used in calendared and cast films. It’s made from translucent acrylic resins designed to allow the light to pass to and from the enclosed beads or prisms. This face film can be rather brittle and some films that are seven year engineer grade products will not work on anything but flat surfaces. They’re great for street signs, not so great for helmets, police and emergency vehicles. This usually causes problems when someone chooses a non-conformable reflective for helmet or fleet applications. The film sticks for a while, then begins to release from the curved surfaces.
Now you should know why we are using this highly flexible (can be applied even on rivets!) 5-7 years outdoor durability vinyl from MacTac.
We are using only MacLite 5700 reflective vinyl. You can see Techical Data Sheet here