Retail Display Plastics

Acrylic

Acrylic is probably the most well known plastic but is probably better known in the UK as Perspex and in the USA as Plexiglas – both of these are brand/manufactures names for acrylic.

There are two main types of acrylic which both have different uses:-

• Cast – this is basically pressed between 2 sheets to a certain thickness

• Extruded – is made into a molten state then passed between 2 rollers (like the old fashion mangles)

The process of making cast acrylic is actually more expensive than extruding, so historically the prices have been around 10% more than extruded; however they currently are similarly priced.

Although both cast and extruded start off the same, the different manufacturing processes produce completely different results:-

• Cast is stronger

• The process of extruding puts more stress into the material which changes the molecular structure making it a less effect variation.

Manufactured in clear and a host of different standard colours, it can however be made in any colour if required but it is subject to minimum orders.

Ideal for outside use e.g signage, as it is quite stable and has good uv resistance, keeps it’s clarity much longer than polycarbonate and will not react to substrates placed onto the face i.e vinyl or print. It can be cleaned preferably with just soap and water. Has excellent optical properties, quite a hard surface not scratch proof but is a lot more scratch resistant the polycarbonate or petg. Can be machined, bonded, polished and formed, without causing the material to” stress.” Although, it has around 10 times the impact resistance of standard glass it is by no means as resistant to knocks as either petg or polycarbonate (which is the strongest).

Ideal applications – External signage, Point of sale, greenhouse windows, splashback panels, hospital incubaters, drug mixing chambers, splashbacks

PETG

Primarily a clear product, it can be made in certain colours, although not widely used and it is subject to minimum orders.

Excellent impact resistance (around 5-7 times stronger than acrylic but not as strong as polycarbonate). Can be machined, bonded and formed but is quite difficult to polish as it tends to yellow or burn the edges. We at PPS however, can laser cut it which gives a polished edge with no yellowing of the edge. Has a softer face than acrylic so can be more prone to scratching. Petg is a very stable product and tends not to react to most cleaning material, but always avoid using any solvent based products with any plastic. In it’s thinnest form it is used for manufacturing, bottles and food packaging because of it’s strength and stability. Ideal for vacuum forming.

Ideal applications – retail displays, shelters (bus, smoking, trolley, bike), security screens (taxi, bus)

PVC

PVC is a clear plastic with a slightly blue tinge. Due to it being cheap, readily available and in thin gauge PVC is commonly used in things like ticket strips.

Foam PVC

As the name suggests this product is a mix of foam to give the material it’s light weight and pvc which gives it the rigidity and the properties to enable it to be bent.

A versatile material initially manufactured for internal signage as a cheaper and lighter alternative to acrylic.

It can be used externally but it will expand and contract meaning it must be fixed in a way to allow for movement. Many “A” boards use foam pvc as the printed face.

It comes in white and 5 standard colours but it can be made in any colour as long as a minimum order is reached.

ABS

A strong, rigid, tough and cheap plastic that is very versatile and can come in a gloss or pinsel (embossed) finish.

Polystyrene

A well balanced plastic widely used in injection moulding, blow/injection moulding and thermoforming. Available in clear but also a wide variety of colours. A high impact version (Hips) is available offering better impact resistance and chemical resistance.