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Recently I was stalking several forums on the subject of longevity, or lack of it, on digital printed material and colour change wraps on vehicles.

I’ve read all sorts of accusations against major manufacturers like 3M, Avery and Hexis about their product failing on horizontal surfaces within 18 months to two years of application.
Silly and aggressive claims from people who should know better, accusing the manufacturers of secretly reducing the quality, and making an inferior product, to claims that the wholesalers and manufacturers have absolutely no moral fibre when it came to a warranty claim being submitted.
Some of the readers of this fine publication may recall an attempt by a few print and colour change applicators to form an association for professional wrappers. It wasn’t embraced by the majority so the idea was shelved for another time. But, one of the concerns that was raised by the leadership group, amongst others, was the promises being made by applicators as to the longevity of the products on horizontal surfaces.
I personally took this up with a number of individuals who were making claims of warranty periods that were not supported by the manufacturer. No one wanted to listen. Everyone wanted to compete and issue the same promises their opposition were making. It was clearly apparent that very few took the time to read the data sheets supplied by all the manufacturers and available on the wholesaler’s web sites.
Ignorance was bliss to a lot of people, and still is.
For those that are not aware, it is only recently that some manufacturers have come to market with printable material that has up to a 24 month UV warranty on horizontal surfaces using the appropriate laminate.
Colour change material isn’t, to my knowledge, supplied with a horizontal warranty longer than a few months in some situations or less than a year in others.
One applicator took me to task recently asking me to show him where it says Australian warranties on the 3M data sheet. It only uses American locations, he correctly pointed out, and so he felt the manufacturer’s argument of Australian warranties were invalid at best, or obscure on purpose at the very worst.
The major wholesalers that I have visited online all have access to their bulletins, or the manufacturer’s main site will have access. 3M have an extensive online archive of product bulletins on their range. It’s very impressive.
The Avery site is equally impressive and does show a zone chart for Australia and New Zealand that is relatively easy to follow.
Hexis too has an excellent site showing the geographical world locations for each warranty zone.
There is no excuse for not knowing the limitations of the products you are selling.
It is worth reiterating that the onus is actually on the applicator to find out the warranties on the product before they offer it for resale. In most cases, there is little or no warranty for material placed on a horizontal surface. Fleet vehicles especially come under this category, as they are usually outside in the weather 24/7 and are not cared for like a family car.
Ignorance of the life spans in certain situation isn’t going to wash with the wholesalers or manufacturers. You can argue till you are blue, but the information is there, you just have to study it and work within the life spans they outline.  Failing that, make a call to the manufacturer’s technical people and ask them directly. From experience, they don’t bite.
It may be worth calling after lunch though, just to be safe.

Shane Drew,
Managing Director of Drew’s Sign It Pty Ltd, a family sign business that operates throughout Australia, a freelance community blogger and a sign industry mentor.
Hexis :-
Avery :-
3M : -