The HARDER the sign the SOFTER the sell?

February 5, 2016

For more than three decades Electra Sign has proven that signage and the technologies in this industry, continue to evolve. Our custom manufacturing of signs provides a personalized approach to each client we work with. One of the questions often considered is the materials that allow our LED lighting to better showcase your signage.

With the above said, let me break down the difference between a couple of the most widely used materials – Polycarbonate and Acrylic.

POLYCARBONATE is mostly referred to by the brand name – Lexan. It has high strength, toughness (up to 250 times more impact resistance than glass), heat resistance and provides enhanced color stability when paired with our digital paints and vinyl applications. One of the biggest advantages of polycarbonate is its impact strength. Known to be virtually indestructible, tests continue to show the strengths in comparison to products such as acrylic (Plexiglas). Polycarbonate is more flexible and can be easier to machine with milling, turning and sawing than acrylic because it can not shatter. However, not without its disadvantage polycarbonate will not diffuse back lighting as much as its signage partner – Acrylic.

ACRYLIC more commonly recognized as Plexiglas, has almost 20x the impact resistance of glass and can crack more easily than Polycarbonate based on less flexibility. It diffuses the light throughout the sign more effectively because of the type of material. For this reason, many signs that are cut into curves (Channel letters, contoured cabinets, specialized logo pieces, etc.) will be done with Acrylic. These are signs usually installed onto building interior and exteriors whereas pylon signage will employ Polycarbonate.

This video shows the physical natures of both materials being tested against extreme measures and provides a more detailed example…

Polycarbonate vs Acrylic Plastic

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