A fleet graphics campaign is a multi-step project no matter the size. From initial discussions to planning and execution, there's a lot to consider to ensure your fleet graphics yield beautiful, eye-catching images that adhere well to your vehicles.
However straightforward the campaign, fleet graphics become more complicated in cold weather, especially in areas with winter conditions like snow and ice on the ground. High quality graphics require a lot of care, and in frigid weather, this becomes even more evident.
The first thing to understand is that cold weather makes vinyl – the material on which fleet graphics are most often printed – extremely brittle compared to warmer weather. This requires a lot of care in every step of the process if the weather drops below a certain temperature. Between transportation and installation, it's important to know the right way to treat it.
In colder temperatures, the adhesive can also start to behave irregularly, growing thicker and developing different adhesion rates. In many cases, a chilly day of around 55 to 60 degrees is feasible for installation, but once the temperatures drop below 50, it can cause the adhesive to become uncooperative.
There are a few ways to work around the issues presented by cold weather during installation of fleet graphics campaigns. The first and often best way is for installers to rent a facility large enough to host vehicles, allowing for a climate-controlled space for installation. In conditions where the installation surface cannot be transported, there’s also the possibility of using tent-like structures to control the temperature of surrounding air or heat guns to control the temperature of the vinyl. Work with your print provider to decide which method is best for your project.
One of the other challenges of cold weather is the surfaces themselves. Even if your adhesive is working properly, your vinyl is feeling sturdy, and you have some sort of climate control, a cold, metal surface is going to make things difficult for installers.
At The Vomela Companies, we will always preheat the graphics before application to help them adhere properly, but an ice cold surface can create issues. Installers will sometimes use a heat gun or a blow torch on the surface, but in other cases, they may have to move the fleet to another location or move the application to another time of day. An experienced installer will know what judgement call to make.
It’s one thing when it’s 20 below and whiteout conditions; that’s an easy sign for an installer to pack it up and figure out an alternative method of installation. The tricky part is the gray area between cold and warm weather, on the days when the high might be 60 but the low is 35. This is when it can be difficult for installers to determine how well they’ll be able to complete the project.
Your graphics provider should work with you to handle the installation process no matter the weather. Being a trustworthy partner means explaining what needs to get done, and how. At The Vomela Companies, we have decades of experience getting the job done.
Our number one tip for customers during cold weather is to simply be prepared. Your print partners are not going to give up on a project, but frigid temperatures and bad weather can force your installers and team to change plans. They'll work with you to communicate effectively, honestly, and openly, leading to a job well done and on time.
To learn how we can help make your next fleet graphics campaign a success, contact us today.