Industriprint A/S, Church Hill, Lawford, Essex CO11 2JX contact us here

Development of graphic fascias, overlays and panels in polyester, polycarbonate, acrylic or PVC. Also, in combination of screen and digital print.

Graphic Overlays, Printed Fascias and Control Panels

We are happy to help with the development of graphic fascias, overlays, panels, etc. which can be made for any conceivable purpose. The materials can be polyester, polycarbonate, acrylic, PVC etc.  These can be surface or under surface printed and can be a combination of screen and digital print. You get the right material for the job, which can then be embossed or overlaminated if required and then platten, plotter or laser cut dependant upon the material used.  It is also possible to supply these with a self-adhesive backing if needed. They can be supplied in sheets or individually.  In other words, we will deliver the product that solves your task perfectly.

To ensure compliance with the given tolerances, continuous control measurements are performed in the manufacturing process. Even microscopic tolerances down to 1 micron can be achieved with the use of our optical measuring machine.

 

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Graphic Overlays That Deliver

Frequently Asked Questions

We understand that in the process of selecting the right manufacturer/provider for graphic overlays there are many questions and options to take into consideration. Here are the most common problems our customers struggle with.

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Can you print on both sides of a graphic overlay?

It is possible to print on both the surface and under surface of a graphic overlay as they are mainly produced on transparent substrates. The advantage of under surface printing is that it protects the print from both abrasion and spillage.

Can you print both spot colours  and 4 colour process?

Graphic overlays can be printed with either screen print inks or by digital printing and even a combination of the two. This allows us to match the design to any Pantone colour or CMYK colour combination.

Can you hard coat the product?

While hard coating is not necessary, it's a preferred option in many cases dependent on the situational use. Please see below the different advantages and disadvantages certain materials have.

Can we get some specification for the materials available?

Of course! Please refer to the section about materials below or get in touch with our specialists who will help you in the process of selecting the right materials.

Do you offer conceptual design for graphic overlays? Can you create artwork for approval prior to producing my order?

Yes. We work closely with our customers throughout the whole process -- meaning our design team is also able to produce the graphics for the overlays based on your own specifications and submit artwork to you for approval before manufacturing commences.

What are the standard sizes for graphic overlays? Are there any limitations on the smallest or largest sizes? What is the most often ordered size?

Since everything is bespoke to the customer’s requirements, there is no standard. All of our products are custom fit for your specific scenario. The only limitations on how big or small your custom overlays can be are the maximums of our printing presses (1100mm x 450mm) or the minimum size that can be handled and cut (100mm x 50mm). However, it is important to note that the product specifications depend entirely on your particular assignment. You are always welcome to ask us for instructions as we're more than happy to advise you on making the right choice.

Do you produce custom-shaped fascias?

Absolutely. While sometimes standard shapes are all that are needed, often our customers contact us with custom specifications for their orders.

Do you offer free shipping?

Yes, free delivery is available for orders over £1500 to one UK address. Any orders that are below this value are shipped by courier at the customer’s cost.

Do you offer any guarantees (e.g. regarding the lifetime of the product, etc.)? What is the average lifetime of the overlays you produce?

In all cases, the lifetime of the product depends on several factors such as: the material used, the inks used, the fixing type and intensity of daily use. As our suppliers of these materials offer no guarantees, it is not possible for us to do so either. However, our customers' feedback is that the overlays outlast their expected functional life.

Is there anything I can do to extend the lifetime of the graphic overlays? (e.g. special polish, hard coating, UV-resistant coating, etc.)?

Yes, in fact, we strongly recommend that you take that into consideration upon requesting your order. Any printable finish can be added to the products upon request. Often, replacing the overlays is a labour-intensive task that puts a hold on operations so it’s best to protect the switches upfront. With that in mind, we recommend consulting with us about your specific use -- and what type of hard coating will be best for that environment. By hard coating your graphic overlays, you can ensure fewer replacements resulting in both financial and productivity savings. 

What types of hard coats do you provide (impact strength, flame retardant, UV, etc.)?

Since there are many use scenarios, we cannot give you a straight answer to this question. The type of hard coating depends entirely on your specifications and the materials used. Here are the most common types of hard coating for our graphic overlays:

  • Anti-reflective – Reduces glare making the product visible in bright light
  • UV Resistance – Preserves its quality even when exposed to UV rays or sunlight
  • Heat Resistance – Prevents the materials from melting, warping or bending when exposed to high temperatures
  • Chemical Resistance – Prevents material erosion from harsh chemicals & cleaning agents
  • Water Resistance – Prevents water/moisture damage
  • Scratch Resistance – Higher abrasion resistance

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Useful Information on Graphic Overlays

useful information about graphic and membrane switch overlays and fascias

Example 1

Make a positive and everlasting impression of your products, equipment and company with great designed graphic overlays, membrane switch overlays, panels and labels manufactured by professionals. Often the first thing your customers see is your graphic overlays. Therefore, they have to be both visual, durable and essentially functional. Printed graphic overlays are the best choice for machine panels. Industriprint is an UL PGDQ2-approved company, following required ISO standards. With over 50 years of experience in the market, we offer only the best.

We develop, produce, print and deliver RoHS-compliant graphic and membrane switch overlays for any purpose in a great variety of shapes, sizes and materials such as:

  • Polycarbonate (PC)
  • Polyester (PET)
  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
  • Polyurethane (PU)
  • Acrylic (PMMA) and more

Which materials should I use for my graphic overlay?

Overlays are used in a wide variety of industries and cover many different requirements ranging from UV resistance used in aviation gear to chemical resistance in medical appliances.

The six most used substrates for graphic overlays and capacitive touch human machine interface (HMI) manufacturing are polyester (PET), polycarbonate (PC), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyurethane (PU), acrylic (PMMA) and tempered glass. Polyester overlays are the most durable available substrates while those made of polycarbonate are easier to work with in terms of the customization of their physical appearance. Another option is to also use blended substrates – which offer the best properties of each type used in the combination.

 Graphic overlay materials

the materials used for the graphics in your panel overlays depend on different factors

Example 2

The material used for your graphic overlays relies most of all on the environment in which it will be used. All materials used have their pros and cons -- meaning you need to provide specifications for your particular use case. If you are uncertain on which materials fit your case best, you’re always welcome to contact our specialists. With over 50 years of experience in the industry, we will surely help you make the right decision.

To help you make a better, well-informed decision, here are the most common types of materials used for overlays, each with its specific use case:

Polycarbonate (PC) overlays

Polycarbonate overlays are easy to print, cut and texture. While durable, in heavy-duty environments, it is possible that the substrates show signs of wear after approx. 100,000 uses. If the materials are meant to appear in environments with chemicals, it is recommended that you utilize a hard coating material for protection of the overlay. The polycarbonate gives the layering a crisper emboss compared to polyester and is transparent at any thickness. Compared to polyester, polycarbonate is a less costly material than polyester and at the same time, it is often the preferred material. This type of overlay is by nature transparent – with the possibility of applying a texture. Polycarbonate (PC) Overlays are a widespread choice when impact resistance is of high importance – and can be additionally supplemented with isolation/coating for chemicals and heat if required by the environment in which the products will be used. Polycarbonate has a dielectric constant (k) of 2.9-3.0. See the full specification sheet of polycarbonate by clicking here.

Graphic overlays for appliances, cabinets, boxes, machinery, etc. are often produced with polycarbonate material. We can produce graphic overlays with polycarbonate with either surface or subsurface print. The adhesive lamination will be tailored after your specifications and needs, so the optimum adhesion is always achieved. In addition, special adhesives are available for overlays intended for “difficult” surfaces e.g. adhesive for low energy plastics, powder coating, etc.

Polycarbonate Advantages & Disadvantages
Pros Cons
 1. Good Durability 1. Less abrasion resistant 
2. Suitable for thin applications 2. Needs extra coating in hazardous environments 
3. High flexibility   
4. Transparent over a variety of thickness  
5. Good key sensitivity  
6. Less costly    

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Polyester (PET) fascias

There are quite a few reasons why you should pick a polyester material as a better alternative to polycarbonate. Graphic overlays made with polyester show no signs of wear and tear even after 10 times as many actuations (1.000.000-10.000.000 actuations) as the polycarbonate variation. However, polyester overlays are also more costly.

Polyester can endure chemical environments, resistant to scratches and are generally tougher and more durable. Polyester overlays are the best choice for you in heavy-duty environments – primarily outdoor scenes/sites where the appliances are prone to handling many actuations and harsh environments. Polyester is especially great for the medical and military industries. It is ideal and always a safe choice in graphic panel overlays because of its chemical and abrasion resistance. However, it is very important to note that polyester is NOT flame retardant and should not be used in environments potential with fire/heat hazard. Polyester has a relative permittivity (k) of 2.8-4.5. See the full specification of polyester by clicking here. Both polyester and polycarbonate are ideal options for touch control panels where flexibility is needed – e.g. frames, keys, symbols and texts.

Polyester Advantages & Disadvantages
Pros Cons
1. Standard/good key sensitivity    1. Not flame retardant
2. High chemical & abrasion resistance  2. More costly
3. Very high durability  

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Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) fascias

Vinyl is a great plastic polymer material for virtually every required need and is suitable for both end-consumer and industrial use. Polyvinyl overlays are a long-term solution with great durability and flexibility even if the material is exposed to high/low temperatures and different levels of moisture. Compared to tempered glass, Polyvinyl overlays have a pliability that allows you to apply the material to irregular and curved surfaces. See the full specification of polyvinyl chloride by clicking here

PVC Overlays are often used for:

  • Display options and buttons
  • Product and branding information
  • Equipment protection in hard environments
  • Warning and safety instructions

Polyvinyl can be customized to every shape, die cut, full-colour print, optional coating for chemical, UV and scratch resistance and can be used both indoors and outdoors. Polyvinyl is a cost-effective material and a great choice for industrial applications. Polyvinyl overlays can be produced in a great variety of thicknesses to match your requirements and also meet your expectations in terms of print quality, shape and size. The dielectric constant (k) of polyvinyl is 3.4 – essentially placing it in the same category as PC, PET & PMMA.

Polyvinyl Chloride Advantages & Disadvantages
Pros Cons
Good key sensitivity 1. Not flame retardant
High pliability 2. Warps under high temperatures
3. High durability 3. Not environmentally friendly
4. Cost-effective  

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Looking for other types of warning / instructional signage? Click here to see our custom signs products and services.


 

Polyurethane (PU)

Polyurethane is a component often used as an insulator for electronics by environmental influence. With its good electronic properties, excellent adhesion, abrasion resistance, impact strength and low-temperature flexibility, it is a widely used material in 3D epoxy dome coating. However, polyurethane also comes with certain disadvantages - having a low upper service temperature compared to other industry standard chemical compounds renders the material less compatible in hot environments. See the full specification of polyurethane by clicking here.

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Acrylic (PMMA) fascias

Acrylic is often used in substrates when abrasion and chemical resistance is of high importance and it’s a more affordable alternative to polycarbonate overlays where impact strength is not of high priority but UV resistance, tensile strength and flexibility are. With a typical glossy surface, the acrylic materials often appear of high-quality to the end user. Acrylic’s relative permittivity (k) - 2.7-4.5 - is similar to that of polyester. If you are already considering polyester or polycarbonate for your given type of application, replacing the material with acrylic will not result in lower key sensitivity. However, compared to PET & PC, acrylic is typically used in environments where material thickness is not of high importance. See the full specification of acrylic by clicking here.

Acrylic Advantages & Disadvantages
Pros Cons
1. Superb optic quality 1. Can yellow out after long UV exposure
2. Standard key sensitivity 2. Low impact strength
3. Excellent abrasion and chemical resistance  

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Tempered Glass

Tempered glass is a type of glass that has an increased material strength through a chemical or thermal treatment. Tempered glass is an excellent option for capacitive touch human machine interface manufacturing where key sensitivity and high resistance are of great importance - since it offers both a high dielectric constant (k) of 7.2 – 8.0 and a very high abrasion resistance of 9H (Pencil Hardness Test, ASTM D3363). Since tempered glass properties can vary from brand to brand, it is best you check in with your supplier for the correct specification sheet.

graphic overlay hardness tested with the pencil hardness test ASTM d3363

Because of its high sensitivity, tempered glass overlays allow for high precision in micro-controllers. Additionally, when shattered, tempered glass breaks into small granular pieces in contrast to sharp edges that “normal” (plate, annealed) glass pieces produce ensuring higher overall safety. The main disadvantages of tempered glass, however, lie in its flexibility. Tempered glass is a very rigid material which will not bend or deform during installation and use which in many cases can create challenges – both during the manufacturing and assembly processes.

Tempered Glass Advantages & Disadvantages
Pros Cons
1. Extreme abrasion resistance  1. Very rigid, not flexible
2. Full optical clarity throughout life cycle 2. Higher cost
3. Excellent key sensitivity  3. Challenging to manufacture/assemble
4. Safe if broken  

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Printing Techniques

there are different printing techniques when it comes to overlays for panels and electronics

Example 3

These layers are available with either surface or subsurface (substrate) print, where we also provide you with the possibility to make a combination of two of our specialties - screen printing and digital printing (see our combination printing page). We are flexible and always deliver the absolutely best quality of printing.

Best materials

You get the right material for the job, which can then be embossed or over laminated if required and then platen, plotter or laser cut dependent upon the material used.  It is also possible to supply these with a self-adhesive backing if needed. They can be supplied in sheets or individually. In other words, we will deliver the product that solves your task perfectly.

Membrane switch specifications

Membrane switch overlays are supplied with the optimum self-adhesive backing for your requirement.  They can also be supplied embossed for added impact or with an over laminated transparent film for additional protection.

Customized printing

We are experts in graphic overlay printing and thanks to our expertise we can produce customized overlays in any shape, size and ensure long lasting durability. We take great pride in printing high quality overlays and print each overlay with finesse, precision and care.

Compliance with microscopic tolerances

To ensure compliance with the given tolerances, continuous control measurements are performed in the manufacturing process. Our advanced optical measuring device DeMeet 400 is able to measure and document tolerances down to 1 micrometre (1 μm). Learn more about our documentation of tolerances here.

Surface vs subsurface printing

Screen- and digital printed graphic overlays are often printed on the under surface (also called reverse printing). This provides the printed overlay with a solid protection not only to wind, weather and daily handling but also gives a textured surface.  By printing on the surface, the graphics will over time be worn away by the environment and daily use.

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Use cases

fascias with different properties are requried for each use case based on the specific requiruements of the client

Example 4

Membrane switch and panel overlays are an important part of controlling human-machine interface. Many different industries are using panel overlays on their machine control panels. For example:

  • Medical
  • Military
  • Industrial and manufacturers
  • Marine
  • Transport

Every industry has unique and different machines and that is why panel overlays have to be custom designed. It is crucial that every single detail gets attention to make long lasting and durable graphic overlays that give a great user interface for the operators to control the machines.

Custom HMI overlays

order online custom HMI graphic overlays for panels, electronics and machines with surface or undersurface printing and adhesion

Example 5

Self-adhesive labels and graphic overlays can be screen printed, digital printed or a combination of screen- and digital print. Most of the overlays we produce are printed on the under surface of the polycarbonate, polyester or acrylic. By printing on the undersurface, the print is guaranteed to be shielded from chemicals, scratches and everyday wear and tear.

Materials and finish

We offer the standard finishes in terms of polycarbonate and polyester: low gloss, gloss, brushed and velvet.

Screen printing

For screen printing, we have an advanced colour matching system that ensures the correct colour, regardless of whether we need to match to a Pantone, RAL, NCS reference colour or a submitted colour sample. The colour is also continuously assessed relative to the substrate to be printed.

We computer-match our UV curable inks to guarantee an exact color reproduction. Read more about our screen printing process here.

Digital printing

Digital printing is suitable for tasks of all volumes. It provides a quick start-up and straight forward design and development. We have both UV and solvent solutions. It is possible to alter the content and information quickly and cheaply. Consecutive numbering and personalized text are no obstacle. Digital printing is also eminently suitable for highlighting fine detail. Read more about our digital printing process here.

We can digitally print in 4 colors + white on to self-adhesive substrates, plastic, acrylic, metal, cardboard, foamed PVC etc. in up to 50 mm material thickness. However, the material to be printed always needs to be flat.

Colour matching

The graphic designers colour match with the latest vector-based software. The screen-printing department colour matches with the exact science of UV curable ink mixing formulas.

Adhesives

what adhesives are best for graphic overlays depends entirely on the environment it is used in

Example 6

You can choose between a great variety of high-quality adhesives for your panel overlays. We ensure top performance by using the best adhesives available. Whether your panels require low surface energy or more specialized adhesives we have a solution for you.

Sizes and shapes

We produce, design and deliver graphic overlays and panels in almost every shape and size you can imagine. Your required features and design will depend on the printed method: screen print, digital print or a combination of both to produce overlays in the most cost efficiency way.

Display Windows

overlays for panels and electronics with display windows and dials

Example 7

Graphic solutions ready to be fitted on to appliances, cabinets, enclosures, machines, etc.

Can be surface or under surface printed on to polycarbonate, polyester, acrylic or vinyl, all in either gloss or matt finish, as required.  Clear windows for LEDs or can be printed with transparent ink to allow any colour to show from a white light source.

Can be supplied without adhesive behind the window areas for maximum visibility or with transparent adhesive to act as a light diffuser.

Special adhesives available for overlays to be applied to ‘difficult’ surfaces e.g. adhesive for low energy plastics, powder coating, etc.

Embossing

We can emboss many substrates to provide overlays with raised areas – e.g. for buttons, frames, text and symbols. It is also possible to add polyurethane doming to specified areas of your overlay to improve ease of use and enhance its appearance. Learn about our 3D dome coating process here.

 

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Industriprint A/S

Church Hill, Lawford, Essex
CO11 2JX

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