When our customers come to us at NGS Printing, they usually have their artwork finalized but may need some help choosing a material and thickness for their application. Selecting the right material is often a balance of durability, utility, safety, longevity and overall look. Knowing characteristics of your choice helps ensure the hanging signs, headers, aisle violators or printed display panels look as intended and are not over-engineered for the application.
What they may not know is the material that's best to use when they're looking for a clear substrate with high-quality, long-lasting performance. Take strength and crack resistance as an example. Accidents happen, especially in retail. When the wind blows through as the door opens or sigange gets bumped off shelves and countertops, you want a material that can roll with the punches.
PETG comes through. Here's a brief breakdown into one makes PETG more resilient – to the point of being virtually unbreakable.
"PETG is approximately seven times more impact resistant than acrylic."
What makes PETG so strong?
PETG, which stands for polyethylene terephthalate, is a clear thermoplastic used to make food and beverage containers, but we use it to sheet form for printing signage. PETG is part of the polyster family of plastics, which makes it highly recyclable and a great option if sustainability is a concern. Flexible and quite light, these primary characteristics of PETG are the main reason why it takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin' when it's bumped into or knocked to the ground. In fact, it's approximately seven times more impact resistant than acrylic.
In other words, if you were to make two signs with the same degree of thickness – one PETG and the other acrylic – PETG would hold up much better. Although not recommended, if you actually threw PETG to the ground or against any hard surface, it wouldn't shatter into glass-like pieces like acrylic can. This not only makes it an ideal material for use with POP displays where there can be high amounts of traffic and potentially fall, but it's also a smart choice when it comes to safety, as it won't shatter into sharp shards.
PETG is softer but more flexible than acrylic, which makes it more forgiving but easier to scratch. While it doesn't break easily, the same can't be said for acrylic. This material has many great characteristics, but it's not the best one to use if strength and durability is what you most want out of it.
PETG versus acrylic
When choosing between acrylic or PETG, it's important to know that PETG is preferred if your POP display is going to be thermoformed. It's flexible and easily fabricated with router-cutting, heat-bending and even die-cut at thin gauges.
A further virtue of PETG is clarity, which is an important element of second-surface printing. This is used when print is intended to be viewed through the material. PETG allows for this, as does acrylic. If you're looking for optically clear substrate, acrylic is a slightly better option. PETG has a slight blue-green hue to the material that can affected overall translucency.
In addition to being lightweight, PETG is pretty light on your wallet as well. When you're evaluating which material to go with in terms of costs, there's a lot to take into account. For instance, acrylic is slightly less expensive than PETG. But that's strictly from a material standpoint. However, since PETG is easier to print on and fabricate, it can be less expensive in the POP display industry due to manufacturing savings.
If cost is your top concern, talk with us beforehand and we'll give you a ballpark estimate as to whether acrylic or PETG is the better buy and stronger for your dollar.
If clear, resilient material is your aim, PETG is an excellent material option to consider. Contact us at NGS Printing for results that go above and beyond the ink.