Printing on Styrene-Faced Foam board (UltraBoard)
Styrene-faced foam board also known as (UltraBoard, Gatorplast, Infinity Board, or Duraplast) is a great solution for thick rigid signage applications where flatness, rigidity, and weight are important. Where paper based foam boards fail, styrene-faced foam board excels.
In this article, we’ll talk a bit about what styrene capped foam board is, why brands and retailers prefer using it, and why you should do so with NGS.
What is Styrene capped Foam board?
This unique foam board has no paper composition and instead is all plastic based. This all plastic foam board is composed of a high-density polystyrene foam and is capped between two print-grade high-impact polystyrene faced sheets.
The absence of paper in the product makes this all-plastic substrate more durable, impact resistant, warp resistant, and moisture resistant than paper-based foam boards (foam core). The combination of the denser (2.5x) polystyrene foam and the high-impact polystyrene facers make this sandwich substrate dent resistant and durable for retail use and smooth for digital printing or screen-printing means.
There are (3) main brand names of what is generically called styrene-capped foam board (Ultraboard, Gatorplast, or Infinity Board). Each brand performs similarly and are interchangeable for most purposes. They can range in thickness from 3/16” to 3”.
Printing On Styrene faced Foam board
Due to the thickness, plastic capping, and rigidity, substrates like styrene faced foam board can only be imaged via screen printing or digital inkjet printing methods as other print methods aren’t feasible. The manufacturers of this material recommend using UV based ink sets.
One advantage of using high-impact polystyrene facers is that the material is extremely smooth. Smooth materials require less ink for the same visual result. Polystyrene also has a bright white-point, making colors more vibrant versus paper-based foamcore options that tend to have a yellow hue.
Why Should You Use Styrene faced Foam board?
For applications requiring depth, durability, and quality, there are few material options better suited than styrene-capped foam board. UltraBoard, Infinity Board and GatorPlast are lightweight solutions for those seeking thick dimensional graphic solutions such as hanging retail signage, dimensional letters, retail fixtures, interior header signs, window displays, 3D dimensional displays, interior signage, and interior POP displays.
Cutting the signage to shape is easy with numerous options. Styrene-faced foam board can be router cut or saw cut cleanly. At some smaller thicknesses, digital die cutting is an option. Materials easy to print and fabricate with minimal considerations cost less to produce and thus more savings.
Styrene-faced foam board is superior to other sandwich board alternatives in nearly every way, making it an ideal choice for high-quality prints that will last a long time. This combination of lightweight and rugged sturdiness makes UltraBoard, Infinity Board and GatorPlast materials a unique and often preferred choice when it comes to printing.
One of the best features of the styrene-capped foam board is that it’s very sturdy and is entirely dent and scratch resistant. Signage used in public retail establishments are touched, scratched, bumped, and ultimately damaged. Because styrene-capped foam board uses a high-density styrene foam that is about 2.5x denser than the foam used in paper-based foam boards, the foam doesn’t compress as easily causing dents. Paired with using high-impact polystyrene (HIPS) as facers glued to the foam, make this material safe and sturdy. Customers who bump into it by accident, leave little damage making this preferred for public use.
Outside of its sturdy material makeup, the styrene-capped foam board lasts a long time. This is because it’s made out of synthetic materials that are moisture resistant, dent / scratch resistant, and warp resistant. Materials that are built with durability in mind rarely need replacing unless the marketing signage becomes irrelevant. Using durable materials for medium to long term life spans lowers replacement costs and ensures the graphics and brand always look good. Damaged or poorly executed signage can tarnish a brand or lower pricing power.
Thick substrate materials are typically used to add aesthetically pleasing dimension or add rigidity. Unfortunately, some thick material alternatives like cardboard, Coroplast, or foam boards are inferior at both. Fluted materials like cardboard or Coroplast have what appears to be unfinished edges where the flutes can be seen. Meanwhile, paper-based foam board frequently show tears or compression marks in the side profile of the foam caused from die cutting. Ultraboard and other styrene-capped foam boards are router cut and are done so cleanly. This process does not cause compression marks or unsightly side profiles.
Styrene-capped foam board is also available in different color faces. Most common is WWW which stands for white face front, white foam, white face back. Also available from most manufacturers is WWB, WBW, WBB, or BBB. This construction of different colors can yield to a style that is not possible with other materials.
Styrene-faced foam board is straightforward in its construction. Technically, it’s a sandwich consisting of two layers of high-impact polystyrene as its top and bottom layers and a middle layer of high-density polystyrene. The high-density foam is injected with air causing depth but little weight. The more foam, the thicker the material but not substantial weight increases. The styrene foam gives the material its rigidity ensuring long life and maximum durability, but the nature of the materials also makes it exceptionally lightweight.
Unlike the most common decor, installers won’t need herculean strength to hang up a piece that’s printed on styrene-capped foam board. Using light materials are also less dangerous if a sign were to unfortunately fall.
Styrene faced foam board uses a styrene foam and styrene facers making this sandwich board all one consistent recyclable plastic. Polystyrene is a thermoplastic that can be ground up, melted, and repalletized to be reused in plastic extrusion again. Polystyrene (PS) is recyclable under code #6.
Why NGS Printing?
NGS Printing has been serving the point-of-purchase and retail community for over 60 years and has a clean reputation of providing the highest quality digital inkjet graphics and screen-printed graphics in the market. We pride ourselves on living on the bleeding edge of printing technology where our customers are receiving unmatched quality and efficiency. .
Companies seeking bulk graphics produced of great color and resolution, at a fast rate, and in an affordable manner, should have NGS Printing quote your project.
Regardless of whether you opt for the ultra-light, ultra-high quality, and ultra-affordable UltraBoard or some other printing material – if you’re getting your prints done at NGS, you can rest assured that you’re getting the best that the industry as a whole has to offer at unbeatable prices.