#Signs and the Coefficient of Change

Coefficient of Change

Experience is an amazing, if somewhat costly, teacher.

We at #SignForce we recently asked to maintain a #sign (#signmaintenance) where the lights had stopped working. When we touched some of the letters they literally fell apart.

Now let me give some background. #SignForce did not initially make the sign and we don’t know exactly how old it is. We do know it has been in it’s current position for 30 months when the sign moved with its owner. The reason I am explaining this is when one hears that the sign fell apart, it is common for the first thought to be that is is a result of poor workmanship, which I do not believe is the case in the instance.

Back to experience and the difference in the coefficient of change.

A while back – in 2010 – #SignForce manufactured and installed a 3D sign that was attached to the glass face of the building – the sign is in fact a total of eight stories high. One of the lessons that was learned from that installation is that, if the coefficient of change – the rate at which one material expands and contracts when it heats or cools in relation to a second material – is too large, one or both of the materials will literally tear themselves apart.

On inspection of the letters that fell apart, it seems this is the issue. The #stainless steel and #acrylic that were glued together simply placed too much strain on the #acrylic causing the acrylic to fracture in multiple places.

While the two materials CAN be attached to each other, various factors need to be taken onto account in order to prevent fracturing – something that comes with experience and expensive lessons.

If you are looking for a sign that combines various materials it may be worth approaching a business like #SignForce who have been around the block a few times and could thus be able to assist without the sign falling apart.

Contact #SignForce now on 011 440 7525 or at arnold@signfrce.co.za to get assistance and an obligation free quote.

How to clean a sign

How to clean a sign

Good.Signs are an investment,  so as with most investments,  a good, working sign should be maintained and cleaned on a regular basis.Maintenance includes cleaning and maintenance of moving or working components and parts of your sign,  which will be covered in a separate blog article.

Cleaning your sign is important because, when done correctly,  the clean sign will enhance the image of your business while lengthening the life of your sign.The cleaning materials to be used,  as well as the techniques used to clean your sign will depend on: A. The type – substrate – of the sign, B. Access to the sign, and C. The material used for the face of the sign.

A. Type of sign

While Chromadek – a powder coated metal – can be cleaned with harsh chemicals like mentholated spirits or paint thinners, even Chromadek should not be cleaned using acetone, although it is generally safest to clean most signs using mild detergent, with a rule of thumb being if you wouldn’t use the detergent to wash your hands,  avoid using it on the sign.

Perspex and other plastic signs can generally be cleaned using harsh chemicals, however,  one should be wary when using harsh petroleum based chemicals to clean plastic based signs because if the sign was heat treated or heat polished,  there is the high possibility that the plastic or perspex could fracture or shatter.

Being made from plastic based products, flexface signs and banners should not be cleaned using any harsh chemicals,  but should rather be cleaned using a general degreaser,  with most dish washing liquids doing a great job.

B. Access to the sign – or more accurately lack of access  – may make it impractical for the sign to be cleaned often,  if at all.   Shop front signs can generally be accessed using an eight foot (two meter) ladder,  so while access isn’t ‘easy’, it is simple enough,  and possible to access the sign with a ladder, so cleaning of your store front sign should be included in your general cleaning routine.

External signs,  such as many found on the outside ot shopping centres,  are sometimes  placed too high to be worked on without specialist knowledge and equipment,  so it is advisable to assess the cost of maintenance against the replacement cost of the sign as well as the loss of brand image if the sign looks very bad.

C. The material used for the face of the sign is the final,  and possibly most important determinant of how the sign should be cleaned, as while harsh chemicals can generally be used quite safely on cast or solid colour vinyl, when used on digital prints, (and more and more signs are being decorated with digital prints), harsh chemicals will more often than not remove the image that the cleaning is intending to preserve.

As with most signs it is generally better erring on the side of caution and using water and soft detergents when cleaning printed signs.

If you are looking for signs and a professional signage company or simply want advice on sign maintenance or general advice on signs please contact either arnold@signforce.co.za or david@signforce.co.za and we will get back to you as quickly as possible.