Today, street signs are 100% digitally printed. Yes, that’s right; no more paint or printing. They’re now a big, technologically advanced sticker on a piece of aluminum. Often times the background material or Sheeting is a highly reflective film developed specifically for printing street signs. Knowing this fact can leave you a lot of choices in your sign printing needs, however you can always trust StopSignStore.com. We have over 35 years of experience, serving both state and federal departments of transportation, you can rest assured your signs will be compliant with all industry standards like MUTCD and FHWA.
Most digitally printed signs used today are produced on Specialty UV InkJet printers. Think of it like a desktop InkJet printer on steroids — like a whole lot of steroids. All signs from the StopSignStore.com use Industry leading 3M UltraViolet Ink Jet printing, which means a variety of layer thicknesses can be used when applying the ink, resulting in very high quality prints. Other UV ink systems can provide good print results, however they have a high resistance to fading and visual stability over time. At the StopSignStore.com, we adhere to 3M recommendations and apply a protective overlay film which adds years to the color and reflectivity of the finished product. Plus it makes graffiti cleanup that much easier.
Because of the nature of these new UV technologies, the average life of a street sign will now exceed 15 years. UV inks do not contain any solvents, therefore they won’t dry out, plus there are no unpleasant odors or health risks posed by the inks. It’s also “greener” as there is less maintenance and cleaning work required at the printing press — meaning less cleanup chemicals are used which reduces the environmental impact too. That is great news!
Digitally printed signs save 80% or more of the raw materials used in the process. Since we print directly on 3M protective sheeting, a wide variety of signs can be printed at once. At StopSignStore.com, we optimize our digital production through a variety of graphic layout software which allows us to dramatically reduce production waste and keeps our prices low. Yep, another win for you and the environment!
How does 3M develop these important innovations? While already well known for innovation, in 2016 3M opened a brand new $150 million Research and Development lab, which brought together over 700 scientists from multiple locations so now they can collaborate and make technical advances in a team environment. With StopSignStore.com being an Authorized 3M Graphic Manufacturer, we can immediately take advantage of any of these new innovations and integrate them into every sign we produce for you.
All 3M Materials are constantly tested in a specialized Weathering Research Center to ensure they hold up even in the harshest of weather conditions. Why is this important? Looking back at a study in Minnesota in 1991, some of the signs which were as little as 2 years old showed a high decrease in reflectivity. A lot of this can be attributed to weather conditions as well as some of the older application methods such as silkscreen, etching, or other various coloring processes. But with the advances in UV Inkjet printing, a recent Pennsylvania study from 2012 found that many street signs were experiencing 15+ years in life expectancy, with a degradation of only 2.8% in reflectivity at average age of 14 years! StopSignStore.com is a member of ATSSA (American Traffic Safety Services Association), so you can rest assured we are always committed to road safety.
So next time you see a stop sign or road sign, take a moment to ponder that it’s not just our phones and other electronics that are experiencing awesome technological growth; leaps and bounds are being made in all aspects of life — even road signs.