- How temporary is temporary?
- Can the protective film/tape that is used for my application be measured and dispensed automatically?
- My automatic dispenser works just fine most of the time. But it is a nightmare to use in winter. The tape either wraps around the rollers inside the machine, or rolls up onto itself coming out of the machine. Sometimes, the leading edge of tape sticks to the front of the machine and folds up with the adhesive side sticking to itself. What can I do?
- We received a shipment of stainless steel with an unknown type of plastic film that appears to be baked onto the surface. I can’t pull the film off and I can’t get a solvent onto the adhesive to remove it. How do I remove this *&^%$ stuff?
We specialize in temporary protective films, but the term temporary can mean different things to different people at different times. Surface Armor “seals in the magic” from the time it is applied until the moment the end user removes it. Some products reach the end-user in days. Other products reach the end-user in months, or longer. We’ll work with you to identify the film for the life-span of your products. (Note: The recommended shelf life on most films is six months, when they are stored in a controlled environment. Be sure to include shelf life considerations into the life cycle of your projects.)
Can the protective film/tape that is used for my application be measured and dispensed automatically?
In a word, probably. Automated, definite-length dispensers are designed to facilitate high rates of production. As such, they attempt to meter out a length of tape as fast as the operator can take the piece of tape away and apply it for end use. These dispensers are remarkably accurate when dispensing thick (4 mil and up), high tack (8 ounce per inch and up) tape.
On thin and/or low tack films, there may not be enough substance for the metering rollers in the dispenser to grip onto in order to push out the film. If the rollers slip, the length of film that is pushed out will be too short by some unpredictable amount.
Give us a call or get in touch and describe your particular situation, and we will do our best to provide a solution.
My automatic dispenser works just fine most of the time. But it is a nightmare to use in the winter. The tape either wraps around the rollers inside the machine, or rolls up onto itself coming out of the machine, or the leading edge of tape sticks to the front of the machine and folds up with the adhesive side sticking to itself. What can I do?
Increase the relative humidity in the work area. In the winter, the air in workplaces typically becomes drier. As humidity decreases, static electricity builds up causing those little lightning-bolt shocks we experience when we open a door, touch our computer keyboard, or zap unsuspecting friends. Just as it makes socks cling to pants legs, static electricity also causes plastic tape and film to become highly attracted to anything that may be nearby: a tabletop, a dispenser, or itself. It also turns the film into a magnet for loose sawdust, metal filings, lint and other contaminants in the area.
Give these steps a try to reduce static electricity and prevent contamination:
• Electrically ground the work bench, as well as the dispenser, to remove static build-up;
• Store the film/tape in an area, where the humidity is at least 50 percent;
• Tilt the dispenser so that the dispensed tape is farther away from the base of the machine;
• Position the dispenser so that the dispensed tape is farther away from the workbench—higher up, or reaching out over the floor, or both.
• If feasible, install the tape in the dispenser with the sticky side up so that it curls away from the machine;
• Position a string of metallic tinsel (like from a Christmas tree) so that it brushes the top of the tape as it is being dispensed to bleed off static build-up;
• Use a thicker film/tape during the winter. The additional sturdiness of the film may be sufficient to prevent curling, drooping and clinging that cause machine malfunctions.
• Head to Cabo until summer returns (and take us with you!).
We received a shipment of stainless steel with an unknown type of plastic film that appears to be baked onto the surface. I can’t pull the film off and I can’t get a solvent onto the adhesive to remove it. How do I remove this *&^%$ stuff? ––Signed, Bummed Out in Brooklyn
Dear BB: The “unknown film” is probably LDPE, which is low density polyethylene. And, the adhesive is probably a water-based acrylic. These are both assumptions, since the majority (though not all) of the protective films now manufactured in the U.S., are comprised of a water-based acrylic adhesive coated onto LDPE plastic.
The white and black films (with the adhesive on the black side), commonly used to protect stainless steel, are co-extruded LDPE films. Extruding two thin layers of molten plastic in contact with each other makes for a stronger, more abrasion resistant film than the same amount of plastic as one, thicker layer.
Water-based acrylic adhesives are pressure, UV light, dwell time and heat sensitive adhesives. The more you have of each of these variables, especially in combination with each other, the “better” these adhesives perform – to the point where they won’t let go of either the surface being protected nor the carrier film they rode in on. Then, the adhesive and/or plastic become fused to the surface. If the surface has a “texture” that the adhesive can get into, the adhesive can have an even more aggressive bond with the surface.
As you have already discovered, LDPE plastic is non-permeable, meaning that liquids and solvents cannot penetrate it. This is the reason that you can’t get your adhesive dissolving agent to work.
LDPE plastic cannot be dissolved by most chemicals, including adhesive removing agents. Note: If a liquid adhesive-remover arrives in a plastic bottle, chances are pretty good that that particular liquid isn’t going to dissolve your plastic film.
To make matters worse, LDPE won’t break down, dissolve or degrade in less than 500 years, except at very high temperatures. Note: Those high temperatures would not be kind to your underlying surface.
So, getting to the ultimate answer to your question, to remove the baked-on film, rough up the plastic film with 100 grit sandpaper (but don’t go so deep that you scratch the stainless steel). Then, soak the scratched up plastic with an adhesive removal agent, such as mineral oil, Adhesive Off, Goo gone, etc. Let the removal agent work for several minutes then begin scraping the plastic and adhesive goo off the surface with a plastic scraper or power washer as they won’t mar the surface of your stainless steel. Once you get the plastic off, it will be easier to remove any remaining adhesive residue.