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14. DETERMINE IF 3M 983 OR REFLEXITE EMS IS BEST FOR MY APPLICATION?

14. HOW TO DETERMINE IF 3M 983 OR REFLEXITE EMS IS BEST FOR MY APPLICATION?

Advantages & disadvantages 3M 983 Diamond Grade versus Reflexite

3M 3900 & 4000 series are NOT recommended for vehicle graphics (for signage only)

3M 983 DIAMOND GRADE

 

PROS:

  • Conspicuity grade for longest advanced driver warning
  • Easy to install on PERFECTLY flat areas because it is very rigid.
  • Slightly more cost-efficient than Reflexite if NOT transformed

 

CONS:

  • BLUE is not available
  • Very expensive to transform because of thickness and rigidity (“open-cell” construction).
  • Cannot be installed using the “wet” method.
  • “Open-cell” construction must be edge sealed at every cut or voids 3M warrantee. (water and grime infiltration)
  • Not recommended for unit numbers or lettering because cannot be cut on a standard plotter. Any cut edge must be sealed or HOT CUT.  (expensive)
  • Cannot be forced along any compound bend or curve. Not practical for lateral striping on a side of a vehicle that is not completely flat.
  • Cannot withstand any impact.  Cells will break and allow moisture & grime infiltration.
  • Installation more expensive if edges are properly sealed.

 

REFLEXITE Daybright EMS

 

PROS:

  • Blue and gold available
  • Conspicuity grade for longest advanced driver warning
  • Can be installed using “wet method”  (facilitates installation)
  • “Closed-cell” construction eliminates need for edge sealing
  • “Closed-cell” construction allows cutting of product on any commercial plotter to allow for unit numbers or vehicle identification to become 5X more reflective (added safety) than “normal” lettering cut from 3M 680 or Other glass bead sheeting
  • “Closed-cell” construction is “impact” resistant…no reduction in reflectivity because there are no cells to break.
  • Much more flexible than 3M 983 and therefore easy to use for lateral striping to match rear chevrons.  Can be applied over slight compound bends (fender etc.)
  • Very easy to install and cut on vehicle (if required).
  • Maintains high reflectivity when wet.
  • This product is now being used by most Fire OEM’s and Ambulance OEM’s in Canada, and now on Ottawa EMS and Fire.

 

CONS:

  • Initial cost of non transformed ”full rolls” is about 40% more expensive than Diamond Grade

 

Roll-up door applications:

Since 3M 983 must be “edge-sealed” when cut through the open-cell construction, it is highly suggested to install pre-fabricated pre-cut chevrons that have been sealed using the “hot-cut” method.  Only manufacturers with a special cutting plotter are able to do this.

Reflexite V-98 is the newest series and is even more flexible for vehicle graphics.  It is not recommended for installation over non-painted surfaces (such as roll-up doors and diamond checker plate).

3M 680 is a non-prismatic less reflective sheeting (6-8X less) but it is a good compromise to do roll-up doors. There are no fluorescent colors; it can be printed over white. Black is available.