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October 13, 2020

Directional Film on ALPOLIC MCM

Directional Film on ALPOLIC MCM

The white film applied to our finished metal composite material (MCM) may appear to be there solely for the product’s surface protection, but did you know it is also intended to serve as a guide for both fabrication and final installation?  That’s because printed on the film, and on the back of the product, are directional arrows designed to help keep the color consistent as individual panels are placed onto the MCM system.

“The arrows serve a critical purpose in helping fabricated panels align as intended upon the final install,” said James Moses, Technical Services Manager for ALPOLIC.  “It’s important that the panels get fabricated and installed using these arrows so, once on the wall, they all face the same direction or as the designer/architect intended.”

This project, featuring CLR Anodized finish, creates subtle yet striking dimension by purposefully alternating the direction of the panels

With coil coating aluminum composite material, paint is applied, regardless of the application process, as the metal is moving, causing particles in the paint to fall or “flop” in the one direction.  This results in a conditional color difference, based on which direction you are looking along the coil.  Moses equates it to the same reason that a mowed lawn appears to be striped visually due to the direction the mower was moving as the grass was being cut.  “The color change is typically slight, but if two panels with arrows in different directions are placed next to each other the color difference is magnified and a “checkerboard” appearance may occur,” said Moses.

Color directionality is common to all coil coated products, but the difference is most pronounced in flake-containing finishes such as micas and metallics.  However, it’s important to remember that this effect can happen with any painted finish because of the pigment particles inherent in all paint.

“Sometimes, this checkerboard effect is built into the overall design. But most of the time, it is an unfortunate error,” said Moses.  “We want the product to look its best installed, so we do consider every finish as directional, and the directional arrows on the film and printed on the back of our MCM sheets are there to help.”

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