Everything you need to know about using polyester (PET) films.

Why Polyester base film?

The advantage of polyester films (PET) is two-fold: 1) they have good stiffness with high dimensional stability, which ensures no curling or stretching (e.g. ideal for roll-up applications) and 2) they are very temperature stable ( ideal for toner applications). They are bi-axially oriented during the manufacturing process which develops a very high tensile strength and are largely unaffected by the high fuser temperatures in Laser printers, or UV lamps when UVC printed. They are relatively inert and as such benign to the environment after disposal.

Do PET films have a short grain or long grain?

Polyester material doesn’t have a grain like paper does so this isn’t an issue when printing.

Is Polyester Waterproof?

Yes. Laser printed samples have been submerged in seawater for months without damage. Successful tests have also been carried out on behalf of the Ministry of Defense for submarine manuals (toner printed).

How strong is Polyester?

An A4 sheet of 95 micron Polyester, under tension, will easily support a weight of 150kgs (330 lbs)! If you prefer to see for yourself, check out the Strongest Men Competition Video.

How long will Polyester last?

PET films are a very durable solution that withstands roughest handling and harshest environments thanks to its unique coating properties which makes it tear and scratch resistant and now even resilient to alcohol-containing liquids.

How long will Polyester last outdoors?

This does depend on location but we would expect a life in excess of 3 years before any noticeable deterioration occurred.

Will Polyester burn?

Polyester can be combusted only by remaining in continuous contact with a flame. If the flame source is stationary, the film will shrink away and self-extinguish. Film remaining in contact with a flame can continue to burn slowly. Irritating fumes may be evolved at very high temperatures which are only likely to be reached in a major fire.

Can Polyester film be recycled?

All our polyester films have special aqueous coatings designed to optimise print performance in various Digital Equipment & as such are not classed as PET for recycling. They come under category 7, other plastics. As inert materials they can be buried in approved landfill facilities. In addition, they can be incinerated safely & are a potential source of energy.

Is PET environmental-friendly? Is there a degradable variant?

It is not degradable in short term, but its combustion produces less harmful substances than eg. PVC. We do have a matt white film variant in 170 and 245 micron matte white film consisting of 30% recycled PET bottles; in that sense it is an environmentally friendly alternative.

Do Polyester coated films meet any toy safety or food regulations?

AppFactory Synthetics comply with European Standard EN 71-3:1994 Safety of Toys – Part 3: Migration of certain elements. This standard contains requirements which limit the amount of toxic metals (e.g. lead) in the materials used to make toys. AppFactory Synthetics do not emit any vapours or smells within the normal operating range of -20 to +35 Deg. C. Although not approved for use in direct contact with food it can be suitable as the basis for digitally printed tags mounted in suitable frames to promote/describe food items displayed in cooler and general display cabinets.

What is AppFactory Expert?

It is a high-quality polyester with a paper-like finish with a chemical top coating which ensures the toner is absorbed well (good toner adhesion); e.g. without the coating, you would be able to scratch off the toner easily.

Are AppFactory PET Films compatible with Dry Toner Print Processes?

Yes. They are suitable for most dry toner (laser/LED) processes, both mono and colour production printers & digital presses.  However, on such machines the user must establish for themselves the optimum settings and paper path, being aware of the thickness and weight of the material.

Is the Laserprintable coating temperature stable?

Yes, the coating has been proven temperature stable between  -40 up to +120 ° C/-40 up to +250 ° F.

Are AppFactory PET Films PVC-free?

Yes all our PET films are 100% PVC-free. Moreover, all our toner receptive coatings, made under normal manufacturing conditions, are 100% PVC-free as well.

Can AppFactory PET Films provoke skin reactions?

We are not aware of any dermatological issues, but have no formal accreditation specific to skin contact. Our coatings meet EN71-3 toy safety compliance. They also comply with REACH & RoHS legislation. If there is a specific standard / compliance we need to meet, we would be happy to seek accredited testing.

Can AppFactory PET Films withstand the high fusion temperatures of laser printers and digital presses?

Yes. Our PET Films can withstand high fusion temperatures of 180° C whereas most PVC and PP products cannot.

Why is the coating of AppFactory PET Films so important?

The coating ensures good toner adhesion and good toner transfer; it eliminates jamming thanks to better feeding into the printer. The coating locks in the toner and is designed to get rid off static charge quickly which in turn minimises post static and results in better stacking.

Will AppFactory PET Films curl, shrink or stretch?

Our PET film has been heat-stabilized prior to coating to eliminate curling, shrinkage and stretching.

Will AppFactory PET Films discolour?

Our PET film is UV resistant, it will not discolour however the toner itself is not UV resistant! The only lamination that would be required on PET is one to protect against UV rays; no printing process offers UV protection unless there would be lamination with UV Block.

Can you laminate or encapsulate AppFactory PET Films?

PET Films eliminate expensive post-print treatments such as lamination and encapsulation. However, if the need arises to laminate PET films, this can be done with cold lamination only.  Encapsulation on PET, on the other hand, is extremely difficult, also on all synthetics in general.

Can you print offset on AppFactory Synthetics?

The printable surface is also suitable for screen print and offset litho (but only by using fully oxidising inks). However, coated products are not required when you are using Litho, Silk, screen printers, or even Ultra Violet Curing printers so although you could use our laser printable AppFactory Expert, it would be rather expensive. For such applications, we can supply a basic printer-ready polyester.   The only recommendation is that the printer uses fully oxidising inks.

Does AppFactory Expert synthetic paper suit your digital press and laser printer?

We are very much aware that printer technology is evolving very rapidly. Hence, we are working in close collaboration with market leaders in toner-based equipment, such as Konica Minolta, OKI, Heidelberg just to name a few, who have extensively and successfully tested our synthetic paper. Our compatibility chart is available per product category in the Products Section. More compatibility results on product level will be added once these become available.

Can AppFactory Synthetics be diecut and trimmed?

In principle yes, PET as well as PP are perfectly suitable for diecutting as the material is fairly stable and rigid. However, suitability also largely depends of the application. We do recommend using blades specifically for polyester. Guillotine cutting is also suitable, though the printer should confirm their blade is sharp and free of nicks. Digital die cutting with a knife is acceptable; however laser die cutting is not compatible with synthetics.

Can AppFactory Synthetics be hole punched, perforated, drilled and scored?

Yes, AppFactory PET films can be hole punched, (micro-)perforated, drilled and scored under most conditions. However, perforations (e.g. pre-perforated doorhangers) on a 270my thick film is not recommended as it is too thick.

Is there a Desktop Variant in AppFactory's product range?

Yes. We offer a Desktop Variant ranging from 95 up to 270 micron that is suitable for most dry toner (laser/LED) processes, both mono and colour light production & Desktop printers.  The Desktop coating ensures a better toner transfer which results in better image quality and colour intensity. However, on such machines the user must establish for themselves the optimum settings and paper path, being aware of the thickness and weight of the material.

What about liquids resistance and cleaning procedures?

Currently all our synthetics have a generation 3 coating. Please click here to discover the Gen 3 characteristics, tips and tricks related to liquids resistance and cleaning.  This year our R&D have brought to market a generation 4 coating whose biggest feature is resistance against alcohol-containing liquids.  Some products, such as the white matt films and the recycled films have already moved to Gen 4, others are in transition. Once our Gen 3 stock is phased out, our PET films will be coated with the Gen 4 one.  At present, all Gen 4 products are only available upon demand. Please click here to discover the Gen 4 characteristics, tips and tricks related to liquids resistance and cleaning.

How important is my print room environment when printing AppFactory Synthetics?

Very, print room and storage conditions are very important. Optimum print room conditions are 10° to 30° C / 50° to 85° F and 40% to 55% relative humidity. If print room conditions are too dry or even too humid, excess static during production is possible. It is advisable to store the AppFactory Synthetic media in the original packaging until 24 to 48 hours prior to when printing is planned. Acclimate the stock to the print room environment for 24 to 48 hours. Optimum storage conditions are 10° to 20° C / 50° to 70° F and 20% to 55% relative humidity.

How do I design for the pre-perforated AppFactory Synthetic Media?

Free unprinted dielines/templates are available upon request. Requests can be emailed to info@appfactorydigital.com. AppFactory also offers a free demo version of its AppFactory Designer Software, a software specifically developed for its pre-perforated materials such as loop labels, pot tags, stake tags, business cards and many more.  Download the free demo version here. A licensed version is available upon request. Requests can be emailed to info@appfactorydigital.com.

How do I get additional technical support or submit a claim?

Please download our claim form here and submit it to our customer service department . Please provide as much information as possible for claims such as:
– Printing equipment being used including make and model number
– Equipment settings being used for printing
– Issue description (ie. runnability, jamming, print image quality, print defects etc?)
– The batch number on the product package label
– Relative Humidity and Temperature values in the print room when the issue occurred
– Photographs of print defects
– Physical samples of printed material showing defects
– Physical samples of blank material used for printing for analysis.
The information provided herein is correct to the best of our knowledge. No liability for any errors, facts or opinions is accepted..  We recommend users make their own assessments to satisfy themselves as to the suitability of this product for their application.  Unprinted samples are readily available on our webshop.