Vehicle wrapping is one of the most popular and competitive markets within the industry, but how can you ensure your work is of the highest quality and help you gain an advantage over your rival?
FESPA 2017 was home to a host of exciting features that attracted interest from visitors, but one that stood out in particular was the final of this year’s edition of the FESPA World Wrap Masters.
The final was the culmination of a competition that featured competitors from all around the world, each of which was keen to showcase their wrapping skills on a global stage. FESPA 2017 was this platform and for the lucky few that made it to the final, they were able to show off their work to the thousands of visitors that were in attendance at the show.
Swedish freelancer wrapper Jonas Sjöström was declared as the overall winner, after seeing off competition from Ireland’s Martynas Bertulis and South Africa’s Ruan Greef. And with so much talent on display, one has to wonder how you can get to this level of expertise.
We speak with wrapping specialists to find out the must-dos and do-nots of vehicle wrapping, summing up the key points that can help your work stand out in a high competitive market.
Ease of application, quality of wrapping films
One company heavily involved in vehicle wrapping is Avery Dennison, which is able to provide products critical to the production of this type of work to the market. Esra Boro, product manager wrapping, EMENA, said that wrappers must ensure they are using quality materials if they are to achieve good results in their work.
“For us, the ease of application and the quality, such as conformability and durability limits, of the film are the most important points to get a proper vehicle wrapping job,” Boro said. “Those are the most important points to ease the life of installers and enable them to work with peace of mind. In that perspective, selecting the right film for the application should be the starting point.
“After ensuring the film selection meets the application requirements, we recommend to work in a clean environment and follow the film application guidelines we advise for our customers. Cleaning of the substrate, heating and stretching the film in a correct manner are the points installers need to watch out for.”
Boro went on to say Avery Dennison is able to offer wrappers further support via dedicated bulletins, which showcase best-practice wrapping techniques using high quality materials, as well as offering a wide range of solutions from its own product portfolio.
“We are supporting applicators with our high quality Avery Dennison Supreme Wrapping Film, with a broad range of colours,” Boro said. “Recently at FESPA in Hamburg we launched 18 new Supreme Wrapping Film colours aiming at the peak season of the wrapping market and we will continue to add new films into our portfolio.
“For more technical confidence, we also have quite comprehensive technical trainings in place where applicators can further learn the tips and tricks of applying our products.
“Our trainings are in different levels; like one day, two day trainings and also available in different regions throughout Europe. I would advise applicators to follow-up our technical application bulletins and application videos shared on our website and for more information, even to join our certified installer network and to enrol in one of our trainings.”
Plan and prepare for quality
Avery Dennison used FESPA 2017 to launch 18 new Supreme Wrapping Film colours
Another company heavily involved with the supply of kit for vehicle wrapping is Roland DG. A regular attendee of FESPA events around the world, Roland DG is able to offer wide-format print devices, inks and RIP software.
Jeroen Kooij, business development manager, media centre for the Roland DG Benelux division, said: “The vehicle wrapping market is growing at a steady rate and it’s certainly not saturated. It’s an attractive market for print service providers (PSPs) to get involved in – creative, constantly evolving and offering the potential for relatively high margins.
“The future potential for PSPs is incredibly exciting as we’re just starting to see this become mainstream in Europe. Whether it’s full wraps, decals, window tints or bespoke mirror caps, the only limit is the customer’s imagination.”
Focusing on what makes a quality vehicle wrap, Kooij said that while the printing stage is of paramount importance, wrappers must also ensure that the finish of a project is of the highest standard.
Kooij said: “The quality of the finish is all-important so it’s crucial to “master” the process – design, print and installation. If you’re new to wrapping, make sure you get properly trained."
“From the perspective of the media, regardless of the level of vehicle wrapping, choosing the right media for the job is crucial. Look for those that best match the application and your skills, and follow the media manufacturer guidelines closely.”
Similarly, Kooij picks out some of the key dangers to be aware of when carrying out this type of work, focusing on both the initial planning stage and after-project evaluation as key parts of the process.
Kooij said: “It’s crucial not to rush the pre-application stage; make sure the vehicle has enough time to adjust to the climate conditions in the wrapping environment and ensure it is in a good state before starting the wrap. Give the vehicle a thorough check for any damage to the bodywork, rust or other problem areas that will affect the final result.
“Thoroughly clean the surface to remove any traces of dust or previous wrap adhesive. During unloading, new vehicles might have suffered minor damage to the paintwork, which required partial repainting. Without close inspection, this can be undetected and can cause less adhesion of the vinyl, discolouration of the paint or damage after wrapping.
“Also, double-check for any modifications that could mean a potential mismatch between templates and the actual vehicle.
Kooij added: “Good preparation and using the most appropriate ‘tools’ for the job are key to delivering an impressive result. A high-quality wide-format device combined with high-quality ink and the correct media will help the installation go smoothly and deliver the best results, which will last over time.
Strive to improve your skills
In addition to a wide range of materials, Grafityp can offer training to those keen to strengthen their wrapping skills
Also involved in this sector, and a regular attendees of FESPA events, is Grafityp. The company can provide a range of films for use in wrapping projects and is also able to offer training and guidance to those stating up in this area, or simply want to enhance their knowledge of wrapping.
Philippe Renquin, commercial manager at Grafityp, said: “Wrapping with printed film is still very popular and represents a huge market. Wrapping with colour film, or personalising, is not that big in volume, but catches the eye a bit more.”
For Renquin, ease of application is critical when picking out the materials you will use to complete a vehicle wrap project. Renquin said if you can ensure that the materials you are working with are easy to install, this means “everything will stay in place afterwards”.
However, Renquin went on to say that you could invest in all the best kit and materials, but if you are not properly rained in the ‘art’ of vehicle wrapping, then it is unlikely that you will achieve a real quality outcome. And with this in mind, Renquin draws attention to the various training courses Grafityp can offer to those keen to increase their wrapping abilities.
Renquin said: “The wrapping should certainly be done in accordance with the ‘rules of the art’, so it should be done by trained professionals. This will then guarantee a good wrapping quality. Keep taking part in training courses. We have been offering training in our application centre for more than a decade.”
Prepare yourself for success
FESPA Mexico will host once again Wrap Master Mexico, where the region's best wrappers will be showcasing their skills in competition to win the prestigious title
For further material options, wrappers can also look to Hexis, which, as a major supporter of the FESPA World Wrap Masters, has a wide range of products on offer. Patrice Salvan, marketing manager, highlights personalisation as one of the key reasons behind substantial growth in the vehciel wrapping market.
Salvan said: “This market is quite good as personalisation is something that more people are asking for in a mass production world. We want customised mass products. Our customer don’t do so much full wraps, but they are asked for a lot of detailing in the wraps, such as roofs, mirrors or small personal designs done with plotters.”
In terms of advice for wrappers, Salvan picks up on three key points those active in this sector should be aware of: “First, be trained to apply vinyl; secondly, make sure your workshops is clean with no dust and at a good temperature of around 20 degrees; and finally, ensure the vehicle is prepared properly for the wrap by cleaning it and covering areas that will not be wrapped.”
Salvan also offers advice as what not to do in vehicle wrapping to ensure repeat business: “An applier need to take care of the price that they give to customers, having seen the car/object. This will permit him to measure the real time and good price for the covering. ‘Pay few, pay twice; is real when you only look for price as a final customer.”
Salvan rounds up by encouraging wrappers to continue learning in order keep up to date with the latest products and techniques in wrapping: “Do trainings regularly to keep updated on the new films and the way to apply them. We run trainings all over the world throughout the year; we bring the tips and tricks to the customer to do a good job and earn time and money by the way. We also provide videos for the self training of the appliers.”
Salvan’s comments round up this article nicely, with a call to wrappers around the world, no matter how skilled they are in this ‘art’ to keep learning.
Vehicle wrapping is one of the most intricate forms of work and without the right skills and knowledge, you are setting yourself up for a fall. However, by following the simple steps set out in this article, you will be racing ahead of the competition in no time.
And on the subject of competitions, the next round of the hugely popular FESPA World Wrap Masters is just a matter of weeks away. The event will take place at FESPA Mexico and offer wrappers from around the world to show off their skills on a major stage, in front of some of the leading brands in the global industry.
Visit FESPA Mexico 2017, from 21-23 September at Centro Citibanamex, in Mexico City, to see the latest technologies and find new ways to boost your print business. Register for free entry using code: MEXH718
To find out more about the contest, visit wrapmasters.fespa.com, and to learn more about FESPA Mexico, visit www.fespamexico.com.
by Rob Fletcher