Published 5th Jan 2024

Printable Magnetic Material Durability: Factors Affecting Longevity

Durability of magnetic materials

Magnetic sheeting offers a versatile way to display graphics, signs, photos, art, and more. Apply them smoothly to metal surfaces, then remove and reposition them easily without damaging the substrate or leaving residue behind.

You can also print self-adhesive magnetic sheeting to turn regular surfaces like windows and plasterboard walls into ferrous-receptive surfaces.

Both magnetic sheeting products are durable, but like all print media, they can wear down and lose their lustre over time. Optimising print quality gives magnets the best chance of a long life, but how you use them matters too.

These factors affect longevity:

Ink type

Printable magnetic sheets work with solvent, eco-solvent, latex and UV curable wide format printers. Solvent inks better withstand exposure to external elements and cleaning agents by permeating deeper into this vinyl substrate, anchoring the pigments, and creating a more scratch and UV-resistant printed surface.

Eco-solvent water-based inks adhere well initially but lack the durability of solvent-based inks when facing harsh conditions over years of use. Eco-solvent printed magnets work better for short-term indoor signage. The reduced environmental impact makes eco-solvents ideal for occasional promotional graphics.

Latex and UV-C inks are very durable and are also generally considered the most eco friendly print options available currently.  UV-C inks typically are used for high volume production, latex printers are mostly suited to smaller volume production, but this isn’t always the case.

Sheet thickness

Thickness plays a key role in printable magnetic materials. Thinner magnets better conform to curved metal surfaces. For example, flexible 0.3mm sheets easily bend to apply smoothly to rounded lockers, pipes, and fittings.

Thicker magnets provide a rigid, supportive base for printed graphics. A 0.85mm thick sheet better resists bending, so the print lasts longer without cracking or flaking over time – the downside to thick magnets is difficulty smoothly adhering to curved surfaces and conforming to surface inconsistencies.

0.5mm magnets offer a good balance of strength and flexibility for most indoor and outdoor applications, gently sticking to curved surfaces more easily than thicker options. While not as pliable as thin sheets, 0.5mm magnets remain flexible while providing extra durability over thinner ones. It’s a good choice in most cases.

Exposure conditions

Indoor magnetic signs maintain their colourful beauty longer than those facing the sun, wind, rain, and extreme temperatures outside. UV rays quickly fade printed inks, while temperature fluctuations can accelerate vinyl coating deterioration.

Even indoor magnets collect dust, grease, and dirt over time. A common mistake is using heavy degreasers to clean them. Avoid ammonia-based glass cleaners, abrasive pads, and magic sponges.

While magnets face the inevitable effects of age, you can prolong their visual brilliance through conscientious ink and material choices and display methods.

Treat printed magnetic sheeting as the unique medium it is, and your alluring graphics will magnetically hang on for years to come.

Storage and age

Magnets resist degradation over long storage periods when protected from moisture, temperature extremes, and unnecessary bending or bumping.

Keep the sheets clean and dry by avoiding damp basements, garages, or anywhere they might get wet. Moisture can break down the vinyl and seep over time.

If exposed to high heat, cold, or condensation, let magnets fully normalise to room temperature before use. The most durable inks and coatings become brittle when frozen or overly heated, causing cracks or peeling.

Expect quality printed magnetic materials to offer 2-5 years or more of useful life. The magnetic charge within the thick backing will never lose potency, though the graphics on the surface remain vulnerable to fading and scratching.

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