How to qualify a wrap shop (or, in other words, is the wrapper any good)?

Over a many years of experience wrapping we have some common questions that a wrap buyer should take time to ask.  A wrap is a custom made product and is not a mass-produced item bought off a shelf.  As such, wraps are created by craftsmen who are personally and closely linked with the quality of their offerings.  When connecting the purchaser of a custom product with the maker of a custom product it is vital to educate and communicate in a way that keeps both parties on the same page.  Nobody likes being disappointed in their expectations and nobody likes thousand dollar surprises (on either side). 

 

Dedicated Shop / Facility? Has this business dedicated time & money to creating a controlled & professional environment for providing wraps?

Full Time or Part Time? Is this a professional who feeds his/her family perfecting their craft or a hobbyist looking for extra money on the side?  The motivations and vested interest in delivering a quality product can certainly be effected by the answer to this question.

What specific films are they using? A professional wrapper should know precisely the vinyl films they are using and why. They should know the difference between low-cost calendared films and higher priced cast films. They should know the differences and pros/cons of each when it comes to cost, conformability, durability and longevity.

Are they using manufactured specified and matched products? A proper (and warranted) product must be produced using correctly matched manufacturer films. Mixing & matching components may lower the cost but will also lower the quality and destroy any potential warranty claim.

Does the wrap shop provide examples of the specific colors?  A custom printed wrap for a commercial project should have a Live Proof for color approvals and a color change wrap should be tied to the manufacturer’s color ship book(s).

Certified Installers? (Just attending a class does not equal certified). A certified installer has to demonstrably prove their ability to properly install using the manufacturers film(s). Plenty of experienced and competent installers do not have a recognized certification; however, they are not able to claim a manufacturer’s warranty if an issue arises. So, not a deal breaker (especially if the shop has an excellent reputation) but a question certainly worth asking.

Fully bonded & insured? Any damage or issues that may arise with your project will be incredibly difficult to resolve if the shop you choose does not have full coverage. No insurance should be a big red flag.

What is their current workload / how long to get the wrap done? Wraps require specialized products, time to process and prepare those products, time to prep the vehicle and, of course, time to do the wrap installation itself. These all impact schedules and a reputable shop should have a clear & reliable picture of their current capabilities.  Now the choice is yours… is the best shop in town worth waiting an extra few weeks…?

Do they require you to fully & thoroughly wash the vehicle before arriving? (they should… experienced wrappers do not like wasting hours of valuable time scrubbing bugs and road grime off your vehicle before they can start their work).

Do they warn you about potential issues regarding temperature extremes? In the winter, ambient temperatures will negatively affect bonding. Reputable shops will insist on making sure the vehicle stays in a controlled environment before heading out.

Do they back up their work? What is their policy if something fails, pops loose or peels back? Note, we are not talking about external damage or failure to maintain the wrap here. A wrap shop can not be expected to be responsible for events outside their control.

Is there a clear understanding that a wrap is NOT paint? Vinyl wraps are, by their very nature, a covering going over stable surfaces.  The films have thickness as well as limits to flexibility and ability to stretch.  Contrary to common misconceptions, the thickness of a wrap film does NOT cover-up surface damage / chips / dings /dents etc.  A wrap will actually make that area more noticeable because it is adding a little bit MORE size to the problem.

Does the shop clearly explain how to maintain your wrap?  The local weather, road conditions, washing techniques and even the direction you park each day can effect the life of your wrap.  

Can I see example(s) of your work that is more than 6 months old? An excellent way to gauge a wrapper’s work is to get a personal look at a project wrapped at least 6 months prior.  Look for details like un-wrinkled corners, absence of bubbles/dirt/debris under the vinyl, no failed recesses, clean/straight trims, perfectly controlled seams if present, no white-out or obviously stressed areas, and check for edges that would be typically hidden.  

 

Yes, I know, it’s a lot to take in.  Custom products are simply more complicated by their nature.  That being said, it is in everyone’s best interest to be as informed and knowledgeable as possible.  We all win in the end.  Keep Wrapping!

FESPA launches Wrap Fest

FESPA is launching Wrap Fest, a brand-new event dedicated exclusively to vehicle wrapping, vinyl installation and detailing. The event will run for the first time from 26 – 27 April 2023 at the Silverstone racing circuit, Northamptonshire, UK, the iconic home of the British Grand Prix.

Wrap Fest will welcome professionals in vehicle wrapping, livery and fleet graphics, car detailing, protection and tinting services, racing teams and automotive professionals, as well as printers and sign-makers who are looking to grow revenue from vehicle wraps, and those active in architectural interiors and signage.

The launch event will feature an exhibition, educational conference, hands-on training sessions and workshops, plus a new regional UK & Ireland World Wrap Masters competition. The exhibition will occupy Halls 1 and 2 of the new Silverstone Wing, where prominent global brands will showcase their latest innovations for custom vehicle wrapping and detailing, including decorative and paint protection films, window tints, digital printing and laminating equipment, vinyl cutting and finishing, design software, cleaning products, and accessories and tools.

Inspiring presentations will help visitors get up to speed with the latest trends and update their knowledge. Elsewhere, wrappers can join interactive technical training sessions and workshops delivered by experts, and watch live product demonstrations.

Across the two-day event, a maximum of 36 wrappers will compete in a series of timed wrapping competitions for the new regional UK & Ireland World Wrap Masters regional heat. The winner will then go on to compete in the popular World Wrap Masters final at FESPA Global Print Expo 2023 in Munich, Germany (23 – 26 May 2023).

Reflecting the colour and energy of the wrap community, Wrap Fest will have a festival vibe, with international food trucks and live entertainment in the racecourse paddock area.

“Vehicle wrapping is one of the most colourful attractions at our FESPA exhibitions, where we have been hosting our World Wrap Masters competition for over 10 years. With competitions on four continents, we’ve worked closely with suppliers and wrap professionals, but until now, there’s never been a focused event that serves the needs of this specific community”, explains Duncan MacOwan, Head of Marketing and Events, FESPA.
“With Wrap Fest, we want to provide a hub that plugs wrappers and detailers into the latest trends, lets them see all the product innovations from multiple suppliers in one space, gives them access to workshops and demos to refresh their skills, and shows them the opportunities that could fuel their growth.”

Ole Solskin Ravn, Head Judge, World Wrap Masters Series comments on the value of the Wrap Fest event for the community, “The vehicle wrapping and detailing market is thriving and more professionals are specialising in or expanding into this market. There are so many components to consider when wrapping a car, interior surface or object and there isn’t currently an event that enables professionals to connect with suppliers and see multiple solutions under one roof. There’s always something new to learn, too, and rarely the time to fit it in, so the chance to take part in hands-on training sessions at Wrap Fest will be a huge benefit.”

Silverstone offers excellent facilities, with easy access by rail and road from major cities, and from Birmingham and London airports.

For more information on Wrap Fest and to register your interest, visit: https://wrapmasters.fespa.com/events/wrap-fest-2023. Tickets will be available in Autumn 2022.

BODYFENCE (PPF) – NOW AVAILABLE AT FELLERS.

BODYFENCE is the world’s fastest growing high-quality paint protection and it is now available at the world’s largest wrap supply company, FELLERS.

Thanks to its revolutionary “X” Technology, BODYFENCEX features the following benefits:

  • Instant self-healing with ambient temperature
  • Increased resistance to stains with a super hydrophobic top layer
  • High-gloss shine and optically clear film
  • Also offered in clear matte and opaque black gloss

Warranties are available between 10 years (BODYFENCE and BODYFENCEM) and Lifetime (BODYFENCEX, BODYFENCEP and BFBLACK) against yellowing and cracking.

With over 57 locations, Fellers will be able to serve you with all of your BODYFENCE (paint protection film) needs!

“HEXIS BODYFENCE is our go to PPF for our entire PPF operation. It’s great for our installers because it cold stretches great, adhesive is strong. Our customers love it because it’s self-healing, optically clear and super, super glossy. With the options to have 7 mil, 8 mil, gloss, matte and black, it covers all of our bases in our offerings for PPF. We have used HEXIS PPF for over 7 years, so it has been time tested with our shop. Lifetime warranties murder the competition and give our clients peace of mind knowing the manufacturer stands behind the product.”

– Kevin Yu with Auto Film Solutions / Certified BODYFENCE Installer

PRECUT SOFTWARE ALSO AVAILABLE!

Searching for BODYFENCE PPF training courses? Check out the link below for upcoming dates and details:

https://www.hexisamericas.com/training/

For more information on BODYFENCE (paint protection film), visit us at : www.hexis-graphics.com | www.fellers.com | www.bodyfence.net

TeckWrap: The Fashion Hunter – Introducing new trendy colors

As one of the fashion pioneers in the auto wrap industry, TeckWrap knows well that car wraps are time-sensitive and trends can change quickly in the market. Thus, it continues to launch brand-new designs and colors every three months to keep up with the rapid-changing tendency.

Recently, TeckWrap continues rolling out a series of fresh colors in its Satin Metallic (SMT) and Super Gloss (CG-HD) selections. Fashionistas can choose from glistening classic and glossy paint-like colors to waxy and subtle satin finishes.

Better-than-paint!  The Super Gloss wrap films that TeckWrap launches in this series are nothing like before. Every color is covered and double-protected with a plastic liner, presenting a shining oil-slick surface that is outstanding enough to turn heads, looking even better than paint.

Beauty that can’t hide, unlike this swanky style, the Satin Metallic series is unique in other ways. From light colors to deep ones, every wrap comes with a smooth and silk-like finish reflecting distinctive metallic shine, humbly outpouring its elegance.

Both series provide wrap lovers with more-than-enough options. Whether traditional or wild, you will find a color that suits your taste. You can even craft a unique design using a combination of different materials. Quite a few precedents have proved the success of the strong visual impact in this way.

Rigorous quality control applies to whichever style you create with the TeckWrap products, you can wrap with confidence. As the company develops further and consistently pursues high quality, TeckWrap continues perfecting its Renolit-based raw materials.

With the strict quality control driven by user experience, all vinyl wrap film products meet the standard to the following characteristics:
 Easy to apply
 Flexible to conform
 Long durability
 Safe to remove

Start the stress-free experience
You can feel free to work with TeckWrap materials. The brand has developed a solid worldwide network, with warehouses across the globe, ensuring fast delivery. For USA customers , TeckWrap even offers free domestic shipping on orders of full 18-meter (59ft, 19yds). Find your favorite color and learn more at teckwrap.com.

HEXIS Americas’ new 4,000 sq. ft. Training Center

Introducing HEXIS Americas’ new 4,000 sq. ft. HEXIS Americas Training Center.  

Learn and grow your business while HEXIS offers 3-day BODYFENCE (paint protection film) and 3-day SKINTAC (color-change) vinyl training courses in Atlanta, GA.  Our Certified HEXIS Trainers will teach you the tips, tricks, and techniques to working with HEXIS film and provide business solutions.  Each class is limited to 12 students (maximum) with 2 Certified HEXIS Trainers and 6 full-sized cars so that each student receives 1-on-1 hands on training.  Beginners and advanced installers welcome.

 

Each student will receive a HEXIS Bag of Shag Tools and marketing goods, apparel, lunch each training day, and a Certificate of Training.

Ask about our Certifications.

 

For more info:

  

HEXIS Americas

850 Progress Center Court

Suite #150

Lawrenceville, GA 30043

 

Email:  info@hexisamericas.com

Phone:  770-402-3538

Website:  https://www.hexisamericas.com/training/

Contact:  Christen Hughes (Marketing Manager)

BFBLACK (Black BODYFENCE PPF) by HEXIS: AVAILABLE NOW!

 

BFBLACK is an opaque black adhesive-coated polyurethane paint protection film, which is self-healing at ambient temperature and specially developed for decorating, protecting metal roofs of cars, and can also be used for full PPF wrapping. Its excellent shock-absorbing properties protect your bodywork against stone chips, scratches, UV rays, insects, etc. 

With the same “X” technology as BODYFENCEX, BFBLACK offers the following features:

  • Self-healing at ambient temperature
  • Shock-absorbing properties protect your bodywork against insects, scratches and stone chips
  • Enhanced hydrophobic effect
  • Extra glossy surface finish with no orange peel

 

For more information, please visit:  www.bodyfence.net | www.hexis-graphics.com

For pricing and purchasing, contact your local Distributor:

https://www.hexis-graphics.com/us/distribution-hexis-network/

 

Avery DennisonⓇ Graphics Solutions ‘Wrap Like a King’ Challenge is Back for 2021 — And Open for Vehicle Wrap Submissions

MENTOR, Ohio – September 1, 2021 – Avery Dennison Graphics Solutions announced the return of the Wrap Like A King Challenge. This year’s vehicle wrap competition will run from September 1 to October 31, 2021. A new concept called “Local Edition” has been launched for the first time, with awards for 12 Regional Wrap Kings and three Continent Wrap Kings and Queens.

Beginning September 1, wrap installers from over 40 countries are invited to submit their best full print or color change vehicle wrapping projects.

“In 2019, over 150 installers entered the challenge,” Abby Monnot, Marketing Director, Graphics said. “It’s great to be back. Wrap Like a King is an excellent opportunity for installers to showcase their best work. Their projects will be judged by a global jury for the chance to win thousands of dollars in prizes and be recognized by peers and customers.”

The combined prize packages for 2021 Regional and Continental winners exceed $30,000. The three Continental winners will also be invited to each select a charity to receive a $1,000 donation in the name of the winner.

“Giving back to the community is important to Avery Dennison. We are thrilled to extend this to the communities of the three winners of the Wrap Like a King 2021 competition,” Monnot said.

 

Wrap Like a King Local Edition – Applications and Process

 

Full information about the competition is available at wraplikeaking.com.

 

  • Applicators from 12 different geographic regions can participate: United States, Canada, Europe & Middle East and Northern Africa, and the APAC Region (Australia, New Zealand, China and South Africa).
  • All entries need to be submitted at wraplikeaking.com.
  • Any project can be entered which uses Avery Dennison Supreme Wrapping™ Film, the Conform Chrome series, MPI 1105 Digital Wrapping Series or a combination of car wrap films. 
  • Judges will select 12 Regional Wrap Kings – each winning nearly $2,000 worth of personalized marketing materials, Avery Dennison products and more.
  • Regional Wrap Kings will then go on to compete across three continents: Europe & MENA, North America and APAC (Australia, New Zealand, China and South Africa).
  • The three Continent Winners will be announced online on November 26, 2021, via the social media accounts linked to the participating Avery Dennison regions.

 

The 2021 Judges Panel

The industry experts on the panel bring a wealth of experience to select the most beautiful, technically challenging or otherwise most impressive wraps.

  • Justin Pate – Professional Installer/Instructor, Global – American based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Pate is an Avery Dennison certified installer/instructor in the U.S. with over 25 years of experience working both in the U.S. and in Europe. Notably, Pate is the head trainer for the Avery Dennison North American hands-on car wrap workshop and certification program.

  • Penelope Garrido Milla – Co-owner of Alta Wrapping Academy

Milla is the first Spanish woman to gain the Avery Dennison certificates of “Specialist Installer” & “Specialist Trainer.” She is co-owner of Alta Wrapping Academy, which has trained more than 1,200 applicators from all over Spain in the last five years.  With more than 19 years of high-level experience in visual communication, she specializes in commercial and passenger vehicle imagery. She has taken a personal approach, focusing on helping academy participants to reach their maximum potential. Garrido Milla is on the board of directors of FESPA ESPAÑA ASOCIACIÓN and the Women of Wraps (WOW) club.

  • Qian Li – Hewlett Packard Application Development Manager, Spain

Li is the printing application development manager for Hewlett Packard, based in Barcelona. He has worked with industrial large format printing for around 15 years, gaining a great deal of experience around many different aspects of digital printing technology and its various applications. Automotive wrapping is a particular area of expertise, not only because it is one of the key application areas for HP Latex technology, but also because wraps represent one of the most exciting market areas, with enormous creative potential.

  • Dariusz Tondera – Avery Dennison Technical Sales Support, Eastern Europe and Russia

Tondera has been with Avery Dennison since 2012 and has been Technical Sales Support in Eastern Europe and Russia since 2016. For almost 10 years he travelled from the Oder to Vladivostok, supporting and training customers and applicators. Testing and understanding the products are very important for Tondera, helping him to properly resolve questions and inquiries.

  • Molly Waters – Avery Dennison Senior Technical Specialist, USA

Waters has been with Avery Dennison since 1997, when car wrapping was still in its infancy, and has since had the opportunity to see the evolution of digital and wrap film technology. She has over 24 years of experience in the professional automotive/wrap industry and has been around cars her entire life.

  • Peter Wright – Avery Dennison Graphics Solutions, Australia/New Zealand

Wright is a technical marketing manager who works with the industry’s leading installers, teaching vehicle wrapping workshops and promoting the industry. With strong expertise in leading vehicle wrapping workshops, he has trained more than 2,000 people from Australia, New Zealand and ASEAN countries.

  • Sarel Krüger – Avery Dennison Graphics Solutions, South Africa

Krüger joined the Avery team in 2011 after working in the signage industry for nearly 10 years. His experience ranges from equipment and software through to the manufacture of signage and graphics, vehicle wrapping and, ultimately, supplying material.

For more information on Avery Dennison vinyl for car graphics and where to buy Supreme Wrapping™ Film, visit graphics.averydennison.com. Join the conversation on Avery Dennison Graphics Solutions’ European social channels, including Facebook and Instagram, and by following the hashtags #WLAKISBACK or #WLAK2021

Le Wrap Day – A day of wrapping and sharing for 2021

The company Adforme located in Heyrieux, France has been organizing a very special event since 2013.  Le Wrap Day is an event that brings together wrappers from all across Europe.  The premise of Le Wrap Day is focused on community, rather than competition, and is a dedicated time of sharing cool projects.

According to Adforme owner & Le Wrap Day founder Benoit Jacquelin, “This year we brought in an incredible Chevy COE from the United States in order to make a show car.  The bodywork and interior have been restored and modified by Garage Ollier who took over 250 man hours to complete the work.  Since January 2 graphic designers (Féroce Graphics and Graphikustoms) have worked together for a super cool design.  Working together, the entire team, then made material choices to give relief: the black background is in 3M IJ 480 Matte, the red in 3M IJ480 Gloss with some additional gold chrome for awesome effect.  The wings are in 3M 2080 Frozen Vanilla, with Arlon Illuminite cut out.  The bucket received 3M DI-NOC for a wood effect.  We also used Avery Chrome Gold for the front.”

12 Wrappers came from all over France, Switzerland and Germany to carry out this very technical project (120 hours of installation accumulated).  It was also an opportunity to discuss the job, share tips and have a good time with enthusiasts and prepare  The next Edition which will take place in 2022 with full teams as well as adding an excellent American team?

Arlon Introduces 3 New Virtual Application Demos featuring FLITE Technology® Products

Placentia, CA – May 10, 2021 – Global manufacturing leader of graphic films Arlon Graphics has announced 3 new virtual application demos launching May 18 running through July 29, 2021. These demo events allow vehicle wrap installers to get hands-on with Arlon’s FLITE Technology® films and interface with our Technical Experts conveniently and safely. The 3 demo topics are:

  1. Wrapping with cast films featuring SLX+ and SLX Cast Wrap
  2. Installing reflective films with ease featuring IllumiNITE Wrap
  3. How to wrap a vehicle with calendered film featuring Fusion Wrap

 

In December of 2020, Arlon launched its first virtual demo, and it was extremely well received prompting the company to expand its schedule and topics. Each demo is 30 – 40 minutes and includes a product introduction, a technical application tip, and ends with a live Q&A session for participants to interact directly with one of Arlon’s Technical Solutions Experts, Ritchie Daize, Louie Calma, or Matt Braswell. Each registrant receives a complimentary demo kit prior to the event which contains Arlon branded wrap tools and printed samples for each participant to follow along with.

 

“Our goal is to continue to bring forward educational events to connect our brand with sign shops and installers alike,” says Nicole Witt, Director of Marketing, The Americas. “Our FLITE Technology vehicle wrap products are in the hands of so many installers now that we want each and every attendee to feel confident in their first application using our products,” says Ritchie Daize, Sr. Technical Solutions Manager for Arlon Graphics.

 

To view the schedule and register for one of Arlon’s Application Demos, visit: info.arlon.com/demos. For more information on Arlon’s complete product line, visit: arlon.com.

So you wanted to be a hot-shot wrapper huh?

I am angry, so forgive me if I rant. You gave notice after only two weeks on the job and then really screwed me when you didn’t even show up the next day. I know why you quit; it was hard work, harder than you thought it was going to be. The funny thing is, you worked an easy position and never even worked on a crunch project, funny right? The sad thing is you don’t even know how hard it really is, or what it truly means to be a wrapper.

It’s not all your fault; they didn’t really prepare you for this in school did they? They didn’t warn you that being a great wrapper requires first being a great helper. They didn’t tell you about the sacrifices you have to make, the hard work, the hours, the dedication, the commitment, the lack of sleep, they didn’t warn you. You thought you would start up and be like Jim Miller or Justin Pate in a couple years, that’s all it should take right?

I know, I know, learning how to use your knife, trim a good line, or learning how to properly clean your surface is boring.  It’s way cooler to get right to wrapping bumpers and showing off Instagram photos of perfect corners right?  I’m too old school anyway, no perfectly plotted templates, no wrapping with 3 more people to help you out, no 250 specialty tools, boring really. Who wants to learn how to properly set knifeless tape or practice how to efficiently weed & mask graphics, so boring and tedious.

Well, I need to tell you a few things. One day, just maybe, you will be a lead wrapper or own your own shop somewhere. You will need to train and motivate the people who work for you, guide them, lead them, teach them, and inspire them. One day, you will spend more time looking at a profit-and-loss statement than you do your next car lay. You will miss prepping your kit, making a plan of attack, dry fitting the first side, even sharpening your squeegee edge. You will spend time in marketing meetings, staff meetings, partners meetings, vendor meetings, all kinds of meetings. You will spend more time in the office than you really want to; spend time outside of the shop promoting your business, do marketing, engage in social media, agonize over film and labor costs, kiss your significant other goodbye while they sleep because you have to be at the shop early for some insane reason, and somewhere in there make sure you are delivering top-notch wraps. You will miss weddings, birthday parties, graduations, all kinds of things. You will alienate your friends and family because you don’t write or call enough. There are no sick days, personal days, breaks; this is not like a 9-to-5 job; get over it.

Get ready for years of sacrifice, hard work, and stress. Learn as much as you can, read everything, ask questions, write things down, save your money, show up to work early and offer to stay late, come to work on your day off just to learn how to attack a section differently or watch a new technique video. Try everything you can, over and over, and ask other wrappers so many questions they get annoyed.

Take care of yourself and sleep as much as you can and skip after-work drug/liquor binging, so you wake up ready and on time. Travel and experience another shops if you can, wrap with them, attend the industry events. Learn to appreciate the time you have right now, enjoy the ride, the process, don’t be in a hurry to be the world’s best wrapper or make a lot of money. It’s not about that and it never will be unless you are exceptionally talented and lucky. There is only one Rob Ivers or Marcio Oliveira or Joffrey Van Der Jagt or Dan Antonelli, and they all have worked extremely hard to get where they are and continue to do so. Enjoy all the crap that comes with this life, embrace it, learn to thrive on it.

One day, when you are a wrap shop owner, there will be an epiphany so powerful you will have to sit down. You will understand everything every trainer or former boss yelled at you; you will understand why we work the way we do; you will understand why our profession is so wonderful, so unique, and it will hit you hard. I can’t tell when or where this will happen but I promise you it will if you work hard and keep your head down and do what your more experienced wrap family tells you.

So keep this in mind when I give you a hard time and push you, criticize you and refuse that day-off request. Maybe the next job you have, you will suck it up instead of leaving them short-handed with a 50 vehicle fleet starting the next day.

(Full disclosure & credit that I didn’t originally write this in total.  I sourced the base structure from a respected chef by the name of Marcus Meacham and modified it to fit our wrap industry lives.  The basic premise resonated very strongly with me as I saw it applying so, so well with our wrap journey)