Title:
SPORTS FAN HELMET
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A sports fan helmet has a one-piece molded plastic shell and rear projecting brim providing for an appearance during usage that a user is wearing a conventional baseball helmet backwards. The helmet includes an impact absorbing liner disposed inside the shell and provides for a minimum impact shock attenuation. It is configured to allow the user to appear during usage that such user is wearing the helmet backwards. A logo is placed on the outside rear surface of the shell above the rear projecting brim, and reinforces the appearance that the user is wearing such helmet backwards.



Inventors:
Brown, Jason Cleve (Elk Grove, CA, US)
Brown, Regina Therese (Elk Grove, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/016203
Publication Date:
07/23/2009
Filing Date:
01/17/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
40/329
International Classes:
A42B3/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SUTTON, ANDREW W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Richard, Esq. Main Patents Pending B. (9832 LOIS STILTNER CT., ELK GROVE, CA, 95624, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A sports fan helmet, comprising: a one-piece molded plastic shell and rear projecting brim providing for an appearance during usage that a user is wearing a conventional baseball helmet backwards; an impact absorbing liner disposed inside said shell and providing for a minimum impact shock attenuation, and configured to allow said user to appear during usage that such user is wearing such helmet backwards; and a logo placed on the outside rear surface of said shell above said rear projecting brim and reinforcing said appearance that said user is wearing such helmet backwards.

2. The sports fan helmet of claim 1, further comprising: a plastic foam material and configuration used for the impact absorbing liner that enable a minimal size to be used for the one-piece molded plastic shell and rear projecting brim, and that still satisfies specific government standards for acceleration attenuation; wherein the appearance can be maintained during usage that said user is wearing a conventional baseball helmet backwards.

3. The sports fan helmet of claim 1, further comprising: an EPS foam and molding configuration used for the impact absorbing liner that enable a minimal size to be used for the one-piece molded plastic shell and rear projecting brim, and that still satisfies US Government standard FMVSS-218; wherein a DOT-type helmet is provided for use in the United States with motorcycles.

4. The sports fan helmet of claim 1, wherein no other labels or graphics are placed on the outer of the one-piece molded plastic shell and rear projecting brim, so as to increase the visual prominence of the logo.

5. The sports fan helmet of claim 1, wherein the logo is simplified by not including any logotype.

6. The sports fan helmet of claim 1, further comprising: a choice of self-adhesive stickers with different variations of the logo.

7. The sports fan helmet of claim 1, further comprising: a choice of vinyl graphic wraps with various logos that can be selected by a consumer at retail sale.

Description:

1. FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to helmets for head protection, and more particularly to helmets that appear to be backwards when worn by a sports fan user.

2. DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART

Sports fans themselves are often very active people who enjoy motorcycling, bike riding, skateboarding, skiing, skating, etc. Such fans often wear the shirts, jerseys, caps, and helmets that resemble those of their favorite teams. The teams will often authorize and license particular companies to produce and sell such items, the high visibility leads to team name recognition and stimulates popularity.

Baseball players, especially batters, base runners, catchers, and home-plate umpires wear helmets to protect them from fast moving pitched and hit hardballs. Home-plate catchers and umpires especially also wear facemasks. Some keep their caps on but wear them backwards so the cap's bill doesn't interfere with the face mask. It has become very popular for sports fans to wear their caps on backwards out in public.

Two reasons for wearing a helmet are to protect one's head from injury, and to obey the law or rules of the sport. A third reason is to show support for a particular sports team, or promote some advertisement. What is needed, is a sports fan helmet that can do at least all three, and even make the wearer feel stylish while doing it.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Briefly, a sports fan helmet embodiment of the present invention comprises a helmet certified to an appropriate industry standard or regulation, and that resembles a baseball helmet that is being worn backwards. Teams logos or advertising messages are printed on the “front” of the helmet above the rearward projecting stubby visor or bill. Such would be visible from behind a motorcyclist wearing this helmet.

In one aspect of the present invention, a sports fan helmet has a one-piece molded plastic shell and rear projecting brim providing for an appearance during usage that a user is wearing a conventional baseball helmet backwards. The helmet includes an impact absorbing liner disposed inside the shell and provides for a minimum impact shock attenuation. It is configured to allow the user to appear during usage that such user is wearing the helmet backwards. A logo is placed on the outside rear surface of the shell above the rear projecting brim, and reinforces the appearance that the user is wearing such helmet backwards.

An advantage of the present invention is that a sports fan helmet is provided that is stylish.

Another advantage of the present invention is that a sports fan helmet is provided that shows team support.

A further advantage of the present invention is that a sports fan helmet is provided that provides head protection that suits applicable government regulations.

These and other objects and advantages of the present invention will no doubt become obvious to those of ordinary skill in the art after having read the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments which are illustrated in the drawing figure.

IN THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a right side view diagram of a DOT-type sports fan helmet embodiment of the present invention, and a detail-A shows a cutaway view of the construction;

FIG. 2 is a rear view diagram of a DOT-type sports fan helmet embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is an inside view diagram of a DOT-type sports fan helmet embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a right side view diagram of a non-DOT type novelty helmet embodiment of the present invention, and is significantly smaller in overall size than that of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a rear view diagram of a non-DOT type novelty helmet embodiment of the present invention, and is significantly smaller in overall size than that of FIG. 2; and

FIG. 6 is a diagram showing how stickers or vinyl graphic wraps can be selected and applied by a user at the time of retail sale.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIG. 1 represents a DOT-type sports fan helmet embodiment of the present invention, and is referred to herein by the general reference numeral 100.

“DOT” helmets meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 218 (FMVSS-218), codified in US 49 CFR 571.218.

Sports fan helmet 100 comprises a protective shell 102, an impact absorbing liner 104, a soft comfort liner 106, and a rear facing projecting brim or visor 108. The protective shell 102 and visor 108 are made in one molded piece of polycarbonate, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastic, or other impact resistant material. The impact absorbing liner 104 is made of expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam which provides at least half an inch of crush space so that impact acceleration standards can be accommodated. EPS foam has superior crush characteristics with no bounce back that could increase the severity of a crash. In a DOT-type embodiment, this means the overall size of sports fan helmet 100 will be somewhat larger than the baseball helmet it appears to be, e.g., larger than non-DOT type helmet 400 in FIG. 4. Embodiments of the present invention minimize such overall size by using high performance materials and molded-in-shell technologies.

A “DOT” symbol 114 can be placed in the front over a brow 116 to reinforce the notion that helmet 100 is being worn backwards by the user, or underneath visor 108 if regulations permit.

A company or sports team logo 116 is placed on the rear of shell 102 above visor 108. Its placement and size give further suggestion that the user is wearing helmet 100 backwards. The logo 116 should be clean, simple, uncluttered, and prominent. It can be affixed in the factory by silk-screening or heat shrink film wrap. In retail stores, logos 116 can be printed on high performance stickers that the user can buy separately and apply themselves. The nature and style of logo 116 provide much of the buyer appeal, and other extraneous symbols, printing, and graphics on the outside surfaces of shell 102 should be strictly limited or completely eliminated. The colors used for shell 102 and logo 116 should have a good contrast and color match.

A logo is defined by Wikipedia as a graphical element, e.g., ideogram, symbol, emblem, icon, sign, that, together with its logotype form a trademark or commercial brand. A logotype is a uniquely set and arranged typeface. A logo's design provides for immediate recognition, inspiring trust, admiration, loyalty, and an implied superiority. The logo is one aspect of a company's commercial brand, or economic entity, and its shapes, colors, fonts, and images usually are different from others in a similar market. Logos are widely used to uniquely identify particular organizations and other, non-commercial entities.

Herein, logo 116 does not include any usually accompanying logotypes, e.g., to give a cleaner and more symbolic message than is conventional.

The internal padding 104 and a chin-strap retention system 120 are very much configured to be worn the way shown in FIG. 1, and to comply with respective industry standards of safety and reliability, and to further comply with applicable laws. Such helmet 100 is not reversible, e.g., it must not be worn with the rear-projecting visor 108 facing forward over the eyes of the user.

For example, sports fan helmet 100 embodiments intended for use by motorcycle riders in the United States are configured to satisfy the safety and reliability standards published by the US Department of Transportation (DOT). Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 218, 49 CFR Sec. 571.218, Motorcycle Helmets, establishes minimum performance requirements for helmets designed for use by motorcyclists and other motor vehicle users. The purpose of such standard is to reduce deaths and injuries to motorcyclists and other motor vehicle users resulting from head impacts.

Each sports fan helmet 100 meets certain impact attenuation, penetration, and retention system requirements. For impact attenuation, limit peak accelerations so as not to exceed 400 g, accelerations in excess of 200 g can not exceed a cumulative duration of 2.0 milliseconds, and accelerations in excess of 150 g can not exceed a cumulative duration of 4.0 milliseconds.

Each sports fan helmet 100 has a permanent and legible label 122 that can be read easily without removing padding or any other permanent part. Label 122 includes a DOT symbol and other legends listed in Table-I.

TABLE I
(a)Manufacturer's name or identification.
(b)Precise model designation.
(c)Size.
(d)Month and year of manufacture. This may be spelled out (for example, June 1988), or
expressed in numerals (for example, 6/88).
(e)The symbol “DOT”, constituting the manufacturer's certification that the helmet
conforms to the applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards. This symbol shall
appear on the outer surface, in a color that contrasts with the background, in letters at
least ⅜ inch (1 cm) high, centered laterally with the horizontal centerline of the
symbol located a minimum of 1⅛ inches (2.9 cm) and a maximum of 1⅜ inches
(3.5 cm) from the bottom edge of the posterior portion of the helmet.
(f)Instructions to the purchaser:
(1)‘Shell and liner constructed of (identify type(s) of materials).
(2)‘Helmet can be seriously damaged by some common substances without damage
being visible to the user. Apply only the following: (Recommended cleaning
agents, paints, adhesives, etc., as appropriate).
(3)‘Make no modifications. Fasten helmet securely. If helmet experiences a severe
blow, return it to the manufacturer for inspection, or destroy it and replace it.’
(4)Any additional relevant safety information should be applied at the time of
purchase by means of an attached tag, brochure, or other suitable means.

Each sports fan helmet 100 is such that the protective shell 102 has a brow opening 124 that provides peripheral vision clearance of at least 105-degrees to each side. Brow opening 124 is at least one inch (2.5 cm) above all points in the basic plane that are within the angles of peripheral vision.

A helmet positioning index is the distance from the lowest point of brow opening 124 at the lateral midpoint of the helmet to the basic plane of a reference headform, when the helmet is firmly and properly positioned on the reference headform. A helmet positioning index, measured in inches, is established for each helmet manufactured. Such helmet positioning index information is required by the DOT standard to be provided to any person who requests the information, with respect to any helmet identified by its manufacturer, model designation, and size.

FIG. 2 provides a rear view of a DOT-type sports fan helmet 200. A shell 202 and rear projecting brim 204 are molded together in one piece of polycarbonate. Helmet 200 appears to be worn backwards by a user 206, and as such a company or sports team logo 208 is visible from the rear.

FIG. 3 shows an inside view of a DOT-type sports fan helmet 300. A shell 302 and rear projecting brim 304 are molded together in one piece of polycarbonate. An impact absorbing liner 306 is made of EPS foam, and has a warning label 308 inside for the user to read. A DOT symbol 310 is placed on the underside surface of brim 304.

FIG. 4 represents a non-DOT type sports fan helmet embodiment of the present invention, and is referred to herein by the general reference numeral 400. Government regulations and industry standards apply different requirements to helmets used, e.g., for skateboarding, bicycling, and BMX cycling, than they do for motor vehicles. Table-II summarizes the applicable standards, as tabulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in their publication “Which Helmet for Which Activity?”.

TABLE II
APPLICABLE
ACTIVITYHELMET TYPESTANDARD(S)
INDIVIDUAL ACTIVITIES - WHEELED
bicycling (including lowbicycleCPSC, ASTM F1447,
speed, motor assisted) roller,SNELL B-90/95,
in-line skating, recreationalSNELL N-94
scooter riding (including low
speed, motor assisted)
BMX cyclingBMXCPSC, ASTM F2032
downhill mountain bikedownhillCPSC, ASTM F1952
racing
roller & in-line skating,skateboardASTM F1492, SNELL N-94
aggressive/trick
skateboarding
INDIVIDUAL ACTIVITIES - WHEELED LARGE MOTOR
ATV riding dirt- & mini-motocross or motorcycleDOT FMVSS 218, SNELL
bike riding motocrossingM-2005
karting/go-kartingkarting or motorcycleDOT FMVSS 218, SNELL
K-98, SNELL M-2005
moped riding poweredmoped or motorcycleDOT FMVSS 218, SNELL
scooter ridingL-98, SNELL M-2005
INDIVIDUAL ACTIVITIES - NON-WHEELED
horseback ridingequestrianASTM F1163, SNELL E-
2001
rock- & wall-climbingmountaineeringEN 12492, SNELL N-94
TEAM SPORT ACTIVITIES
baseball, softball & t-ballbaseball batter'sNOCSAE ND022
baseball catcher'sNOCSAE ND024
footballfootballNOCSAE ND002, ASTM
F717
ice hockeyhockeyNOCSAE ND030, ASTM
F1045
lacrosselacrosseNOCSAE ND041
WINTER ACTIVITIES
skiing snowboardingskiASTM F2040, CEN 1077,
SNELL RS-98 OR S-98
snowmobilingsnowmobileDOT FMVSS 218, SNELL
M-2000

The Consumer Product Safety Commission bike helmet standard is required by law in the US. Some of the Snell Memorial Foundation standards are a bit more difficult to pass, but are not often used. ASTM continues to produce standards for other activities such as skating, skiing and downhill bicycle racing. Australia, Canada, Europe and others have bicycle helmet standards similar to those in the US. All such standards require helmets to pass a lab test where they are placed on an instrumented headform, turned upside down and dropped for a measured distance onto an anvil. The anvil can be flat, round, hemispheric, shaped like a curbstone, a skate blade or a horse's hoof. Drop distances vary but are generally between one and two meters (3.3 to 6.6 feet). For the helmet to pass, the instruments inside the headform must register less than 300 g's during the impact, or in some cases less than 250 or even 200 g's. Each standard specifies where on the helmet the impacts can be aimed. There is always a strap and buckle strength requirement, and sometimes a roll off test to see if the helmet will stay on the headform when yanked around.

An ideal helmet was described by www.helmets.org, such helmet should manage as much energy as possible in a very hard crash, keeping g levels as low as possible, but certainly below 200 g for a two meter drop in a lab test. In a lesser crash, it should keep g's below seventy five. A helmet should have a strong strap that keeps it on the user's head during rapid multiple impacts. Child and toddler helmets should also have a buckle that holds firm in a crash but releases after five seconds of steady pull to avoid strangling a child who climbs trees or uses playground equipment with their helmet still on and gets caught. A helmet should be easy to adjust properly or self-adjusting, and designed to encourage a good fit without excessive fiddling. Once adjusted, the adjustments should stay put. A helmet should be comfortable to wear, e.g., cool, light, unobtrusive to the user and fashionable in appearance. A helmet should be as smooth and round as possible on the outside to prevent snagging in a crash. It should not have a tail that can shove it sideways in a crash and leave the rider's head unprotected. A helmet should provide for mounting of a mirror and a visor with breakaway mounts. If it has a visor, it must be shatterproof. A helmet should be highly visible to motorists both night and day. A helmet should be durable, easily cleaned, and should not scuff or dent in normal use. A helmet should come with clear, understandable instructions for fitting and use. A helmet should be cheap and readily available in retail stores.

Keeping this in mind, and referring again to FIG. 4, novelty helmet 400 comprises a protective shell 402, a thin impact absorbing liner 404, and a rear facing projecting brim 406. A strap 408 keeps the helmet on the user. The protective shell 402 and visor 406 are made in one molded piece of polycarbonate, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastic, or other impact resistant material. The impact absorbing liner 404 comprises expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam. Strap 408 can be made of NOMEX.

Bicycle helmets can use the crush-once type EPS foam made with beads. Football, hockey and skateboard helmets must provide multiple impact protection needed in those sports, so the impact absorbing liner 404 should be made with a rubbery foam that will recover after an impact, such as EPP. For a given thickness, such rubbery foams are less protective in a very hard impact. But are more protective in low grade impacts, because they begin to deform and absorb lower level shocks before stiffer foams will.

The liners in rubbery foam type helmets can deteriorate if subjected to many impacts. For example, football helmets must be reconditioned on a regular schedule by replacing their liners.

A graphic 410 is placed on the rear of shell 402 above brim 406. Its placement and size give further suggestion that the user is wearing helmet 400 backwards. The graphic 410 should be clean, simple, uncluttered, and prominent. It can be affixed in the factory by silk-screening or heat shrink film wrap. In retail stores, graphics 410 can be printed on high performance stickers that the user can buy separately and apply themselves. The nature and style of graphic 410 provide much of the buyer appeal, and other symbols, printing, and graphics on the outside surfaces of shell 402 should be strictly limited or completely eliminated. The colors used for shell 402 and graphic 410 should have a good contrast and color match.

The internal padding 404 and chin-strap retention system, e.g., 408, are very much configured to be worn this way, and comply with ASTM F1447, ASTM F2032, ASTM F1952, ASTM 1492, ASTM F1163, and/or ASTM F2040, for example. Such helmet 400 is not reversible, e.g., it must be worn with the brim 406 over the back of the neck of the user.

Helmet 400 is preferably certified to many standards at once so it has dual uses. A label is required to be placed inside the helmet to show particular certifications.

By law, a bicycle helmet must meet the CPSC standard to be sold in the US market. But there is no US law that says a helmet being sold for skateboarding or roller skating has to meet any standard whatsoever.

A significant advantage to a dual certified helmet is that the CPSC bicycle helmet standard test line is lower in front than the F 1492 Skateboard standard. So the helmet has to protect in front to a lower point on the user's head. It only has to offer single-impact bicycle protection in that area, but at least it is tested at the lower point for one hard hit.

Foam is used for energy management in a helmet. There are many types, but EPS is the choice for most bike helmets. The ideal foam would be stiffer in hard impacts, softer in lighter impacts, light, cheap, reliable to manufacture and easy to ventilate.

Expanded polypropylene (EPP) foam looks much like EPS and is used extensively in the automobile industry. EPP has a desirable characteristic slow return to its original shape after an impact, and is suited to multi-impact helmets. EPP is generally considered to have slightly more rebound on initial impact than EPS, and a little less impact attenuation for a given thickness.

Expanded Polyurethane (EPU) is a slightly heavier foam with exceptionally small and uniform cells. It skins over during molding, producing its own shell-like cover. EPU can be molded inside an outer shell, or such can be attached afterwards. It has almost no rebound and performs well in lab tests. EPU foam lined helmets are on the Snell B-95 certification list, indicating they perform well.

Basic laws of physics make it very difficult to decelerate a rider's head 14-0 MPH in less than half an inch of crush space, without exceeding the 200 g-300 g limits dictated in various bicycle helmet standards. Other foams may not produce much improvement over EPS, unless the crush rate is inappropriate for a particular use, or multi-impact is important. Thicker helmets could do better at protecting users, but consumers object to wearing them.

In lab tests to US standards, helmets are dropped with headforms inside and are expected to keep the g forces registered inside the headform below 300 g. (www.helmets.org/foam.htm) A helmet converts a part of the crash energy to heat by its crushing, and it attenuates the deceleration forces, e.g., so that the user's head in a crash is stopped in over six milliseconds rather than in under one millisecond. Mostly the foam in a helmet functions to slow the user's head more gradually in a collision. The helmet spreads the energy of the crash out over that very short six milliseconds, reducing the peak spike of energy to the head and brain.

The crush or deformation of foams can be varied by changing their density. Denser foams resist very hard impacts better before compressing or crushing to their ultimate limit and “bottoming out,” passing all the rest of the impact energy on to the head. Softer foams compress, deform or crush more easily in lesser impacts, giving better protection against milder jolts. A helmet can have both types of foam in layers, but that increases the overall thickness.

Crushable foams are ideal for helmets subjected to one hard impact. The cell walls crush on impact, and slow the head gradually. A small portion of the energy is converted to heat. After the foam crushes, it will not bounce back and make the impact worse. But when its crush depth limit is reached, it will pass the rest of the impact energy straight through.

The specified foam density is what tunes a helmet to a specific range of impacts. The high density foams are suitable for harder impacts Lower density foams provide for softer landings, but with the possibility of bottoming out in a hard blow. Crushing the cell walls destroys the impact management ability for most stiff foams, so a helmet has to be replaced after it receives even a single impact.

EPS foam is formed by placing polystyrene granules in a pressure mold shaped like the helmet liner, and expanding the beads 2-50 times with a blowing agent like pentane under pressure and heat. The beads expand to form cells and will fill the mold. Under ideal conditions, the cells will be tightly bonded. If not, the steam/pentane temperature is not just right, or the pressure is off a little. The foaming may not have be uniform, or there may be hidden recesses where the granules did not expand correctly.

The EPS used in helmets is much better quality than what is used for picnic coolers. It is tuned to produce an optimal crush for a given impact level by varying the density of the foam cells. Additives increase cell adhesion, to control splitting of helmets in very hard impacts. Internal reinforcing like nylon, carbon fiber, or plastics can be added to reduce cracking.

Expanded Polypropylene (EPP) is very similar in appearance to EPS, but with a slight rubbery feel on the surface, and a little bit of give if squeezed. EPP is a multi-impact foam, recovering its shape and most of its impact protection slowly after a crash. It can be more difficult to work with than EPS, costs more, and has a less favorable coefficient of restitution. Such usually results a little bit thicker helmet than one using EPS. EPP looks identical to EPS, so the label needs to be consulted to see if the helmet has multi-impact foam or one-use-only EPS.

EPP helmets are mostly marketed for multi-impact sports like skateboarding.

Expanded Polyurethane (EPU) is another crushable foam similar to EPS. It has a dense, fine, and very uniform cell structure. It skins over in the mold to form a surface shell that is adequate to protect the bottom part of the helmet from some dings and adds to the esthetic appeal. It is heavier than EPS and has a very solid feel.

Brock Foam has a proprietary multi-impact foam formulation using expanded polypropylene or polyethylene beads held together by an elastic adhesive that produces a porous closed-cell foam. Brock Foam is made by fusing round foam beads together only where they tough at tangent points. The result is a resilient foam that allows moisture and air to pass through it. The way they compress under force of a blow depends on the bead size, roughness and pre-compression. Brock Foam can be made in cross-linked polyethylene for durability and softness, or in polypropylene for strength.

FIG. 5 shows the rear of a novelty helmet 500, similar to that of FIG. 4. It is significantly smaller in overall size than that shown for sports fan helmet 200 in FIG. 2 because not so thick an impact absorbing liner is needed in non-DOT applications. Such novelty helmet 500 is more the usual size of a conventional baseball players helmet. A hard shell 502 is made of polycarbonate or ABS plastic, and includes a rear-projecting brim 504. This is worn over the back of a user 506. A graphic 508 is placed in the center back, above the brim 504. It can comprise just about any symbol, including sports team and company logos, art, animals, birds, flowers, faces, etc. Preferably, it is simple, clean, and includes no text that would be read.

FIG. 6 shows a point-of-sale or after sale method allowing a user to apply their own choice of graphic. A novelty helmet 600 with a hard shell 602 and rear-projecting brim 604 can receive any of a number of peel-off stickers 606 or vinyl graphic wraps 608. These are positioned like a graphic 610 to reinforce the notion that a user is wearing a baseball style helmet backwards.

Vinyl graphic wraps 608 are similar to the vehicle wraps are now being used in place of expensive custom paint jobs on cars. (See, www.signindustry.com) In addition to being a lower cost option to paint, the vinyl can be removed when an advertising campaign is over or the user is ready to turn in the leased vehicle. In the past, full wraps were reserved for large corporations that wanted to mark their fleet. These graphics were generally created with the screen print process in very large quantities. As the quality of digital printing has improved and the equipment price went down, digital has become a staple within the graphics industry. As digital became more popular, these large fleet companies and screen printers began to see the benefit of creating shorter run graphics that can be customized by region. This eventually evolved to wrapping smaller trucks and now vehicles.

Wrap graphics are full-color high-resolution printed vinyl graphics with a protective laminate that are affixed to autos, vans, trucks, boats, RVs, trains, buses and pretty much any other type of vehicle. (See, www.adsonwheels.com/vehicle_wraps/) Since they are printed from high resolution images, businesses can almost use any of their own photos, logos and text that they currently possess.

Cast vinyl film, about 2-mils thick, has excellent durability and conformability. The thin gauge of the film gives the product a paint like finish that can last for five years. Less expensive films include calendared film.

Temperature plays an important roll in how well a vinyl sticks to a substrate. Vinyl manufacturers generally recommend they be in the range of 50-90° F. with 70-80° F. being the optimum range. The graphics should be applied indoors in a controlled environment to reduce the amount of wind, dust and other contaminants being dealt with. Both the ambient and surface temperatures can have an affect on the application. Higher temperatures will make the film soft and more pliable, but also makes the adhesive more aggressive which can lead to pre-tack and increased stretching if repositioning the film. Lower temperatures will make the film more rigid and reduce the tack of the adhesive.

Although the present invention has been described in terms of the presently preferred embodiments, it is to be understood that the disclosure is not to be interpreted as limiting. Various alterations and modifications will no doubt become apparent to those skilled in the art after having read the above disclosure. Accordingly, it is intended that the appended claims be interpreted as covering all alterations and modifications as fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention.





 
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