Vehicle colors and graphics speak volumes about a fleet; good paint systems protect tractors and trailers
Tractor/trailers are moving billboards. Whether brightly colored and decked out in fabulous graphics or not trucks reveal many things about the fleets that own them.
A good company color scheme, logo or graphics can build image and recognition. Quality paint professionally applied helps trucks look their best, and finishes can help fleets protect their investment.
The paint system experts at DuPont say it’s important for trucking fleets to choose the best paint systems because they need quality performance to handle the road conditions and to protect the trucks through their life cycle. Developing and selecting coating systems that provide predictable performance helps control maintenance cost.
So what is the best paint system? DuPont defines it as that which fits both the fleet manager’s budget constraints and the equipment’s life cycle expectations.
Image is everything, so fleet truck finishes need to look great and last over time. The gloss, distinction of image and depth of color help to promote the fleet image and branding. A corporate color and scheme will trigger mental recognition within the general, and subliminal response is common in many cases.
The maintenance of the truck’s finish is important for the long term. DuPont suggest that fleets follow all instructions provided by wash chemical suppliers. Their products can be alkaline or acidic based, so a thorough rinse is critical to minimize damage to the finish. The pH on the surface needs to be in the range of 6 to 8 pH.
When it comes to fleet graphics, 3M recommends the use of its 3M Controltac Plus Graphic Films with ComplyAdhesive, according to Tim Boxeth, 3M marketing supervisor.
“We invented repositionable graphic films that permit fast and easy installation of large graphics,” he said. “These films can be positioned and repositioned until they are precisely aligned. Then they can be firmly adhered. While doing so, patented air release channels permit the elimination of trapped air bubbles.”
The advantages of using films for graphics rather than painting logos and other graphics is that using film is quicker and less expensive than painting, according to 3M. New digital printing processes permit cost-effective short runs for just a few vehicles, the company said.
Also, 3M introduced lower cost films designed for short-term promotional use. This is handy when a fleet manager wants to change promotional messages frequently. Instead of the time and cost involved to repaint, new graphics can be printed and installed in as little time as one day, the company said.
To maintain films, fleet operators should refer to the film manufacturer's instructions provided by the sign printer/installer. In general, however, fleet manager...