We are all familiar with the use of self-adhesive decals on road and rail vehicles, which have almost entirely replaced traditional sign-writing with a brush and can of paint. Self-adhesive films are also often used to provide temporary protection to everything from the screen of a mobile phone up to complete vehicles being transported from factory to showroom.
While these can be said to be alternatives to paint-based solutions, this article is concerned with the more specialised markets where dry films serve as a permanent decorative and protective finishing system, replacing one or more layers of the primary paint system. DuPont has suggested that the existing markets for dry paint film may have an annual value of $500 million.
Why should one use dry film (or appliqué) technology? In most situations, it is cheaper and simpler to apply paint than manufacture a dry film, cut it to shape and bond it to the eventual substrate, and therefore dry films occupy a number of niche markets where they offer significant advantages.