A graphic overlay, sometimes referred to as a nameplate, is simply a printed graphic surface which is placed on top of an existing product. The graphic overlay serves several functions, though the most obvious is protecting the sensitive electronic components and materials from wear and tear. Part of the reason for this is the fact that electronic parts are very easy to scratch or damage, especially in extreme conditions. Additionally, these parts are also made out of fragile components that can easily get damaged from shock, heat, and moisture. When an individual uses their computer, they run the risk of damaging the graphics that come with the computer. This is why companies like Apple use graphic overlays.
There are several different kinds of graphic overlays, each serving a distinct purpose. These include polyester substrates, foil substrates, metal alloys, and thermoplastic substrates. The materials covered by a graphic overlay are normally resistant to damage caused by shock, heat, and moisture.
Polyester and foil overlay systems are common among circuit board manufacturing operations. A popular method of laying out this type of overlay is through heat transfer. Heat is applied to the surface through an electrical or mechanical process, either separately or simultaneously. The heat from the application of the heat-transfer substrate transfers the design pattern over the top of the open air space, creating a solid surface layer which is then covered with a clear protective sheet.
One popular use for polyester-based graphic overlays is to create a plastic-overlay which covers the inside of an electronic device. The heat insulation provided by this kind of coating prevents heat damage to the interior. The substrate also creates a tight seal which reduces the amount of dust particles. Switch faces are a popular application for polyester-based graphic overlays. This type of face is usually printed with a resistive or adhesive fabric, such as Teflon-coated fiberboard or PVC.
Another popular use for these products comes in the form of embossing. Embossing is achieved using flat substrates. A smooth embossed pattern can be created on the top surface of one of these flat substrates using a machine or by hand. The most common colors that are used for embossing are black, silver, white, and copper. Some of these applications use a combination of different colors. There is no limit to the number of colors that can be used for any graphic overlay.
Many companies have learned that it is beneficial to purchase substrates in a variety of colors. This allows them to produce a full range of customized colors, and blends. Some companies use red, green, and blue in their graphic overlay color combinations. Other companies purchase a wide variety of primary colors and then blend in text and other colors as they choose. These companies realize that the text, and other colors that they choose to blend in with their substrates, will create a better final product and a more attractive website for their customers.
Companies that do not utilize digital printing processing techniques may find it difficult to meet the needs of their customers. In these instances, many graphic overlay companies offer screen printing services. By using an embossed screen print technique, these companies are able to provide a high quality product to their customers at an affordable cost.
Screen printing is only one component of a graphic overlay service. It is a part of a multi-step process that involves customization of the substrates, digital printing of images, and the use of various adhesives. While screen printing is only one component of this process, it is often the most effective and provides the highest quality design. This is especially true when the company utilizes some of the specialty adhesives that are available.