Choosing Between Polyester vs. Polycarbonate Overlays

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Many customers come to Label-Aid wondering whether to choose a polyester or a polycarbonate overlay. Material choice is important to make sure that your ATM keypads, fitness equipment displays, or industrial panel overlay avoids getting cracked and faded over time.

Polyester Overlays

Generally, polyester is considered the more durable material option. You might choose a polyester label if your applications involves chemicals such as acids, solvents, or cleaners because polyester has better chemical resistance. Polyester has a higher actuation life as well, which means that it can be pushed many times over many years without cracking or deforming. We typically see polyester overlays in industries such as medical, industrial plant environments, and appliances.

Polycarbonate overlays

Polycarbonate, however, has more cosmetic options. While polyester is a thick and durable material, polyester is available in a greater range of thicknesses, finishes, and textures. It is a good option where the color and design is important. Additionally, polycarbonate overlays are flame retardant, so they can be used in industries where fire safety is needed, such as aerospace.

Both substrates can be effectively used outdoors, however, polyester is probably the better choice.

The chart below shows all of the differences between polycarbonate and polyester overlays. Questions? Contact Label-Aid today!

Flame Retardant No Available
Outdoor Yes (but not sea water) Yes
Flex Life (Actuations) Far Superior Good
Chemical Resistance Far Superior Fair
Abrasion Resistance Far Superior Fair
Window Clarity Good Excellent
Embossing Detail Good Very Good
High Temp Range 302 Degrees Farenheit 275 Degrees Farenheit
Textures Available Few Many
Color Brilliance Good Excellent
Hard Coating Addition Yes Yes
Durability Excellent Great
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