Choosing Between Polyester vs. Polycarbonate Overlays

Polyester vs Polycarbonate Overlays

Many customers come to Label-Aid wondering whether to choose a polyester (PET) or a polycarbonate (PC) 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.

Benefits of Polyester Graphic Overlays

Polyester is the most common material used for graphic overlays due to its’ durableness in terms of ruggedness and fatigue resistance. Polyester is resistant to many external factors like abrasion, chemicals, temperature, and more! These properties make Polyester a great material to be used in harsh environments.

Polyester Graphic Overlay Industries & Applications

Some applications where polyester graphic overlays shine:

  • Safety
  • Medical
  • Industrial
  • Outdoor Equipment
  • Harsh Plant Environments

Polycarbonate Overlays

Polycarbonate (PC) overlays are frequently used for graphic overlays when transparency, impact resistance and heat tolerance is needed. PC offers many visual and production advantages since the material is easier to print on. Polycarbonate comes in a broad range of thicknesses, finishes, and textures. It is a good option where the color and design is important.

Benefits of Polycarbonate Graphic Overlays

Additionally, polycarbonate overlays are flame retardant, so they can be used in industries where fire safety is needed. When it it comes down to impact resistance and temperature tolerances, polycarbonate is the way to go. Other benefits of polycarbonate for graphic overlays include:

  • Impact Resistance
  • Flame Resistnace
  • Choice of Texure & Finishes
  • Ease of Printing & Production

Polycarbonate Graphic Overlay Industries & Applications

  • Aerospace
  • Automotive
  • Outdoor Equipment

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

Polyester vs. Polycarbonate for Graphic Overlays

Flame RetardantNoAvailable
OutdoorYes (but not sea water)Yes
Flex Life (Actuations)Far SuperiorGood
Chemical ResistanceFar SuperiorFair
Abrasion ResistanceFar SuperiorFair
Window ClarityGoodExcellent
Embossing DetailGoodVery Good
High Temp Range302 Degrees Farenheit275 Degrees Farenheit
Textures AvailableFewMany
Color BrillianceGoodExcellent
Hard Coating AdditionYesYes
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