The magic of film

Continuing advances in window film technology mean that a range of difficult glazing challenges in the transport sector can be met effectively and cost-efficiently. Micky Calcott, managing director of specialists,The Window Film Company,
reveals how.

The world of transport utilises glass in an ever-increasing variety of ways – its aesthetic and architectural benefits make it popular from a functional and design point of view.

Despite its widespread use, glass brings with it potential problems and difficulties and window film can help with some of these issues.

The good news is that window film can be retrofitted, making it an ideal solution for new or unforeseen issues, removing the need for expensive and time-consuming glass replacement projects.

Installation can usually be undertaken without shutting down operations, allowing for a seamless integration into the make-up of the building, delivering virtually immediate solutions, improvements and benefits.

Solar control and energy efficiency

The view. It’s one of the main reasons for using glass and incorporating windows. Everyone likes to be able to see their surroundings, but where there’s a view, there can also be heat.

Left unchecked, the sun’s energy streams through glazing, slowly raising the internal temperature. The effect can be twofold. Firstly, it can make the property uncomfortable for those working within or visiting the building. Secondly, it adds to the reliance on expensive, energy-hungry cooling systems.

An application of window film will provide relief in both instances. Solar control film works by reflecting or absorbing a percentage of the sun’s solar energy, preventing heat from passing through the glass and raising the internal temperature.

The most effective solar control films are reflective in appearance, but are available in a range of grades and finishes to ensure the necessary level of performance as well as an appropriate aesthetic finish.

In addition to ensuring a comfortable internal environment, cutting down on excess heat can reduce rising energy costs. By using specialist software, window film companies are able to carry out energy efficiency surveys, the results of which provide an accurate ROI for a window film installation.

Solar control window films also offer other benefits including glare reduction and ultraviolet (UV) protection – helping to reduce potential eye strain as well as providing a barrier to the unwelcome side effects of UV such as skin damage and fading.

Protection from vandalism

Graffiti continues to be one of the most common forms of vandalism and can take many forms; spray paint, magic markers and etching or scouring are widely used to mark and disfigure glass. Removing graffiti from untreated glass is notoriously difficult, with etching virtually impossible to repair. Anti-graffiti window film is the answer.

The specially manufactured coating on the film means that paint and other markings can be removed using domestic window cleaning products, allowing you to return your glass to its former state with the minimum of fuss. In the event of more serious defacing such as etching, the film provides a sacrificial barrier, protecting the glass from damage.

In these cases the film can be removed and replaced at a fraction of the cost of replacement glass. Anti-graffiti window film features a quick-release adhesive that allows the film to be removed quickly and cleanly, making the replacement process straightforward and quick as well as cost effective.

The window film is optically clear in appearance, meaning that once applied it is practically undetectable to the naked eye. This makes it suitable for use in locations that require a view from both sides of glazing. In addition to being highly effective when applied to glass, the film can also be used on a range of other surfaces including marble, stainless steel and mirrors, pro- tecting valuable material from potentially irreversible damage.

Printed Graphics

The nature of window film means many products provide an ideal surface to print on. In turn, this opens up an almost limitless range of opportunities for adding bespoke designs to glass and glazing, with wide format print technology delivering high quality graphics at virtually any size. The combination of materials and print means that entire buildings can be transformed to feature branding, information and other design elements.

Digital wallpaper, printed vinyls and optically clear film all provide excellent options for delivering full colour graphics, while specialist technology such as the Contra Vision print method allow for the delivery of see-through graphics – maintaining the view from one side of the glass whilst delivering a full colour graphic on the other. The benefits of such a technique are clear, with applications to vehicles and buildings a common application.

In summary, if there is an issue caused by glass, the chances are it can be solved with window film. The possibilities don’t end with the traditional perception of the product though, with cost effective creative opportunities being seized upon by an increasing number of savvy customers.

If there’s glass involved in your next project, it’s time to consider window film.