Custom pre-cut PPF patterns: the process
As you may have noticed, we previously spoke about pre-cut and hand-cut paint protection film patterns, emphasizing what makes us different in terms of the highest quality delivered to all of our customers: the know-how we have and the ability to provide in-house custom pre-cut PPF patterns for ensuring maximum coverage and protection to any car.
Usually, professional PPF installers search through PPF pattern databases to see if a specific pattern is available. Most of them use the patterns as they find them within the database, while others have the skills to alter/restyle the design, for ensuring a better fit to the vehicle.
Unlike them, we have our dedicated team members who enjoy going the extra mile for providing total customer satisfaction. The design of the CUSTOM PRE-CUT PPF patterns that we create is digitised through using high-end technologies and know-how, ensuring that each of the cut panels perfectly fit to specific parts of the car.
The PROs in using custom pre-cut PPF patterns include, but are not limited to:
- The most obvious: no risk of damage by cutting on the car;
- Even lines and corners that follow the shape of the panel;
- Where seams are present they tend to be nicely aligned with even and tight gaps;
- Considerable shorter installation times, since all the cutting is done beforehand;
- Less contamination trapped under film due to lack of excess film around the panel and due to the increased ease of removing present particles;
- No panels, trim or badges get disassembled.
- It is easier to replace/remove the paint protection film.
Because we want you to better understand what this implies, we will try to emphasize several important steps within the installation process.
1. A thorough inspection/an audit of the car takes place before anything else.
We have developed an inspection sheet that allows us to identify any faults of the body car your pride and joy may have.
2. A proper-sized film is applied on the panel
This implies the same steps of an ordinary installation; the film has to be without bubbles or folds, yet at this point decontamination does not represent a big issue.
3. A thin line on the edge of the element is drawn with a marker.
This line has to be as accurate as possible and to overlap exactly with the edges of the panel. It is important to take into account the thickness/dimensions of the marker – even this can make the difference between a bad and a good personalized PPF pattern! Also, the necessary level of coverage beforehand in order to get the same amount of protection as hand cut installations needs to be taken into account. If the panel has a spherical shape (see the mirrors or bumpers of some of the cars) and the mounting film folds in any case, the design will be made out of two parts joint to joint along the fold.
4. After the contour is done with carefulness and attention, the now-obtained template has to be taken down from the panel/surface of the car with increased attention and concentration – is important NOT to tear or stretch it.
The film will be applied on the digitizing board with carefulness. If the film stitch to itself, when undo it, we can stretch the film and, therefore, the design will be altered. Using the latest technologies, the piece of film is now digitized through using high-end technologies and know-how, ensuring that each of the cut panels perfectly fit to specific parts of the car.
Experience is essential within this step: in order to be able to design the film, you need to have in mind that the PPF is likely to rise due to lack of adhesion space (as often as possible, the film is turned under the panel – hood, arch, door etc.- so to ensure maximum protection and minimum visibility). Because of this, when digitizing it, extra mm need to be added to the initial design.
Drawing the template in the vector editor requires time and effort, but it later speeds up the process of cutting if there is a high flow of vehicles for which custom patterns are needed. Another possible way of obtaining the digitized template may involve scanning and drawing the shape of the film needed to be cut over the scanned edges, using specialized software (like AutoCad, CorelDraw, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop etc.)
5. The new film template obtained through this process is afterwards cut by using high precision equipment.
A computer operated cutter that cuts the 2-D shape of each panel onto the film so that everything fits nicely to the shape of the car (contrary to popular belief, these use a precision blade rather than a laser).
6. Each of the designed panels is tested in terms of shape and dimensions.
After testing, any additional adjustments are done electronically and, if needed, another design will be produced. All the puzzle pieces need to perfectly fit to each of the car panels.
7. The paint protection film is afterwards installed on all the required panels.
Why all this fuss?
Because following this steps allows us to ensure a higher quality of the installation process. More than that, this represents one of the aces up our sleeves, allowing us to guarantee that never -on any of the cars on which PPF is installed within Dragon AutoShield- a cutter or other blades will be used for adjusting the PPF to the size and form of the panel. This ensures that safety, care, respect and professionalism is shown to both our customers and their cars… and it is what makes us different within the industry.
The CONs we found in time regarding the above mentioned process include:
- cost tends to be higher because of the equipment and software needed, but also because of the extra-film that is lost during the patterning process;
- extra time is needed for patterning the bespoke PPF patterns;
- skills and know-how are difficult to acquire in beginners’ case, so specialized human resources in this particular area are extremely valuable and hard to find;
Taking into account all of the above and weighing the PROs and CONs, we definitely consider that is all worth it! And more than anything, the satisfaction of a job well done and the amazement of our customers is all that counts to keep us going.
PPF is a fantastic product. Not decided yet? See several reasons why PPF is a good investment.
Interested? Get in touch for a quote.