The entire concept of using reflective films stems from their original use on metal highway signage, but those engineering-grade (or tougher) materials had course, bumpy finishes created from large beads of glass key to reflecting light. They are great for silk screening words and symbols and they hold up to well under outdoor conditions for extended periods of time.
When people discovered retro-reflective materials could also work on barcode labels, they tried the same signage materials but found they just couldn’t get good print quality. Companies like EIM determined that we needed smoother reflective products that could be printed with durable thermal transfer ribbons and we also needed to keep costs under control.
We tried several variations of materials along the way… from weather resistant vinyl, to polyester and acrylics. Then this year, we discovered a brand new RetroReflective material that defies what “normal” reflective materials look like. The glass bead effect with a silver/white color suddenly changed. Instead we have a more even “white” reflective that allows you to scan distances from 30 to 45 feet with 100 mil Code 128 barcodes, plus we can print with our UV inkjet equipment in full color which is great for color coding and directional signs!! The same aggressive, high performance adhesive we chose on our other retro-reflectives, bonds well to tough surfaces.