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Protecting Fingerprint-Resistant Surfaces: Why Non-Traditional Surfaces Require Non-Traditional Protective Films

The crisp, modern look of stainless steel remains in high demand. In response, manufacturers are increasingly turning to fingerprint-resistant coatings that make appliances easier to keep clean and provide several other benefits, including glare reduction and a sleek look featuring colored tints, such as black stainless steel with a matte finish.

For several decades now, manufacturers of household appliances such as refrigerators, dishwashers and ranges have gotten a clear message from consumers: The crisp, modern look of stainless steel remains in high demand. But that popularity has made the average kitchen an open-and-shut case for even the worst forensic examiner. The mystery of whose fingerprints smudged up the refrigerator door is hardly a complicated “who done it?” Everyone in the home is guilty as charged.

In response, manufacturers are increasingly turning to fingerprint-resistant coatings that make appliances easier to keep clean and provide several other benefits, including glare reduction and a sleek look featuring colored tints, such as black stainless steel with a matte finish. The ultramodern look is proving so appealing to consumers that it’s being incorporated into a wide range of products, including interior or exterior automotive parts and building materials such as corrugated metal roofing panels.

These coatings, however, come with one major drawback: They can be easily scratched and damaged during manufacturing and shipping and aren’t adequately protected by traditional protective film and packaging materials. For manufacturers and retailers, scratches and abrasions to delicate finishes can adversely affect the bottom line in the form of costly product returns and dissatisfied customers.

Strong Demand for Specialty Finishes

The Washington Post reported that black stainless steel was among the hottest topics at the annual Kitchen and Bath Industry Show in Orlando, Fla., in January and is expected to grow in popularity in the coming years. Major appliance manufacturers such as Frigidaire, KitchenAid, Bosch, LG and Samsung have introduced black stainless steel appliances in the past few years, touting them as easy to clean.

“Black stainless doesn’t require any special polishes to keep it looking good,” Nancy Bock, senior vice president of education for the American Cleaning Institute, a trade group, told Consumer Reports. “Cleaning is generally simple and can be accomplished using warm water and a soft cloth,” she said.

New, Upgraded Protective Film

As consumers speak with their wallets and make these new finishes the industry standard, the need for compatible, temporary protective film becomes magnified. The latest cost-competitive solution from Pregis is the new PolyMask 23107C film, which has proven it can meet the challenge in a series of laboratory tests.

“We have spent years developing and testing this product in order to provide a cost-effective, leading-edge solution for manufacturers looking to push surface coating boundaries.” – Steve Thompson, Director of Product Applications, Pregis PolyMask

 

Pregis’ new film protected the coated products better than traditional films, and its proprietary, water-based adhesive was easy to remove and did not cause any discoloration or surface damage – a common problem with other adhesives. The film’s durability makes it ideal for use not only in shipping products but also during the manufacturing process, when products can be damaged as they move down the assembly line.The adhesive-coated protective film, designed to adhere to delicate finishes, withstood long stretches in an accelerated-aging chamber in which the temperature was raised to 140 degrees and the relative humidity was 70 percent – extreme conditions that products typically never face in real-world settings.  

 

For a more detailed look at Pregis’s PolyMask 23107C protective film, read our press release in the Pregis Knowledge Hub.