Plastics have taken the place of metals in an array of applications, from construction materials to signage. However, sometimes builders and companies still want the look of metal — even if the other attributes of plastics could be beneficial to their projects.
Luckily, aluminum composite material offers the best of both worlds. This material is essentially a sheet of plastic surrounded by two pieces of thin aluminum. So you get the look of aluminum along with many of the other qualities of plastic.
There are nearly endless applications for this unique combination. But two of the most common are in the construction and signage industries. Here’s a guide to the qualities of aluminum composite material and some of its most popular potential uses.
Attributes of Aluminum Composite Material
Aluminum Composite Material, which is often shortened to ACM, is a rigid material with a polyethylene core that is bonded to two thin sheets of aluminum — one on each side. The aluminum gives it the look of metal, which is often important in applications where the finished material is visible. And it provides strength and durability, since aluminum is resistant to denting and corrosion.
However, the plastic core means that it is more lightweight than full metal. This makes it easier to install and handle throughout the process. It’s also perfect for applications that have a weight limit, since thick sheets of metal may strain building support structures or limit the ability to transport signs or materials to different locations.
In addition, ACM sheets lay more flat than those completely made out of aluminum. This reduces the chance of various changes that sometimes impact the shape and appearance of straight aluminum over time. For example, oil canning and rippling effects are minimized when the material is mostly made of plastic. Additionally, the plastic core makes ACM more cost effective than full aluminum sheets that are the same thickness.
ACM can also be customized to each user’s specific needs. The flexibility of the materials allows it to be bent to a degree or even turned at a right angle. And of course, it can be cut to your specific size needs. This service is important, because the companies that use this material may not have access to the right cutting tools to go through both aluminum and polyethylene. So ACM custom cut products allow you to quickly access the exact sheets needed to integrate into various projects right away.
ACM Custom Cut for Building and Construction
ACM custom cut materials are commonly used in the building and construction industry, especially in applications that require a metal look, but where the low weight of plastic may be beneficial. There are various grades available to provide different levels of durability. So it can work in both interior and exterior settings.
More specifically, it is often used as wall cladding or liner. It can even serve as an architectural face for buildings, since the appearance of aluminum creates a clean, professional, modern, and upscale appearance. The extra strength of aluminum provides protection for the wall. And the thickness of the plastic has insulating properties to keep the interior comfortable and improve the efficiency of HVAC equipment. Ultimately, this can save building owners money on utility bills without sacrificing safety and comfort.
Additionally, the lightweight nature of the plastic core makes ACM an ideal wall covering material, since it won’t put extra strain on the frame of the building like solid metal might when used on a large scale. This factor also makes it safer and easier for construction teams to add wall cladding and insulation.
ACM custom cut sheets are also easily routed, cut, and roll formed. These customization options mean that construction crews can access materials already suited to their products and applications. This eliminates the need for companies to invest in their own cutting and routing equipment. And it saves time by avoiding the need to outsource these services separately or to wait for team members to arrange various customization options.
ACM Custom Cut for Graphics and Signage
ACM custom cut materials are also commonly used in the sign and graphics industry. One of the main factors that makes ACM such a popular option in this industry is that it can be printed on. So companies can create digital designs and then have them automatically added to attractive yet lightweight sheets of material. It can also be painted and decorated manually for one-off signs or displays.
These qualities make ACM custom cut sheets perfect for many uses and applications within the sign and graphics industry. It can be a powerful option for displays in retail stores, outdoor signage for marketing local businesses, channel letter backings for 3D signs or storefronts, and even mobile displays for trade show booths or local events. Some businesses may even choose to use ACM as a wall cladding or architectural material and then print graphics on it to create permanent displays.
The strength and durability of ACM sheets allow it to be used for both outdoor and indoor signage. It is light enough to be carried into buildings and even travel to trade shows and events. But it can also stand up against rain, wind, and hail enough to display important messages outdoors.
ACM sheets are also available in a variety of colors and finishes, allowing sign manufacturers complete design freedom. From a wide array of common sign colors, matte or gloss finish, mill finish, butler finish, or even mirror, there is an ACM sheet available for any design specification.
If you’re ready to reap the benefits of ACM custom cut sheets, Polymershapes can help. We work with top provider 3A composites to offer premium grade aluminum composite material in an array of sizes and grades. We also offer on-site customization options, and our knowledgeable team can guide you to the ideal solutions for your projects and applications. Visit our website to speak with a representative or request a quote today.