Avery Dennison Reflective Solutions Blog / Public Agencies and Sign Fabricators Caught in Trade War

Public Agencies and Sign Fabricators Caught in Trade War

Making the most of the impact of tariffs on aluminum traffic signs.

Public agencies shopping for traffic signs, and every sign converter managing their materials supply chain, are experiencing the consequences of the Administration’s tariffs on aluminum. Panic buying in the Spring by a variety of industries with the announcement of the tariffs has limited aluminum supply and raised the cost of traffic signs. The collision of fixed budgets with higher sign costs will have a negative impact on safety as agencies find themselves unable to keep up with sign maintenance. And for an industry committed to reducing highway crashes which cause injuries and fatalities, this is bad news.

Raising costs and short supplies make it even more critical that public agencies purchase signs that last as long as possible – making the most of their investment in safety. Reflective sheeting life is one of the most important considerations for sign life. Take a close look at your signs in the field. Are they living up to your expectations? Are you seeing premature fading of fluorescent pigments and surface cracks which hasten sign failure? Does tagging – graffiti from spray paint or permanent marker – cause expensive sign replacement?

There is a ready-now solution to maximize sign life. I’ve long bragged about the durability of Avery Dennison’s  fluorescent sheeting pigments and TrafficJet™ CMSpot6™ inks produced by our Digital Ink Solutions group. But using our OL1000 Anti-Graffiti Film as the protective overlay can extend sign life by several years. Accordingly, we’ve increased our performance warranties, offering the traffic signing industry the longest coverage in the industry.

  • 15 years for traffic colors on T11500 OmniCube™ (ASTM Type XI full-cube) sheeting

  • 12 years for traffic colors on T6500 High Intensity (ASTM Type IV) sheeting

  • 10 years for custom colors on both of these prismatic sheetings (frequently used for public agency logos, corporate logos on motorist information signs, wayfinding programs, etc.)

Not all overlay films allow graffiti to be removed easily. The surface chemistry of OL1000 prohibits penetration by paint, marker, and sticker adhesive commonly used by sign taggers. This in turn allows for easy removal by wiping with a soft cloth and or a mild solvent, restoring the sign face. Even if you’re one of the few and fortunate public agencies that don’t have a sign tagging problem, the properties of the protective film that extend sign life can still be enjoyed.

Agencies with a TrafficJet™ printer can take advantage of longer life by simply using OL1000 as the protective overlay. Agencies purchasing finished signs or sign faces need only update purchasing specifications to request digitally printed signs using this combination of CMSpot6 inks and OL1000 overlay on Avery Dennison prismatic sheeting. With hundreds of TrafficJet printers across the country (and around the world) agencies have plenty of options for truly competitive pricing.


We cannot allow highway safety to become a victim of higher sign prices. Staying focused on life cycle costs helps avoid the temptation to save pennies today, while spending hundreds of dollars years too soon to replace poorly performing signs.

For an evaluation of your signing costs and full evaluation of how Avery Dennison digitally printed traffic signs can maximize your signing budget, please follow this link to speak with one of our safety professionals.

To learn more about Avery Dennison Reflective Solutions, visit reflectives.averydennison.com.

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