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Protection and design for cross-country skis

© Shutterstock – Unomos

Cross-country skiing is all the rage. And this is resulting in increasing demand for PLEXIGLAS® films, as many renowned manufacturers of sporting goods use the films for protective and decorative top layers for their cross-country skis. The high-performance film ensures a permanently vibrant and high-quality appearance and because the film is very thin and light, it does not come with any significant weight penalties – an important aspect for cross-country skis.

Resistant to UV and weather influences, come snow or shine

Winter sports equipment is subjected to intense sunlight, as well as wet, cold and snowy conditions. Without a protective layer, the materials would become brittle or turn yellow. Just like sunglasses protect the wearer’s eyes from sunlight, a PLEXIGLAS® film forms the top layer of cross-country skis and protects the composite materials and resins used, while also retaining the functionality of the high-tech components. The PMMA film from Röhm features a high surface hardness and is equipped with various levels of UV absorbers depending on the variant. This makes the brand product extremely UV and weather-resistant, just like all other PLEXIGLAS® products.

Vibrant prints for an enhanced brand image

The ability to apply a decorative pattern to the film is just as important as the top layer’s protective function, as each cross-country ski also acts as advertising space for the manufacturer.

With a choice of crystal-clear or matt PLEXIGLAS® films, manufacturers can give their products a vibrant and high-quality appearance. The films are completely colorless and can be printed on both sides using the screen printing, digital printing and flexographic printing processes. Accordingly, brand logos and lettering can be printed on the film in high resolution and in true colors. And as the UV protection inherent to the PLEXIGLAS® films prevent the colors from fading, they retain their vibrant appearance throughout the entire life cycle of the cross-country skis.

This protective effect extends the range of applications for digital printing, enabling small product series or design editions to be created. However, digital printing inks are per se not permanently UV-resistant. This disadvantage is compensated for by a top layer made from PLEXIGLAS® film. “Ski manufacturers can offer their customers cross-country skis with a customized design,” says Michael Enders, responsible for the films segment at PLEXIGLAS®.

After printing, the PLEXIGLAS® film is then laminated onto the skis. Thanks to their outstanding plasticity, the films perfectly adjust to the shape, while their processing properties during printing, back injection and thermoforming enable great freedom of design.

Vibrant surface

Brand-specific colors, logos and lettering are the distinguishing features of ski manufacturers. A top layer made from PLEXIGLAS® film can be printed on with precision and also retains the original colors, thereby providing the surface of the cross-country skis with a vibrant appearance.

© Adobe Stock – ChiccoDodiFC

Protected against sun, cold temperatures and snow

PLEXIGLAS® films are characterized by an outstanding resistance to UV radiation and weather. It protects skis against UV radiation in a similar way to sunglasses.

© iStock – grandriver

Contribution to sustainable ski production

In addition, PLEXIGLAS® films contribute to the sustainable and resource-friendly production of cross-country skis. Firstly, Röhm can supply the films in the widths required by each customer, thereby ensuring as little material is used as required. Secondly, any unavoidable cuttings generated during further processing are almost completely recyclable.

High-quality design for injection-molding parts

The excellent compatibility of PMMA allows the film to be combined with other plastics during the lamination process. It is also ideally suited as a decorative film for injection-molded parts. Using a process known as film insert molding (FIM), printed films are shaped, stamped and then placed into injection molding tools, creating a flexible manufacturing process which combines the injection molding process with the ability to perform universal and quick design changes.

“With their diverse material properties and high processability, PLEXIGLAS® films harbor great potential for further applications in the outdoor sports segment,” comments segment manager Michael Enders.

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