5 Factors to consider when wrapping your rail cars instead of painting | Sponsored

Rail transport has changed a lot, and OEMs and maintenance companies have made the transition from painting to packaging their passenger cars.

We’re going to discuss five factors that should be considered as to why it is beneficial to package your railroad cars instead of painting them.

1. Durability and performance

The first question most people ask is how durable is a film solution compared to paint. Will this product stand up to my wash cycles and retain my brand image until the next regular overhaul?

The answer is yes. 3M will work with you to provide our best solution for any substrate. Whether you’re renovating an existing painted railcar or building a new touring coach, we have graphic films to suit your needs. 3M graphic film solutions are backed by our 3M ™ MCS ™ guarantee. The 3M ™ MCS ™ warranty is an average of 5 to 8 years, depending on the geographic region. A performance of up to 10 years is expected for our premium film solutions. 3M runs the tests to back up our comprehensive warranty to keep you covered wherever you are in the world. This is particularly important for manufacturers who build or overhaul a railcar in one country and operate it in another. Your warranty coverage follows your rail vehicles wherever you take them.

To protect your brand image, 3M offers many graphics protection solutions that give your graphics the durability they need. These protective films provide exceptional UV protection performance to prevent color fading and make cleaning your railcar easier. In addition, these solutions offer anti-graffiti performance to make it easier to restore your railcar in the event of a vandalism attack and are even tested for high-speed railcars as well.

When it comes to maintaining the appearance of your exterior rail vehicle, 3M graphics solutions help keep your rail vehicles cleaner for longer compared to typical colors. Some of our customers have found that their 3M graphics solutions have increased their wash cycles from 7 days to 14 days. This means less water and detergent use and less need to send your cars to the car wash.

2. Simple implementation

The next concern is how easy it is to apply compared to the paint and what happens if the railcar is damaged?

3M graphics solutions can be easily implemented into your current workstream without the need to invest in a paint booth or special equipment. Graphic films can be applied directly on the production line or in the maintenance facility.

The way the graphics installation process works is to work with 3M and one of our 3M Authorized Rail Partners to determine the best 3M graphics solution for your needs. These authorized railway partners work with you on a draft and guide you step by step through the implementation of your concept. You also have the printing, lamination, and installation capabilities to make the graphics and install them on your rail vehicle. The authorized railway partners use 3M-trained installers to complete your train packaging in a highly efficient way.

By using foil instead of paint, you can optimize your manufacturing or maintenance process and get the rail vehicles up and running faster.

In addition to the expertise of our rail partners, we have an installation package that is provided by the operator to ensure that the installation is of the highest quality. This installation package contains a pre-installation inspection, installation standard operating procedure, quality guidelines, a post-installation certificate of completion, and a post-installation maintenance bulletin with instructions.

3. Regulations / standards of the railway industry

With the rail industry being highly regulated, 3M works hard to provide materials that will help you meet industry standards for your area. We ensure that our products have been tested according to many normative standards in the industry. Whether you need fire, smoke and toxicity tests related to standards like EN 45545-2 and NFPA 130 or VOC emission tests, we have it all for you.

In addition to industry standards, we can assist you in supporting your specification process by running tests related to material performance.

We also know that, like us, you have sustainability goals. Don’t fret, we’ve got you covered. We have PVC-free, low-VOC solutions that can help you with this.

4. Cost

When considering whether to pack or paint a railcar, cost is always a factor to think about. Do you have paint booths? Does the paint booth have to be re-certified? How much time and work is involved in this process? These are great questions to help you understand whether it makes sense to package your rail vehicles.

3M can help you with this process. Our ability to process your current features and evaluate them against a 3M film solution will help you determine if wrapping makes sense for your project. The typical cost factors to consider when packaging a cart are material costs, prep costs, design, and installation. Working with an authorized 3M rail partner can guide you through this process to provide you with an accurate price for these steps.

In some cases, the cost of the footage may be higher, but this cost can be offset by the labor savings associated with this process. Every program is different, so 3M is here to help you better understand what this process will be like specifically for you.

5. Design skills

Brand image is extremely important to the passenger experience. The trend in the passenger experience is to create a rail vehicle that customers enjoy using. 3M graphic films can enhance your passenger experience with eye-catching designs that include your city’s branding and other social messages that you want to share with your customers. Whether it’s your tried and true colors that your customer knows, or a completely new design that captures the culture of the city or region, 3M graphic films can help you make that vision a reality. 3M Authorized Rail partners use the best 3M film solutions with long lasting digital inks to create a unique look. 3M also offers color matching to your brand standards to ensure consistency across your fleet. In addition to our color films, we offer reflective solutions for security applications and different gloss levels for a more modern feel. 3M and our partners will help you improve your design beyond the possibilities of painting and ensure that the customer experience is unforgettable.

For more information on 3M film solutions for rail, visit the 3M Rail Solutions website.

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