Electric sign: What is Pan Formed?

03.15.2007

Electric sign cabinets come in many shapes and sizes. When it comes to the decision of what face to specify for that sign cabinet though, there are really only two options that matter structurally. Should I go for Panformed or Polycarbonate.

First, what is a Panformed face? Panforming is a process in which a sheet of translucent material is laid over the top of a form including letters and logos. The sheet is heated to the specific temperature at which it begins to soften. Using vacuum pressure the softened sheet is then sucked firmly down over the form. The plastic takes on the shapes of letters and logos as though they were pressed into the surface from behind. When the material cools it regains its regular hard and strong surface.

Although panforming can be done with PolyCarbonate in most cases when the term Polycarbonate is used it is in connection with a flat face for an electrical cabinet sign. Lettering and logos of the business are then attached, like vinyl, or painted onto this face.

What is the difference? Panforming is stronger. This is because the forming process causes several added angles in the material adding both dimension and areas of greater load strength. This helps the face stay rigid in areas of high wind and keeps the face from bowing inward when it gets hot from sun or lights.

In addition panforming adds depth to the surface of the sign. This allows the light more travel time from bulb to face inside the sign. This makes the sign glow more evenly. This is especially useful in pole mounted locations where the poles inside the cabinet tend to cast a shadow on the sign face from within.

However panforming is more expensive than flat polycarbonate and should be viewed as a valuable addition in strength and longevity. We strongly recommend panformed faces on signs that are appropriate for its use, such as signs with faces over 32 square feet, and for which panforming compliments the design of the piece, for added strength and dimension in electrical cabinet signs.

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