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Aluminum Composite Materials manufacturers; reviews of everything available, comments on price comparisons Print E-mail

Reviews and price comparisons of Aluminum Composite Materials

Naturally merely having lowest price is not a guarantee that a material will work. So a low $ price is not the key factor.

To be fair, merely because a material has a high price is no guarantee that an inkjet product is the best. I can still remember when I was still in high school, asking the owner and founder of Southern Comfort how he grew his company to become so popular, Southern Comfort (a sweet liqueur) was begun by my paternal grandmother’s brother, William Fowler. The Southern Comfort founder told me he simply put a higher price on his booze “so that people would think it was something special; something different than all the low-bid alcoholic products.”

I learned many things from the Southern Comfort branch of my family, the most important was that “money may produce wealth, but money definitely does not buy happiness.” This is one reason I decided to work in research and evaluation, because my reward is fresh knowledge, and this always makes me enjoy the learning experience. For the last several years we have been looking at metallic effects products for wide-format inkjet printers, of which aluminum composite materials are one.

The other metallics effects products for ink jet printers are:

  • Metallic inks (especially Roland but also Mimaki)
  • Metallic effects coating
  • Metallic media, roll-to-roll (thin, not thick nor rigid)
  • Metallic materials other than aluminum

Today, on this web page, we introduce rigid aluminum composite materials. Previously we have discussed other (non-metallic) materials, especially honeycomb sandwich substrates.

Aluminum composite panel sizes (ACP)

Sizes vary depending on whether you are in a world area using metric, or a world area still stick on feet and inches. Most of the materials were originally made in USA so these sizes are in inches.

Whereas there are standard sizes, a few variants (different brands) do offer more variety in panel sizes.


Aluminum Composite Materials (ACM) to print on

The ACM (Aluminum Composite Material) or ACP (Aluminum Composite Panel) is a flat panel that consists of a non-aluminum core bonded between two aluminum sheets. The ACM is very rigid and strong against its lightweight.

This material can be printed (with appropriate inks) in any kind of color, metallic and non-metallic colors as well as patterns that imitate other materials, such as wood or marble.

Aluminum media can be printed on with the right materials.

ACM can come in many finishes

  • Brushed silver
  • Brushed gold
  • Mirror
  • Grey

Once funding is available we will be issuing reports on each and every aspect of selected ACM brands and all their options.

Suppliers and Brands of aluminum composite material

When I ask people to say which brand name comes to their mind, they usually say DIBOND, from ALCAN Composites. As soon as we can visit other companies which make comparable material we can add their name.

It is no surprise that a major aluminum manufacturer such as Alcoa Aluminum has an aluminum composite material, Reynobond. This is primarily used for architectural façade decoration. ALUCOBOND is also primarily for architecture. ALUCORE has a honeycomb core, but of aluminum, not Kraft paper (so this is not honeycomb sandwich board).

Suppliers are available around the world since ACP is popular both for signage and wide-format inkjet printing.

Aluminum composite panel price list

You can learn the prices and get lists of all the sizes and shapes are your nearest signage trade show. In USA you can find what you need at ISA in the Spring or SGIA in the autumn. In Mexico FESPA Mexico; for South Africa, FESPA Africa.

In Istanbul and both Asia and Europe associated with Turkey, the leading signage expo is Sign Istanbul. For the Middle East the most successful signage expo is SGI in Dubai (Sign Middle East).

In China the largest expo in the world is APPPEXPO in Shanghai.

More to come from FLAAR Reports on ACM and ACP materials

We are considering expanding our coverage of aluminum composite materials from USA, Japan, and Europe. We are also looking at competing brands of aluminum composite panel substrates from China.

All countries tend to make one series for architectural panels and another series which is printable by flatbed inkjet systems. Since FLAAR Reports is a leading evaluator of UV-cured printers we have experience with most of the materials which are printable.

For architectural materials, three generations of the Hellmuth family have been architects; two of my brothers still practice architecture today, and I majored in architectural sciences at Harvard, so studying building materials is part of my heritage.

We are also continuing our research on honeycomb sandwich materials.

Why are we interested in printable thick rigid materials?

First, we do exhibits at museums, universities, trade shows, and botanical gardens. So here at FLAAR Reports we seek our own independent information on what is best to print on, for signage and for exhibits.

Second, manufacturers ask us to evaluate their inks, printers, and substrates. So we make sure we have a background so we can produce helpful FLAAR evaluations.

Third, there are several innovative new printers being launched in late 2012 and early 2013 which will be able to print on thick rigid materials with inks other than UV-cured.

Since we are a non-commercial research institute, we then publish the information for our readers.

Most recently updated January 5, 2015
Previously updated August 15, 2012



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