Dead Front and Backlit Overlays
Dead Front Overlay Product Labels
Dead front overlay product labels are designed so the symbols or graphics are not readily visible unless the graphics/symbols are lit up with a light source. Your car dashboard is probably the most common application for dead front overlays. The main concept is to only illuminate the graphics or symbols you want the customer to see at any one time. For instance, you only see the seat-belt indicator light if you are not wearing your seat-belt. Marking Systems has the in-house capability to produce the most demanding dead front overlay product labels. The picture to the left is an example of how the aerospace industry implements these product labels.
The Manufacturing Process of Dead Front Overlays
Product label printing dead front overlays can be complicated. On the overlay above, MSI printed eight passes of ink in order to achieve the proper level of opacity and create the graphic elements. With a 6-color carousel screen printing press, MSI prints the completed part in two passes rather than each color being printed one at a time.
Cutting is the next critical process, and Marking Systems Inc. has numerous choices. Our Zund digital cutter (for prototype/short production runs) uses camera registration to ensure the graphics are placed over the light source within +-.010 tolerances. This method is preferred for prototype runs. Production runs are processed on our Preco die-cutting line that also has camera registration ensuring +-.010 tolerances.
The backlighting of graphic overlays can create a dramatic visual effect, especially in low-light environments like an airplane cockpit. Traditional back-lighting utilizes incandescent or LED lights behind the graphic overlay. Often, these light sources are assembled on a PCB or attached to a sub-panel.
When the light source is off, the panel/graphic overlay looks like a regular overlay, but with some graphic elements hidden.
When the light source is on, the hidden graphics are revealed, providing specific information for the given situation.
Whether it is dead front or backlit overlays, adhesive issues, color matching, or tight tolerance cutting, let the product label printing experts at MSI help. We excel at finding cost-effective solutions for our customers.