Rigid media can come in all shapes and sizes. One of the big players in the graphics and sign industry is foam board. Although foam board can seem simple at first glance, there is a lot of thought, problem solving, and technical expertise that goes into creating a useable, printable sheet of foam board. Typically, customers who are purchasing boards plan on fabricating them in some way, which could involve laminating, printing, and/or cutting. There may be a few inherent properties in the board that the end user will have to overcome in order to perform these processes effectively.
One property that may cause concern is the amount of warping or bow in the board. Depending on the printer, some board warpage could create print strikes. Warping can be minimized by decreasing stresses in the board, such as the environment and roller tension during lamination. The better the board can acclimate to a controlled environment, the better it will perform during processing. It is generally recommended to store the board flat instead of upright as well. Having a sheet of foam board propped up against a wall will eventually create a warp in the middle of the board due to the unsupported weight.
Adhesion is another characteristic that the end user could have to monitor. Adhering to foam board successfully depends on surface energy, smoothness and cleanliness of the board surface, as well as the chemical properties of the adhesive. These properties, and others, can be tailored to create highly diverse boards, which is what makes foam board such a unique and cost-effective substrate.