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Choosing Vinyl & Designs for Stainless Steel Tanker Trailers

Choosing Vinyl & Designs for Stainless Steel Tanker Trailers

Transport trailers are a ubiquitous and effective way to promote a company’s brand. We see them driving down the highway and through our towns. We can quickly tell what they are hauling or who they are hauling for by the decals running the length of the trailer. Tanker trailers provide a unique difficulty though. Their round shape means that some of the vinyl may be receiving near constant sunlight as it faces the sky on the top of the tank, while that applied to the part facing the ground only gets the morning or evening light. Add to that the caustic chemicals used for cleaning and you have a recipe for vinyl disaster.


So, how do you keep your customers happy, and how do you make your work last as long as possible? The best route forward is to simply be upfront with your customers.

Pointers for planning the project:

  1. Pricier vinyls are going to last longer.
  2. The life spans of ALL vinyls are going to be significantly reduced. Between 60-80%, depending on the vinyl.
  3. Choose high tack adhesive or 10 year cast vinyl.
  4. Anything applied to the top half of the tank will NOT be covered by manufacturer warranty.
  5. Stay away from prints containing a lot of black.


One silver lining. As a northern country, Canada is better location for longer lasting installations, due to less direct sunlight throughout the year.


Some tips that will help get your project started on its best foot:

  1. Apply the vinyl indoors and give it a day or two to off-gas and set. 
  2. Keep your installations to the bottom half of the tank. No one can clearly see the top anyway.
  3. If your customer absolutely demands that you install on the upward facing part of the tank, apply the vinyl in two pieces (upper half and lower half). That way you can hopefully save having to replace the whole thing and just redo the top part in a year.


There is no way to significantly increase the life of a tanker installation. However, starting the project with some frank conversations can help. If your customers know the realities of how vinyl responds to direct sunlight and cleaning chemicals, you save everyone an unpleasant conversation in the near future. Paying more upfront might also save your customer down the road with less frequent re-installations.


For more details on expected lifespans, and how different environments and different parts of the tank affect vinyl durability, please check out the link below.

Avery Dennison Product Bulletin: Tanker Trailer Applications

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