Retro Frames

For Flexible Faces on Existing and New Frames

ABC's Retro Frame system is comprised of 4 outer frames that allow flexible faces to be installed on frames that were typically built for rigid faces. Some Retro Frames are designed to greatly increase the wind load capacity of the frame, while others are designed to economically allow for tensioning flex faces.

How ABC developed the Retro Frames...

Before flexible sign face materials, large signs were built with rigid plastic faces, and the landscape was littered with broken plastic with every big windstorm. 3M developed the first flexible face material over 30 years ago but needed a solution to "tension" faces to the frame. The few first installations were on existing high rise, plastic face sign frames. ABC designed "retrofit" parts for these very first installs, our Retro Saddle, Flat Retainer and ABC Tensioning hardware. (fig. 1) This eliminated face blowouts when the faces were installed according to 3M's and ABC' instructions.

However, they soon found that many of these angle iron and sheet metal sign frames were not strong enough to withstand the combined face tension and wind loads. Unlike plastic faces, that broke and fell out, thereby relieving the wind load on the sign, flexible faces transferred the entire load to the frame. Too often, the frame would deform, loosening the face, and in some extreme cases the entire sign blew down because the foundation was inadequate.

3M then developed and published their engineering criteria to which any angle iron frame had to be built, or modified, before they would guarantee the face against blowout. Modifying these signs in the air was difficult, and they often had to be removed to add the struts and knee braces, then reinstalled. In most cases, this was cost-prohibitive.


We responded with our Retro Frame, (fig. 2) with provision for its own independent strut system that no did not depend on the existing angle iron frame for its strength. Later, to meet demand, we produced our Wide or Retro Bleed Frame version (fig. 3) that could be used for retrofits or building new signs using our Wide-Fab construction techniques.

Finally, the F-Saddle (fig. 4) was produced, again with provision for independent struts. The F-Saddle and the Retro Saddle with their respective Retainers and Strut Brackets are popular with companies that still prefer to work with angle iron frames. This combination ensures trouble free flexible face construction for new signs as well as retro-fits, at minimum cost.