Answered: Plastic Usage - Are decals 'functional'?

Recently my team went to a competition and noticed that several robots were using large plastic sheets for decals on the sides of their robots. However, my team has refrained from doing this up until now because we have yet to clarify the exact details of <R7>. We wanted to know if the rule implied that one may use more plastic than is normally allowed (12" x 24") The exact ruling is:

<R7> Robots are allowed the following additional “non-VEX” components:
d. Teams may add non-functional decorations provided that these do not affect the robot performance in any significant way or affect the outcome of the match. These decorations must be in the spirit of the competition. Inspectors will have final say in what is considered “nonfunctional”.
ii. Any guards or decals must be backed by legal materials that provide the same functionality. i.e. If your robot has a giant decal that prevents Scoring Objects from falling out of the robot, the decal must be backed by VEX material that also prevents the Scoring Objects from falling out.

Does this mean that we are allowed to cover the robot in plastic? We are unsure because it could easily be considered functional, in that it effectively prevents game objects or other robots to interfere or become tangled in our robot.

Thanks in advance,
Tommy

Yes, this is legal, provided that the excess material is non-functional. The rule you’ve quoted above explains this in detail.

As stated in the rule, any guards or decals must be backed by legal materials that provide the same functionality.