Archive for the ‘Digital Printing’ Category

Quick Reference Guide–Techniques & Design Considerations for Metal Components

Posted on: September 24th, 2018 by | No Comments

Metal nameplates and components are as valuable as the product they’re attached to, which means the design phase in creating them is a critical process. There are specific considerations that should be made before moving forward with a design, so taking time to weigh the implication of your particular application carefully will lead you toward a safe and great looking nameplate or component.

 

Who will lay eyes on it?

Metal components such as emblems can act as an eye-catching accent on products such as vehicles; however, when chosen hastily they can easily become an eyesore. Creating a badge for your product that complies with company brand standards not only maintains an integrated look but conveys an easily identifiable message whether it’s for the safety of the user or simple aesthetic pleasure. Consider the following when creating your next component or nameplate:

 

  • When building brand awareness and drawing attention to your product, using metal components adds a sleek, stunning, high-end aesthetic that draws more attention to it than a blandly designed component. Simply stated, metal nameplates, labels, and components have a significant impact on how your product is viewed are representative of your brand.
  • U.S. Nameplate Co. has devised a way to simplify the process to assist customers in selecting the correct material for their nameplates and labels based on industry, environment, and application. We have a staff of technical professionals, engineers, and graphic artists with experience and are more than capable and willing to assist companies of all industries in the design, specification, and ordering of custom nameplates.

 

Communicate Your Requirements

Specific applications require a reliable performance standard which is expected within the nameplate industry, so don’t hesitate to communicate any requirements and tolerances you may have. Consider the conditions your label or nameplate will face; are any of the following likely to occur?

  • Will the nameplate or label be outside? If yes, for how long? 1-3 years, 3-5 years, 20 years or more?
  • Will it be prone to scratching, rubbing, scraping, or scouring? Nameplates in these situations require a resistance to abrasion—measured in cycles on a tabor abrader (500, 1,000, 4,000, 7,000+).
  • Is the label likely to be close to a heat source such as an engine, pump, generator, furnace, etc.? Such applications commonly require the label to be heat resistant in excess of 1,200ºF.
  • Geographically, where will the product be used? Resistance to a salty solution will add life to the label or nameplate when deployed on the coasts or areas where snow removal is common.
  • What is the probability the nameplate or label will come into contact with harmful or corrosive liquids and chemicals? Resistance to chemicals—such as Skydrol, diesel fuel, hydraulic fluid, and MEK; measured in hours before degradation.

 

U.S. Nameplate Co. offers an extensive list of products and materials from flexibles like polycarbonate and vinyl to metals like aluminum, brass, Metalphoto, and stainless steel which offer a wide range of durability to meet your product specifications.

 

What will it say?

To effectively communicate information, a nameplate needs to be optimally-legible. It’s important to know exactly what the nameplate is intended to communicate so the following can be addressed.

  • Know what data your nameplate or label needs to hold, so you get an idea of how large it needs to be.
  • Does your nameplate have to follow OSHA, ANSI, ISO, or perhaps other standards?
  • Will the date be the same on every nameplate or will it be serialized?
  • Will the product include barcodes or other machine-readable (AIDC) marks?
  • Do you need other graphic features like micro-text for anti-counterfeit features or high-resolution maintenance schematics?
  • Ensure that the material your supplier recommends is certified to any commercial or military specification you need to meet.

 

 

Consider the Physical Attributes

Focus in on the specifics. Think about the size, specifically, thickness, height, and width. Equally important are attributes such as sheen and pattern, and even the methods of attachment. Choose wisely by weighing the following.

Thickness

Thinner foil labels (.003” and .005” thick) will adhere to curved surfaces or sit inside recessed areas of your part. This feature affects the location a label can be used and even the amount of abrasion it must withstand.

Size

Does your application require the nameplate to fit in incredibly small spaces or be easily seen from afar? Different materials lend themselves to performing well at specific sizes such as Metalphoto, which is available as small as .25” x .25” and as large as 24” x 40”.

Attachment

The surface type and environment are the major determining factors in which method of attachment can be utilized. Think about the texture, material, and elements the nameplate will be exposed to.

 

Enlist the Help of Experts

The knowledgeable professionals at U.S. Nameplate Co. are prepared to assist you in creating the perfect nameplate or label for your product. When creating your nameplate, we understand the importance of considering who will see it, special requirements that must be met, what it says, and physical attributes such as thickness, size, and how it will be attached to a surface. Contact us for everything you need in your next nameplate.

Choosing the Best Metal Marking Methods

Posted on: September 9th, 2016 by | No Comments

Businesses and individuals are often told to go make their mark in the world. At U.S. Nameplate, we make our mark with every custom design we create for our clients.

Since 1946, we have been the supplier of choice for metal nameplates to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM’s) throughout the world. In fact, more than 3,000 OEM’s trust us to design and deliver custom products—including decals, labels, tags, control panels, signs, and nameplates—for all their industry needs.

To help you make your mark, our experienced representatives will discuss the many options for your machinery and your products. When it comes to metal nameplates, you’re spoiled for choice with our materials and marking processes.

We’ll begin by determining the proper metal thickness for your application. Once you select your preferred metal, you can choose from thicknesses ranging between .005” – .125.”

We work with a wide variety of industries—including aerospace, mining, and utilities—and we know each customer has unique specifications. The thickness of the metal depends on your use, how you will affix the nameplate, and what type of mark we can offer. We’re exacting in all we do and proud to be an ISO certified facility and UL approved label supplier.

Following are brief descriptions of five of our marking methods:

Metalphoto®: Known as the most durable aluminum substrate on the market, Metalphoto is a photosensitive, anodized metal used in a wide range of industrial applications. Using your design requirements, we imprint the plate with your custom instructions. Next we embed the metal with graphics by embossing the surface with metallic silver particles. Finally, we seal the marks and cover them with a hard anodic layer. Available in thicknesses ranging from .003″ – .125,” we offer matte, satin, and satin gold finishes.

Metal Etching: Using a chemical etching process, we create designs in aluminum and anodized aluminum which can be manufactured at any size, though most thicknesses vary from .005″ – .125.” We can also etch the surface, then fill those spaces with screen printed inks. At U.S. Nameplate, we recommend the etching process for applications in harsh outdoor conditions, including the aircraft, automotive, and marine industries. We offer finishes in a variety of colors.

Screen Printing: You’ll appreciate all the options when it comes to this process. Why? Screen printing is equally effective on metal or flexible materials like polyester or vinyl. We use a woven mesh with an ink-blocking stencil to create your custom design. In addition to flexible materials, we use a variety of metals and thicknesses to cut and machine your ideal printed project.

Digital printing: Like screen printing above, we can employ a wide variety of media and thicknesses. We apply a digital image directly atop your preferred material. It’s a great choice for small production runs and on-demand printing. In addition to nameplates, digital printing is a great choice for for decals, safety labels, graphic overlays, and control panels.

Embossing: A centuries old process, metal embossing adds three dimensional printing—a raised, sunken, or relief design—to your chosen material. We can emboss on metal or flexible materials, like polycarbonate, up to .032” thick. Embossing creates a tactile and textured surface, useful for products like graphic overlays and buttons.

No matter what the metal, material, thickness, or product, you’ll appreciate the durability of everything we produce at U.S. Nameplate. Our fabricated products last up to 25 years with outdoor and extreme exposures. Contact us today to see how we can help with your metal nameplates.

Nameplate Printing Durability Infographic

Posted on: April 20th, 2016 by | No Comments

nameplate durability

Nameplate Processes & Durability

The printing process and materials used for your nameplate will affect its durability and longevity. Generally, digital printing will last 2-3 years on paper, 4 years on vinyl and around 7 years on metal. Screen printing can last up to 12-13 years on metal, but only 5 years on film and 2-3 on paper. Etching and Metalphoto are the most durable processes used on metal nameplates and can last up to 30 years.

Our nameplate experts are happy to help you find the right material and printing option for your nameplate needs. Give us a call or contact us for more information.

 

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When It Is Time To Order, Don’t Be Left Hanging

Posted on: June 5th, 2015 by | No Comments

Think; you just started your business and are in need of an industrial metal nameplate or decal. One that can with stand the harsh conditions your equipment goes through. You have a lot of questions but don’t know whom to turn to. The experts at U.S. Nameplate are here to answer those questions.

The biggest question you have is probably: What is it going to cost me? Typically, 4/5 of the cost of an industrial decal or metal nameplate is labor, and 1/5 is the cost of material. Metal will cost more than other substrates such as polyester, polycarbonate, vinyl and paper. Even though you will pay more initially, you will get a longer lasting product.

Which brings me to the next question. How long will my industrial decal or metal nameplate last? The length of durability varies greatly by exposure to the elements: temperature, humidity, how much sunlight it gets, for example.

Generally, you can expect high performance premium vinyl films to last 5-7 years. Economy grade vinyl films, which are less durable, can last between 1 and 3 years. Vinyl is a durable plastic film that is flexible. Often, vinyl is used on curved surfaces and is abrasion resistant and water and weatherproof.

Standard polycarbonate can be expected to last 3 years whereas coated polycarbonate can be expected to last 5-7 years. Polycarbonate is a strong, rigid plastic film offering excellent chemical and abrasion resistance. In addition, polycarbonate has good electrical qualities and like vinyl can conform to surface irregularities when heated.

Polyester films can last around 2 years. Polyester is a very strong plastic film. It does not conform as well as polycarbonate or vinyl, but offers little or no shrinkage.

Metals however, can almost stand the test of time depending on the process. Aluminum and stainless steel, which can be screen printed or digitally printed, can last 20 years. Aluminum that has been etched or screen filled can last around 25 years. Metalphoto decals and nameplates can last over 30 years.

Aluminum is one of the most widely used metals in the world. Its lightweight, high strength excellent chemical resistance and temperature resistance makes aluminum a high performance label application. Aluminum can also be anodized which creates an even more durable aluminum product.

Stainless steel’s resistance to corrosion, staining, temperature, low maintenance and familiar luster make it an ideal material for many label applications.

All these numbers are if conditions are perfect. With simple cleaning and maintenance every once in a while, your industrial decals and metal nameplates can last even longer.

The process of how your industrial decals or metal nameplates are printed depends on how long you would like for them to last. U.S. Nameplate has the capabilities to Metalphoto, metal etch, screen print and digitally print your industrial decals and metal nameplates. The table below shows the durability of the printing process in years.

Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 1.23.16 PM

These are just a few questions you may have. Contact us or call us at 1 (800) 553-8871 and a U.S. Nameplate representatives will be pleased to answer any other questions you may have. U.S. Nameplate Co. has been the supplier of choice to over 3,000 OEM’s and is equipped to handle any size of orders from one to millions.