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4 Types of Damage That Affect Nameplate Longevity & Readability

Posted on: April 16th, 2018 by | No Comments

There’s no denying how quickly some nameplates can deteriorate and lose readability depending on the environment they are in. There are many factors that lead to ineffective nameplates, but we’ve identified four main processes that are common across industries and damage nameplates the most. Knowing these types of damage, how to identify them, and how to avoid them (if possible), can help you determine which nameplate material is best for your application.

Abrasion

Abrasion is the process of scraping a surface that results in its deterioration or wearing away. The types of identification products that are commonly exposed to conditions associated with abrasion are nameplates, labels, graphic overlays, and products that are constantly touched, pushed and prodded.

These conditions are likely to cause buttons, icons, and instructions that were printed on the nameplate, graphic overlay, or membrane switch to become difficult to see, which can make an inherently dangerous environment even more so. When important nameplates aren’t clearly readable to employees and visitors, serious damage and/or injury is likely to occur. It’s important when deciding on and placing nameplates, to take into account the type of contact they’re likely to encounter such as abrasion. Seeking specific abrasion resistant nameplates will help you avoid these unnecessarily dangerous situations.

Corrosion

Corrosion, a process most people are familiar with, is a gradual destruction of materials by chemical and/or electrochemical reaction with their environment. As it relates to nameplates, serial tags, data rating plates, control panels, and signs, the factor that will affect corrosion of these materials the most is the environment they are used in. Utilizing the properly designed or treated materials within a given environment is the most effective deterrent of corrosion.

If equipment is stored or operates in a hot, moist climate, corrosion will occur at a faster rate. Taking it a step further, if water comes into contact with a nameplate it may become damaged over time. The lower the pH (acidity) of the water that comes into contact with your nameplate, the quicker the rate of corrosion. Whether it’s road salt or saltwater, salt accelerates the rate of metal rust and corrosion as well. Bacteria has a corrosive nature that is unknown to many people. When colonies of bacteria form on metal, they speed up the corrosion process and cause pitting on the metal surface. Once atmospheric oxidation begins, the materials disintegrate at the surface through a chemical reaction, removing important information and can affect attachment. Taking a proactive approach to avoid corrosion will allow you to save money and promote safety within the workplace.

Chemicals

Chemicals can be detrimental to the readability of warning and instructional plates, schematics, model and serial plates, barcode plates, and asset tags. Because various chemicals are so prevalent across many industries, it is likely each business should consider a nameplate that is resistant to such damage. The most common types of chemicals within a business that cause damage are alcohol, gas, and acetone, which can destroy printed labels, remove ink, cause adhesion problems and related safety issues.

Temperature

Extreme heat from friction, welding, stovetops, engines, prolonged sunlight, etc., and cold temps found in freezers, extreme winter weather conditions, and refrigeration equipment can create issues for nameplates used in a facility. Extreme high temperatures can distort images and wording which can completely change the meaning of a label or nameplate. High temps are also associated with catastrophic failure in nameplate adhesion and can cause them to fall off the surface their affixed to. They can also be faded beyond recognition if left in direct sunlight for an extended period of time. High temperature nameplates and high temperature labels may be the only solution to a need for nameplate durability.

Nameplates, labels, data rating plates, serial tags, and signs that are held on a surface through adhesion may also be affected by extreme cold. Adhesive materials may shrink, become brittle, and lose properties that make them ‘sticky’ to begin with. Nameplates that become distorted or fall off a surface create the opportunity for accidents, which can cost a business greatly. Avoiding such conditions will help in prolonging the life of nameplates, but if avoidance isn’t possible businesses need to invest in nameplates that can stand up to these conditions.

Durable Options from U.S. Nameplate Co.

At U.S. Nameplate Co., we build our products to withstand harsh environments. In fact, some of our nameplates are built to last up to 25 years. No matter what the conditions or job-sweltering heat, freezing cold, underground work, and continual outdoor exposure-our metal nameplates really take a beating. We offer custom work using aluminum, stainless steel and brass metal plates. For outdoor use, U.S. Nameplate Company uses a special metal etching process that actually becomes part of the metal. While these materials and processes are durable and tough, there are tried and true methods to ensure they last even longer. The more effectively you can protect and preserve your metal nameplate, the more time and money you’ll save.

The following list provides an overview for the durable nameplate and label materials we offer. Depending on the application of the nameplate there may be multiple options available for your durability needs. If your business is experiencing nameplate damage similar to the types listed above, we have a practical and affordable solution for you.

Polyester

Polyester has high tensile strength and is resistant to chemicals, abrasion and tears. This material is frequently used for panel overlays, labels and nameplates.

Brass

Brass is resistant to saltwater, corrosion and chemicals and Is generally a durable choice for nameplates and signs.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel has exceptional resistance to chemicals and corrosion. It is the preferred choice for caustic and acidic environments and is commonly used for nameplates, panels and signs.

Aluminum

Aluminum is lightweight and provides good corrosion resistance. This is another popular choice for nameplates, panels and signs.

Anodized Aluminum

Anodized aluminum has exceptional abrasion resistance and durability against corrosion, extreme temperatures, chemicals and solvents. Anodized aluminum is frequently used for nameplates, panels, overlays and labels.

Metalphoto

Metalphoto is the most durable and widely used material for nameplates, panels, overlays, signs and labels. It has superior resistance to abrasion, cleaning solvents, most chemicals, UV and extreme temperatures with ability to withstand outdoor exposure for 20 years or more.

Optional Finishes to Increase Durability

Screen Printing

Screen printing is a finish option that helps increase resistance to abrasion, chemicals and solvents.

Aluminum Etching

Aluminum etching increases resistance to chemicals and harsh, outdoor environments.

Contact us today for more information about our durable identification products or to get a quote.

How to Clean Metal Nameplates

Posted on: January 2nd, 2018 by | No Comments

The process of cleaning metal nameplates can be very simple and yield great results for those who do so correctly. Whether it’s industrial signage or equipment labels, the following steps will guide you to a cleaner and better-maintained metal surface.

 

Metalphoto

Metalphoto nameplates are known for their extreme durability and ability to withstand the toughest environments. The impermeable anodic layer that seals in a nameplate graphic lends itself to a variety of cleaning techniques, and the following is what has been found to work the best.
 

What To Use

  • Soft, lint-free cloth folded into a pad-like shape
  • Non-abrasive brush or sponge
  • Water spray (pressure washer)
  • Avoid aggressive alkaline or acid cleaners
  • Avoid cleaners containing trisodium phosphate, phosphoric acid, hydrochloric acid, hydrofluoric acid, fluroides, or similar compounds

 

How To Clean

  • For Light Surface Oil

    • Flush surface with moderate water pressure to dislodge the soil
    • Let air dry
    • Clean with soft bristle brush or sponge and water
    • Mild detergent cleaner can accompany brushing
    • Uniform pressure scrubbing
    • Must be thoroughly rinsed and dried
  • For Heavy Surface Oil

    • Use of isopropyl alcohol or MEK may be necessary to remove oils, wax, polish, etc.

 

When & Where

  • Clean exterior Metlaphoto when shaded
    • Chemical reactions on hot metal surfaces are highly accelerated and can cause non-uniformity
  • Avoid cleaning in freezing temperatures

 

Cleaning Tips

  • Always wipe in uniform single direction. Excessive abrasive rubbing to remove stubborn stains can adversely affect the finish.
  • Don’t allow detergent cleaner to remain on surface for extended period of time. Apply cleaner, scrub, rinse immediately.

 

Anodized Aluminum

Anodized aluminum nameplates are made of a very durable material, due to the chemical process that coats and hardens the metal. Anodized aluminum is weather-resistant and tarnish-resistant but the surface must be properly maintained to remain that way. Follow these steps and extend the life of your anodized aluminum products.

What To Use

  • Damp sponge
  • Dry towel
  • Pressure washer or a spray nozzle affixed to a hose
  • Mild dishwashing detergent

 

How To Clean

  • Wipe the metal down with a damp sponge to remove general surface dirt. This also prevents dust and dirt buildup.
  • Dry with towel to prevent water spotting
  • Spray with a high-pressure rinse
  • Apply dishwashing detergent with sponge and scrub
  • Rinse with clean water
  • Dry with towels

When & Where

  • This tough material, if being cleaned outdoors, can be cleaned in direct sunlight.

 

Cleaning Tips:

  • Do not use harsh chemicals or cleaners as they may react with the aluminum and cause unwanted damage.

 

Aluminum

 Since aluminum is one of the world’s most abundant metals many people benefit from cleaning items they use every day with the following steps:

 

 What To Use

  • Dishwashing soap
  • Clean, damp rag
  • Clean, dry cloth

 

How To Clean

  • Scrub with dishwashing soap to remove any surface dirt
  • Wipe the aluminum with a damp, clean rag, removing soap and debris
  • Buff the metal with a clean, dry cloth, to achieve a shiny finish

 

When & Where

  • Since aluminum is an efficient heat conductor and may become too hot to handle on a sunny day, its best to clean on a cool and cloudy day to achieve the desired results.

 

Cleaning Tips

  • Do not pressure wash aluminum. Aside from the metal being relatively soft, pressure washing aluminum is not the best way to get it clean.

 

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel’s corrosion and rust resistant properties make it a highly popular choice for indoor and outdoor applications. The following steps help to achieve the best results when cleaning regardless of the location.

 

What To Use

  • Grease-removing dishwashing soap
  • If grease and grime is difficult to remove, add ammonia to the soapy solution.
  • Sponge with cloth or soft brush

 

How To Clean

  • Use sponge, cloth, or soft brush to apply the soapy solution and scrub, making sure to follow the grain of the metal.
  • Wipe soap off with a clean, damp piece of cloth
  • If difficult grease or grime is encountered, add ammonia to the soapy solution and repeat.

 

When & Where

  • Stainless steel is a forgiving metal, allowing it to be easily cleaned in sunlight

 

Cleaning Tips

  • Do not pressure wash screen-printed graphics on stainless steel
  • Do not wipe/scrub in a circular motion. Cleaning and wiping along the grain will enable you to clean the microscopic grooves where dirt, grime and dust can get trapped. Wiping or scrubbing across the grain will also dull the surface being cleaned.

 

Brass

Brass is another popular metal for a variety of reasons, however, it is highly important for the life of the metal that it’s properly cleaned and maintained to avoid tarnishing. Follow these steps to achieve the best brass cleaning results.

 

What To Use

  • Homemade brass cleaner – 1 teaspoon of salt, ½ cup of vinegar, and add flour until mixture becomes a paste.

 

How To Clean

  • Wipe off thoroughly with use of a damp piece of cloth
  • Rub the homemade cleaner into the brass, letting it sit for about 10 minutes.
  • Once the homemade cleaner is dry, rinse with warm water and buff dry.

 

When & Where

  • The best results for cleaning brass can be achieved on a cool and cloudy day

 

Cleaning Tips:

  • Do not pressure wash brass. This delicate metal is most effectively cleaned by hand.

How to Choose Adhesives for Nameplates, Labels & Tags

Posted on: August 9th, 2017 by | No Comments

When you choose the brand name for your business, the hope is to make it stick in your consumer’s minds. The same is true for labeling your equipment and products with your brand logo, specifications or tracking information. You need something that sticks, literally. When it comes to choosing the right adhesives for industrial labels or nameplates, there are a variety of things to consider to be sure you’ll have a lasting hold. On what surface will the nameplate be attached to? Will it be used indoors or outdoors? Will it be exposed to chemicals or extreme temperature ranges? In the following guide, we’ll walk through the different factors that affect adhesion and discuss solutions for each.

 

Surface Condition

First, the surface of both your nameplate and the surface it will adhere to are two of the most important determinants. This can include the materials used, their texture, size, flexibility, surface energy, and any treatment that’s been applied to either surface.

 

Materials

Generally, adhesives are known for easily attaching to metals. And U.S. Nameplate offers the industry’s top choice in foam adhesive for metal nameplates. Some plastic materials like polyester, polycarbonate and vinyl, require a plasticizer-resistant adhesive to prevent softening or loosening of the bond. The flexible material options at U.S. Nameplate Co., however, accept a variety of adhesives including tapes and instant solutions.

 

Texture

Texture also plays a role in determining the type of adhesive you’ll need. If you are attaching to a rough or irregular surface, a foam adhesive can fill the gaps between the two surfaces. Smooth surfaces, on the other hand, have a much wider variety of adhesive options depending on the other factors discussed in this blog.

 

Treatment

We mentioned earlier that metals are often easy to adhere to, however, there is an exception when the metal has been powder coat painted. In this case, the coating becomes the bonding surface and requires an adhesive made specifically for that. U.S. Nameplate Co. offers a foam adhesive for just this situation with the 3M 300LSE Series.

 

Size

Size is another important factor. As a general rule, the larger the size, the greater the strength of adhesion you’ll need to form a durable bond. For instance, hanging a large metal sign will require a much stronger adhesive than a small plastic tag.

 

 

Cleanliness

Regardless of the material, texture or other attributes, it is essential that the surface you’re adhering your nameplate to is dry and clean to maximize the strength of the bond. This means removing any dirt, grease or other residue that may prevent adhesion. For most surfaces, a 50-50 mixture of water and isopropyl alcohol will suffice, however, certain materials or impurities may require additional preparation. Make sure to follow the application guidelines provided with your adhesive backed nameplates for optimal durability.

 

Surface Energy

The last component of the surface to consider is the surface energy. Surface energy determines the strength of attraction between two materials. The higher the surface energy, the greater the bond. Metals and plastics like acrylic, polyester and polycarbonate all have high surface energies and are easier to adhere to. Low surface energy plastics include polyvinyl, polystyrene, polyethylene. There are, however, many adhesive solutions made specifically for low surface energy materials like the 3M LSE Series.

 

Application Orientation

Just as a surface’s attributes affect its adhesive bond capability, the orientation of an application also plays a role. If you are placing your adhesive nameplate on a stationary horizontal plane like the top of an electrical box, the weight of the nameplate really isn’t a factor. If you are hanging a nameplate on a wall or any other vertical plane, however, you have gravity working against you. This means you’ll need to consider the weight of the nameplate and choose a stronger adhesive to hold the product in place.

 

Environment & Use

Orientation isn’t the only component of an adhesive nameplate’s application that you need to consider. The type of product the nameplate is being applied to (mobile or stationary) and where it will be located (indoor or outdoor) will also affect the adhesive. For example, machinery that is constantly moving will need a stronger adhesive than a stationary application. And if that machinery is often used outdoors like construction or farm equipment, you’ll need an adhesive that is resistant to harsh outdoor environments. Some indoor environments can be just as demanding, such as in the medical or food service industries. Indoor applications in these environments may also require stronger adhesives.

 

Exposure to the Elements

Along with its environment, an application’s potential exposure to elements like extreme temperatures, harsh chemicals, UV light and humidity will also require specific adhesive solutions. U.S. Nameplate Co. offers a variety of 3M adhesives made specifically for these situations, including the following:

 

  • High heat: 3M 200MP Series has excellent high temperature performance
  • Extreme cold: 3M 300LSO Series has excellent high and low temperature performance
  • Chemicals: 3M Series are resistant to occasional contact with chemicals
  • UV Light: 3M 200MP Series & 300LSE Series are UV resistant
  • Humidity: 3M 200MP Series & 3M 300LSE Series are waterproof

 

At U.S. Nameplate Co., we strive to offer custom and innovative solutions to fit your business or industrial needs. We work closely with adhesive manufacturers to provide you the best solution, even if we don’t currently have it in stock.

For more information about the specific materials or adhesives that are best for your project, give us a call or send us a message and one of our highly skilled team members will help create a custom solution for you.

Why Custom Nameplates Are Better Than Blanks

Posted on: June 30th, 2016 by | No Comments

5 REASONS WHY (1)

 

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International Standards for Quality Management

Posted on: October 22nd, 2014 by | No Comments

What is ISO?

International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is the largest International Standard developer in the world.  The International Standards set in place by ISO make business all around the world better.  The standards set specifications for products, services and systems of businesses and manufacturers.  The standards also exist to help ensure quality, safety and efficiency in the workplace.

There are more than 19,500 different International Standards across almost every industry.  U.S. Nameplate Co. adheres to management systems standards set in place by ISO and is in the process of becoming ISO 9001:2008 certified.

The standards set in place by ISO ensure manufacturing processes and products are safe, reliable and of good quality.

 What is Quality Management and Management Standards?

Quality management includes quality planning, control, assurance, and improvement to ensure and organizations keeps their product or service improved and consistent.

Quality management is best when ran under a system.  A management system lays out a set of procedures and practices that an organization should follow to meet goals and expectations.

ISO 9001:2008 is a quality management system standard that provides companies across the world, with a model system to follow and adhere to.

The quality management system standard ISO 9001:2008, is based upon the following principles:

  • Customer Focus – Understanding customer needs and expectations.
  • Leadership – Finding purpose and direction of company leadership.
  • Involvement of People– Creating community within an organization.
  • Process Approach– Creating and following an organized process.
  • System Approach to Management– Finding and utilizing an efficient and effective method.
  • Continual Improvement– A constant improvement and measure of performance.
  • Factual Approach to Decision Making– Basing decisions on factual data analysis and information.
  • Mutually Beneficial Supplier Relationships – Increasing ability of organizations and

 Becoming ISO 9001:2008 Certified

Companies and manufacturers interested in becoming ISO 9001:2008 certified do so to add credibility to their services and products.  ISO creates standards, however ISO does not grant certification.  Only an accredited certification body can grant companies with ISO 9001:2008 certification.

To locate an accredited certification body, contact the national accreditation body visit the International Accreditation Forum.

For more information about ISO 9001:2008 certifications and other ISO Standards, visit https://www.iso.org.