Category Archive: Maintenance

Signs You Need to Update Your Nameplate

How to Know When to Update Your Nameplate

Your brand should be evident in your products and in all that you do, including your nameplates. If it’s been a while since you last looked at your nameplates or your company has recently undergone significant changes, these could be signs you need an upgrade. Stay ahead of the competition by watching out for these common reasons you should change your nameplate.

1. You Changed Your Logo

Consistent corporate branding is necessary to generate company recognition. Everything from your email signatures to your store displays should feature an easily recognized logo. Whether you changed your font style or colors or completely redesigned your logo, you should update your nameplate to match this new theme. American Nameplate can use chemical etching, screen printing, and even stamping or embossing processes to revise your nameplates to reflect a logo change.

2. Your Company Merged With Another

Another reason to change your nameplate is if your company recently merged with another. Similar to a logo change, a merger will typically result in updated branding. As you start reviewing your products, take some time to look at your industrial labels as well so that the entire product reflects the branding change.

3. You Expanded Your Product Line

Expanding your company to offer more products is an exciting time, and it’s also a way to know your nameplate needs a makeover. Your nameplates’ current design may not work for additional product models. You may need to add a new model or product numbers, manufacturing dates, and additional safety information. It’s a good idea to check for any changes you should make, then build off your existing design to create a nameplate update that better fits your new products.

4. Your Product Changed

Likewise, you’ll know when to update your industrial labels if your product has changed. Maybe you haven’t released a particular product to the market in a while, or you’re upgrading some well-known merchandise with additional features. You can enhance your brand awareness by redesigning your nameplate to reflect these changes.

5. Your Competitors Updated Their Nameplates

Most companies are in tune with what their competitors are doing, including a change to their branding. If you notice that your competitors’ nameplates are more recognizable than yours, then you will know it’s time to update your industrial labels. Take a hard look at how your branding and messaging compares to your competitors, and work to catch up if you’re behind. Our nameplate specialists can help you stay up to date with the market and walk you through the best eye-catching nameplates or labels in the industry today.

Redesign Your Nameplate Today

When you notice signs you need to update your nameplate, don’t wait. American Nameplate is an industry leader with one of the fastest turnaround times in the nameplate business. We’ll work with you to create custom nameplates that will wow your customers and make your products stand out.

Contact us today to learn more about when to redesign your nameplate.

How to Maintain Your Nameplate

How to Maintain Your Nameplate

how to maintain your nameplate & nameplate restoration

Your nameplate is an essential facet of your office. It helps identify you, guides visitors to your office and can even be quite beautiful. More than that, however, it says a lot about you. If your nameplate is neat and clean, this immediately presents you as someone who dedicates themselves to everything they do with the utmost care and attention. A nameplate that’s grimy, damaged or in any state of disrepair, however, leads people to make the opposite assumption about you. It might suggest you show the same level of inattention to both your work and your nameplate.

Impressions can be powerful. To help your visitors form the right ones, it’s essential that you keep your nameplate looking clean and fresh. Of course, this is no easy feat when there are so many different ways it can get damaged. Accidents happen to all of us, and your nameplate will inevitably show wear after a few years.

When this happens, there’s no need to worry. Today, we want to step you through some of the most common types of nameplate damage, as well as the top ways to combat them and repair any harm that may have come to your nameplate. Once you learn how to maintain nameplates like this, you’ll be ready to make the right impression for years to come.

Common Factors That Damage Nameplates

Cleaning would be easy if all damage were the same. But of course, it’s never quite that simple. Instead, many different outside forces can cause severe damage to your nameplate, given enough time. All of them require different methods of treatment and prevention, and as such, we should consider them all separately.

With this in mind, here are some of the top causes of nameplate damage as well as a few corresponding metal nameplate restoration and maintenance tips.

1. Abrasions

An abrasion is just a fancy name for a scratch, scrape or some other type of contact surface damage that might mar the smooth finish of your metal nameplate. It might happen if you drop your nameplate on the floor, or perhaps if a heavy object crashes into it. Either way, this might look like a crack, a scar or a scratch. Because nameplates see a lot of handling, they’re quite susceptible to this type of damage.

The problems with this type of damage are twofold. Firstly, they’re unpleasant to look at. They cause a scar right across the plate and detract from the simple attractiveness of the plate. Secondly, and arguably more seriously, these abrasions can obscure your name, making it difficult or impossible to read.

While there are some treatment methods once an abrasion has occurred, the best way to fix this problem is to avoid it in the first place. Search for specifically abrasion-resistant metal for your nameplate and see if this doesn’t prevent this type of damage before it happens.

2. Corrosion

We’re all likely familiar with corrosion in a passing sense. This is a term for the gradual breakdown of metals through natural chemical reactions with their environment. In other words, corrosion is when moisture, dirt or some other chemical contacts the metal and sits on its surface, slowly eating away at the finish.

If the air in your facility is hot and moist, corrosion will almost certainly occur at a faster rate. If water contacts your nameplate, this will also speed corrosion. Salt, saltwater, and bacteria can all also hasten the spread of corrosion, damaging both the beauty and legibility of your nameplate.

Because corrosion is a product of the environment in which your nameplate exists, the best way to curtail this damage is to control that environment. If your nameplate is going to be exposed to saltwater, or road salt, clean your nameplate regularly to wipe away the dirt and bacteria that may be collecting there. Finally, if you have any control over the climate of your facility, try for a medium temperature with low humidity, as these conditions help slow or halt the spread of corrosion.

3. Chemicals

Yes, some chemicals are responsible for corrosion, but there is also a whole host of other substances out there that can cause a variety of different types of damage to your nameplate. Depending on which chemicals are likely to be prevalent in your building and industry, it might be worth investing in a material that’s designed to be resistant to those chemicals.

Just a few of the chemicals to be aware of are those found in materials such as gasoline, alcohol, and acetone. These chemicals and others may be responsible for ruining printed labels, causing adhesion problems, removing ink, and generally causing plates to become unreadable.

First, you can avoid this damage by investing in the correct metal for your nameplates. If you know you’ll constantly be around acetone, for example, it’s worth finding a metal designed to resist the chemicals contained therein. Otherwise, take care to clean your nameplate regularly, giving it particular attention after you know it’s been splashed or coated in some foreign substance.

4. Temperature

Temperature is the final of the four most common causes of damage to your nameplate. Any type of extreme temperature, whether at the hot or cold end of the spectrum, it’s important to bring these conditions up to our nameplate specialists to help determine the best material or adhesive for your use.

Interestingly enough, both extreme heat and extreme cold lead to the same primary problem — lack of adhesion. In low temperatures, the wrong adhesive materials will shrink, gaining a brittle quality and losing their stickiness. High temperatures, on the other hand, cause materials to soften and droop, resulting in a loss of adhesion. Additionally, high temperature can cause poor material chosen nameplates to fade and images to become distorted.

The best way to prevent this damage before it happens is to bring your facility’s extreme conditions to our attention prior to production altogether. Maintain your facility temperature at a comfortable mid-range, and avoid exposing your nameplate to any heaters or freezers. If this type of exposure is unavoidable, you may need to look into nameplates specifically designed to resist these conditions.

common factors damaging nameplates

Methods to Clean Your Nameplate

We’ve referred to the process of cleaning metal nameplates several times now. It’s essential, since it helps get rid of any chemicals, dirt or bacteria that may have found their way onto your nameplate. By cleaning them off, you stop the damage before it even has the opportunity to happen.

Of course, it’s one thing to talk about the importance of all the ways to maintain metal nameplates, and another thing to do it. To help you figure out how to keep your plate clean and tidy, we’ve got a list of metal nameplate cleaning tips. Try these out and see if your nameplate doesn’t look a little brighter and cleaner.

How to Wash Your Nameplate

It’s important to note that there are different nameplate materials. Even among metal nameplates, there is variety. Some may be stainless steel, while others are aluminum. In light of this, let’s examine how to clean each type separately.

nameplate washing methods vary based on materials

1. Aluminum Nameplate Cleaning Tips

Aluminum is a common nameplate material, firstly because the metal itself is so affordable, but also because it naturally resists tarnishing and corrosion, which makes it highly durable.

To clean aluminum, try using a clean rag and warm water. With the damp rag, gently rub at the surface of the plate, making sure to work the cloth into any nooks and crannies. If the dirt is stubborn and resists this gentle cleaning, don’t be afraid to attack it with a little more force. Add a mild soap to the cloth and continue rubbing with the damp cloth. Once you’re finished washing, be sure to dry and buff the plate with a final pass from a soft, dry cloth. Be sure this cloth is gentle, to prevent it from causing scratches.

2. Stainless Steel Nameplate Cleaning Tips

Another common choice for metal nameplates, stainless steel isn’t quite as inexpensive, but it offers the bonus of being exceptionally durable in caustic and acidic environments that might damage other metals. Additionally, stainless steel resists corrosion, intrusive chemicals and high levels of heat, as well as dents and abrasions. All these factors work together to create an impressive resume for the stainless steel plate, making it great for a variety of working environments that might be hazardous to other metals.

Despite all these qualifications, however, stainless steel isn’t invulnerable to damage. When the time comes to give your stainless steel plate a cleaning, we recommend a solution of warm water and a gentle detergent. Use a cloth to rub this into the plate, and the soap should help cut through any grease marks, dirt or grime that have collected on the surface. Having completed this step, next use a dry cloth — cotton or any other soft material should do the trick — to wipe off any excess moisture. Remember, standing water will damage your plate.

nameplate cleaning tips

3. Special Cleaning Tips for Etched Plates

Etched plates are the same as ordinary metal nameplates in that they’re made of a metal such as aluminum or stainless, steel and need the same approach to cleaning. What makes them different, however, is that they have letters and characters etched directly into the metal, which creates a whole world of crevices and nooks for dirt, bacteria, and grease to hide in. Worse, these crevices are almost impossible to clean thoroughly, as a surface wipe-down will almost never be sufficient.

The good news, however, is that there is a method to clean engraved metal nameplates.

Begin by using a dry, soft rag to give the surface of the plate a general wipe down. This step won’t touch the etchings, but it will help get the surface clean of any clinging dirt or grime. Next, you’ll want to mix a solution of gentle dish soap with a half-bucket of warm water. This mild soap is ideal for cleaning, as it will be effective at cutting any grease on the plaque’s surface, but not so abrasive that it might scratch the plate.

Soak a soft rag in this soapy solution and use it to wipe down the surface. Then, to get into the crevices of the letters themselves, use a cotton swab. Dip the cotton ends of the swabs into the soapy water and then run the swab down the channels of the letters. Repeat this until the swab comes out clean and there doesn’t appear to be any more dirt in the letters.

Once the letters are clean, be sure to give the surface another once-over to clean away any dirt particles that may have emerged from the cracks of the letters. Give the plaque a final rinse as well, with a rag dipped in clean, warm water. Finally, complete the process by using a soft dry cloth to remove any excess moisture. We recommend grabbing another cotton swab, as well, and using it to dry out the letters.

Learn More About Our Nameplates Today

learn more about our metal nameplates

Perhaps you’ve thought about metal nameplates in the past, but have always been worried about the effort and care in maintaining them. If those have been your concerns in the past, we hope we’ve been able to alleviate some of those worries and convince you metal nameplates are a highly viable solution. With just a little care and attention, these elegant plates can quickly become an attractive addition to any industrial facility.

Ready to get a nameplate of your own? Browse our full selection of metal and etched nameplates today.

Guide to Namplates

Guide to Nameplates

guide to nameplates

We’ve all seen them. Yet few know the intricacies of their creation, materials and types — or fabrication, substrates and make in industry speak.

They’re metal nameplates, and today we’re outlining everything you need to know about these manufactured products to make your ideal selection.

In this in-depth guide, we’ll explore different types of metal nameplates, base nameplate materials and uses, and the detailing that transforms these items into hyper-custom products curated for a range of applications — as well as what to consider when it comes time to pick a metal nameplate.

What is a Nameplate?

Metal nameplates are a form of labeling commonly uses in commercial, industrial and aesthetic applications. They’re a bold way for businesses and individuals to imprint and mount messages, whether relaying product identification information per compliance rules, mounting safety instructions or — most commonly — branding names in a unique and long-lasting way.

Depending on the nature of the nameplate design as well as its intended application, metal nameplates can be fabricated from nearly a dozen substrates, molded to multiple sizes, scales, and thicknesses, attached with various adhesives and finished with many polishes and treatments. Their versatility is their hallmark, as is the branding potential for businesses employing them.

common industries include automobile nameplates, warehousing nameplates, appliances/equipment nameplates and apparel nameplates

Metal nameplates are particularly many in the following industries and for the following products:

  • Automobiles: From metal door plates and car logos to the serialized parts, makers and manufacturers place within their vehicles, metal nameplates are a mainstay in the automobile industry.
  • Warehousing: Regulatory requirements outline rigid standards within warehouse environments to display warning signs, safety instructions, and other security messages. Depending on that warehouse environment, metal nameplates become the perfect wall-mounted option for durable instructions signs that can weather dents, knicks, moisture exposure, chemicals, and high and low temperatures.
  • Appliances: It’s virtually standard for appliances to come with metal product tags and IDs displaying their brand or make. These machine labels constitute a popular application in the industry and one that sets the trend for other product identifiers, both household, and commercial.

Different Types of Nameplates

Metal nameplates are a prime choice when you have a sign or message requiring durability — but you don’t want to sacrifice appearance. At American Nameplate, we frequently see orders for the following metal-based products:

type of metal nameplates

1. Corporate Nameplates

Leave printed posters behind. Your company’s name grabs attention and imbues presence and power through a metal nameplate. With the right adhesive backing or wall fastener, corporate nameplates can be mounted in strategic branding locations beyond just the lobby. What’s more, the right metal nameplate partner can scale down larger versions of company branding signs into smaller logos or machinery, boxed products, and more, keeping branding consistent and further elevating metal nameplate impact.

2. Permanent Safety Signs

Fire-exit labels, warning signs, eyewash station designations, PPE-outfitting areas, traffic route labels on warehouse floors — the list of ways metal nameplates can be turned into long-lasting, regulatory and compliant safety signs is vast.

3. Operating Instructions, Tags and Plates

Metal nameplates are a dynamic way to add weatherable instructions on tools, equipment and more. This is particularly great for items installed in harsher environments, near heat or those requiring in-the-moment, on-hand instruction, such as certain metal valve plates or pump tags in boiler rooms.

4. Machine Labels

As noted above, machine labels are staple applications for metal tags and nameplates. From household and commercial appliances to industrial equipment and machinery, this high-use, highly robust pieces of equipment require equally robust branding.

5. Engraved Tags

From small run or large runs, metal and plastic tags engraved with your company name, information and logo are stand-out paraphernalia. They’re fade-resistant, and engraved plates can come in a range of metals or 2 toned engraver plastic colors picked to complement your brand.

6. Serialized or Product Identification Plates

For products used in demanding and harsh environments, things like product identification information, serial numbers and company information cannot fade. These directly comply with industry regulatory standards as well as are required for proper machine handling and maintenance. Metal plates ensure product and printed or stamped serial IDs last as long as the machine does, regardless of surrounding conditions.

Common Nameplate Materials

There are nearly a dozen base materials that can be manufactured into metal nameplates. These substrates provide the foundation for your nameplate selection, as different nameplate materials will come with different strengths, weatherability and reactive properties that must be keenly considered to choose the right nameplate material for you.

1. Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is one of the most common nameplate materials in today’s metal etching and plate fabrication market.

Stainless steel is incredibly long-lasting. It is stain-resistant to the vast majority of environmental taints, corrosions, and moisture-related damage, and hyper-durable. It will take a lot to dent or nick a stainless steel nameplate.

What’s more, the natural metallic sheen and clean finish of stainless steel are attractive in a number of environments, ensuring you get the most for your money without forgoing appearances.

2. Aluminum

Aluminum is the next most common metal nameplate material — and for good reasons.

The metal is relatively common, making it a more cost-effective alternative to other pure metals or alloys on the list. It is also on the malleable side, ideal for custom nameplates where intricate detailing, etching or shaping work is required. Finally, aluminum is one of the lightest and least dense of pure metals. Depending on your plate application, this can provide benefits when it comes to shaping and hanging the finished plate.

Many are attracted to aluminum’s natural coloration as well, which can vary depending on geographic sourcing as well as treatments during the fabrication process.

3. Brass

Brass is notable for applications such as plaques, mounted nameplates, designated awards, emblems and more. It comes across as more luxe and decorative than other metal nameplate types, namely because of its distinct coloration that can range from gold to scarlet.

For commercial and professional uses, brass’ copper and zinc-alloy base gives it solid durability and malleability when heated. The more zinc used in the mixture, the stronger this nameplate substrate will be.

4. Bronze

Bronze, like brass, is a copper-based alloy mixed with other metals such as tin, aluminum or manganese to increase its natural strength and bolster its resistance properties. It is one of the darkest naturally dark substrates that can be used with metal nameplates, more commonly applied on aesthetic or branded features rather than signage or metal posts meant to be read quickly.

5. Cold-Rolled Steel (CRS)

Cold-rolled, or cold-formed steel, is a common fabrication technique that uses low temperatures to morph steel into its finished form.

In the case of metal nameplates, cold-rolled steel allows a blank steel canvas to be the base for insignias, apparel labels, tags and more. It’s a maintenance-friendly and tough substrate with a variety of nameplate uses.

6. Zinc

Zinc nameplates give off an industrial look with an equally industrial level of durability. Considered a “living” metal, pure zinc changes color over time and will react to moisture, chemicals, and other environmental factors, turning soft shades of green, brown and blue. However, it’s malleable and rather soft, rendering zinc nameplates more likely to scratch yet also more responsive to decorative embellishments, detailed lettering, iconography and more.

7. Nickel-Silver

Also known as German silver, nickel-silver is a cost-competitive nameplate substrate close to brass in the alloy family tree. The two alloys carry similar properties, including high malleability but some susceptibility to nicks and dents. Nickel-silver is a popular choice namely for aesthetic reasons, as its natural silver sheen and polished look adds clean and bright pops to nameplates even before they have their finish.

8. Monel

Monel is a nickel-dominant alloy comprised mostly of nickel and copper. It also contains traces of iron, carbon, and silicon, contributing to its durability and strength as well as its strong anti-corrosive properties. It is stronger than both pure nickel and pure copper.

For nameplate applications, monel is often used for signage and plates in outdoor applications, where materials need to hold up to wind, rain and other exposure to the elements.

Things to Consider When Selecting a Nameplate

Nameplate specifications are critical when selecting the right, long-lasting metal nameplate. While the principal factor that goes into picking a metal nameplate will be its intended purpose, application is only the first of a few key considerations:

things to consider with nameplates

  • Nameplate material: The intended use of a nameplate goes hand-in-hand with what substrate you select. For example, any nameplate that will be outside and exposed to the elements needs an anti-corrosive, elemental-resistant metal base like stainless steel, while an indoor metal nameplate can prioritize color and malleability over durability.
  • Dimensions: Height, length, shape, and nameplate thickness are also essential to relay during ordering. These variables will further determine which substrate is right for your desired dimensions, as well as what detail work can be added to the finished product, such as squared, scalloped edges or rounded corners.
  • Finish: Depending on the decal or nameplate’s application, it may be pertinent to apply a protective coating or laminate to increase both the product’s durability and the lifespan of the overall plate. Finishes can also be for visual effect, making a nameplate stand out that much more.
  • Environmental conditions: How and where the metal nameplate will be on display directly influences all of the factors above. You will need to review the wear-and-tear your nameplate will be subjected to across its lifespan — think water, air, chemicals and oils from hand contact — plus any industry-specific conditions beyond these.
  • Adhesive or fasteners: How do you plan on mounting your metal sign or nameplate, if doing so? Adhesive backings or holes for wall fasteners bind your nameplate to a surface and influence its feasible dimensions, substrates or alloys. Different finishes such as a wood, plastic, or powder coat surfaces can affect the way your adhesive choice will adhere to the product over time.

What Are Metal Nameplate Manufacturers?

Metal nameplate manufacturers are your partners in the design and creation of commercial, aesthetic or industrial nameplates.

metal nameplate manufacturers

Our operations provide full-service, custom plate fabrication to cater to both small and large nameplate runs. We can consult with new and existing clients that require assistance on what kind of nameplate to choose, navigating the different types of nameplates and understanding the lifespans, affordances, and technicalities of each.

The best metal nameplate manufacturers can assist in end-to-end nameplate production. From reading blueprints and mockups to submitting final proofs and mass fabrication, our sales representatives give expertise and guidance across the entire production process to ensure you’re getting the product you need, when you need it.

Tips When Choosing an Industrial Nameplate Manufacturer

Metal nameplates are more than etched words or mounted signs. They relay what’s important, who you are and what you’re about, convey branding messages and instill a personality or set of characteristics into the goods and products associated with your name.

Whether you’re an small or large manufacturer of your own products or merchandise, there are a few tips and tricks to bear in mind when picking a metal nameplate supplier.

  • Stay on-brand: Overly-embellished nameplates can appear unprofessional. On the other hand, unadorned plates or tags may work against the brand you’ve curated or even make your products appear bland and simplistic. Match your metal nameplates with current branding aesthetics, finding a supplier with the customization capabilities to do so.
  • Research vendor run specialties: What is a potential supplier’s average production capacity? Will you be ordering tags, nameplates, signs, and plaques at run rates that exceed what they’ve done before — or potentially worse, are so small your orders aren’t given proper attention? Run capacities are imperative to know from the get-go to assure you don’t see production and delivery hiccups hurting your bottom line.
  • Look for supplier certifications: Nameplate manufacturing has its own industry certifications that indicate independent parties have vetted a company for nameplate quality, compliance, transparency, and production protocol. There are numerous certification agencies to inquire about when vetting potential metal-fabrication partners, including FM ApprovalsUL Marketing and Labeling Systems and UL Authorized Label SuppliersIntertek Quality Assurance and RoHS 2 compliance.
  • Check your own certifications and requirements: Will your nameplates need to adhere to OSHA or ANSI standards? Do they require inclusions like QR Codes or barcodes? What about military-grade industry specifications listed on the drawing or blueprint? If so, have the suppliers you’re vetting produced similar products in the past — or at least proven they’re capable of meeting these production demands?

Take Your Metal Nameplates to the Next Level

take your metal nameplates to the next level

With American Nameplate, you get a metal fabrication partner that knows the importance of information and brand display — and has made a business of it for over eight decades.

We’re industry leaders in etched, engraved and screen-printed industrial metal nameplates and decals, as well as many other metal-based substrate products produced to make a mark.

Explore our portfolio of metal nameplate work or contact us today to get started on your ideal metal manufacturer partnership.