Category Archive: Product Information

All About Engraved Nameplates

Engraved Nameplates

engraved nameplates

If you are looking for nameplates for your products that will fit your industry’s standards, you have probably stumbled upon engraving. You may be wondering if engraved nameplates are the right option for your business’s needs and how the process works.

Etched, engraved, screen-printed and embossed nameplates all have their benefits. But an engraving can offer many advantages, such as resistance to fading and abrasions and a superior aesthetic that will stand the test of time.

In this guide, we’ll discuss how engraved nameplates are made, their unique advantages and how they can work for your business.

How Are Engraved Nameplates Made?

Engraving nameplates is a precise science. First, you must choose the best material for your purposes. While some textures have a beautiful appearance, others are more durable and better suited to withstand the elements. After you choose a material, submit a design and select a shape, your nameplate will be engraved. A computerized process produces accuracy that’s impossible to get using other imprint methods.

Materials for Engraved Nameplates

The most common materials for engraved nameplates are plastic and metal. Popular choices for engravings include:

material for engraved nameplates

  • Aluminum: Aluminum offers a durable and cost-effective material. It’s more common than other pure metals and alloys, making it less expensive. Aluminum is malleable, which makes it great for logos, diagrams or custom fonts with intricate details. As one of the least-dense pure metals, it is easy to shape and adhere. Many admire aluminum for its natural coloration, which varies depending on the metal’s source and its finish.
  • Brass: This metal gives off a brushed finish and has many aesthetic nameplate applications. Plaques, mounted nameplates, engraved awards, and emblems all standout against its gold or scarlet color. In industrial settings, this zinc and copper alloy is durable and malleable when heated.
  • Stainless steel: A popular choice for almost any nameplate, stainless steel is stain resistant, anti-corrosive and sturdy. Impervious to most nicks and dents, stainless steel also provides a mill finish and a natural sheen, making it as attractive as it is tough.
  • Monel: Monel is an alloy of nickel and copper that offers another choice for outdoor use. With traces of iron, carbon, and silicon, monel is resistant to wind, rain, and other elements. The naturally dark bronze or the high-polished finish of nickel-silver offer elegant branding.
  • Phenolic: If you need a non-conductive material, try phenolic. Phenolic is a material made from a thermoset resin that is low-glare and scratch-resistantWhile it’s not recommended for outdoor use, it is a great option for nameplates on indoor electrical equipment.
  • Engraver’s stock plastic: Engraver’s stock allows for a two-toned finish, so the print will match your brand’s color palette. Plastic is a low-cost option that will work for most indoor applications.

 

How Engraving Works

Engraving creates a recess in whichever material you’ve chosen for the engraving. The process uses a rotary cutting tool synced with a computer, which creates a clean edge and cuts to a small depth.

Engravers might also use a carbon dioxide laser, which creates a more shallow incision. Laser engravings can also produce barcodes alongside custom text and graphics. With laser engraving, a high-heat laser beam cuts into the metal or plastic and vaporizes this material to reveal a cavity.

An engraving can be filled in with paint or left without fill, depending on your preferences.

If you have specific needs, you can choose to send a blueprint of your design and specifications to our specialists to confirm an engraved nameplate will meet your needsOr you may send an artwork file and select from a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials from our quote form. At American Nameplate, we accept AI, EPS, PDF, CDR, DWG, and DXF file types.

After submitting materials, you will receive a proof to ensure the plates meet all of your requirements. After your approval, the nameplates will go into production. Production time will vary depending on your order specific variables.

At American Nameplate, we offer some of the fastest turnaround times in the business, with a standard of two to three weeks. We also provide an Eagle Express service for time-sensitive requests. If you need to reorder a nameplate you’ve already ordered from us in the past, Eagle Express will send your order within three business days. For new requests, we will ship within six business days after proof approval.

Benefits of Engraving Nameplates

Between its durability and superior workmanship, engraving offers several key advantages. Engraving allows you to meet the highest standards, so crucial information will last as long as the products you manufacture do. Engraving is precise enough to carve bar codes, specific fonts, and logos.

These benefits combine to produce nameplates a cut-above those created using other techniques. Some of the most significant benefits of engraving nameplates include:

benefits of engraving nameplates

Durability

Some engravings carved in ancient Rome are still readable today. On the face of historic buildings or churches, you’re likely to find plaques that were engraved hundreds of years ago. Engraving stands the test of time. Engravings have a deeper and cleaner line than etchings or stamps, which helps them resist wear.

Thanks to detailed computer codes and precise cutting tools, engraving is more accurate than etching or silk screening. Against the right material, the crisp edge can endure many environments, including:

  • Extreme temperatures
  • Rough surfaces and abrasion
  • Demanding weather conditions
  • Corrosive substances

Customization and Flexibility

Engraved nameplates offer more customization. While you can stamp a nameplate, you’ll be limited to the typefaces that the nameplate manufacturer has in stock. But with engraving, screen printing, and etching, various fonts, graphic, or design you come up with can be engraved into metal or plastic.

You can carve essential safety procedures alongside illustrative pictographs, or serial numbers and contact information alongside a beautifully rendered logo.

With laser engraving, you will get even more flexibility. You can work with varying degrees of thickness for both materials and line depth. But, laser engraving also allows you to engrave onto rough, rounded, or uneven surfaces with ease.

Superior Quality

The strength, legibility and professional look of engraved nameplates make them so versatile. They also stand out for their distinct appearance, perceivable by sight and touch. It’s easy to see the craftsmanship of an engraved nameplate, and using one on your products will be a testament to their quality, too. Engraving has a long history, so engraved fixtures look old-fashioned, smart and sophisticated.

Because both rotary and laser engraving uses such precise cutting tools, you can expect the quality and accuracy of the engravings will be consistent, even on orders in the thousands or higher.

Common Uses and Applications for Engraved Nameplates

Many industries use engraved nameplates when their products or machinery need to be custom. Logos, branded graphics, informative diagrams and more look best engraved.

We often think of engraved nameplates for plaques, awards and mounted plates, but they are practical in the industrial space as well. You will often find engraved labels on motors, pumps, asset identification tags, and industrial machinery.

Engraved nameplates last for years, which makes them ideal for permanent signage and safety information. For example, industrial laboratories use engraved nameplates to label fixtures, such as eyewash stations, and to print safety instructions on the equipment. Engraved signage for fire exits, warning signs and traffic route labels on warehouse floors are visible and permanent.

Manufacturers, rental companies and businesses with lots of equipment to keep track of should consider laser-engraved asset identification tags. Engraved barcodes are peel and fade resistant, helping you track your assets for years to come.

Engraved metal nameplates are heat resistant and can provide readable instructions, even in harsh environments. In areas like boiler rooms that need quick in-the-moment instructions, engraved nameplates can provide quick operating instructions for valve plates or pump tags.

uses for engraved nameplates

Some other industries that can benefit from engraved nameplates include:

Automotive Industry

Vehicles must pass thorough inspections and federal regulations, so proper identification should be visible on all parts of an automobile. To keep up with competitors, branding that won’t fade with time is critical for the automotive industry. Because of this, engraving is an excellent way for automotive manufacturers to display information for dealers, mechanics, and customers. Serialized parts can help ensure replacement parts are correct for a car’s make and model.

Nameplates preserve records for companies and contractors, making it easy for them to keep track of parts and reference information during resales and accidents.

Aerospace Industry

Airplanes and airplane manufacturers face increasingly high standards for machinery and parts. In an industry where safety is paramount, proper labeling can save lives.

In the aerospace business, we recommend pairing your engravings with durable metal. Metal engraved nameplates can show inspectors and workers vital information, such as technical specifications, serial codes, dates, places of manufacturing and warning labels. This helps planes pass inspections and pilots avoid disasters.

Labeling lets employees keep track of parts, eases navigation through supply chains and aids in resales, organizational changes, and disasters.

Construction Industry

If you manufacture construction equipment and tools, your instruments are being used every day at job sites. Having branded nameplates will help associate your quality products with your name. Construction workers and site managers will be able to tell whose products they are using with a customized nameplate featuring your logo.

For construction businesses, engraved nameplates offer a way to improve communication with your employees. Having printed safety instructions, policies and OSHA regulations on heavy-duty equipment keeps your employees safe and increases trust. While you should always train workers before they operate machinery, it can be easy to forget information like weight limits or the proper PSI needed for tires. Nameplates make this information readily available.

Whether you are a manufacturer or a construction manager, engraved nameplates can help you clearly label your equipment and resist wear. Your signage can be read even in bright light, and will not fade even after years of harsh sunlight.

Furniture Industry

In the furniture industry, an engraved nameplate adds an elegant branded element to any piece that will last as long as the product does. Branding lets customers know who manufactured their goods years later when it’s time for them to redecorate. In addition to adding brand visibility to these pieces, a nameplate offers a space for contact, warranty or manufacturing information.

Proper labeling of furniture can offer a benefit to inventory management for both furniture manufacturers and furniture rental companies. They can help you record pieces during large production runs, or help you track and prove ownership of your rental collection to prevent property loss.

Original Equipment Manufacturing Industry

For original equipment manufacturers, nameplates are essential for helping end-users stay safe when working with new equipment and tools. For items that will withstand harsh weather or wear and tear, an engraved nameplate will ensure that all safety information and protocols stays firmly adhered to their surfaces.

Engraved nameplates can feature technical specifications, manufacturing locations, serial numbers and warnings for products. The durable markings of a recessed engraving ensure this information stays clean and readable, no matter the conditions. Original equipment manufacturers need to meet strict regulations on the permanence of markings and labels, so make sure to source your engravings from an Underwriters Laboratories (UL) recognized provider. Make sure to contact American Nameplates before selling your products to ensure proper labeling that meets the regulations of your industry.

Custom Designers

For custom designers, one of the most significant benefits of engraved nameplates is their high-customization. When you create one-of-a-kind commission pieces or limited-edition runs, an engraved nameplate offers a high-quality label or branded element to the finished product. The precision of engraving allows you to produce nameplates as unique as the work you create. Including sleek contact information that lets those who work with your product know who to call for their custom-design needs.

American Nameplates allows custom designers to order nameplates in batches as small as one, so you can give yourself credit for the work you produce without worrying about minimum order quantities.

Trust American Nameplates With Your Engraved Nameplates

trust american nameplate with engraved nameplate

Engraved nameplates can offer a superior appearance and a durable alternative to other nameplate options. At American Nameplates, we can work with you and the regulations of your industry to ensure an inspection-passing, long-lasting engraved nameplate.

If you are unsure of where to start, we can recommend materials that can withstand the necessary conditions and provide you with the most cost-effective options. If you already have a blueprint or the exact specifications you need for your plates, we can execute your engraving flawlessly in any quantity. Request a free quote today, or send us your artwork and specifications to get started.

Everything You Need to Know About Nameplate Metals

about metal nameplates

When you design a nameplate, you may not realize how essential it is to consider the material. You have different options for nameplate metals that provide varying appearances and practical benefits. The choice may seem overwhelming at first, but with some knowledge about nameplate metals, their benefits, and common applications, you’ll have a better idea of what to choose for your nameplate material. Take a look at our tips for choosing nameplate metals below to make the perfect selection for your business.

Common Metals for Nameplates

In looking for nameplate metals, you’ll find you have an array of possibilities with different appearances and purposes. Take a look at the options you have for nameplate metals below for some information about the materials and benefits of each to help guide your decision.

Aluminum

Aluminum is a lightweight and versatile material that’s surprisingly durable. The material is pliable and comes in many thicknesses depending on the particular application. Its appearance makes it suitable for decorative uses, while its durability makes it useful for various practical applications that expose the nameplate to the elements or harsh environments. Some of aluminum’s benefits as a nameplate metal that make it suitable for such conditions include its ability to be:

  • Rust-proof
  • Tarnish-proof
  • Chemical-resistant

Once aluminum is finished or sealed, it will have these durable properties that protect it from moisture, chemicals and more. You could choose a photo seal for your aluminum nameplate, or you could opt for other designs in a classic aluminum silver color. Achieve those looks with finishes like:

  • Anodized, in clear or color options
  • Brushed for a classic commercial look
  • Milled for a light grain finish
  • Polished for a shine

Consider where your aluminum nameplate will go and its purpose as you decide a finish. Polished aluminum draws attention as a decorative piece and may be easier to read indoors rather than bright conditions outside because of its impressive shine. Milled and brushed aluminum creates a natural aluminum texture, which makes an excellent background for text options if you need something easier to read in various conditions.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is a sleek and popular choice, especially if you need a durable nameplate. Industrial and military applications are well-suited for stainless steel, especially uses that display model or serial numbers because this material offers a crisp look that’s easy to read. The durable material also comes with other beneficial qualities, such as resistance to:

stainless steel

  • Heat
  • Moisture
  • Chemicals
  • Abrasion
  • Corrosion

With these qualities, stainless steel tags will withstand a variety of harsh conditions. Though stainless steel has many practical uses, you can also use it for a decorative touch. If you want different looks for your nameplates, choose one of the various finishes that stainless steel comes in:

  • Brushed finish, commonly known as #4
  • Matte finish, commonly known as #2B
  • Polished finish, commonly known as #8

As you would with aluminum, think about where you’ll use a stainless steel plate as you decide between matte, polished and brushed options. Along with the finish, you’ll also have to consider the thickness and weight. You’ll find various options depending on the application. Choose from sleek styles with a low profile or something a bit thicker and more durable but that still has a refined look. Stainless steel is as versatile in appearance as it is in practical uses.

Brass

If you’d like decorative nameplate metals, brass may be the right selection for you. Brass nameplates often come in thickness ranging from 0.016 inches to 0.125 inches, depending on the application and the manufacturer. Despite its primarily ornamental use, brass has some practical benefits, including:

  • Tarnish resistance
  • Chemical resistance
  • Abrasion resistance

While brass has beneficial qualities, it may last longer in an indoor environment, making it well-suited for decorative purposes. If you choose brass as a nameplate metal, you can opt for a brushed or light milled finish for different textures. Because brass is malleable, it works with various nameplate styles and techniques, giving you more flexibility in your design, especially if you want a refined look. Brass often has a yellow- or gold-tone that enhances its potential for decorative use.

Bronze

As a nameplate material, bronze is quite similar to brass, just with a more red or copper color. Like brass, bronze is a malleable and decorative choice for your nameplate tag. It comes with some benefits that make it suitable for different conditions. Those advantages include:

  • Corrosion resistance
  • Metal fatigue resistance

bronze nameplates

Bronze can stand up to stress and corrosion from various chemicals but is still best to use as a decorative nameplate. To enhance ornamental bronze tags, choose from brushed and light milled finishes, just as you can with brass. As with other metals, you have to choose a thickness. With bronze, you don’t have as many options as you do with other metals. The standard thickness option for bronze nameplates is 0.045 inches, but you may be able to find other sizes available in various styles.

Other Nameplate Metals

The four metals above are popular choices, but they are not the only nameplate metals out there. As you explore your material options, you may also find:

  1. Cold-rolled steel: Cold-rolled steel (CRS) comes in brushed or milled finishes for a textured look. Manufacturers create the blank CRS canvas by taking hot-rolled steel, allowing it to cool, then working with it more to get their desired size and surface. You’ll find CRS tags in 0.020-inch, 0.050-inch and 0.075-inch varieties, though other styles and manufacturers may offer other thicknesses.
  2. Monel: This material is a nickel-copper alloy that can have a brushed or milled surface. You’ll find certain types of monel nameplates in thicknesses from 0.020 inches to 0.063 inches. Monel creates nameplates with excellent corrosion resistance, and it’s also easy to form for various tag styles and applications.
  3. Nickel silver: You’ll also find brushed or milled finishes in this material and nameplates ranging from 0.020 inches to 0.032 inches in thickness. Nickel silver is a strong material that’s non-magnetic, which you may need for certain applications. This is commonly used for a decorative plate nameplate option.

You’ll find even more nameplate metals than the ones we’ve described, but these seven are popular options for their appearance and other qualities. With so many nameplate metals to choose from, it may help to know what other businesses commonly use each type of metal for as you make a decision.

Common Uses and Applications for Nameplate Metals

You can choose from a wide selection of metals for a particular nameplate purpose, but some options are more popular than others. Depending on what you want your nameplate to say and where it will go, you may want:

  1. Aluminum: Since it is such a durable material, aluminum is a smart choice for informational nameplates. When you provide essential information on or near equipment, you want it to be on a reliable surface that will last through time and the elements. Display serial numbers, instructions, boundary markers, computer information and more on the easy-to-read surface of aluminum. As a bonus, aluminum is lightweight, meaning you can mount it with an adhesive in certain applications. Aluminum is also an excellent choice for aerospace uses or other industries that have to follow weight specifications.
  2. Stainless steel: While the style of tag you select can impact readability, designs on stainless steel are often easy to read. It makes a great choice for instructions, etched serial numbers, and other important information. Use stainless steel nameplates in indoor or outdoor applications exposed to the elements and abrasions because this metal can withstand a lot. Stainless steel is heavier than aluminum, though, so make sure you plan to mount these nameplates appropriately.
  3. Brass: Zinc and copper usually create brass material, but the ratio of the components creates different qualities in the brass. Some combinations are more durable, and some take on a gold-tone. Because of the appearance, brass works well for decorative nameplates rather than informative tags with serial numbers, instructions or other essential information. Instead, use brass for ornamental purposes, such as displaying names or logos.
  4. Bronze: If you like the decorative purpose of brass but aren’t looking for something in a gold-tone, consider bronze instead. Bronze brings a copper or red tone to your tags that are for ornamental use. Include bronze nameplates on plaques or display names and logos with them.

If you still can’t decide between your options of nameplate metals, consider a few other factors to make the right choice for your business.

Factors When Choosing A Metal for Your Nameplate

As you choose a type of metal for your nameplate, you can take into account some of the differences above, but you have a few more factors to consider. These considerations will ensure that you make the right choice of nameplate style and material for your specific purpose. First, you should consider your industry or purpose, some of which include:

  • Manufacturing
  • Automotive
  • Military
  • Aerospace

Your industry will guide the style of your nameplate along with the qualities you need from the material. If you work in a hands-on job or outdoors, you’ll need a more durable option than you would at an indoor computer, for example. Along with the function of your tag, you should also consider the style and appearance, which also contribute towards practicality.

industry nameplates

Think about the style you’d like since some manufacturers are limited in the type of material they can use for various options. The types of nameplates you can select from include:

  1. Etched metal: Chemical or acid etching brings your design to life in the type of metal you choose without compromising the strength of the material. You can select a standard surface or opt to add epoxy or enamel fillings that protect the etchings and make them stand out better. Military products, manufacturing equipment, and directional signs inside or outside a building may use etched metal nameplates.
  2. Screen printed: Screen printed nameplates are durable enough to use on interior or exterior applications. Ink is applied to the nameplate using a mesh screen then apply a surface coat to the product to help it withstand different elements and environments. With screen printed nameplates, you can select from an array of colors. This process is often used for aesthetic purposes to create graphics and background colors, though it can have a purpose for various industries.
  3. Photo seal: Aluminum is used to create photo seal nameplates, screening on your text or an image with ink and sealing it with a finishing layer. The result is an aluminum nameplate with a design that can’t be removed. A durable, photo seal nameplate works for indoor and outdoor applications from equipment and utility tags to specification plates and an array of other purposes.
  4. Embossed: Think of embossed nameplates as the opposite of etched varieties. The process sandwiches the type of metal you choose between two die cuts, called male and female dies, pressurizing it all together to add your design. The text or image is raised on the nameplate, creating a three-dimensional tag that’s sure to capture attention. Embossed nameplates will outlive other varieties of tags, even in harsh conditions that would take ink or paint off a sign. They come in stainless steel, CRS, aluminum and brass options. Some regulations also require certain signs to be embossed, making this a smart choice that’s up to code.
  5. Engraved: Engraved nameplates are somewhat similar to an etched metal, but instead of chemicals manufacturers use a physical process. Options include using a computerized cutting tool or CO2 laser to engrave the nameplate, which can come in a range of materials.

The environment the nameplate will be in also influences the type of metal and style of tag you should choose. Will your nameplate metals be in a hot, humid or other potentially damaging conditions? In those cases, you’ll need to choose a durable material. Across various industries, nameplates are often exposed to:

  • Heat
  • Sunlight
  • Humidity
  • Rain or other outdoor elements
  • Chemicals
  • Abrasion and other physical contact

Think about your work environment to select the right nameplate material. Combine the considerations above, and you’ll get what you need for your business. Do the options still overwhelm you? Speak with a manufacturer, like us at American Nameplate. We’ll advise you on the right choice for your application and other needs, so you get a nameplate that provides information or decoration and is sure to last.

Get Nameplates With American Nameplate

If you need custom nameplates, we’re ready to make your creation a reality. Get the tags you need for your industry, whether you need something practical or decorative. At American Nameplate, we offer a variety of products that can meet your needs with one of the fastest turnaround times in the nameplate industry.

american nameplate creations

Make your workplace safer with informational tags that are durable and easy to read, or add a decorative nameplate to your business. Browse our custom nameplate options or contact us with any questions you have about the products we offer. We’ll help you get the professional appearance you need with nameplates that are sure to impress.

Aluminum vs. Stainless Steel Nameplate

aluminum vs steel nameplate

Nameplates are a necessary component for a wide variety of industries. They might be needed for machine identification, brand promotion, warnings, and much more. These nameplates could be exposed to harsh environments with physical risks like scratching, denting or covering up the plate with dirt or paint. Abrasive chemicals and moisture can also pose risks for a metal nameplate, so you need a material that is up to the challenge. Two materials stand out for their durability and versatility — aluminum and stainless steel. Both are great options for making a nameplate that lasts, but they do have a few key differences, including their longevity, workability and colorizing options. You’ll want to consider your application carefully when choosing a metal for your nameplate.

Let’s go over the characteristics of stainless steel and aluminum and what their uses are in the world of nameplates.

Aluminum vs. Stainless Steel Nameplate

Both metals are excellent in tough environments and can hold up to a variety of substances. They are easy to install with a specific adhesive or simple rivet holes. Text is readable, with high visibility and there are design options that help you display information clearly.

When we compare these two metals, three characteristics come to the forefront. Some significant features of aluminum and stainless steel are their durability, weight and the available methods of customization.

1. Durability

The durability of a nameplate is especially important for people working in rough environments. Highly acidic, caustic or chemically reactive environments can cause signs to wear away or stain. If you work with dangerous substances, nameplates are especially critical to identifying what is inside certain containers, which rooms are off-limits and more. They can prevent dangerous situations from happening by keeping everyone informed.

Less hazardous environments may have trouble keeping signs clear as well from general wear and tear, fading or spilling, which could cause stains or rust to develop and impede a sign’s legibility. Other environments that can cause excessive stress to nameplates include those where it may see scratches, dents or moisture. If operating procedures make scratches and dents a hazard, you’ll need a tough metal that is resistant to this kind of physical damage. Moisture can cause problems for some metals too, but both aluminum and stainless steel will not corrode in water.

The good news is that aluminum and stainless steel are both excellent in many harsh conditions. Aluminum is known for great durability and will hold up well in inclement weather and around chemicals and workplace wear and tear. It is resistant to corrosion and can last many years. Aluminum is particularly resistant to corrosion due to the layer of aluminum oxide that forms on its surface in response to oxygen. This extra layer helps protect it from damaging substances. The most notable downside to aluminum for nameplates is its durability when compared to stainless steel. While it is a highly durable metal, stainless steel is still stronger. Aluminum can dent more easily and scratch as well.

As for stainless steel, it is incredibly durable. It can stand up to harsh weather, dents, scratches, chemicals and other extreme environments, such as those that are acidic and caustic. Stainless steel creates a similar surface layer to the aluminum oxide one, but it contains chromium, which protects the steel further and can even repair itself at levels above 10.5%. It is very low maintenance and is resistant to being dented or stained. Stainless steel lacks high UV resistance, so it may wear more quickly in long-term outdoor environments. One feature to consider with your nameplate is what kind of physical pressure it may undergo. If it is likely to be bent, stainless steel is probably the best choice since aluminum may break instead.

2. Weight

Another quality that concerns our two metals is that of weight, which is especially notable in aerospace and military applications. Often, aluminum is alloyed with small amounts of another material, like iron, to add strength. Aluminum alloys are well-known for their high strength-to-weight ratio, meaning they are as strong as many other metals at a fraction of the weight. For instance, aluminum has one-third the density of iron or copper. This allows it to have comparable durability to many heavier metals without excessive weight. Aluminum is excellent for applications where you need minimal weight but high strength. It is also easy to shape, making it a more versatile metal for unique applications.

Stainless steel, on the other hand, does not have the benefit of being lightweight. Its excellent durability comes at the cost of added weight, like many other tough metals. This characteristic limits the use of stainless steel in many aerospace or military applications, but is less of a concern for other applications. While it may not work in a newly constructed jet, for example, a stainless steel nameplate would be right at home as an informational panel on a stationary machine in a manufacturing plant.

3. Customization

Each metal is also distinct in how it can be modified. Depending on your application, you may need a bright sign that holds its colors in an outdoor environment, one that can be engraved or one that works with welding processes. Each of these tasks will work differently on the two metals.

There are two processes unique to aluminum that both involve the addition of ink.

  • Anodization: One of the most notable differences between aluminum and stainless steel lies in anodization. Anodization works with the process in which aluminum gains a thick surface layer of amorphous aluminum oxide. It absorbs colored dye effectively and makes it more corrosion-resistant. It allows you to add a variety of colors to a nameplate, which makes aluminum nameplates excellent for identification, organization, or straightforward visibility.
  • Photo sealing: Aluminum also allows for metal photo sealing, in which the ink is pressed into the surface and sealed in. It is resistant to scratches and great for adding specific vibrant colors to a sign. The result is a metal tag that has ink on an inner surface, not the top. It’s also permanently sealed, so the design of your tag or label is unable to be scratched off or removed.

benefits of aluminum & steel nameplates

Stainless steel cannot be anodized, so ink processes won’t last near as long. Instead, stainless steel works well for indenting the metal itself through serial stamping or chemically etching. These give you the benefit of being a part of the metal, so they won’t scratch off or fade on their own. Another approach to impart a design onto stainless steel is to chemically etch onto it. Chemical etching bathes the plate in special chemicals that remove material in certain spots to carve out the design.

One of the bonuses of stainless steel is its capabilities for welding. Several characteristics make it easier to work with than aluminum. Aluminum’s thermal conductivity is much higher than that of steel, causing it to solidify faster. It also requires you to work through the oxidized skin on the surface and doesn’t show color changes very well, which many people use to judge progress on a welding job. Stainless steel has no oxidized skin and reveals color more effectively. However, some applications may need to avoid carbide precipitation, which occurs during welding and may require special precautions.

It is important to note that some of these customization options can affect the nameplate’s durability. Screen printing, for instance, can fade or wear a sign quickly if it is placed outdoors in specific environments. The effects vary based on the metal, design process, environment, and other factors.

Common Uses for Aluminum Nameplates vs. Stainless Steel Nameplates

You can find nameplates in many areas of various industries. They are appropriate for labeling equipment, making identification badges, offering warning or navigation information and even promoting your brand.

steel aluminum nameplates uses

As mentioned, aluminum nameplates are great for various applications. They can be stamped, embossed, engraved, screen printed and etched. Here are a few of the items you can make with aluminum nameplates:

  • Equipment identification tags and labels
  • Decals
  • Barcoded nameplates
  • Valve tags
  • Asset badges
  • Fire Door plates

These items can help with identification, classification and showing important information to the reader. Part of the appeal of aluminum is its versatile color and texture. Its silvery-white color makes it an excellent backing for colors and high-contrast text while offering a unique polished, brushed effect.

Stainless steel provides similar uses, including, stamping, etching, and more. Its applications include:

  • Designation plates
  • Military Placecards
  • Instrument panels
  • Brand promotion
  • Compliance badges
  • Navigation panels
  • Control panels
  • Asset tags

Embossed tags are a common use for aluminum in which the information is raised up through the metal. The design can’t be worn off and you can paint over it as needed. Embossing stainless steel can be a bit more difficult due to the hardness of the material itself.

One factor that can influence the use of aluminum or stainless steel is the cost. Aluminum is more commonly available and tends to be cheaper than stainless steel. Thicker or more specialized applications may make aluminum a more costly option.

Industries That Use Aluminum Nameplates vs. Stainless Steel Nameplates

Industries far and wide turn to both metals for their various plating needs and many use them in different applications. The industries that frequently use aluminum and stainless steel nameplates include:

  • Aerospace
  • Industrial
  • Transportation
  • Government
  • Defense
  • Energy
  • Manufacturing

Aerospace applications are a significant user of stainless steel and aluminum plating due to their detailed standards and unique demands. They must be able to meet strict specifications and maintain high durability. Aluminum comes in handy with its low weight, but stainless steel offers higher durability for tough conditions, so each is useful in certain applications. Another benefit of stainless steel is its antibacterial properties, which make it useful in health or food industries.

All industries benefit from the reliability of aluminum and stainless steel nameplates. Many workplaces have regulations to adhere to that require them to place safety and security information front and center. For any facility that needs to keep important information highly visible, they turn to signage material that won’t wear away. With these metals, you can avoid paint chips and scratched-off images. Vital information stays legible and safe.

Another feature that applies to industries across the board is the opportunity for permanent branding signage. Whether you need a bright, durable sign to go on your lobby wall for years to come, a small plate to identify manufacturer information on a machine or anything in between, aluminum and stainless steel are excellent ways to keep your brand’s image bright, readable and a cut above the rest.

Types of Nameplates That Use Both

While most nameplates are quite versatile, some methods work better on one material than the other. Some styles are a matter of personal preference and application. Let’s go over some of the nameplate types that can go on stainless steel or aluminum.

  • Etched metal nameplates: In etched metal nameplates, we use chemicals to remove specific parts of the metal, leaving behind the design. Then, the cut-out areas can be filled with colored enamels or epoxies. These nameplates work will with both materials, providing high contrast and color.
  • Engraving: Engraving cuts your design out of the metal with a rotary tool. Aluminum is easier to cut as it is not as hard as stainless steel, which requires dedicated, tougher tools. Stainless steel can also enlist the help of a CO2 laser for creating linear marks and two-dimensional barcodes.
  • Screen printing: You can screen print on both metals, but it may be less durable than some of the other methods. The inks are bright and work well for applications that won’t see wear and tear or long-term sun exposure, but they can fade quickly and be scratched off in harsher environments.

types of nameplate steel aluminum

Both metals provide exceptional durability and a premium appearance. They are versatile in both construction and the designs that you can put on them. Serial numbers, QR codes, instructions, bar codes, and images can all be placed on these nameplates.

Explore Options With American Nameplate

Aluminum and stainless steel are both excellent choices for metal nameplates and work well across a variety of styles and applications. Aluminum offers a durable and lightweight substance while stainless steel can hold up against the toughest of environments. Whether you need nameplates for manufacturing, facility signage, branding, badges, informational panels or any other purpose, American Nameplate can help you get the job done right.

choose american nameplate

We can create metal nameplates in any size run and meet strict requirements while providing quality and environmentally sensitive work. We’ve been around since 1934 and are recognized by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), FM and Intertek, working to meet the needs of OEM providers, manufacturers, and distributors alike. Explore our product selections today to learn more about the nameplates we offer.

Difference Between Etched & Engraved Nameplates

When you decide on a nameplate, you need to consider lots of factors, from size to shape to even how it’s marked. While there are multiple options to choose from, etching and engraved nameplates are two of the most popular. There are similarities between the two, but the processes are different, so it’s important to know how each type of nameplate is made before making a choice.

At American Nameplate, we work hard to help you know when to select an etched or engraved nameplate. Plus, we have a dedicated customer service team available to answer all your questions about your custom nameplate.

Etched vs. Engraved Nameplates

When you need to choose an etched or engraved nameplate, knowing the process and differences involved can influence your decision. The etching process starts by creating an artwork film based on the approved proof for your metal nameplate. Then, we carefully shoot in our film room onto a silk screen using vacuums and UV light to burn the film into our industrial mesh screen. American Nameplate uses a specific emulsion compound to block parts of the copy intended to be left natural, while the rest of the nameplate design gets exposed.

Next, we prep the plate to dip into our acid tanks for the etching process. While it’s submerged, the acid will wear away exposed sections of metal, which burns the design right into the metal’s surface and gives you an etched look. Once we review your nameplate for the correct copy, we can finish it with different fabrication options or send it back to production to be filled with a color of your choice.

On the other hand, engraved nameplates uses a rotary engraver that cuts a cavity through the nameplate’s surface that creates an image or writing noticeable both at eye level and to the touch. With laser engraving, this high heat laser will vaporize the material’s surface with each pulse. If you want your nameplate to have deeper marks, the process gets repeated until the product is how you want.

When to Select Etched and Engraved Nameplates

An etched nameplate is great for products that need specific safety information or directional instructions on them, such as fire doors, aircraft, submarines, weapons and military vehicles. Etching is also appropriate for industrial companies who want to mark their products with certain information, including:

  • Model numbers
  • Manufacturing dates
  • Serial numbers

One of the differences between etched and engraved nameplates is that an engraved nameplate is more precise. This is an excellent option if you want to personalize your particular nameplate. The most common materials used for engraving include:

  • Metal
  • Plastics
  • Wood
  • Leather
  • Glass
  • Acrylic

Choosing American Nameplate

American Nameplate is one of Chicago’s premier nameplate manufacturer. Whenever you need to pick an etched or engraved nameplate, we can help you decide which option is best and work with you to create a custom product that’s perfect for your industry.

Request a free quote today or contact us for more information about etched vs. engraved nameplates.

All About Etched Nameplates

all about etched nameplates

When it comes to the world of nameplates, there’s an impressive amount of variety. There are paper nameplates, cardboard nameplates, wood, cardstock, and metal nameplates. You might even see printed or embossed nameplates. There’s nothing wrong with any of these options and, given the right situation, they may be the perfect solution for your company. But we think there’s nothing more beautiful, classic or functional than an etched metal nameplate.

What is an etched nameplate? What’s the process of making one? What advantages do they offer over other sorts of nameplates? Whether you’re thinking of getting one or have already gotten one and are looking to learn more information, this guide will be valuable for you.

What Are Etched Metal Nameplates?

A nameplate is often an identification label with many uses, such as equipment identifiers, instructional directions, valve tags, serial numbered plates, labeling fire doors, indicating OSHA or ASME regulations and many more.

Manufacturers use a few different options to create etched metal nameplates. Here are a few of the most common ones:

  • Brass: Brass gives your nameplate an elegant gold sheen.
  • Bronze: While brass gives more of a true gold color, bronze offers a color that’s closer to reddish-gold.
  • Aluminum: This metal is an incredibly plentiful resource, meaning it’s easy and inexpensive to acquire and extremely cost-effective to work with.
  • Stainless steel: Stainless steel offers the advantage of being the most durable material to work with, as it boasts resistance to corrosion, scratching, extreme heat, acids and more.

Finally, the etching element refers to the way the information or design gets written onto the plate. The letters themselves get etched onto the metal, creating a copy or background indent. That copy then either remains natural or gets filled in with a specific color of your choice. The overall finish is sleek, classic and highly refined, presenting a more polished appearance than a typical label plate where the name is on a sticker or glued to a piece of paper.

To define an etched nameplate, then, we would say it’s a small metal plaque with a word, phrase or image etched directly into the metal.

How to Make Etched Nameplates

how to make etched nameplates

Just as there are multiple different metals suitable for making nameplates, there are several methods for creating the elegant etchings you’ll find on these nameplates. All these methods have their pros and cons, and some are more practical in one situation, while others may be more practical in another. While these different methods have their place, we create etched nameplates here at American Nameplate using chemical acid etching.

What does the acid etching process entail? First, we create an artwork film based on the proof approved for your metal nameplate. The film is then carefully shot in our film room onto a silk screen using vacuums and UV light to burn it into our industrial mesh screen. A specific emulsion compound is used to block parts of the copy intended to be left natural, while the rest of the design remains exposed. The plate is then prepped to be dipped into our acid tanks for etching. Submerging the plate in acid allows it to wear away the exposed sections of metal, “burning” the design right into the metal’s surface and creating the finished etched look. Once we have reviewed the finished metal sheet thoroughly for the correct copy and any other defects, the plate can either be finished with different fabrication options, like polishing, rounded corners, added adhesive or holes, or sent back to production and filled in with a specific color of your choice.

Common Applications of Etched Metal Nameplates

Wondering when to use an etched nameplate? They’re appropriate for industrial companies looking to mark their products with information such as model numbers, manufacturing dates or serial numbers. They can also be found on products displaying specific safety information or directional instructions. You’ll often see them on fire doors, aircraft and even military vehicles, submarines or weapons. Many companies offer plenty of opportunities to use etched metal nameplate applications.

common applications for nameplate 2

Some of the most common places where you might expect to notice these types of etched plates include:

  • Manufacturing equipment
  • UL-approved or certified products
  • Military products
  • Company branding products

These are all familiar places where employees or the public might look for confirmation that they are following the appropriate protocol or safety precautions. As such, it’s a courtesy to provide these helpful nameplates to let people know they’re moving in the right direction.

Just a few of the industries that commonly use nameplates such as these include:

  • Automobile
  • Warehouse
  • Apparel
  • Appliances

While these industries are some of the heaviest users of etched metal plates, these nameplates can be useful virtually anywhere there’s a need.

Although information and labels are the most common things to get etched onto plates, they’re far from the only things. It might also be appropriate to etch out the company’s logo, as well as the company’s name. Even a phrase such as a company’s motto could be an excellent choice.

The Benefits of an Etched Metal Nameplate

Etched metal nameplates represent the very best, offering advantages and benefits comparable types of plates can’t provide. Every material has its pros and cons, and it’s up to you to evaluate those and decide what’s best for your setting. Despite this, we think an etched metal plate is the clear choice in almost every situation.

Here are a few of the reasons that’s true, and some of the advantages of etched metal plates.

1. Cost Efficiency

A good nameplate is an investment. Because of this, when you buy one, you want to choose one that’s going to stand up against years of life without fading, staining or succumbing to the natural wear and tear of life. Often, this means paying slightly more up front to make up for the cost of replacing the nameplate or having it repaired year after year. Rather than going for a cheaper model, it makes more sense to buy the best quality and watch as it lasts for years.

Because etched metal plates are so durable, there isn’t a lot that can truly damage them. They’ll easily outlast the competition, making them the smart and economical choice.

2. Durability

The durability of these plates is, of course, inherently tied to their cost-effectiveness. Still, this is a benefit unto itself as well. These plates are difficult to damage, vandalize or deface, even if you wanted to. Because of that, you can be sure they’ll remain shining brightly, no matter how rough your environment is.

It’s also worth mentioning that durability is tied to the specific metal you choose for your plate. Stainless steel is inarguably the most durable and sturdiest choice, although aluminum and bronze are also suitable choices.

3. Minimal Stress to the Metal

Stamping, punching, water-jet cutting and many other practices are available when etching. Metal nameplates are very durable and can be fabricated during production to fit your needs. Whether it’s water-jet cutting to fit within a specific panel or stamping serial numbers, metal nameplates are your go-to choice.

4. Capacity for Fine Details

Etching has earned a reputation as one of the best methods for creating fine and intricate details in the design of the plate. Whether you’re interested in displaying your name in an elegant and complex script or wanting to show your company’s logo, etching will be your best bet for getting this done accurately.

5. Option for Colors

When you choose an etched plate, you have the choice to either fill in your design with color or leave it natural. Because the design gets imprinted directly into the metal itself, it will remain clearly visible even if you choose not to add colors.

However, the option also remains open enough to allow you to add color if you prefer. Sometimes, this addition of color can even help make the design pop a little more, creating an extra level of dynamic beauty and interest.

benefits of etched nameplates

How to Maintain an Etched Nameplate

Once you’ve got your beautiful etched nameplate, it should last you for years to come. To help it do this, however, it will benefit from a little care and attention on your part. And while the surface of the plate may be easy enough to clean, it can be a bit tricky to clean down in the groove of the letters. Follow these etched nameplate maintenance tips to get the job done.

1. Create a Schedule

To keep your etched nameplate clean, you’ll want to get into the habit of regular maintenance. Maybe you’ll clean it once a month. Perhaps you’ll clean it once every season, or you may even maintain it once a week if you feel it gets dirty that quickly. The important thing is to develop a regular schedule, so your plate doesn’t go years without attention.

2. Clean the Surface

To clean any grease prints, smudges or stains off the surface of the metal, mix a solution of warm water and a mild detergent. Wet a soft cloth with this solution and use it to gently wash away any grime off the surface of the metal plate. Beware of using a rougher material, as it may cause scratches to any non-scratch-resistant metals.

3. Clean the Grooves

Of course, the trickiest part of cleaning your etched plate is to clean out the grooves and channels that form the plate’s design. To do this, we recommend using the same gentle soap solution you used to clean the surface. However, instead of a cloth, you’ll need a narrower tool. A cotton swab works well for this gentle application. Experiment with what works for you and your company.

4. Dry the Plate

Because excess moisture can lead to corrosion over time, it’s essential to remove all water from the plate. Use a soft, dry cloth to wipe down the surface, and/or a dry cotton swab to make sure no tiny water droplets are hiding down in the indents.

5. Spot Clean

If you notice any evident damage to your plate, it’s a good idea to clean this up right away, before it has time to stain. Wipe these marks off with a cloth, or, if they seem more severe, go for your usual soap-and-water clean.

how to maintain an etched nameplates

Purchase Etched Metal Plates for Your Building Today

Interested in giving your company a little extra bit of class and sophistication with the addition of an etched metal plate? We invite you to take a look through our catalog of products here at American Nameplate. Our nameplates are available in a range of materials, including stainless steel, aluminum, bronze, brass and even more, allowing you the freedom to choose the color, design and material that best represent the look of your choice.

purchase etched nameplates

Learn more about our etched metal plates today and how you can customize them for your business.

Screen Printing Process

Screen printing is the most economical process for producing aluminum, stainless steel, brass, or bronze. A wide variety of colors are possible and durable coats of baked varnishes are added to ensure long-lasting serviceability. Through the screen printing process, all of your screen printed metal labels and nameplates will withstand multiple environmental conditions, so you can use them inside or outside as needed.

Take a quick look at the informative photo describing its process involving a squeegee, film negatives, photo emulsion, ink, screen, and the material of your choice.

screen print example

A mesh screen acts as a stencil and covers the metal surface, while a squeegee-type applicator applies inks and epoxies to your tag. The final step in the process is where a surface coat is applied to the nameplate, creating a seal for your color and extending your decal’s lifespan.

Fill out our online form to request a quote — you can list any specific details you know in advance as well as upload an image of your design, and one of our specialists will be in touch. Reach out to our team today for more information about screen printed nameplates and labels.

Chemical Etching Process

Similar to an engraving process, American Nameplate can offer the unique process of Chemically Etching your parts.

mainwood etched brass black nameplate

While engraving is usually produced manually one piece at a time, Chemical Etching has the benefit to produce large run quantity nameplates and generate the permanent impression needed for your parts. Our etch depth typically ranges between .003” to .007” deep, depending on customer requirements. Customers have a few options to choose from. The first option is either Etch the copy into the metal and fill it with a color or to etch the copy and leave its natural color. Another option is to Etch the background, which results in a slightly raised and bumped up copy/logo. Customers again have the option to fill in the etched background with a color for a specific contrast or leave it natural for a subtle look.green hoe nameplate

There are many benefits to getting an etched metal nameplate. This type of nameplate process can be done on a various number of materials including (but not limited to): aluminum, stainless steel, brass, bronze, nickel silver, CRS, Monel, and Zinc.

Secondly, while it is similar to engraving, etching can be done to many pieces at one time and sheered to size. This is important when comparing the cost and turn around time with a manual engraving machine.

Another additional added benefit of Chemical Etching is the permanently etched impressions built to last the lifetime of the nameplate. We recommend Chemical Etched parts to companies that need a permanent marking and may be exposed to harsh environments. Companies will rest easy knowing that their parts will always be identifiable when needed. While their natural environments may eat away at the surface, paint, or ink, rest assured that the etched copy or background is a permanent marking that will always remain.

Contact our sales team to speak to a specialist about what nameplate process is best for your company and product. Call us at 800-878-6186 or email us a blueprint at: sales@american-nameplate.com 

Important Nameplate information and data

 “Understanding Nameplates are essential to a company’s process and environment.”

Nameplates can be located on all different types of products. While some nameplates may be very simple and straight-forward, others may seem as though you are trying to “crack the code”. Here are a few of the most common information listed on a product nameplate.

Common equipment nameplates can be listed with:
Company Name and Address
Company Logo
Serial Number
Product Number
Certification(s)
Year manufactured

Safety and Caution Nameplates can display information such as:
Load capacity
Maximum height
Crushing Hazard
Cutting Hazard
Shock Hazard
Hot Surface Hazard
High Voltage Hazard

Electrical Nameplates display information such as:
Amperage (A, Amps)
Frequency (Hz)
Voltage (V)
Watts

All of this information is essential is finding out how to the product operates, finding out more information from the original manufacturer, and/or protecting the safety of yourself and employees. Common nameplate abbreviations and language is vital for workers to rapidly understand and focus on the task at hand. With Metal Nameplates your company won’t have to worry about the content’s durability. Etched, embossed, screen printed, or engraved nameplates have the ability to withstand the harsh and strict conditions they may face out in the field. Employees and future employees will be able to read the important nameplate information for years to come.

 

Call us today to talk with our nameplate specialists to decide what material, finish, and/or adhesive may work best for your usage.

Various adhesive options for Nameplates

American Nameplate stocks many different types of adhesive backings for your nameplates to ensure the proper bond. Picking the right adhesive is crucial in ensuring that the application is successful post-production in the field. Despite their similar properties, not all adhesive products are the same. Depending on the surface material (plastics or metals), temperature ranges, the rigidity of the surface, and the exposure to certain environmental elements, your nameplate needs to be able to withstand different conditions. Take a look at the descriptions below to see which adhesive best fits your usage or product environment.

3M-467 (0.002 in.)       |      3M-468 (0.005 in.)
Permanent acrylic adhesive for longterm bonding applications. Peel adhesion values are outstanding, and generally increase as a function of time and temperature. It offers excellent chemical resistance. Products with greater thickness provide higher bond strength to smooth surfaces and substantially higher bonds to rough or textured surfaces. Suitable for bonding graphic nameplates and overlays to metal and high surface energy plastics (ABS, Acrylic, Polycarbonate, PVC) and glass in the aerospace, medical and industrial equipment, automotive, appliance and electonic markets.

3M-9471LE (0.002 in.)       |       3M-9472LE (0.005 in.)
Permanent acrylic adhesive that is designed for applications requiring greater initial adhesion or high bond to low surface energy plastics (polypropylene and polyethehylene). It also offers an excellent bond to powder coatings. Because it “flows” quickly, it is ideal for lamination to porous fabrics, foams, and wood.

3M-9469 (VHB-0.005 in. )      |      3M-9473 (VHB-0.010 in.)
This “Isotac” acrylic adhesive is the highest performing adhesive in the 3M laminating adhesive line. It offers a very high temperature resistance and exceptional shear strength. VHB tapes are ideal for many interior and exterior industrial applications. VHB tapes are ideal for bonding a variety of substrates, including most metal, sealed wood and glass, as well as many plastics, composites and painted surfaces

3M-Y966 (0.002 in. – High Temp)
This “High Temperature” arylic is designed for exposure up to 450 deg F., and has a high chemical resistance. This adhesive has has excellant “shear” strength even at elevated tempuratures. It offers adhesion peel characteristics slightly higher than most other acrylic formulations. It extremely low “outgassing” properties are important in the electronic and aerospace industry

Arlon/Viscor (1/32” Foam)    |      Arlon/Viscor   (1/16” Foam)
This synthetic rubber adhesive is a high performance double-coated “closed cell” foam tape that combines high initial bond strength with excellent shear and cohesive strength. This foam tape bonds well to most metals and plastics.

Still unsure of which adhesive is best or most cost effective? Contact our  specialists to help identify the suitable tape for your nameplates.

Click here for more information: American Nameplate Adhesives

Benefits of an Etched Nameplate

Having a Metal Nameplate can benefit your company in numerous ways. Not only does it provide stylish and attractive branding, it’s also a great investment!

Your custom artwork is deeply etched into the metal of your choice. Typically etched into Aluminum, Stainless Steel, Brass, Bronze, Monel, Nickel Silver, CRS, or Zinc, we are capable of helping you make the best decision depending on usage.

Check out our various Etched Product Materials/Specifications here

After you have decided the best material, size, application method, and shape of your nameplate, our specialists can help quote your product accordingly. Once production begins, we take the time to fill in your etched product with long-lasting, colorful baked enamels or epoxies to ensure durability. Etched Nameplates can withstand the harshest conditions, guaranteeing that your logo, brand, product identification, and general safety warnings will not fade for years. This is may be dire for certain information related to the product such as: serial numbers, company contact information, make/model numbers, or other important safety identifications. Knowing that you won’t be forced to replace these nameplates for many years due to UV light, water, or other harsh conditions can lower your costs and increase your profit.

Contact us today to discuss your unique conditions and specifications needed for your next name plate.

800-878-6186 or email us at: sales@american-nameplate.com