Category Archive: Uncategorized

Summer Vacation 2019

We’re currently on vacation from Friday, June 28th and returning Monday, July 15th. Our manufacturing facilities are closed, but the office is still fully staffed to handle your inquiries.

Call us today to discuss delivery options once production resumes.

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

 

Guide to Designing Industrial Safety Labels

How to Design Industrial Safety Labels

Designing industrial safety labels is not a task to take lightly. The right labels can simplify actions, make people conditions safer and give workers a better idea of what to do with or around a particular object. Like common traffic symbols, specific colors, shapes and written content can make a notable difference in how people interpret a safety label, and these features can even save a life. If you need to design new industrial safety labels, consider these important elements to stay compliant and safe.

Important Elements of Safety Label Design

Any safety label design should include several key elements, including:

  • Content: Your safety and warning labels should convey exactly what a person needs to know and do to avoid getting hurt. Make sure your content is action-oriented and tells the reader precisely what will happen if they don’t follow instructions.
  • Pictures: Another factor to consider for your safety labels is the pictogram symbol you should include. This step is critical for communicating with anyone who does not read the label’s native language well. A professional pictogram will convey a severe hazard for the reader to avoid.
  • Signal word: A signal word is similar to a headline that will grab someone’s attention. A signal word such as “Warning” can communicate both the probability and severity of the hazard.
  • Durability: Finally, you should use a durable material that will stand up to the elements. Choosing squared or rounded corners that will prevent dangerous handling and opting for process that will hold up to chemicals is important depending on the industry you’re in.

Safety and Warning Labels Design Tips

As you consider how to create safety and warning labels, you’ll also need to look at the impact of color and shape. Color impacts everyday life as well as the subconscious. In the U.S., for example, red often means “stop” while green means “go.” The colors on your safety labels should be bright, bold and easily visible. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) have created a chart that shows what colors mean in the workplace to aid in creating safety label designs.

Symbols and shapes are some other essential elements of safety label design. Consider, for example, the octagonal shape of a stop sign that lets drivers know to stop. The appearance of safety labels conveys similar information. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has developed symbols that communicate information when words aren’t enough. For example, yellow triangles with exclamation points inside usually mean danger, warning or caution.

Choose American Nameplate

If you need more tips for designing industrial safety labels, American Nameplate can help. We have years of industry experience and one of the fastest turnaround times in the nameplate industry. We can get you safety and warning labels quickly and help you through the design process. Contact us today to learn more.

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.

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.

Throwback Thursday – American Dial

Throwback Thursday to when American Nameplate was associated with “American Dial”.

Designing beautiful metal work has always been our art and trade.

Take a look at this article from ‘Watch & Clock Review’ (March 1991, Vol 58, No.1)

How to Maintain Your Nameplate

How to Maintain Your Nameplate

how to maintain your nameplate

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 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.

how to wash your nameplate

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 out these etched layers.

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 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.

All About Etched 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.

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 metal nameplate types, uses and base materials, 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 Are Metal Nameplates?

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.

metal nameplate industries

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.

Types of Metal 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 metals will come with different strengths, weatherability and reactive properties that must be keenly considered to choose the right nameplate for you.

1. Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is one of the most common nameplate substrates 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 nameplate base metals — 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

  • Product 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, industrial or aesthetic 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 various types 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 a 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 Suppliers, Intertek 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 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.

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