Metal Tags: Making a mark that counts

Laser cutting of metal sheet with sparks

Whether you’re using them for industrial asset identification, premium brand labels or anything in between, there’s little that can match both the durability and the prestige of metal tags.

At Southern United, we have been making signage, badges, labels and custom plates for clients for many years, primarily out of brass, aluminium and stainless steel. We’re experts in understanding which metal and type of printing is the most appropriate for every environment and would like to share some of the details with you.

Material choices

As we’ve mentioned, at Southern United, we work with brass, aluminium and stainless steel. These each have different properties that can be benefits or drawbacks in different applications. For example:

Brass

  • Easily machinable into a variety of shapes
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Relatively low melting point (may be unsuitable for industrial applications)

Aluminium

  • Resistant to weathering, corrosion and high temperatures (although not as robust as steel)
  • Easy to cut and shape
  • Inexpensive

Stainless Steel

  • Very strong, resistant to rust and corrosion
  • Exceptional heat tolerance
  • Ideal for tough environments, marine atmosphere etc.

Marking techniques

 

Laser Marking

Laser marking will create a chemical reaction to change the appearance of a metal through charring, foaming, melting or a similar process. This may affect the surface texture and/or the colour of the laser-marked area.

Laser engraving can be expensive, however, the lack of inks or physical contact with the metal surface means that there is no need to regularly replace worn-out parts.

Engraving

Engraving can be done with a laser or mechanically. Either way, it involves using a tool to ‘hollow-out’ specific parts of a metal plate into text or shapes, usually following a computer-generated guide. This means that the design is easy to precisely replicate thousands of times and can easily be configured to incorporate variable data.

Engraving leaves a durable mark which is very difficult to tamper with, and which can be enhanced with coloured lacquer to make text stand out from the background.

Anodisation

Anodising a metal (typically aluminium) involves oxidising its surface to make it porous and suitable for accepting ink. Once anodised, the plate is suitable for text, photo-quality printing or an all-over dye.

To ensure this print does not fade or wash out (and to protect the metal from corrosion), the anodised surface is then sealed using heat or a combination of heat and a sealant.

If you require custom metal tags for your organisation, business or products, please get in touch. At Southern United, our team have worked with a broad range of briefs and would be happy to help you choose the best design for your application.

Southern United Bake For Shelter

Southern United Bake for Shelter Cakes Image

Southern United’s Quality Technician, Corinne, recently organised a Bake For Shelter charity event at our HQ. Our team members, along with workers from neighbouring businesses, got together for a cup of tea and delicious cakes of all kinds. There were sponge cake, a surprise piñata cake, banana bread, carrot cake, a banoffee pie, chocolate Easter nests and for savoury fans, there was even a quiche.

We raised £107 for a great cause, the UK charity Shelter helps out over a million people each year with poor condition housing and homelessness. They advise and support with legal services, campaigning towards a day where no one struggles to keep a roof over their head. After a particularly cold winter 2017 – 18 coincided with a rise in homelessness, Corinne felt that an organisation attempting to prevent further increases deserved the support.

We got some great pictures of the baked goods – look away now if you’re hungry!

Southern United Bake for Shelter Cakes Montage Image

Labels to dry for

iTrap Fire Testing Technology Image

At Southern United we love to make an equipment label for a pioneering industrial gadget. The iTrap is a new device from Fire Testing Technology Ltd, designed to remove the moisture from combustible gas lines ready for analysis. Based in Sussex, not far from us in East Grinstead, FTT Ltd have been creating innovative fire testing instruments for nearly 30 years and are world leaders in their field. Our drawing office produced the artwork in Illustrator, time is taken to match the required colours, in this case a pantone, to the exact shade that the customer needs.

A digital cutting file is also created at this point. Printed on polyester in a gauge of 0.13mm, they are digitally produced by a Roland 330 UV machine. Once the labels are printed we apply 3m 9471 adhesive backing on a laminating machine. To cut the labels we use a machine called a Summa which relies on sensors to calculate the measurements of the labels. We then cut away any excess material and the products are inspected and checked by our quality control team. Every item we create is a bespoke label or nameplate designed to look and perform perfectly in the desired setting and conditions.

Learn more about Fire Testing Technology Ltd. here.

Chicken and Duck Heaven on Earth!

If this Spring, you are walking in a West Country field and see the most beautiful Chicken Coop, or walk past a pond and see some very satisfied ducks basking on a Floating Duck Lodge, it most certainly is a “Flyte so Fancy” creation,  a Dorset family run wood working enterprise.

Phillip and Anne Weymouth, and their Dorset based team of craftsmen (and women), build and decorate the most extraordinary range of eco-friendly Poultry Coops, and we all know there’s nothing quite like keeping our feathered friends happy.

Of course, to make sure potential new customers know how to contact the company, an elegant oval green and gold aluminium label was needed. And Phillip asked Southern United to provide them, and now these long lasting labels adorn his luxury avian homes.

So, whatever you create, isn’t it about time you got all your ducks in a row, with a durable, weatherproof elegantly designed label, from Southern United?

Now that’s a shed load of labels!

Established 30 years ago, Elfords of Chichester is now the market leader in the manufacture and supply of Garden Sheds, Summer Houses and Wooden Workshops in West Sussex and Hampshire. Tony Harris, the Managing Director and son of the founder, says “You’ll be amazed by the number of enquiries we get for Beach Huts from people walking past the ones we supplied years ago”. The durable and ultra-long lasting aluminium labels Tony describes as “cheap advertising”, with the orders they provide him with year after year.

Tony chose Southern United to supply another 1000 labels for 2017 as a repeat purchase, having found these signs very effective. We wish him and his team in Chichester the very best for 2017.

Our friendly sales team at Southern United are happy to answer any queries or quote you for some “cheap advertising”, though of course we prefer the phrase “Very competitively priced”.

Call us and find out!