Nameplates: Aluminium, Brass or Stainless Steel?

A variety of sample metal signs

Southern United specialise in the production of the highest quality metal nameplates for businesses and organisations across a huge range of industries. Weather resistant and highly durable, our nameplates are fantastic choices for a wide range of possibilities.

We offer our nameplates in aluminium, brass, and stainless steel. All of these materials have their specific uses, advantages and disadvantages. It is important to know the difference between these materials before you choose which one is right for you. Here we take a look at the specifics of each material to help you make the right decision for your business.

Aluminium Nameplates

One of the major advantages of aluminium nameplates is they are the lightest type of metal nameplate available on the market – giving you a broader variety of options for where to place them. Once the aluminium has been coated with an anode layer it is highly weather and chemical-resistant. It is also more malleable than other options, making it easier to work into creative shapes.

Brass Nameplates

Brass offers something of a middle ground between aluminium and steel in terms of malleability, weight, and resistance against corrosion. One of the advantages of brass is the impressive natural colour of the metal, which may be perfect for some purposes.

Stainless Steel Nameplates

Stainless steel is the strongest metal available for nameplates, and is generally ideal for use in demanding conditions. It is highly resistant to chemicals and weather as well as issues such as temperature change and damage. However, it also the heaviest material that we offer.

If you are interested in learning more about the range of nameplates and materials we use, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with the team at Southern United today.

How to maintain your Metal Nameplate

Hand holding a soapy sponge

Let’s set the scene.

You have recently decided to start a new architecture firm. You’ve set the office up, splashed out on new supplies and have your team raring to go. You decide the office needs one final finishing touch – a bespoke engraved metal nameplate that lets your clients know who you are.

You submit your order, and your shiny, new nameplate arrives a few days later. You love it – your new firm’s name glistening as the light bounces off the metal. You’re keen to keep it in this condition for as long as possible but aren’t sure how… that’s where we can help.

Maintaining your metal nameplate effectively is often easier said than done. Depending on the type of metal it has been made from, this can significantly impact its longevity and durability. However, with the right maintenance, it can be kept in tip-top condition for months and years to come.

In this article, we detail two of the main metals used to produce engraved nameplates and highlight how to maintain them both effectively.

1 – Aluminium

Aluminium is the most commonly used nameplate metal for good reason. Not only is it the most abundant metal on the planet, but it is resistant to corrosion, making it the ideal choice for engraving. It’s also incredibly lightweight and durable and is often used by the military, aircraft and marine industries.

To keep it from deteriorating over time, it’s important to remove any grease or dirt using a clean sponge and warm water. If the dirt is particularly difficult to remove, use a mild detergent to help shift it and then buff it using a clean, soft piece of cloth.

If the nameplate starts to discolour, don’t worry – a mixture of tartaric acid (two teaspoons) and warm water (1.13 litres or 2 pints) should do the job.

2 – Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is another commonly used metal in nameplate crafting and is generally considered the best choice for acidic environments. Since this metal is resistant to corrosion, chemicals and heat, it is the ideal choice for a wide variety of applications. Its resistance to dents and scratches is also one of the key reasons why it’s used outdoors so commonly.

To keep your stainless steel nameplate clean, you simply need to give it a gentle wipe using warm water and a mild detergent, and then remove any excess moisture with a cotton cloth. If the nameplate becomes stained, use an equal parts solution of warm water and vinegar to wipe off the stain.

If you are looking to produce a high-quality metal nameplate for your business or would like any tips on how to maintain an existing one, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team.

Tips for GHS Labelling

GHS warning signs set image

The Globally Harmonised System (GHS) of classifying and labelling chemicals is a useful tool for improving the safety and efficiency with which potentially hazardous substances can be transported, stored and handled.

It is a comprehensive system that:

  • Defines the risks to health, physical safety and the environment
  • Uses available data to create chemical classification processes
  • Clearly communicates hazard information and recommended protective measures

Why is GHS labelling important?

The GHS was put into place to provide better protection for humans and the environment. By using a standardised labelling system that can be followed around the world, language barriers and localised classification systems should no longer pose a threat to safety. Not only does it provide a recognised system for countries, industries and companies without an existing system, but it makes the trade of these chemicals easier across borders. For example, if the label on an imported substance is clear and reliable, there is less need to test and re-evaluate it.

What are the key elements of GHS labelling?

There are two key elements of GHS communications – the pictogram label or placard, and the associated Safety Data Sheet (SDS). The images and text used must be consistent throughout your labelling. See the GHS Purple Book for more details.

When it comes to your GHS labels, there are a number of guidelines that should be followed. These include:

  • A signal word to indicate the level of hazard. These include phrases like “Warning” or “Danger” (which is more severe).
  • A two-tone pictogram (or multiple pictograms), with the hazard symbol printed in black surrounded by a red diamond border.
  • Information about the chemical manufacturer (company name, address etc.)
  • Precautionary statements and first aid recommendations. These can include measures for prevention, response, storage and disposal, and should be reiterated on the SDS.
  • The hazard statement, which should be reiterated on the SDS.
  • The chemical or product name, along with any other identifiers that might be appropriate.

At Southern United, we have produced durable GHS labels for a number of clients across industries. If you have a new requirement for GHS labelling or have decided to upgrade your existing labels, contact our team to help you get your new design right first time.

Rally Plaques for the MGC Register

Rally Plaques for the MGC Register - Image

At Southern United, we have been providing high-quality memorabilia for clubs and organisations for over 70 years. Our experienced team offers a personalised service to create plaques, brass name plates, badges, magnets and other memorabilia for organisations of all sizes.

One example of the types of work we produce is the MGC Day plaque, which we designed and manufactured for this year’s annual gathering of MGC owners that are part of the MG Car Club in the UK.

Despite the cars receiving a modest reception when they first came onto the market in 1967, the design has reached an almost cult status amongst its contemporary fans. Every year, the MG Car Club holds an event at various locations around the country where owners can show off their vehicles, share stories and discuss breakdowns!

To help attendees commemorate the event, we put together a plaque design for each vehicle. The plaques were made out of styrene, which is weather resistant and durable but lightweight enough to avoid any damage to the vehicles. These were numbered from 1 – 75 so each driver could have their own unique identifier, and we supplied cable ties so they could be securely affixed to the front of each car.

Southern United Rally Image

This year, the MGC Day was held at Fawley Hill on July 1st. As you can see from the picture, it was a beautiful day and the cars (with their plaques!) looked fantastic.

If you would like any more information about rally plaques or event memorabilia in any quantity, please contact our team today to see how we can help.

What is CE marking, and can anyone use it?

Electronic parts

CE marking can be found on all kinds of products that are intended for trading in the European Economic Area (EEA). The letters are the abbreviation of the French phrase “Conformité Européene”, which translates to “European Conformity”. If a product is stamped with the CE marking, it indicates that it complies with the relevant European legislation for free movement within the area.

What products need CE marking?

The products that require CE marking are listed in the New Approach Directives guidance, available from the Europa website. As a generalisation, CE marking applies to equipment, electrical items, medical devices and recreational goods. This includes:

  • Measuring instruments
  • Household appliances
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Radio equipment
  • Toys

How to use CE marking

To determine whether a CE marking is required, manufacturers must understand which EU Directives apply to their product. There are more than 20 potentially-applicable directives, so research and thorough understanding is necessary.

The manufacturer is solely responsible for ensuring that the CE marking is appropriately applied to their products, although some Directives require compliance testing by an authorised third party. Any documentation from the product’s manufacture, storage, certifications and technical assessment must be kept safe and made available to the Market Surveillance Authorities if requested.

Can anyone use CE marking?

As you can see, CE marking is an essential component of quality assurance within the EEA. Misusing the CE label is considered a serious offence and is monitored in the UK by Trading Standards, the Health and Safety Executive, the National Measurement Office, the Vehicle Certification Agency and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

If a manufacturer is found to be wrongly labelling their products with the CE marking, they may be given an opportunity to remove the marking or bring their products up to code (whichever is appropriate). Failure to do so can result in products being removed from the market, fines and imprisonment.

Further information

For more information about CE marking in the UK, you can visit the Government website or check with the British Standards Institution.

If you aren’t sure about how to get the CE marking onto your products, contact us. Our label technicians have worked with hundreds of clients that are affected by the legislation and can help you design a secure way to show that your products are CE compliant.