3 Factors Impacting Nameplates that May Keep You Up at Night
Simultaneously, the “Fasten Seat Belt” sign turns off. For you, this means: A.) Your flight has reached cruising altitude and B.) You got the all clear to stretch and use the restroom. From your vantage point looking out the airplane window from inside the cabinet, it feels you’re traveling in slow motion high above a sea of clouds through a tranquil space. But we know, looks can be deceiving.
Aviation’s Biggest Threat
On the outside, you’re 35,000 feet (nearly seven miles) above the ground, traveling at more than 600 miles per hour. Meanwhile, the aircraft fuselage and all components for that matter, are exposed to an extreme environment for great periods of time, especially on transcontinental and international flights. These atmospheric characteristics include severe air temperatures reaching negative 60 degrees Fahrenheit along with fluctuations in pressure and humidity, and vulnerability to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Aerodynamics and environmental influences affect an airplanes’ performance and appearance.
What type of damage is an airplane susceptible to the most? Corrosion – Yes, aluminum, metal, steel and even titanium are inconsequential to nature. And left untreated, a modern marvel can be grounded, permanently, to the aircraft graveyard. That’s why time and costs are invested immensely in the maintenance and repair of the fuselage, engines and all structures to help delay the inevitable, corrosion.
What’s Considered the Best of the Best Nameplates?
But it’s not just aerospace; industrial power, transportation, military and oil and gas are among the many industries in which equipment is battle-tested daily and put through some of the harshest conditions ever imaginable. So then, when it comes to identifying and labeling machinery, a nameplate that is durable, readable, multipurpose and can stand the test of time are the peculiarities that define a truly superior solution. And remember, not all nameplates are created the same.
Industrial nameplates are made with vigorous materials, including aluminum, brass, photosensitive aluminum metal and stainless steel. Typically, nameplates are either stamped, custom printed utilizing an engraving machine or have text and numbers painted on. However, there’s an even better way to displaying critical equipment information.
The Faster & Smarter Way to Nameplate Labeling
It’s called chemical etching and is the process of cording metal in a highly controlled manner in order to achieve a visible and sharper design. In fact, nearly all metals can be etched and is a faster, cost-effective alternative to other traditional engraving procedures. Once printing is completed, nameplates are attached to equipment through rivets, screws and other heavy-duty mounting options.
3 Factors Causing Nameplates to Falter
Now, if you already have existing nameplates or looking to have one created, there are certain factors you should be well aware of that can cause it to deteriorate and become ineffective to communicating imperative messaging.
We touched upon this earlier and its impact on the aviation industry. Corrosion is the gradual process of which something deteriorates as a result of a chemical or electrochemical reaction with the environment. It’s irreversible and makes its presence known through rust. Depending on the materials and design, you can reduce corrosion exposure of the nameplate. It’s important to note, factors such as climate and water can speed up the corrosion process.
When it comes to selecting a material to combat against corrosion, applying stainless steel, Monel® alloys or Metalphoto® are all viable options for a nameplate build. Stainless steel features a high percentage of chromium; a protrusive element ensuring the material is resistant to corrosion. As a rule of thumb, the higher the alloy content, the more resistant it will be to corrosion due to the passive oxide film formed by the chromium. However, the material selection is just one aspect of resolving corrosion.
Extreme temperatures can wreak havoc on a nameplate. In regards to abnormally cold or high temperatures, text and imagery can become distorted while an adhesive failure (become brittle and lose its stickiness) can occur and cause the nameplate to fall off the surface entirely. If placed in direct sunlight for a lengthy period of time, the information will fade beyond recognition.
Polyester and vinyl coupled with high temperature adhesives are the kryptonite to extreme temperatures. Both are flexible, versatile, and most importantly, one of the most cost-effective materials for labels. In addition to withstanding temperature abnormalities, polyester and vinyl can resist oils, solvents and a variety of chemicals.
Chemicals can be detrimental to the readability of a nameplate warning or instructions. The most common types you should be conscious of include alcohol, gas and acetone. These chemicals can damage printed labels, clear away ink, cause adhesion and safety issues. Each industry uses specific chemicals. Be mindful of those in your line of work in order to consider a nameplate featuring material resistant to such damage.
There are a variety of solutions available to contend chemicals. This includes protection films and overlaminating polyester that protects against damaging UV rays, abrasion and chemical exposure for maximum label protection. Such materials and processes include DM overlam, clear/matte overlaminates, HP Lexans, hard-coat polyesters and inks.
At The Cubbison Company, we offer a variety of custom resistant nameplates, tags and labels for all applications. Our processes ensure your products are corrosion resistant, and able to withstand all environments, chemicals, weather and more.