Metal nameplates: An interview with Simon Wood, business development manager

30th April 2014 - Fine Cut

When it comes to laser marking, precision engraving and certainly metal nameplates, many individuals who do not deal directly with the industries may be under the impression they have little - if nothing - to do with their day-to-day life.

However, speaking with Simon Wood, business development manager for the metal nameplate division at Fine Cut, suggests this could not be further from the case.

Nameplates, nameplates everywhere

The fact of the matter is that metal nameplates have been used for many decades. While significant advances in plastics and adhesive technology may be presenting alternatives for some applications, metal nameplates still remain a very important part of Fine Cut's operations, as there are some tasks for which they - and only they - are the most appropriate. 

Traditionally, it is the long-established manufacturing sectors that are unlikely to turn their back on metal nameplates any time soon. Considering the broad range of industries across which they are used, it would appear the list is nigh on exhaustive.  Aerospace & defence, pumps & valve (especially off-shore), catering equipment, playground equipment & outdoor gyms, automotive & rail, vehicle bodies & trailers, farm equipment, fencing, sheds & gates, awards & commemorative plaques, and architectural & lifts applications all make use of metal nameplates - and that's just a selection.

It would be safe to say that most - if not all - of the industries outlined above touch most people's daily lives in some way or another.

As Simon explains: "When you drive home tonight and you pull up at the traffic lights behind a lorry, there will be a make of nameplate on the back of that lorry on the tail lift. There will probably be some plastic labels too with instructions on and a make of plate for the tail lift. Underneath the vehicle, there will be a vehicle body manufacturer nameplate as well. 

"When you go into a loo in a pub, on the hand dryer there'll probably be some metal label or nameplate. If you see a bespoke, top-quality piece of furniture, it will likely feature a metal nameplate for decorative purposes. When you go and have your panini made at your local Pret, there will be a metal plate on the panini maker, as there would be on the cooking equipment in your local kebab shop."

21st century nameplates

Despite metal nameplates being a relatively traditional concept, that's not to say they haven't been brought into the 21st century. For example, one development the expert has noticed recently is the evolution of playground manufacturing companies past children's equipment, to producing kit for adult, outdoor gyms.

"A lot of playground equipment manufacturers are sending us metal plate enquiries for outdoor playground equipment to be used by adults. Included in this has been requests for barcodes and quark codes to be digitally printed onto the metal plates, which people can scan with their mobile phones and see how to use the equipment, what areas of the body it will work, how many reps they did on it last time, how many they should be aiming to do this time and so on."

Suffice to say, even metal nameplates are capitalising on modern technology to ensure they deliver for ever-increasing demands of the 21st century consumer.

Trust and durability

Considering why someone might choose a metal nameplate over a more modern adhesive solution, Simon explains: "Metal nameplates just look the part on a big solid piece of equipment as they give a powerful message of a robust and durable product."

It would appear that, while plastic and adhesive technology continues to advance at a staggering pace, many people still do not trust the concept of something being 'stuck on with glue'. 

"Despite the advances in adhesives, most manufacturers don’t trust adhesives in very demanding environments and the etching of information into the metal is the most durable solution to nameplates submerged or attacked by sea, salt, heat, chemicals and people. Anodised and dye-printed aluminium is very durable and very effective in environments where grease, heat and abrasions cause huge problems as the print is in - rather than on - the metal. Many end users also trust four screws to fix the plates rather than adhesive.

"Within what I would describe as perhaps older, more traditional industries, it's rather more traditional nameplates that are still king."

Whether or not your operations are what might be considered 'older and more traditional', if you have any questions or queries about what metal nameplates could bring to your business, give the experts at Fine Cut a call today. 

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