A nameplate can be engraved with the name of a person, the contents of a room, the address of a building, instructions and many other kinds of information. They can also be mounted on products and labeled with warning information or directions.
In office settings, nameplates are used to indicate suite or room numbers, the occupant of an office and company names. Depending on the level of a company’s investment in its image, it can choose nameplate materials ranging from inexpensive plastic to extravagant gold and even marble. Professional companies, private offices and institutions like colleges tend to make the most use of expensive nameplate materials.
On factory or warehouse floors, inexpensive plastic or aluminum nameplates are much more common. Because they are more likely to become damaged or tarnished by impact or exposure to dirt or other contaminants, it is much more economical to use plastic, aluminum or other inexpensive nameplate material for use in industrial settings and as labeling for equipment.
Nameplate engraving processes vary depending on the plate material. A thick bronze plate, for example, would not be engraved by the same machinery as would a thin plate of aluminum. Engravings can be made in many ways; different materials respond in different ways to each engraving method.
Laser engraving, for example, is an excellent precision engraving method that can create engraved markings of just a few micrometers in depth. However, a laser cannot cut as deeply into a surface as can a tool bit engraving method. Tool bit engraving methods involve physical contact between a surface and a tool bit. Tool bits can be made of diamond, tungsten-carbide and other hard materials that grind away areas of the surface to form symbols.
Titanium, zinc, brass, copper, stainless steel, aluminum and bronze are all common engraved nameplate materials. Engraved nameplates are chosen over other plate labeling methods because of their comparative longevity; an engraved word is not as vulnerable to degradation as is a painted word. For this reason, engraved nameplates can last much longer than other nameplate varieties.