Electromark has been selling Metalphoto® into the electrical utility market space for over 15 years.
I’m still surprised however that confusion exists about what applications it suits, and where its’ unique features make it better than other options.
In this blog, I’ll break down the main attributes of Metalphoto, relate them to application use, and hopefully clear up some of the misunderstandings.
The graphic imposed upon the Metalphoto material is composed of a black, silver metal halide image, on a natural metallic silver anodized aluminum material.
The black, silver halide Metalphoto image is embedded within the anodic layer of the material itself.
Unlike surface printed inks, the silver metal image resists fade from UV radiation, general weathering elements, chemicals, and abrasion; maintaining its image quality and intensity for 30+ years outdoors.
This makes Metalphoto ideal as a premium, long-term, outdoor asset ID product that will last the life of most utility assets such as poles, pole or pad mounted equipment, brand nameplates, and control panel or system schematic nameplates.
Other colors can be imaged on the material by means such as surface printed inks, or dyes absorbed within the crystal structure of the anodized surface.
Colors imposed by these means, however, do not exhibit the same image durability that makes the black silver halide image process unique.
This eliminates Metalphoto as an option for ANSI/ISO safety signage or other graphics where color is required.
Metalphoto is best positioned as an asset ID product, using a high-contrast black character on a silver background, or silver character on a black background image.
Serialized and Variable Data
The imaging process for Metalphoto does not require a mesh stencil as would screen print, or printing plate as would other offset contact printing methods.
The Metalphoto imaging technology allows variable information to be added to it economically during the manufacturing process; whether the quantity is a few or thousands.
Because of this, Metalphoto is often a more cost-effective solution than separate holders using slide-in characters.
If your application requires sequential numbering or variable data information and could benefit from the simplicity of a pre-imaged, one-piece marker, Metalphoto is the answer.
Metalphoto is imaged by a photographic process. Taking that a step further, Electromark utilizes a state-of-the-art digital laser system to expose the image; eliminating the image resolution limitations and cost of using film negatives.
This photographic process is capable of higher resolution than engraving or other printing methods used for nameplates. This makes Metalphoto especially suited towards barcoding applications where assured and accurate reads are critical.
The Metalphoto image can support any barcode symbology, including 2-D and QR.
Metalphoto is available in many thicknesses from 0.003”, 0.005”, and 0.008” foils, to 0.012” thru 0.125” plate. Regardless of thickness, the image process and durability are the same.
The wide range of available thicknesses make Metalphoto an option both where a thinner, low-profile identification marker is required, or in applications where a thicker, more robust material is required such as a mechanically fastened pole marker or hanging valve tag.
As an aluminum material available in a variety of thicknesses, Metalphoto provides flexible options where different mounting requirements are necessary.
Metalphoto may be utilized with peel-and-stick pressure sensitive transfer and foam tape adhesives, mastic adhesives, and mechanical fastening means such as nails, screws, or banding.
Metalphoto can be attached to assets such as painted metal cabinets, directly on equipment components, many plastic surfaces, fiberglass equipment cabinets, and wood, steel, fiberglass, or concrete poles and other surfaces made from these materials.
Electromark has put out a demonstration video on the Metalphoto product available here.
If you have any more questions or comments, feel free to reach out to our customer service team.
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