Corporations have choices about which metal ID tags to purchase for their equipment, but not all identifiers are created equally. When making their selection, suppliers need to consider the material itself and the use case to determine which option best suits their needs.
Labels play a key role in helping enterprises track their large and often growing and dynamic asset bases. Where the devices are housed and how they are used often determine which type of label is needed.
For example, paper and plastic labels do not measure up in harsh environments, whereas metal labels have much better durability. Company assets operating outdoors encounter rain, snow, extreme temperatures, and ultraviolet light. Furthermore, sand and dirt contaminate devices and can be very abrasive, especially in coastal areas and dry climates.
In some cases, the equipment may even be exposed to harmful chemicals and, lastly, in high-traffic areas, collisions can occur, so the metal ID tags here have to be tough.
Materials Make the Difference
Suppliers like Metalphoto of Cincinnati have developed a wide range of metal ID tags and labels to meet the needs of any application. Each one has unique attributes that mesh with select environments.
Metalphoto® anodized aluminum is the most durable label material available. It features a silver halide image embedded within the anodic layer of the aluminum, which makes it extremely durable. How durable? These labels survive temperatures up to 650°F, typically last for 20+ years, and fend off abrasives and corrosives. In addition, specialized extra high temperature (XHT) Metalphoto labels increase temperature resistance to 1,200°F, so they can withstand intense heat.
Stainless steel labels are an industry staple. They come in two flavors: Type 316 stainless steel labels are thick, feature a decorative look, and can withstand punishing environmental conditions, such as exposure to the salt spray found in marine applications. Type 304 stainless steel labels rely on ceramic-marked 304 stainless steel, which stands up to frequent cleaning with strong caustics.
Brass labels are popular with shops with fittings and tools near flammable or explosive materials. Its aesthetics provides a clean and professional look and is popular for industrial and decorative applications. Brass resists chemicals, extreme temperatures, and corrosives, but it has one possible limitation: brass is a soft metal and can be prone to abrasion.
Which Industries Need Metal Tags?
Metal labels work well in a number of different markets:
- Aerospace and Defense: Metal ID tags are table stakes in this these industries. Equipment such as airplanes, ships, rockets, and military vehicles are regularly exposed to extreme environmental conditions. Also, the US Department of Defense (DoD) has strict requirements for the operation and tracking of equipment. The agency requires that suppliers have unique identification (UID) tags to track and monitor the use of controlled equipment. As a result, vendors often rely on rigid Metalphoto® tags and labels to track their assets.
- Food Processing: This industry also has strict requirements, in this case focusing on cleanliness and the use of materials designated as “food-grade,” and stainless steel has a number of characteristics that make it a popular choice. When it comes to marking company assets, stainless steel labels provide a safe and reliable way to maintain high levels of cleanliness.
- Heavy Industry: Industrial equipment has to be tough. Such products often suffer from abrasions, extreme temperatures, and exposure to chemicals. Many businesses choose metal as an ID tag material to ensure their asset labels can withstand the operating conditions of their heavy equipment. Metalphoto® anodized aluminum labels are a popular choice for industrial and heavy equipment applications, with the durability required to remain readable regardless of the wear and tear of production, transportation, and storage.
- Oil and Gas: The oil and gas industry operates 24/7, so its machinery and equipment run every moment of the day. Tracking and monitoring the use of the products and scheduling regular maintenance are necessary to ensure that such operations run smoothly.
- Utilities: The utilities industry makes use of heavy duty equipment, such as generators and trucks, to deliver its services to consumers. Much of this equipment is outdoors and exposed to often harsh weather conditions, requiring durable metal ID tags for continued readability throughout the usable life of the equipment.
- Telecom and Cable: Telecom and cable equipment failures can result in many unhappy customers. Metal ID tags and electrical panel labels enable telecom and cable vendors to maintain their equipment by conducting regular maintenance and repairs, ensuring consistency of service delivery to the customers these companies serve. In addition, they track the high-value equipment used for the field services group.
- Manufacturing: Manufacturers depend on heavy-duty equipment, but this can break down over time. To keep these expensive assets in optimal working condition, metal ID tags track ongoing maintenance initiatives, maintain stock replacement parts, easily procure out-of-stock parts, and enable manufacturing companies to keep pace with modern demands.
Metal labels were built for extreme working conditions. These asset tracking tools are not needed in most offices but instead wherever heavy equipment and harsh conditions are found. The tags come in a variety of materials that are suited to different use cases and are prevalent in every established industry.