What are the most important things to consider when I am designing a nameplate?Many factors need to be considered when designing a nameplate including:
- Industrial standards
Do you make metal tags?Yes. We manufacture metal tags in brass, aluminum and stainless steel in many shapes, thicknesses and sizes to meet your specific job requirements. Custom sizes can be fabricated according to your specifications. Simply contact customer service representative if you need help choosing the correct material for your particular tagging situation. Variable information such as numbers, letters, wording or images can be added to each tag.
Do you have plates in stock?
We have a build to order manufacturing process and, typically, normally do not have stock. However, with MPC's agility, we can process standing orders to ensure you receive your components exactly when you need them.
What is the best material to be used in a graphic overlay?
It all depends on the application. For membrane switch overlays, we recommend polyester because of its chemical resistance and its ability to be actuated in excess of 1,000,000 prior to any sign of failure. Our polyester material is treated with a first surface hard coating that allows the overlay to survive in harsh environments.
What overlay thickness should I choose?
For excellent tactile feedback “feel” in a switch with stainless steel dome construction, choose an overlay thickness between .006” and .008”. This thickness range will be durable enough to hold up to numerous switch cycles. A thicker overlay will significantly decrease tactile feedback (or give a heavier feel).
How are graphics printed?
We print the graphics with traditional screen printing, digital printing and photo imaging. If the application is for very high volume, the most cost effective way to print is screen printing. If the application requires low to mid volume with high end, four-color process graphics, we often recommend digital printing. For more durable requirements, we photo image or digital thermal image. Whenever possible, we print on the second surface to protect the image.
What colors are available?
We have standard colors for some of our printing equipment but we can also print colors per Pantone, Munsell or Federal Standards. We can custom mix and match colors to your specific requirements. Special color matching may require a nominal fee.
Can embossing improve the look and function of my overlay?
Depending on the design creativity, embossing can dramatically enhance the look of the overlay. It can add to the function of the switch as well. There are two basic ways to emboss. The first is the conventional method, metal to metal with male and female dies. This is fine for most applications, but does have height-of-emboss-area limitations that must be understood. The second method, hydro-forming, allows for a higher emboss but is more expensive.
What is your minimum or maximum run size?
We have the capability to produce one part to tens of thousands of parts.
Attachment Methods FAQ
What is the most highly recommended adhesive for my products?
There is no one adhesive that we can recommend. We recommend adhesives based on the information about the specific application you have and the environment the product will be exposed to such as temperature, humidity, chemicals, UV, mating surface and motion. We recommend that you test the recommended adhesive in the environment it will be used in before ordering parts. We will be happy to supply a sample for that purpose.
When would I need to use mounting screws instead of just adhesive?
Mounting screws are generally used for heavier gauge metal nameplates (typically .032” or thicker) and for severe environmental or mating surface issues that do not lend themselves to adhesive.
Printing and Imaging FAQ
How do I decide between screen printing and using the Metalphoto photo imaging process?
Normally, screen printing is better suited for medium durability requirements in medium to high volume and single to multi color applications. Metalphoto is suited for low to mid volume applications where durability, lead times, sharp copy, or the requirement of variable info are key factors. Metalphoto is also used in high volume applications where durability is of utmost importance.
Will color printed on metal or plastic last outdoors?
Digitally printed color products with UV resistant over laminates can generally last two to five years outdoors. Screen printed color products can last five to ten years outdoors. Our Metalphoto photo imaging process, which creates a grayscale or black image, can last for over 20 years in direct sunlight.
When should I etch a material rather than screenprint?
Although screen printed parts can be quite durable, etched parts are recommended for harsh indoor or outdoor applications where exposure to weather, temperature extremes, sunlight, and chemicals is possible. Etching is also recommended sometimes when relief in graphics is needed for cosmetic reasons.
What is the difference between anodized aluminum and Metalphoto?
Anodized aluminum can be screen printed before the aluminum goes through the final sealing process resulting in a very durable substrate in all areas except UV resistance. Metalphoto anodized aluminum has a propriety coating that is applied during the anodizing process that allows us to photo-image the material leaving black graphics or backgrounds that is then sealed within the anodic layer. This process allows Metalphoto anodized aluminum to be very durable including UV resistance. Metalphoto is recognized as the most durable aluminum substrate in the marketplace.
Can Metalphoto aluminum withstand high temperatures?
Metalphoto passes oven tests of temperature resistance between 750 degrees and 1000 degrees for one hour.
Can Metalphoto handle a wet environment, submerged in water?
Metalphoto is very suitable for a variety of wet environments.
Is a polycarbonate or aluminum nameplate best for my application?
It depends on how and where your part will be used. Our well trained sales and customer service groups will work with you to determine the best, most cost effective material for your application.
If drawings are not available, can you use an existing panel?
Yes, we can take your part and convert it into a print for your review and approval.
Do I own the tooling required to make my parts?
Tooling charges are one time charges to cover the cost of design and engineering of any special tool to fit our equipment to allow us to make your part. It is common practice in this industry that the supplier retains ownership of the tool. We will maintain the tool in serviceable condition at our expense.
What format can I submit my artwork in?
Our preferred file types are AutoCad (DXF and DWG), Illustrator (AI, EPS), and Corel Draw (CDR version 11). On the Illustrator and Corel Draw files please convert fonts to outlines to guarantee font style. We can also accept Pagemaker and Freehand.
Why can't you just use the logo from my website to print on my order?
Most images used on a web page are 72 dpi to help speed up the loading of a page. In contrast, 300 dpi is the standard starting point for high quality images.
Can you help me design my label or nameplate?
We have a full graphics department and in most cases can set up your artwork from a sketch or description of what you are looking for.
Can I review and change or approve the artwork layout before you produce the parts?
Yes. We can provide you a color or black and white proof for review and approval before we begin production on your part.
What are set up charges for and do I have to pay them on repeat orders?
Set up charges are to cover set up of your art into our system and for additional related materials such as film and screens. This is a one time charge unless you make changes to the part on future orders.
What is your lead time?
Our normal lead time is two to three weeks for your first order and two weeks or less for repeat orders. This may vary slightly depending on complexity of part, availability of materials and work load. We understand that in some cases where we need to "rush" an order - we will do our utmost to meet those requests.
Can I see a sample of my part before I place an order?
Yes. We can provide you with a sample of a similar part for review and testing. If you require a prototype, we will include the cost in our quotation.
Is all of your work done in-house?
We try to do as much of our work in-house as possible. Because we are a make to print custom job shop, we do use outside contractors to meet some customer requests and to make tooling and fixtures.
Do you have standard pricing?
Since a majority of the products we manufacture are customized to our customers' specifications, we do not have a standard pricing schedule.
Do you sell to resellers?
Yes. We sell to many resellers. Please contact our sales or customer service department if you are interested in becoming part of our reseller program.
What are my payment options?
Our credit terms are net 30 with an established account. We also accept Visa, Master Card, American Express and Government credit cards.