Top 10 Metalphoto ® Converters in the Nation1
We are pleased to announce that effective February, 2016 Data Graphics Inc. is a Metal Photo Certified Converter, capable of manufacturing the best metal photo prints, which meet MIL-STD-130 n, ASTM B209 -10, and UL 969, and many more standards.
While Data Graphics is a very versatile printer–we digitally print, etch, engrave and even screen print metal– we recognize metal photo printing as the most durable, high quality methodology to create metallic photo prints. The harsher the conditions, the more durable you substrates need to be. Rugged, lightweight, rustproof anodized aluminum is the obvious choice. Etching and engraving, however, expose bare, untreated metal, and printing is vulnerable to abrasion, corrosion, UV fading and chemical bleaching. Metal photo printing is vastly superior to stainless steel or traditional anodized aluminum. For staying power, this methodology is clearly best, and is 30 Year Exposure Certified. Metal photo prints combine durable functionality with beautiful, fine detail, not available through other methodologies.
When metal photo printing, a digital machine develops a metallic photo print on the inside layer of a sheet of photosensitive anodized aluminum. This creates a black colored, silver halide image which is permanently sealed beneath the anodic layer, creating an image virtually impervious to the elements. Metallic photo prints have a host of impressive features, because they combine the durability of anodized aluminum with photograph quality printing. Are you unsure whether metal photo service is the right choice for you? Please call our knowledgeable team at 800-639-4316, or select the tabs that interest you. We will cover:
- Advantages of Metal Photo Printing
- How Metal Photo Printing Works
- Metal Photo Prints Specs
- Common & Specialized Applications
- Why Choose Data Graphics for Your Metal Photo Service?
Why Choose DG?
Why Choose Data Graphics for Your Metal Photo Service?
- Quality – Data Graphics is one of the Top 10 metal photo service providers in the nation, and the only Certified Converter in the Southeast. We are also is an UL Approved, ISO 9001 Compliant, and AS 9100 Certified printer. Every day we manufacture metallic photo prints that meet mil-std-130 n, ASTM B209 -10, UL 969 standards. Our quality is so high that we average 99% approved order rates, and more than 4 out of 5 customers reorder.
Trusted – Data Graphics has spent decades building a reputation as the nation’s top metal photo service providers. We are an All-American company using exclusively American-made and proven metalphoto brand for our photo metal prints. Our clients include Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, and NASA. In fact, our list happy clients resembles a “Who’s Who” of Fortune 1000 manufacturers. Read their reviews. More importantly, We fabricate thousands of metallic photo prints each month, each one manufactured as if it were going on a submarine or fighter jet. You can trust us to get your project right.
- Fast – We are quick. Really quick. Call 800-639-4316 today to see just how fast our process is. We are a market leader in providing metal photo service, with turn-around times of 2-10 working days. Better yet, more than 60% of our custom metallic photo prints ship ahead of time.
- Problem Solvers – Our genuinely helpful staff of knowledgeable experts literally has hundreds of years of collective printing experience. With that much experience, we know how to solve any fabrication or metal photo printing glitches. We have built a business helping our clients’ solve their printing problems and finding the most cost-effective solution–no matter if that be metal photo printing, etching, engraving, or another alternative. You won’t find a service provider who you enjoy working with as much as Data Graphics.
- Not Too Big or Too Small – Data Graphics is big enough to meet your printing needs, and small enough to provide care about your success. Data Graphics is large enough to have some of the most modern and high tech printing machines. DG can handle all of your metallic photo
print needs. In fact, we can create nearly any nameplate, overlay, label, or sign that you need. While metal photo service is one of our key specialties, we always present the methodologies and substrate options that are best for each of your individual projects. Though we are large enough to have wide ranging capabilities, however, we are still small enough that each customers is a valued client. You will never be treated like a number by Data Graphics. In fact, you won’t find a metal photo service provider as committed to your success.
- Confidentiality and Security – Data Graphics is an ITAR Registered firm, (International Traffic in Arms Regulations Compliant) certified to uphold the highest standards of security and confidentiality.
- We Create the Best Metal Photo Prints Every Time – Data Graphics conducts 100% product inspections. That means every one of your custom metallic photo prints is inspected, not just random samples, like most of our competitors. We get your photo metal prints done right and on time.
The Advantages of the Metalphoto Process
Best Metal Photo Prints – Metal photo printing creates the best metal photo prints, because they have the highest graphic resolution possible on metal substrate. This ultra-high quality metal photo printing methodology can reproduce pictures, graphics, variable data codes, and text onto durable photosensitive anodized aluminum. The remarkably high resolution of the metalphoto process makes it especially useful where label space is limited.
- Variable Data – Because the metal photo printing process uses a digital-capable machine, our metalphoto service can embed unique variable data, such as UID’s, QR codes, barcodes, serial numbers and sequential numbering on each nameplate. Because the image in a metal photo print is sealed beneath the anodic layer, abrasion and corrosion does not cause scan errors to IUIDs. Metal photo printing is significantly more durable than any other methodology for creating a variable data metallic photo prints. In fact, it isn’t even close. If you are looking for rugged variable data printing, this methodology provides the best metal photo prints, hands down.
- Durability – Metallic photo prints are the most durable of aluminum identification plates ever manufactured, according to the GPI (National Association of Graphic and Product Identification Manufacturers). The Naval Surface Warfare Center set about determining the most durable IUID technology. They conducted tests on several IUID materials and gave the highest score for durability and environmental survivability to metalphoto ® prints. In addition, metal photo printing creates the highest resolution, ultra-sharp images with photograph quality that are can weather the elements. When choosing a printing technology, remember that both the printing method, and the quality of the substrate effect performance. Methodologies such as etching or engraving actually damage the substrate and can diminish performance. Etched or engraved portions of a nameplate expose untreated aluminum. These areas are susceptible to rust, corrosion, and trapping debris. Each metal photo print withstands the extreme temperature swings (-65 degrees C to 125 degrees C). Each metal photo print is capable of withstanding acid corrosion, abrasion, salt spray, stains, fungus, UV exposure, and the most extreme environments, as well as most solvents and chemicals. Metal photo prints are essentially impervious to the elements, and designed to remain that way for decades. Because the photo image is embedded under the protective anodic layer, on the anodized surface itself, the finest details are preserved and remain sharp over time. Metal photo prints experience almost no image degradation over time.
Versatility – One of the reasons this methodology creates the best metallic photo prints is versatility. For instance, photo metal prints can be securely employed in a variety of applications, because such a wide variety of proven 3M adhesives are available for metallic photo prints. Metallic photo prints have a fully anodized, smooth, washable surface. Grease and dirt wipe off. Metal photo service is a cost-effective choice for small and medium sized orders. For a large volume serialized or sequential order, ti is clearly the best. Metal photo printing can create a two-sided print. Though it requires extra work and care, we regularly process metal photo prints for clients with images on both sides. There are some color variations. While the metal photo printing process is limited to “printing” in black, the base color of the anodized aluminum can vary. The photosensitive aluminum used in metal photo printing is currently available in copper, silver, and gold. Moreover, we can screen print on the surface of a metal photo print, adding any color. Note that surface level printing is not as durable as the sealed photographic image
- Trusted – Horizons Research Inc. basically invented Type 1 photosensitive anodized aluminum printing in 1950. Because of the growing popularity of metal photo services, several companies have created photosensitive anodized aluminum to make photo metal prints. Each of these imitators has had difficulty creating consistently high quality photo metal prints. Imitation photo metal prints sometimes experience delamination, or image degradation through sublimation, which is why Data Graphics exclusively uses true metalphoto ® processing for creating these types of photo metal prints. Each metal photo print is trusted to meet the most demanding standards and stringent certification.
- Certified – There is a running joke in the industry. Was metal photo printing created to meet mil-std-130 n, and UL 969 standards, or were the standards created to force manufacturers to utilize metal photo prints? Each metal photo print made by a metal photo certified converter meets an array of industrial government, and military specifications including:
- UL PGGU2
- UL 969 Standard
- MIL-STD-130 n
- ASTM B209 -10
- Federal Specification GGP-455B(3)
- Find certifications in our photo metal prints specs
The Metal Photo Process
The Metal Photo Printing Process
Because metal photo service is truly photo processing, the entire process occurs in our “yellow room” which filters out all white light. Type 1 photosensitive anodized aluminum, the substrate, is carefully stored in protective sleeves in the “yellow room.” This material is the key to the entire metal photo printing process. Type 1 photosensitive anodized aluminum has been embedded with a silver compound which creates a latent photo image when exposed to light, much like traditional black and silver photography. The photosensitive layer is impregnated under a transparent, nearly impervious anodic layer. Metal photo service takes advantage of the porous nature of unsealed anodized aluminum to create a sub-surface image. Once the top layer is sealed, the photo metal prints within the material are protecte. Fully developing the metallic print is a nine step process:
- Exposure – The Metal Halide Exposure System Controller/Integrator exposes the substrate with bright light, activating the photosensitive anodized aluminum. At this point, any barcodes, serialization, QR codes, or IUIDs are created on the metallic photo prints
- Developer – Each metal photo print is then spends a predetermined amount of time submerged in a chemical developer to allow the image to fully develop. Once through the exposure and development stages, a clear black photo metal print image is formed inside of the metal.
- Fixer – This is a separate chemical treatment, designed to remove the unexposed silver halide from the plate, so that future UV exposure does not cause the silver halide layer to darken.
- Rinse – Each metal photo print is given a quick bath in deionized water.
- Intensifier – Each metal photo print spends a predetermined amount of time in specialized chemical treatment to enhance the contrast between the image and the anodized aluminum.
- Rinse – Each metal photo print is given another quick bath in deionized water.
- Check – Our staff uses the Stouffer Sensitivity Guide, a 21 shade guide, to ensure the contract and intensity of the color meet our high standards.
- Sealer – Each metal photo print spends a predetermined amount of time in a boiling water treatment, which we affectionately call the “hot dog cooker.” The boiling treatment hydrates the aluminum oxide surface, closing the anodic layer on the top and sealing the photo metal prints. The image is now permanently protected beneath the anodic layer and the metal photo printing is complete.
- Fabrication – The final stage of our metal photo service is fabrication. The metallic photo prints are hung and air dried. Finally, they are cut to size and shipped.
Photo Metal Print Specs
Finishes Metallic photo prints are available in four finishes:
- Matte – common metal photo print applications: most data matrix, UID, barcode, and asset tag applications. Non-reflective with dull finish, preferred for scanners
- Satin – recommended for most metal photo print and equipment panel applications. Semi-gloss. Medium reflectivity
- #4 ( “Brushed”) – recommended for most metal photo print and equipment panel applications. Brushed. Resembles stainless steel finish. Medium reflectivity
- Gloss – common metal photo print applications: decorative displays, awards, plaques, donor recognition placards and similar applications. Reflective and Mirror Like
Thicknesses – Metal photo print also come in a range of thicknesses” .003″, .005″, .012″, .020″, .032″, .063″, .090″, .125″
Dimensions – Metallic photo prints are available in a variety of sizes up to : 10″ x 12″, 12″ x 20″, 20″ x 24″, 20″ x 40″, and 24″ x 40.” Metal photo nameplates can be cut to any size desired.
Colors – Metal photo prints are available in gold, silver, and copper anodized aluminum. Screen printing on the anodic layer is possible in any color. This is not technically part of metal photo printing, and not rated to match the durability of the photo metal prints.
Certifications: Here are the current certifications met through our metal photo service:
US Federal GovernmentFederal Specification GGP-455B(3)
|Underwriters Laboratories (UL 969)||Standard UL 969|
|ASTM Standard Practices (ASTM B209 -10)||ASTM B209 -10|
|US Department of Defense||MIL-DTL-15024F>|
|US Department of Defense||A-A-50271 Class 2-Composition C|
|US Dept. of Defense (DOD MIL-STD-130 n)||MIL-STD-130 n|
|US Department of Defense||MIL-A-8625F|
|US Department of Defense||MIL-DTL-19834C|
|US Department of Defense||MIL-STD-13231>|
|US Department of Defense||MIL-P-514D|
|US Department of Defense||MIL-PRF-61002|
|US Department of Defense||NSA-2J|
|Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE)||Technical Paper Series 2000-01-2437|
|European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)||EC 1907/2006|
|Dept. of Navy||CARDIVNSWC-TR-62-00-05|
|EC Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)||RoHS Certification|
|Canadian Standard Association (CSA)||CSA Approval Doc. 1 | Doc. 2|
|Pacific Biolabs||AAMI/CDV-1 ST79:2010/A2.06|
|US Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Corona Division||IUID Environmental Survivability Test|
|Underwriters Laboratories (UL File # MH17767)||UL PGGU2|
|Detroit Testing Laboratory||A-A-50271 (~MIL-P-514D)|
|NASA, Johnson Space Center Texas||SSP 50007|
|Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE)||SAE AMS-QQ-A-250/1|
|Boeing Commercial Aircraft Company||BMS-26J|
|Boeing Commercial Aircraft Company||BAC5875|
|Honeywell, Inc. Satellite Systems Operations||Memo A3-J024-M-9501786, Case 161311|
|BF Goodrich||LGMS 3001|
Metal photo service is so widely-embraced that this list as continually evolving. At the time of publication, we believe this list of certifications for our metal photo service is complete.
Noteworthy Metal Photo Print Applications
- Any High-Stress Labeling Required for Equipment and Machines
- Control Panels, Especially for Heavy Equipment
- Variable Information Plates
- Decorative Aluminum Photo Prints
- Data Plates
- Panel Fronts
- Warning Labels, Especially for Machines, Vehicles & Transportation
- Donor Recognition Placards
- Article and Photo Reproductions
- Instruction Plates, Especially for Biomedical
- Asset Tags
- Indoor & Outdoor Signage
- Marine and Ocean Applications
- Linear and 2D Data Matrix
- Bar Code Labels
- Landscape, Architecture & Environmental Tags
- Wiring Diagrams & Schematics
- Plaques & Awards
- UID Barcodes for US Military assets.
- Inventory Tags on the International Space Station.
- ATM plates
- Low-reflection Labels for Military Night Vision Goggles.
- Metallic Print Labels Inside Jets
- Naval Applications
- Any Military or Aerospace Application Where Image Quality and Durability Are Key
Our metal photo service meets many of the Federal Government’s and Department of Defense’s toughest requirements
Let Data Graphics Help You With Your Photo Metal Prints Today
Metal photo service is the superior methodology for metallic photo prints. It has been trusted by medical, telecom, heavy machinery, aerospace, and military manufacturers for decade. And for decades they have counted on Data Graphics Inc. to manufacture superior, high quality metallic photo prints. We are proud to be one of the only metal photo certified converters in the nation. We would love the chance to earn your business and become your life-long metal photo service partner. Please call us today at 800-639-4316 to discover the DG difference, and why we make the best metallic photo prints.
1. At the time of this publishing, Data Graphics is 1 of just 8 firms in the U.S. to earn the auspicious certification as a metal photo certified converter, and the only one in the Southeast. Trust only certified converters, because they create the best metal photo prints!