Data Graphics Inc. Is One of the Top 10 Metalphoto ® Converters in the Nation1
Data Graphics Inc. is pleased to announce that as of February, 2016 we are a Metalphoto Certified Converter, capable of producing metalphoto nameplates that meet MIL-STD-130 n, ASTM B209 -10, UL 969 standards.
While we can digitally print, screen print, etch, and engrave metallic prints in a wide variety of ways, we recognize the metalphoto process to be the highest quality and most durable way to create a metallic print. In harsh environments, durable substrates are required. Rugged anodized aluminum is the obvious choice, and the metalphoto process provides the highest quality printing options. The metalphoto process is vastly superior to stainless steel or traditional anodized aluminum. It combines beautiful, fine detail not available through other methodologies, with durable functionality, and is 30 Year Exposure Certified. The metalphoto process uses a digital-capable machine to develop a photo on the inner layer of a sheet of photosensitive anodized aluminum. The silver halide image is permanently sealed within the anodic layer, making it nearly impervious to the elements. Metalphoto nameplates have great features, combining the durability of anodized aluminum with the highest resolution, photograph quality printing. If you are unsure whether the metalphoto process is the right printing methodology for you, please feel free to phone our knowledgeable team at 800-639-4316, or select the relevant tab. We will cover:
- The Advantages of the Metalphoto Process
- Noteworthy Applications
- How the Metalphoto Process Works
- Metalphoto Nameplate Specs
- Why Choose Data Graphics for Your Metallic Print Needs?
Why Choose DG?
Why Choose Data Graphics for Your Metallic Print Needs?
- Quality – We are proud to announce that we are one of the Top 10 metalphoto nameplate printers in the nation, and the only Certified Converter in the Southeast. Data Graphics also is an UL Approved, AS 9100, and ISO printer. We are accustomed to having our work scrutinized. Every day we manufacture labels and metalphoto nameplates that meet mil-std-130 n, ASTM B209 -10, UL 969 standards. Our standards are so high that more than four out of five customers repeat order with us. Moreover, we average 99% approved order rates.
- Speed – We are fast. Really fast. Call 800-639-4316 now for a free quote to see how fast our process is. We are an industry leader in metalphoto nameplate manufacturing, with turn-around times of 2-10 working days. More than 60% of our custom metalphoto nameplate orders are shipped ahead of time.
- Problem Solving – Our genuinely friendly and extremely helpful staff has literally hundreds of years of collective experience. With that level of experience, we know how to solve any metalphoto process or fabrication glitches. We do whatever it takes to help our clients’ solve their printing problems and find the most cost-effective solution, whether that be the metalphoto process, etching, engraving, or another alternative. You won’t find a metalphoto nameplate manufacturer who you enjoy working with as much as Data Graphics.
- Security and Confidentiality – We are an ITAR Registered (International Traffic in Arms Regulations Compliant) firm, upholding the highest standards of security and confidentiality.
- Size – We are large enough to have a variety of the most modern and high tech machines. We can handle all of your metallic print needs, and indeed, almost any label, nameplate, overlay or sign that you need. While the metalphoto process is one of our specialties, we will be sure to recommend the methodology and substrates that are best for each of your projects. In spite of our wide capabilities, however, we are still small enough that our customers aren’t numbers, but valued clients. You won’t find a metalphoto nameplate manufacturer as committed to your success as Data Graphics.
- Getting It Right the First Time – We have 100% inspection standards, examining every one of your custom metalphoto nameplate, not just random samples, like most other companies. We know it’s vital to get your metalphoto nameplate done right and on time.
- Trusted – Data Graphics has a hard-earned reputation to uphold as the nation’s top metallic print manufacturer. We are an American owned and operated company using only proven American made metalphoto nameplate material. Our clients include NASA, Lockheed-Martin, and Boeing. Each of the thousands of metalphoto nameplates we create is manufactured to the same high standards as if it were going on a submarine or fighter jet. Our happy clients include a “Who’s Who” of Fortune 1000 manufacturers. Read their reviews.
The Advantages of the Metalphoto Process
Photo Quality Images – The metalphoto process creates the highest graphic resolution printing possible on metallic print substrate. This high quality metallic print methodology can reproduce graphics, pictures, codes, and text images onto rugged photosensitive anodized aluminum. The remarkably high resolution of the metalphoto process makes it especially useful where label space is limited.
- Variable Data – Because the metalphoto process uses a digital capable machine, each metalphoto nameplate can carry unique variable data, such as barcodes, UID’s, QR codes, and sequential serial numbers. No other methodology for creating a variable data metallic print is even close to providing the durability guaranteed through the metalphoto process.
- Durability – The National Association of Graphic and Product Identification Manufacturers (GPI) has declared metalphoto nameplates to be the most durable of aluminum identification plates ever manufactured. The Naval Surface Warfare Center conducted tests on several UID materials and determined that metalphoto nameplates developed on photosensitive anodized aluminum achieved the highest score environmental survivability of any UID material evaluated. In addition, the metalphoto process provides the highest resolution printing, for an ultra-sharp, photograph quality appearance. When choosing an aluminum print methodology, remember that both the quality of the substrate and the printing method effect performance. Methodologies such as engraving or etching alter the substrate and potentially reduce performance. Engraved or etched portions of a nameplate expose raw aluminum, which are susceptible to corrosion and debris accumulation. Each metalphoto nameplate is designed to withstand the most extreme environments (-65 degrees C to 125 degrees C). It is capable of resisting wide temperature swings, abrasion, acid corrosion, salt spray, fungus, stains, UV exposure, as well as most solvents and chemicals. Metalphoto nameplates are virtually impervious to the elements, specially engineered to withstand decades of whatever Mother Nature dishes out. Because the image is developed into the anodized surface, under the protective anodic layer, the details remain sharp, crisp, and clean over time, and you get virtually no image degradation on a metalphoto nameplate.
Versatility – A wide variety of proven 3M adhesives are available on metalphoto nameplates. Although it is not common knowledge, metalphoto nameplates can be two-sided and we regularly process metalphoto nameplates for clients with images on both sides. While the metalphoto process is limited to black “printing,” the base color of the anodized aluminum can vary. The photosensitive aluminum used in printing metalphoto nameplates is currently available in gold, copper, and silver. Additionally, we can screen print on a metalphoto nameplate to add virtually any color, though that surface level metallic print will not be as durable as the sealed photographic image. Metalphoto nameplates have a smooth, cleanable, fully anodized surface so grease and dirt can be easily removed and abrasion or corrosion cannot cause scan errors. The metalphoto process is an excellent and cost-effective choice for small and medium sized orders, or when a large volume of unique parts is required.
- Trusted – Horizons Research Inc. essentially invented Type 1 photosensitive anodized aluminum printing in 1950. There is a running joke in the industry, of whether the metalphoto process was designed to meet mil-std-130 n, ASTM B209 –10, and UL 969 standards, or whether the standards were created to compel manufacturers to utilize metalphoto nameplates. In any event, each metalphoto nameplate is trusted to meet the most demanding standards. Because of its growing popularity, several companies have attempted to manufacture photosensitive anodized aluminum, but they have all had difficulty creating consistently high quality metallic prints. Other imitators sometimes experience delamination, or image degradation through sublimation. Data Graphics exclusively uses the metalphoto process for creating these types of metallic prints.
- Certified – Each metalphoto nameplate made by a certified converter meets an array of government, military and industrial specifications including:
- MIL-STD-130 n
- ASTM B209 -10
- A-A-50271 Class-2 Composition C
- Federal Specification GGP-455B(3)
- UL PGGU2
- UL 969 Standard
- Find complete certifications in our metalphoto nameplate specs
Noteworthy Metalphoto Nameplate Applications
- Metalphoto Nameplates/Logos
- Control Panels, Especially for Heavy Equipment
- Data Plates
- Panel Fronts
- Variable Information Plates
- Decorative Aluminum Photo Prints
- Linear and 2D Data Matrix
- Bar Code Labels
- Asset Tags
- Indoor & Outdoor Signage
- Landscape, Architecture & Environmental Tags
- Wiring Diagrams & Schematics
- Plaques & Awards
- Warning Labels, Especially for Machines, Vehicles & Transportation
- Instruction Plates, Especially for Biomedical
- Plaques & Awards
- Donor Recognition Placards
- Article and Photo Reproductions
- ATM plates
- Low-reflection Labels for Military Night Vision Goggles.
- UID Barcodes for US Military assets.
- Metallic Print Labels Inside Jets
- Inventory Tags on the International Space Station.
- Any Military or Aerospace Application Where Image Quality and Durability Are Key
- Marine and Naval Applications
- Any application required to meet mil-std-130 n, ASTM B209 –10, UL 969 standards
- Any High-Stress Labeling Required for Equipment and Machines
Metalphoto nameplates meet many of the Department of Defense’s toughest requirements
The Metalphoto Process
The Metalphoto Process
Because the metalphoto process is truly photo processing, it takes place in our “yellow room” which filters out all white light. Our substrate, Type 1 photosensitive anodized aluminum, is carefully stored in protective sleeves in the “yellow room.” This substrate is the essence of the entire metalphoto process. The metalphoto process, utilizes the porous nature of unsealed anodized aluminum to create a sub-surface image. Type 1 photosensitive anodized aluminum has been impregnated with a silver compound which creates an activated latent image when exposed to light, much like traditional black and silver photography. This photosensitive layer is imbedded beneath a nearly impervious, clear anodic layer. Fully developing the metallic print is a nine step process:
- Exposure – Our digital Controller/Integrator Metal Halide Exposure System exposes the substrate with bright light, activating the photosensitive anodized
aluminum. This is also the stage at which the Exposure System would create any barcodes, serialization, QR codes, etc.
- Developer – Each metalphoto nameplate is then submerged in a chemical developer for a set amount of time to allow the image to fully emerge. Once through the exposure and development stages, a clear black 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 UV exposure does not cause photosensitive darkening.
- Rinse – The metalphoto nameplate is given a quick bath in deionized water.
- Intensifier – This is a specialized chemical treatment to enhance the contrast between the image and the anodized aluminum.
- Rinse – The metalphoto nameplate is given another quick bath in deionized water.
- Check – Our staff uses the twenty-one shade Stouffer Sensitivity Guide to ensure the intensity of the color and the contrast meet our high standards.
- Sealer – Each metalphoto nameplate is then sealed in boiling water, which we affectionately call the “hot dog cooker.” The boiling treatment hydrates the aluminum oxide surface, closing the anodic layer on the top. The image is now permanently sealed and protected beneath the anodic layer of the plate
- Fabrication – The metalphoto process is now complete. The metalphoto nameplates are hung on the drying rack and air dried. Once dry, they are sent to fabrication for cutting and shipping.
Metalphoto Nameplate Specs
Finishes Metalphoto nameplates are available in a variety of finishes:
- Matte – non-reflective with dull finish, recommended for most data matrix, UID barcode, and asset tag applications.
- Satin – semi gloss medium reflective material, recommended for most metalphoto nameplate and equipment panel applications.
- #4 ( “Brushed”) – brushed to resemble stainless steel finish, recommended for most metalphoto nameplate and equipment panel applications.
- Gloss – reflective and mirror like, recommended for decorative displays, awards, plaques, donor recognition placards and similar applications
Colors – Gold, copper and silver anodized aluminum are available. Screen printing on the anodic layeris not technically part of the metalphoto process, but is possible in any color.
Dimensions – Metalphoto nameplate sheets are available in a variety of sizes: 10” x 12”, 12” x 20”, 20” x 24”, 20” x 40”, and 24” x 40.” Metalphoto nameplates can be cut from these sheets to any size desired.
Thicknesses – Metalphoto nameplates also come in a range of thicknesses” .003”, .005”, .012”, .020”, .032”, .063”, .090”, .125”
Certifications: It is pretty common knowledge that metalphoto nameplates meet mil-std-130 n, ASTM B209 –10, and UL 969 standards, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. Here are the current certifications met through the metalphoto process:
|ASTM Standard Practices (ASTM B209 -10)||ASTM B209 -10|
|Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE)||Technical Paper Series 2000-01-2437|
|Underwriters Laboratories (UL 969)||Standard UL 969|
|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)|
|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|
|US Federal Government||Federal Specification GGP-455B(3)|
|US Department of Defense||MIL-DTL-15024F>|
|US Department of Defense||A-A-50271 Class 2-Composition C|
|NASA, Johnson Space Center Texas||SSP 50007|
|US Dept. of Defense (DOD MIL-STD-130 n)||MIL-STD-130 n|
|US Department of Defense||MIL-A-8625F|
|Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE)||SAE AMS-QQ-A-250/1|
|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|
The metalphoto process is so effective that this list as continually evolving. At the time of publication, this list of certifications for the metalphoto process is complete.
Let Data Graphics Help You With Your Metalphoto Nameplates and Special Projects Today
For many application, the metalphoto process is the superior metallic print methodology. There are a host of reasons that the aerospace, medical, telecommunications, manufacturing, and military industries have counted on Data Graphics Inc. to create superior, high quality metalphoto nameplate products that lasts. We are proud to be recognized as one of the only metalphoto certified converters in the nation, and would love to share with you why that makes us the right firm to help you with your metalphoto nameplates. Please call us today at 800-639-4316 to discover the DG difference.
1. Data Graphics is one of only 8 firms in the nation to receive the auspicious certification as a metalphoto certified converter. At the time of this publishing, Data Graphics is the only metalphoto certified converter in the Southeast. Trust only metalphoto certified converters, because they get the metalphoto process right!