Aerospace tags are a vital part of the aerospace industry.

The last thing that may come to mind when thinking about aerospace is metal tags. Yet, these identification markers are crucial to the success of aerospace organizations.

Aerospace tags provide clear and critical communication of relevant information.

Applications

Custom metal tags have an incredibly wide range of uses for this industry.

Asset tracking using barcodes provides an easy way for aerospace organizations to better manage their equipment and improve efficiencies.

Equipment and other machinery is often affixed with tags which indicate proper usage, safety warnings, manufacturer information and more.

Safety signs and warning labels are often added to foster the safest environment possible.

Aircraft also need marked, as well as many of the parts that make up the finished product.

There are so many specialized parts and niches in this industry, which provides a great opportunity for identification solutions to ease some of the confusion.

Processes

Photo Anodization

Photo anodization provides a high level of customization as well. This process allows for the addition of any image, design, text, numbers, barcodes, or even QR Codes. Want different designs on every tag? No problem! Add unique designs, or even serialized and/or variable data.

While it can’t do full color designs like screen printing, it’s possible to add a solid color to the aluminum material.

The anodized aluminum material is excellent for aerospace. Unlike screen printed topical ink, the embedded design cannot be easily scratched off or otherwise removed. The aluminum is corrosion resistant, durable, yet extremely lightweight. This makes it a perfect fit for the industry.

Photo anodized tags are rated for 20+ years outdoors. This means they can hold up to all the wear and tear of industrial applications without losing their information or becoming illegible.

Stamping

This process uses a powerful stamp to press a design into the metal material. The indented text is remarkably long lasting and easy to read.

These metal tags are desired due to their simple appearance and high durability. The stamped tag is not susceptible to scrapes or scratches and can hold up to tough aerospace environments.

If you require a custom design for your application, keep in mind this requires a custom stamp. For making a handful of tags, this would be incredibly cost prohibitive as custom stamps can run in the thousands of dollars.

For tags with just basic characters and numbers, you won’t have to front the cost of a custom stamp.

Screen Printing

Screen printing is considered a versatile process due to its high level of customization. Since the tags are directly applied with ink, you can add almost any design onto the tag. This includes full color logos, images, and more. This flexibility separates screen printing from other processes.

While the screen printing process offers great customization, it does have limitations as well. The downside is topical ink is prone to wear and tear. It will scratch off fairly easily. This is not considered a durable, long-term solution. It is especially true for tough industrial environments.

While it isn’t the most durable solution, it does have plenty of applications. For example, it can be great for indoor signage or warning markers that won’t see a lot of wear. Some organizations plan to replace their identification plates on an annual basis, in which case screen printed tags might be a great choice.

Materials

Aluminum

Aluminum is the most common material choice for aerospace identification tags.

The material is very lightweight in comparison to other standard metal options. This lightweight characteristic is crucial for the aerospace industry. For aircraft, every ounce matters.

While aluminum tags are lightweight, they don’t sacrifice durability. Aluminum plates are durable enough to hold up in industrial environments.

This material is also versatile in that it can use most metal tag processes. This includes photo anodization (MetalPhoto).

Stainless Steel

If your tag isn’t going on a lightweight aircraft, or just needs to be as durable as possible, look no further than stainless steel. When the going gets tough, stainless steel steps in.

The material is sturdy and holds up to all conditions, including weather. Plus, wear and tear are not really a concern. The tags will be very long-lasting depending on the process you select.

Since it is a much heavier metal choice, stainless steel may not be the best option for all aerospace applications. It is also limited in process choices as MetalPhoto is not available.

For the utmost in durable, stainless steel is a safe bet.

Wrap-Up

With constant innovation and advancements, it is easy to forget all the small things that go into the world of aerospace. Custom metal tags provide highly important identification information to aid the manufacture and implementation of aerospace parts, products, and machinery. They also help provide pertinent safety info, show warnings, and make the industry that much safer.