When you first think about metal tags, you probably think of aluminum or stainless steel plates. Yet, there are other material options as well. One of the best material options for custom identification is brass. Custom brass tags are extremely useful as an identification solution.
What is Brass?
Brass is a unique material, which has a plethora of uses in just as many industries. It is a metal alloy, comprising of zinc and copper. This specialized makeup gives brass a shiny, gold-like appearance.
While the substrate may start off shiny, after it is used in tough conditions it develops a patina-like finish. This is actually a preferential feature by many, as this worn look is often considered vintage. If you are looking for a material with a worn, rustic aesthetic, brass is the perfect option.
In addition to having a stand-out appearance, brass is also a very durable metal. This makes it useful in industrial environments from manufacturing facilities and construction sites to energy plants and mines.
The material is also resistant to water and corrosion. This lends itself to uses that expose the metal to water or other light chemicals.
One thing to be aware of is that brass is considered a softer metal than comparable materials. This can be a benefit or hindrance depending on your exact specifications or requirements.
Other Metal Properties
Not only is brass durable, but it also exhibits other signature properties. These features are often key in selecting brass as a material of choice for a given industry.
For example, brass is a non-ferrous metal. This means that the metal is not magnetic. While that may not seem like it has significance, it can be incredibly important for a specific usage.
Certain industries require working with non-ferrous metals for safety reasons. The mining industry, for example, typically elects to use brass for their identification needs to avoid potential risks.
Brass is also provides a low friction metal surface. This leads to heavy usage in items such as instruments, gears, bearings, and more.
Plus, it lends itself to applications which need to prevent generating a spark. Since the material is low friction, it is much safer to use in environments which would be especially susceptible to the potential of a fire.
What are Brass Tags Used For?
Brass tags and nameplates are used for an enormous range of applications. Their high durability, versatility, and special metal properties make them an excellent candidate for many industries.
Some of the most common industries which use these identification tags are the plumbing and electrical industries. This is due in part to the low friction property, as well as the resistance to corrosion and water.
Another common use for brass is metal cable ties. These ties wrap around pipes or cables, allowing for easy attachment and clear identification.
In addition, some applications such as furniture nameplates turn to brass specifically due to the vintage gold appearance.
While these are many of the most common applications, this is in no means a limit to the possibilities. Industries big and small find a very large range uses for brass identification that suits them.
Processes for Brass Tags
Brass is a versatile material, and as such can be marked with several different processes. Each has its own set of pros and cons. The best process is the one that fits your application the best.
Brass nameplates may be marked using the etching process. This includes both laser and chemical etching.
Laser etching uses a high powered laser to wear away the material, while chemical etching accomplishes this using specialized chemicals. Both methods create a moderately durable custom design in the metal.
After the design is etched, a colored ink can be put in. This is often referred to as etch and fill. By adding a bit of color, your tag designs can stand out. The only drawback is lack of durability, as this ink will wear when exposed to tough conditions.
For a more permanent solution, brass tags are frequently stamped. This process is very straightforward, as a custom stamp is pressed into the metal blank to leave an indented design.
This indented design will not simply scratch off. It will last as long as the metal material does.
Sometimes you need maximum durability. It’s hard to go wrong with the embossing process. By using a male & female die set, the brass is pressed to form raised metal characters.
These characters are incredibly durable. In addition, they are still going to be legible even after the nameplate gets covered in grit, grime, and dirt. Even paint can’t keep the letters or numbers from being readable.
Brass tags are an incredibly versatile solution. Their golden appearance gives them a unique look, while durability makes them ready to tackle tough industrial conditions. Whether your tags are for marking an industrial valve, or just to mark your custom furniture, brass might be the perfect choice for you.