Engraving metal tags is a unique process. Instead of using a stamp or die to embed information in the metal, an engraving machine is used to carve a design or data into the material. Some manufacturers use a laser engraving machine.

Producing engraved tags is a challenging process. Everything must be setup just right and aligned perfectly. If something is not lined up, the design will not be engraved properly. This extra attention adds to manufacturing time and labor costs.

Setup time is not the only concern. Custom metal tag engraving itself is a very sluggish process. Each character or number has to be cut individually into the custom tags. This makes production of large quantities take a considerable amount of time. It also slows down how quickly you can receive an order. In addition, this increases the price per tag.

In contrast, stamped tags are significantly faster to produce. They take a single stamp to embed all of the characters. This allows for (generally) shorter lead times and cheaper cost per tag in regards to large quantity orders. There may be better solutions for you depending on your tag needs and your budget/time constraints. Some organizations already own an engraving machine, and use blank tags to engrave on their own.

The engraving process is most commonly used when deep impressions in the metal are required or preferred.

Use and Durability

Custom engraved tags are usable in a variety of applications. As the design is engraved into the material, it will not show immediate signs of wear and tear. The only potential for wear is if you decide to get an inlay color inside the engraved lines. The metal engraving itself should last for decades. The durable metal tag will hold up to adverse conditions and can survive in tough work environments.

Since the information is engraved one character at a time, it is possible to utilize both serialized and variable data. However, this is also possible on other metal tag processes such as MetalPhoto or embossing.

Industries

Many industries rely on engraving for their identification needs. High durability means they hold up even in industrial conditions. Plus, the ability to create any custom design, text, or other information allows for highly specialized equipment to be marked accurately and effectively. From giant equipment in fortune 500 organizations to marking lockers at a small business, engraved metal tags are an excellent ID solution.

  • Transportation

  • Energy

  • Defense

  • And More

Materials

There are a handful of materials to select from when considering engraved metal. Your material selection should be based on the application for the tags. For example, if your industry uses chemicals which corrode aluminum, that wouldn’t be a great choice.

With the engraving process, the tag is typically thicker than other tag processes. Be aware of this when selecting the material you want to use, as this may have unintended consequences. For example, not fitting on the machine or capital equipment it is intended for.

  • Aluminum

  • Brass

  • Stainless Steel

  • Cold Rolled Steel

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Customization

Engraved tags are highly customizable. They can be spec’d to various shapes, thicknesses, etc.

As previously mentioned, thickness works a little differently with engraved tags. The information actually has to be carved into the metal, unlike stamping or embossing which reshape the metal.

If your application requires a thin tag, engraving might not be a good fit. You might want to look toward photo anodization as it can be made significantly thinner.

Similarly to etching, one feature for engraving is the ability to add an inlay color. After the material has been engraved, the design can then be inlaid with a solid color. This allows for a different look than similar metal tag products.

Material is an important consideration if you are looking for color inlays. For example, stainless steel has a tendency to cause burrs, making it harder to color properly.

Keep in mind that the ink will wear away over time when exposed to harsh conditions, leaving just the original engraved design without color.

Customization Options Include:

  • Color Inlay

  • Shape

  • Thickness

  • Holes

  • Ends/Corners

Wrap-Up

What is an engraved metal tag?

If you are interested in engraved metal tags, there are a few things to keep in mind. There are some challenges in producing them – don’t forget the extra cost and time it will take to manufacture them. The long process can affect your deadline as well as your bottom line.

Tag thickness is also effected. Increasing the material thickness typically raises the price per tag.

If you decide to go with a color inlay, that will increase your costs and have limitations for the durability.

Consider all of your options as there may be better and more cost effective solutions for your usage.

Engraved tags serve a purpose, and are the right fit for certain applications.