Not everything (or everyone) is ready to withstand the hard working environment of an oil refinery. Things get dirty, exposed to chemicals, and beat up. At the end of the day, the most important thing is durability. Sometimes putting a vinyl decal on a valve just doesn’t cut it; that’s where metal tags come in.

Process Options

There are two processes that are typically used for refineries:


The embossing process creates raised characters in the metal material.

Embossed tags are perfect for the oil business. The raised text allows for the text to remain legible, even when conditions get dirty. This means that your information will not be lost or misunderstood even in a working environment.

Another great reason to use embossed tags is their ability for both sequential and variable data. They are great whether you need unique information on each tag or a sequence of numbers from 1-10,000.


MetalPhoto or photo anodizing, is one of the best solutions for oil refineries. It uses a special process to embed a design into the material underneath a highly protective anodic layer.

What makes photo anodization special is that it is capable of using any image, any information, or any design.

Another benefit is the ability to utilize barcodes or QR codes. This opens up new asset tracking and inventory management opportunities for your organization.

There are also several options for how you will attach your MetalPhoto tags. Adhesive backing is a popular option, while holes for mounting or hanging are available as well.


An oil production is a tough work environment. For instance, reading letters on a metal nameplate in a dirty or dimly lit refinery is a challenge. Plus, with all the rough and tough exposure, not all tags will hold up.

This is where MetalPhoto and embossing comes in. They are both tested for 20+ years in outdoor environments. Embossed tags and photo anodized tags handle wear and tear, harsh weather, and more. They are even able to withstand many harsh chemicals.

Some chemicals are still an issue to be dealt with. You will need to take the chemicals you work with into consideration. For example, if there is a chemical you use that deteriorates aluminum, you probably shouldn’t go with aluminum tags.

High durability gives you peace of mind that your id tags will not be an issue. On top of that, you will only have to buy the tags once instead of buying and replacing every 6 months.

Color Coding

One of the most useful features of metal tags is the ability to add color. The aluminum anodization process not only adds to the durability of the material, but also allows color to be added. For embossing, all of the metal is colored, including the raised characters. For MetalPhoto, the background will be a solid color and the text will be black.

Why should I use color coding?  First, color coding allows for much improved ease of use. It simplifies the identification process. For example, let’s say you have multiple pipes (or oil sample points) in the same location, each housing different fluids. With regular tags, you have to read the information to know what it is. With color coded tags you know at just a quick glance.

For instance, a blue tag might mean that pipe is a water line. You can even make that identification at a distance or in a darker environment without having to read the tag.

With quick and clear identification, the potential for error is significantly reduced. On top of that, employees can complete tasks with less training. Production managers can spend more time focused on important tasks better suited for their time.

Asset Tracking

Managing assets in an oil refinery is crucial. Metal tags can play a key role in successful inventory and asset tracking for oil and gas companies.

Using a tag-based barcode scanning system, you have access to a wealth of information. With a quick scan you know everything you need to about the item. Plus, asset tracking software automatically records the info for you.

Another option is to use serialized (numbered) embossed tags to help manage your assets.

Both of these options will allow you to better allocate your resources, saving time and money. In addition, it will increase the efficiency of your organization.


Oil Sample Points

One of the most common uses for MetalPhoto tags is for oil sample points. For example: using them to provide specific information about each type of oil. With color coded aluminum, photo anodized tags drastically simplify the oil filling process.


There’s no business like the oil business. Identification is incredibly important to not only maintain a safe environment, but increase the efficiency of the organization as well. With the toughness of embossing and MetalPhoto, you can rest assured knowing your identification solutions will survive through the grit and grime. From color coding oil sample points to asset tracking, there is an identification solution that will work for you.

Call 1-800-428-0095 for your free quote on oil refinery tags, nameplates, and placards.

Metal Marker is your source for highly durable oil refinery identification.