Metal embossing machine enables the process of stamping raised or sunken designs or relief in metal. There are multiple ways one can achieve this effect. For instance, dot-peen marking machines and laser engraving machines are also available. Embossing is another method and each of these processes differs in their final output. Dot-peen, for instance, works by marking the required pattern using multiple strikes of a pin on the metal surface. Laser engraving, on the other hand, removes material using heat from the high-energy electromagnetic wave that a laser produces. However, let us see what an embossing machine can do for its users and how to go about selecting a machine.
How Does Metal Tag Embosser Equipment Work?
Metal tag embosser machines imprint characters onto a metal piece with specified character sets that are installed inside a drum in the machine. Characters are pushed by a lever or actuating arm that embeds the character into the metal piece. Hence, the marking is far more durable than other marking processes such as ink printing.
Metal embossing machines, also known as metal stamping machines, produce embossed or a debossed numbers and letter characters, typically simplex 2, on metal tags. This process can be made by means of matched male and female roller dies, or by passing a sheet or a strip of metal between rolls of the desired pattern.
The following materials are suitable for embossing:
- Aluminium (all alloys)
- Aluminium (T1/T2)
- Card stock
- Cold rolled steel
- Galvanized steel
- High strength, low alloy, steel
- Hot rolled steel
When to use a metal tag embossing machine:
Metal tag embossing is an extremely durable method for marking metal items making it extremely reliable for outdoor work environments. Moreover, the tags with metal stamping are able to withstand corrosion, tarnish, paint, and environmental damage making them better suited for harsh environments.
Metal Embossing Applications:
Stamping or Embossing of metal plates and tags is in use by a wide variety of industries for numerous applications. Almost all industries rely on some form of fluid power. Complex pneumatic and hydraulic systems form the core structure of multiple industries. These require reliable fittings, hoses and fixtures. To complement them, high-quality embossing is a must. These markings must stand not only the test of time but also that of mother nature. Factors such as pressure, both internal and external, temperature and moisture shall influence the metal surface.
Similarly, the aerospace industry is another major user of this technology. Due to the stringent regulatory requirements and extreme conditions that aviation parts encounter, in the air and on ground, metal stamp markings of the highest quality and durability are of need. Industries such as Oil and gas along with the Medical Equipment manufacturers have indispensable metal embossing requirements that metal embossing machines cater to.
Stamped metal plates and tags are used in a wide variety of industries for numerous applications. Common applications that use metal marking and embossing equipment for include but aren’t limited to:
- Cable and Hose Tags
- Equipment / Inventory tags
- LDAR tags
- Pipe, Pump, and Valve tags
- Vehicle parts and VIN plates
- Vessel nameplates
Metal embossing is one of the oldest marking methods to come into use. One can find the old methods still in use today. Handstamps or manual embosser, crafted carefully in the shape of letters or of the required designs are struck on the surface of the metal by a hammer. However, the industrial revolution has had its effects on all industries. Hand stamping or embossing of metal could no longer cater to the high volume requirements. As a result, the marking industry has come up with high-efficiency methods that can even automate the entire process.
Manual and Portable Metal Tag Embosser
Manual marking equipment is easy to operate. They allow for quick stamping or embossing of aluminum, brass, and/or stainless steel tags, checks, and nameplates with a steel die. Similarly, handheld portable units are easy to use and available in different configurations based on user needs. They can also come in sets that are packaged by character size. Moreover, they are virtually maintenance-free apart from the dies wearing out after their continuous usage. However, steel die sets and marking kits offer budget-friendly marking options making this method a robust and feasible technology for addressing marking needs on metals.
Following are a few types of machines discussed above and their salient features:
This is the CIM M10HE metal plate embossing machine, which is also call portable metal tag embosser . It is a manual machine that embosses or debosses aluminum, stainless steel, copper, and brass in different dimensions. This machine exemplifies the simplest configuration available in today’s market. It has a drum with a capacity of 60 characters and operates manually using the lever. Once depressed, the lever presses the drum against the metal blank indenting it with the required markings. To ensure portability, machine designers ensure weight reductions where possible. However, it is important to note no compromises have been made on structural rigidity. The maximum plate size it can accommodate is 90mm by 75mm and thickness of 0.9mm
AUTOMATED METAL EMBOSSING MACHINES
Automated metal tag marking equipment offers the capability to create and save layouts for different tags and/or nameplates. Aluminum, brass and stainless steel can be marked quickly. Automatic metal embossing machines offer flexibility regarding typestyle, size, and spacing of data.
The ME550 shown above is a portable, fully automatic solution for marking dog tags and medical alert tags. It is a heavy-duty desktop solution that can easily integrate into any existing factory and office network. The ME550 weighs approximately 26kgs and comes with advanced connectivity features allowing for remote access of the machine. This equipment is meant for low to medium production cycles. Furthermore, it offers a maximum marking size of 60 by 65mm plates of up to 0.7 mm thickness.
The manufacturer provides the following typesets: Simplex 2, Block USA, Block 5, OCRB1. Moreover, it offers production of 144 tags an hour on standardized blanks with 45 character embossing. It also has an automatic blank plate feeding system with an interchangeable input hopper for easy charge and discharge of medical alert & dog tags. Furthermore, the machine configuration is Metal embosser protected by a password for high security and data protection.
However, as technology progresses, the introduction of many new features is taking place. The following is the top of the line in what metal embossing machines have to offer.
The CIM Metal Embosser 2000 Vision System is one of the smartest machines available in the market today. This intelligent metal plate embossing solution with a built-in vision inspection and verification system. After embossing the vision system captures an image of the embossed or debossed plate and compares it to the data fed to it and whether the imprint matches the command. Once verified, it moves on to the next plate.
This cutting-edge technology has many benefits to offer that seamlessly integrate with industrial requirements and help fulfill regulatory demands. For instance, incorrect labeling can lead to not only internal issues of mismanagement but also cause liability issues in case there is a final product failure. Furthermore, it helps enable monitoring of the machine itself, ensuring that all markings are of high quality. Similarly, the images taken can be stored in a database and can be accessed at a later stage such as meeting audit requirements.
Metal Stamping on Blank Tags
Considering that machines have a limit to which they can emboss, manufacturers also offer blank metals which give the best results for marking. They offer a wide variety of stock blank metal tags that are customizable to a user’s specific requirements. They are available in numerous materials including stainless steel, aluminum, and brass. For easy application, metal stamping blanks have smooth edges and industry-standard pre-punched holes.
Choosing an Embosser- Factors to consider:
- Accessibility of the Components
Embossing machines are mechanical devices that will eventually face wear and tear after use. The parts that will need the most frequent replacement are the number and character metal dies. Hence it is critical to know the ease of availability of spare parts of the machine. Moreover, a better value for money is achievable if the dies are compatible with a broader range of materials. This obviously means a single setup can cater to multiple marking needs. This is a critical aspect for the assessment of viable machine options and can help short-list if not finalize the manufacturer of choice.
Another thing to put into consideration is how flexible the device is. The definition of flexibility extends beyond that of material handling capabilities. For instance, certain machines have a design of a higher grade overall, if they are to produce a batch of tags every day and only get a small down-time around the year. Similarly, the capacity and whether the machine can handle the task set to it are aspects that matter. As a result, the price tags that come with these machines also vary.
Which Metal Marking Machine Will Best Fit Your Needs?
As seen earlier, the need for marking on metals arises as they offer the highest durability. Harsh environments such as those in a manufacturing plant, power plant or oil and gas facilities need markings that can withstand such tribulations with ease. To determine if and/or what type of marking equipment is advantageous for your end use, a brief summary is available below to guide users.
First and foremost is the type of marking that will be taking place. By type, it is meant whether a graphic is a part of the design or not. For graphics, a custom die will need to be made and there will also be constraints as to its size. Laser technologies are better at this type of work. Moreover, the conventional design of marking characters and numbers will mostly concern the number of characters and the font size.
A second significant parameter is the number of plates that need marking. For larger batch sizes, machines with automatic feed trays and automatic die changing mechanisms offer better value for money. They help in saving time and increase workflow efficiency. It makes no sense to have finished products lying around not shipping to market just because they do not have their required markings on them.
Duration of Marking Need
There are instances when marking products is only a temporary requirement. Whereas for conventional manufacturers, it is a full-time operational process. Considering this aspect, there are options available for outsourcing this task to service providers rather than investing in a machine upfront.
However, if it is an internal requirement that users see in the long-term, investment in durable machinery is important. Moreover, buying from a supplier that is cost-effective and provides reliable after-sales support is critical for smooth operations. For instance, HeatSign is one such company. They provide a wide range of marking solutions and are known for their prompt customer support.
Selecting a metal embossing solution can seem trivial considering all the options today’s market has to offer. However, choosing the right machine is not an impossible task. There are multiple factors as shared above. Having the answer to the points raised will lead to a better selection. Moreover, examples of devices have been shared for users to better understand the market and see how the market is progressing and what it has to offer.