Aluma-Tough Metal Tags Test of Durability as IUID Labels
Photo-exposed, sealed anodized aluminum plates, like our Aluma-Tough tags, are commonly used by the United States Department of Defense for IUID barcode plaques.
The Item Unique Identification (IUID) program standards do not specifically mention materials to be used for labels, but the MIL-STD-130 documentation does require that the label is “as permanent as the normal life expectancy of the item and be capable of withstanding the environmental tests and cleaning procedures for the item to which it is affixed.”
In other words, IUID labels need to be extremely durable, and to ensure that Aluma-Tough tags were up to the challenge, the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Corona Division IUID Center conducted a study of potentially viable materials, and subsequently published the IUID Environmental Survivability Report.
Anodized aluminum plates earned more high scores than any other material tested, including polymers, ceramic coated stainless steel, and direct part marked stainless steel.
Testing areas consisted of sunlight/weather exposure, abrasion, chipping, shear/peel strength, temperature exposure, pressure washing, chemical exposure, and salt spray/corrosion.
As you’ll see in example charts below, Aluma-Tough (MetalPhoto®) anodized aluminum scored among the highest in every category. Several types of “finished product” anodized aluminum were tested in each phase, all marked in orange in the charts.
Without going into the highly detailed technical data in the report, this should provide an overview of Aluma-Tough’s excellent scores and superior durability. If you’d like to read the Survivability Report in full, you can find a PDF here.
The chipping tests were performed by dropping ever-increasing amounts of gravel (measured in milliliters) onto various plate types from a height of 50 feet. One type of anodized aluminum outperformed all of the others, surviving 14,092 ml of dropped gravel, more than 2000 ml more than the next highest result.
Again, a specific type of anodized aluminum outperformed all other materials tested, particularly in high surface energy (HSE) tests. The study also found that more rigid (thicker) plates better withstood pressure washing, with decreased flexibility resulting in decreased peeling.
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