Aluma-Tough MetalPhoto Tags Last Longer Than Stainless Steel

Aluma-Tough Metal Tags Last Longer than Stainless Steel!

High-Resolution | Corrosion-Resistance | Fastening Reliability | Ease of Manufacturing | Cost-Effectiveness

The importance and multifaceted uses of ultra-durable, Aluma-Tough name plates, tags, and signs are clear to the industries that rely on them for presenting information, instruction, and so on.

However, some debate remains about whether using anodized aluminum for such applications is the best approach, and if the much older method of using stainless steel is still a viable option.

We’re here to set the record straight.

The Design Process of Manufacturing Aluma-Tough Metal ID Tags

High Resolution Printing vs. Etching

Stainless steel metal tags are made by etching and filling the metal. Details like serial numbers, barcodes, etc. are etched or engraved into the surface of the metal and filled with ink.

While this is a satisfactory method for some signage, it cannot provide the level of detail, anti-counterfeit measures, or graphic tolerance of exposing high resolution digital images to anodized aluminum.

As time passes and stainless steel is exposed to the elements, the ink can fade and bleed, losing legibility. In the case of barcodes or other scannable designs, this reduction in resolution over time renders them all but useless.

The high resolution and scalable images used in Aluma-Tough products also allows for detailed designs such as wiring diagrams, or extremely small labels on firearms, control panels, and vehicle identification plates.

Sealed, Anodized Aluminum vs Stainless Steel for Corrosion Resistance


While stainless steel is corrosion resistant in some instances, it simply cannot keep up with the harsh demands of many plate and tag applications. In numerous tests and real-world scenarios, stainless steel shows far more deterioration from exposure to saltwater, chemicals, extreme temperatures, and other environmental conditions.

The sealing process used with Aluma-Tough anodized aluminum creates a sapphire-hard layer that can withstand the harshest conditions for upwards of 25 years, even after prolonged exposure. This, combined with general durability of the aluminum base layer, means that Aluma-Tough outlasts stainless steel in every potentially corrosive environment.

The Printing Process of Aluma-Tough Metal ID Tags makes them ultra-durable

Attachment & Fastening

Some believe that attaching an aluminum plate to a steel substrate surface can cause corrosion.

Extensive testing within the marine industry, and others, has confirmed that with a proper insulating layer of adhesive it does NOT cause unexpected corrosion.

Experiments with a variety of materials, fastener types, sealing agents, and more have proven that Aluma-Tough tags pose no significant risk of corrosion when properly attached to steel.

The Printing Process of Aluma-Tough Metal ID Tags makes them ultra-durable

Ease of Manufacturing

While the printing, exposing, developing, and sealing process may sound complex, it’s actually far less difficult than individual etching and engraving.

The variables happen at the design phase, with high resolution digital images that can be easily altered and adjusted within design software – the rest of the process remains the same.

Customization with stainless steel, or even producing plates with variable data (like serial numbers) can lead to prohibitive costs and time spent because the actual manufacturing is so much more labor intensive.

Sealed Aluma-Tough Metal ID Tags and Plates

Cost Effectiveness

While etching and filling steel to create plates, signs, and tags may seem like a less labor-intensive process (and thereby less expensive), that is just not the case! Much of the Aluma-Tough process is handled by sophisticated machinery, requires fewer steps, and can be completed by one person – which means lowered labor costs.

Additionally, using high resolution digital imagery makes small runs and customized products available much faster. For similarly small runs, steel’s additional setup requirements greatly increase costs.

Digital images are also much easier to adjust for variable information, further reducing costs and lead times. In fact, Aluma-Tough products are often 10-20% less expensive than stainless steel alternatives, especially for runs of under 500 pieces.

Custom, Rectangle Aluma-Tough Tags

AlumaTough Custom Metal Tags for Trailers

Aluma-Tough Tags for Trailers

Metal ID Plates and Tags made with ultra-durable AlumaTough metal

Large, Metal ID Aluma-Tough Plates

Numbered Metal Tags with Holes, Ultra-Durable AlumaTough Metal is stronger than stainless steel

Round, Numbered Aluma-Tough Tags with Holes

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