Acid Etched Aluminum: Durable, permanent mark. UV stable. Good for high quantities. Can have colored ink filling.
Screen Printed Aluminum: Less durable mark. As you will see, when exposed to repeated abrasion, the ink will scratch away. However, it is UV stable. Good for high quantities. Beautiful color options.
Alumamark®: A less durable product, but provides a nice laser-etched metal look for a great price point. Good for small and large quantities, but NOT UV stable.
Durablack®: An incredibly durable product. Beautiful black metal with a silver etch. This guy is made for durability. Good for small and large quantities, and UV stable to boot.
We pulled clips from our sandpaper, boiling, torching, tractoring, and saltwater videos. Each of these have a related blog, so click on the links to find more. Except for the sandpaper blog. For some reason I made a video but didn’t write about it.
In the sandpaper video, we used a general purpose fine sandpaper for 20 swipes. Everything did well, except for the screen printed aluminum. If it comes in contact with repeated abrasion it will wear away. The Durablack® looked as though nothing happened to it. The others scratched a bit, but still looked good.
The boiling video will go down in history as the most boring video ever made. If there is an award for this stuff, we should get it. But overall, the acid etched, screen printed, and Durablack® did just fine. No issues. The Alumamark® discolored in some spots.
The torching video was my personal favorite and the most fun to make. We even have a bloopers video because it took us some refining to get it right. The biggest takeaway is that aluminum tags are not ideal for direct flame environments. It isn’t much of a surprise, but stainless steel is the way to go. However, if you must pick a winner among our aluminum products in this category, Durablack® wins, hands down.
Tractoring….it is what it sounds like. We took a big ole tractor and ran over our tags. For some reason a Durablack® sample didn’t make it into this test, but I imagine if it did, it would have been just fine. The Alumamark® and the acid etched did just fine, the screen printed lost some ink due to the abrasions. No surprise there.
Salt Tank: checking in after four months in a salt water tank. Aside from some salt deposits on the edges, the aluminum options all did pretty well. The acid etched and screen printed had a little oxidation discoloration on the edges and the Durablack® pretty much looked the same, aside from a small divot right in the center of the tag. I must not have had any Alumamark® samples handy when I began this test, but I put one in the tank this month so we can see what it does. If I were to guess, I would think it will discolor.
Check out the video to see full results of this project.
We have so many aluminum options available. I have only showcased four of them here. We also have Metalphoto® as an option, which you can read about here or watch our video. Other options that we will showcase in the future are sublimated aluminum (both UV stable options and not UV stable options) and vinyl coated aluminum. Of course, if you need superior durability, you should consider Metalphoto® or Durablack® if you want to go with aluminum, otherwise, consider stainless steel (which you can check out the compilation blog and video on these options).