The benefits of stainless steel engraving
There is something wonderful about stainless steel. Without which, our cutlery would be stuck in the Dark Ages. Our modern-day buildings would lack the sheen this material gives. At Able Engraving and Design, its absence would mean one less revenue stream.
Our engravers are eminently grateful for this material, whose origins stretch as far back as 1821. It was that year when corrosion resistance of iron-chromium alloys was first recognised by French metallurgist Pierre Berthier. By 1872, Clark and Woods patented an alloy which could be considered as a stainless steel.
Its breakthrough came in 1912 when Harry Brearley at Brown Firth Laboratories searched for a suitable corrosion-proof material. One that wouldn’t be affected by erosion at high temperatures. With the addition of chromium to a standard carbon steel. Initially known as rustless steel in 1913, Ernest Stuart (of R.F. Moseley’s cutlery manufacturers) suggested stainless steel. The name stood; several variants were spawned, designed for differing temperatures and environments.
Besides revolutionising the manufacturing industry in the first half of the 20th Century, its air of permanence makes stainless steel a popular engraving material. With today’s technology, images can be etched onto the material via CAD-CAM processes. Straight from a scanned photograph or company logo. As for typefaces, they can be transferred from computer to plaque.
All of the above is partly due to laser etching. Laser-based engraving techniques – whether on acrylic or stainless steel – offer considerable benefits over traditional techniques. Accuracy is improved; computerisation means you no longer need to be an artist or graphic designer to have an ornately etched plaque. The need for steady hands has gone – unless you’re putting the plaque on the wall.
What’s more, stainless steel maintains its sheen for several years to come. If we installed a plaque in 2005, there’s half a chance it would be as good as new in 2055.
Able Engraving and Design, 06 September 2016