What is Traffolyte and How is it Made?

If you have ever used an identification tag or a label to identify a product, chances are you have used Traffolyte. Traffolyte is a sturdy type of plastic which is widely used to make tags and labels – and thanks to its superior properties, Traffolyte labels are in high demand.

traffolyte label

An identification tag which can be made using Traffolyte material

An explanation of what Traffolyte is

The material that we call Traffolyte is actually a phenolic engraving laminate. Traffolyte is the generic name for this laminate. In fact, Traffolyte used to be the brand name for a very specific type of phenolic plastic (as we will be explore below) but once the brand fell into disuse, it became the generic name. Traffolyte is made up of three layers: a core material and a contrasting set of outer layers which, once engraved, reveal the core in a way that grabs the attention and looks aesthetically appealing. Traffolyte is usually manufactured in two standard thicknesses, i.e. 1.6 mm and 3.2 mm, so you simply need to choose the thickness that best suits your needs. Traffolyte can be engraved by hand or with a mechanical engraver – whatever works best for the project that you have in hand. As well as being durable, Traffolyte has very good insulating properties, which makes it a great choice for use with electrical equipment as it will not pose any additional health and safety risks.

How traffolyte is made

Traffolyte is made from phenolic plastic sheets that are sandwiched together. The sheets need to have different colours to each other, so that when one layer is engraved away it reveals another, contrasting, hue. Phenolic plastic is a type of synthetic plastic that is made from the reaction of formaldehyde and phenol. Phenol is another name for carbolic acid, and it is produce as, for example, a by product of the distillation of carbonated substances such as coal. This reaction between phenol and formaldehyde forms a substance known as phenol formaldehyde resin, or phenolic plastic. The first type of phenolic plastic produced was the now very retro Bakelite. The process of producing phenolic plastic has certain risks associated with it, for example. For instance, the main risk is that it results in the production of phenolic dust, which is dangerous to human health when inhaled. In order to protect workers’ respiratory systems during the production process, then, it is vital to use adequate protective equipment when producing Traffolyte.

Traffolyte: a material that you can rely on

As we can see from the above, Traffolyte has been around for decades, and it is a very widely used type of plastic. A dream for engravers, Traffolyte is very versatile, and it can be used both to create wonderfully colourful effects for eye catching labels, or simply to provide simple and functional labels for commercial purposes. Easy to engrave within moments, and very durable once it has been engraved, Traffolyte has long been a favourite material in a variety of sectors of the economy.