Engraving Services Co. 
  (08) 8269  1364
Contact Engraving Services
Main Menu

Engraving Services Blog

Why Companies Need Recognition Part 2

Peter Vasic - Saturday, February 17, 2018

Why Companies Need Recognition:

Who was Maslow and what was his hierarchy? Abraham Maslow came up with his theory of motivation in 1943. He proposed that people have five different levels of human need.

Figure 1 shows us how it is represented.

As the theory espouses we all have very basic needs for our daily existence, these are food, water, air, sleep etc. These physiological, base needs are satisfied before all other needs, therefore they are considered the foundation of the pyramid. Maslow suggested that once satisfied, people consider other higher needs.

These include Personal safety and those of the family, financial security, health and well-being and a safety net against illnesses and the impacts that may result.

As we move through the period we finally arrive at self-actualization or the step where we can consider ourselves where we want to be in life.

Maslow’s theory ties in well to corporate motivation, this is equated by our basic needs to pay our bills, pay for our health insurance, then we need a positive work experience to give us a level of satisfaction. Having said that the foremost motivator is Recognition, this is what gives companies their identity or self actualization, which of course means being able to achieve their full potential as an organization. The only way an organization can reach its full potential is if its employees go that extra mile for the company, thereby reaching their own full potential.

Fig 1. 


Many companies fail to reach their full potential, because so many of their employees are simply not going the extra mile for them and the reason as presented in several studies is that many employees do not feel appreciated.

This is despite the proven results that recognition drives strong performance and despite the fact that most managers claim they’re doing a good job in this area. Western economy (Australia, USA, Europe) workers see it otherwise.



Only 52% of workers feel valued by their employer ( Stress in the Workplace survey 2011, APA/Harris Interactive). Other studies have also found similar results and that is the number one reason employees leave their job is a lack of recognition and appreciation. ( Gostick and Elton, The Carrot Principle ) also three out of four employees are not loyal to their employer. ( Society for Human Resources ).

It is quite clear that there is a large disconnect between what managers believe will motivate their employees and what employees say is important to them. Managers in the main seem to think that good wages and salaries are what motivate; however this is not simply about paying your bills. We are talking about job motivation, that characteristic that really makes us want to come to work and go that extra mile. Employees will tell you that having the paycheck is nice and essential for their survival, but what motivates them is feeling appreciated and informed.






People are looking for the recognition that a lot of employers are not giving them and as a direct result our workforce by and large does not feel recognized or appreciated. All workers want and need a sense of worth and recognition.



In fact, 80 percent of employees in one poll feel it is extremely or very important to be recognized when you do good work (Nelson, 1001 Ways to Reward Employees, 2006)


A simple phone call or team meeting to single out a job well done by an individual or team can reinforce how important someone’s contribution really is and what that person means to the business and their employer.


Top Corporate executives are quite aware that there is a disconnection between their managers and employees, when it comes to recognition; this is not different in SMO’s.

For instance when asked how many of their managers actively praise employees, those polled guessed that only 10 – 20 percent do so. Yet the majority of CEO’s and senior managers site that retention of key employees is the most important factor for their success. This clearly shows the disconnect between what should be happening in the workplace and what really is happening.


Data and Statistics will clearly show that the corporate world needs recognition programs; it is clearly proven that these programs can build business. It’s also proven that there can be severe consequences to businesses and organizations if employees are simply left to their own devices and left to feel unrecognized or appreciated.

Employee turnover is a large cost and moral burden to business.



Replacement costs for an employee can cost a company anywhere between 100 – 250 % of the employees annual salary.


This fact will astound you; in today’s workplace two out of three employees feel NO loyalty towards their current employer. This is costing businesses hundreds of millions of dollars. Some of the largest companies spend up to half a million on employee recognition and as a result they can return up to 10 times that.


Case Study: The Heritage and Medical Association in the USA had a turnover rate of staff of 50 percent. The management realized it was a horrific statistic and extremely costly: As a result a strategic plan was implemented to reduce the turnover rate. A recognition program was implemented that recognized their employees for their service, as a result after three years the staff turnover rate reduced from 50 percent to 20 percent. (The Carrot Principle). A simple yet strategic measure pointed out the obvious to that company, recognition created a remarkable change in the loyalty and perception of their employees.




Workers want and need recognition, yet at the same time they are not feeling this or appreciated by their employers. This is a great need gap. There’s a need for recognition and there is a gap because people feel aren’t feeling as they are getting it. This is causing a major expense to both the employer and the economy.


Let’s move forward a little to the “engaged employee”. Have you ever called a customer service department where the person on the other end was very enthusiastic and helpful? Well that person would be a real candidate for an engaged employee, the type of person that makes you want to talk to them and sometimes, although you may have rang with a problem or complaint, that person put you at ease and in an immediate good mood. Well there is something very real and positive about an engaged employee.







Recognition is great because it can motivate, reward and praise, but something else that is very important and connected to successful business results is that recognition can create “ engaged” employees.




Satisfied employees are those that are happy with both their pay and their work. They are happy with the Status Quo, but they are not necessarily going to offer new ideas or implement change. Engaged employees on the other hand, are those who are really into their jobs and they’re willing to do whatever it takes to help the company succeed on a number of fronts.


Statistics from The Carrot Principle show that companies with “ high employee satisfaction “ levels, experience a 20 percent higher customer service rating. But more important, those with “ engaged employees” se a 22 percent higher customer service rating than those organizations without satisfied or engaged employees.



Now obviously the goal of any organization should be to find a balance between satisfied and engaged employees, because quite frankly these are the people that are going to make the marked difference in your companies’ performance and bottom line.

The employees with low levels of engagement and satisfaction are typically the complainers. They are in some ways, a threat to the company because they tend to be vocal in their criticisms and that takes up a lot of management time and it inevitably brings all others down. Next, you have people who are satisfied with their jobs, but don’t really support or care about the company’s goals. They’re satisfied with the equilibrium and just happy to get paid each week, but they certainly aren’t willing to go out of their way to make sure the company succeeds.



Another group of employees are the people with low levels of satisfaction, but who really want the company to succeed. These people are engaged, but they’re just not satisfied with the way things are and they are pessimistic. Many of these employees, are perhaps the ones suffering from lack of recognition. They are giving their all, but they have low morale and are just not happy, which means they present a high turnover risk.


Finally, as mentioned earlier, you have the group of employees that I call your ambassadors. These people have a passion for the company. They’re satisfied with what they do, they’re engaged and they love talking to customers, adding value to the company and trying new things. These are the people who really make a difference because they’re committed to your success. Hopefully these are the employees who will be with you for the long haul. These are your “ A” Players; the ones that you want to keep in play and that the company does not want to lose.



No one wants to see their star players leave the company, especially in a tight economy; the impact on any business would be immediate. Employee turnover costs business dearly, so there is no need to leave your employees un- recognized or dissatisfied, appreciation costs little and can go a long way to increasing productivity, loyalty and profit.



Stay tuned for Part 3 of our series on Recognition, by your Recognition Consultant Specialists: Engraving Services Co.


Thank you Larry Maloney VP of R.S.Owens Chicago for your incredible insights into the psychology of Recognition.
 & EJ Magazine

improve productivity and profit through recognition part 1

Peter Vasic - Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The bottom line to your bottom line is having the sense to know that it takes a culture of recognition within an organization, be it small , medium or large to improve business performance.


There seems to be a large fracture in the way many businesses see recognition, for instance, many managers perceive recognition in a totally different way to employees, whether they be corporate or factory floor.
Businesses ranging from a small workshop or retail outlets right through to large corporations break up recognition into basically three main components.
Firstly there is the day to day general recognition, the second is informal recognition and the final is Formal Recognition.


It is important to note that formal recognition is not simply a matter of giving an award as Corporate Recognition is multi layered within complex structures.

Recognition does give results, it improves performance at every level and the underpinning to that is the amount of in depth analysis and research that has gone into the psychology of recognition and the results that can be directly delivered to your BOTTOM LINE.

In 2007 Gostick and Elton produced a publication called the Carrot Principle; which shows beyond doubt the results recognition can play at providing meaningful results within your workforce. Another publication shows how to put together a powerful recognition culture within your business. The WOW ! Workplace.

The Top Five reasons companies implement recognition programs are as follows. ( Fig. 2)
  1. To increase employee morale
  2. To create a positive work environment
  3. To create a feeling of belonging
  4. To retain people/top performers
  5. To encourage loyalty.
Companies regularly reported other objectives other than sales to recognize within their programs. (Fig. 3) will show the break down. Understanding the psychology behind giving recognition can open up the value that recognition can give to a company.

The Jackson Organization commissioned a large scale study that asked employees how well their Employers recognized excellence. The responses fell into four distinct categories. From those that did a great job motivating and recognizing employees to those that did the worst.


The study compared the success of a company's recognition program ( based on their employee's perception) to their financial performance. It looked at a companys return on equity, which is the fiscal year earnings divided by the average shareholder equity and it correlated this information to the company's recognition program.
The findings were the worst performing companies were those with little or no recognition programs, these only produced a 2.4 % return on equity.
Those with the the most fulsome recognition programs in place average a whopping 8.7% return on equity or approx three times higher than the bottom group.

The second metric in the study was to review a company's return on assets which are the fiscal yearly earnings divided by total assets. The trends were similar.
Companies with little or no recognition programs returned an average of 1.7 % return on Assets while the best performing programs saw an average 6.1% return.

A third measure used in the study looked at a company's operating margins: Income compared to Sales and the trend simply continued
(Fig. 6)
It is patently obvious that companies with a quality recognition program had operating margins that were almost 6 times SIX Times higher than companies little or no  recognition program.

The research program had come to terms with anecdote and supposition that had proliferated previously and had taken the facts and placed them squarely at the forefront of one of the most important factors in ensuring a happy, successful, productive and profitable workforce.

The Gallup organization had undertaken a survey of 5 Million workers ( 5,000,000) and found that an increase in recognition leads to.
  1. Lower turnover rates
  2. higher customer loyalty
  3. higher overall productivity
Armed with these important facts it is easy to see why better performing businesses are also best known for recognizing their employees at every level with a formal recognition program that resolves to encourage and recognize a number of different fields within any organization. from a small 5 man business to a large corporation, the results are evident.


Our recognition consultants can assist you in developing a quality awards and recognition program to assist your efforts in encouraging higher productivity and increased sales and profits. Call us today to make an appointment. PH: 1300 327 898 or email jessica@engravingservices.com.au to organize an appointment.

Thank you to the R.S. Owens group of Illinois USA and in particular Larry Mahoney VP of Sales and Marketing for their wonderful information and facts etc. R.S.Owens are recognized as one of the World's Premier Recognition manufacturing and development companies and EJ magazine.

Willunga High Street Project - Interpretive Heritage Trail

Peter Vasic - Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Willunga; Main Street Project. Civic Art and Interpretive Heritage Trail.

The Onkaparinga Council south of Adelaide in South Australia have embarked on a beautiful Main Street project enhancement project for the historic town of Willunga.

Engraving Services Co were called upon to assist in production of a range of heavy duty Brass Photo chemical milled Pavement inlays and complex folded Brass for hardwood seats .

The project utilized the collaboration of renowned design firm Mulloway Design, Westley Tully style="font-family: verdana; font-size: 16px;">, Artist and the expertise of Engraving Services Co to deliver some extremely complex transfer of imagery and shapes for the pavement inlays and hardwood seats.

Camco were the overseeing construction and management company that has supervised the entire project including installation and Westley Tully collaborated with Neil Robson Constructions for the delivery of the exquisite Harwood machined seat installations.

The large format brass strips were processed in our prodution facility including film production and output, resist exposure and wash out, etching (Photo chemical milling), clear coating with UV Supershield and welding of installation pins to the rear.

The Brass strips were in a range of lengths all were 6 mm thick and required careful processing by our in-house artisans and etch master, the processes involved included bevelling, linishing, chemical milling, paint filling , oven firing, clear coating and oven firing.

The prestigious and sophisticated inlays lend themselves ideally to the heritage precinct and reflect the history of the local buildings in a sympathetic yet stylish fashion.

Engraving Services Co are recognized leaders in Photo chemical milling and metal printing techniques, often called upon to assist in projects that require a sophisticated artistic bent, our team are proficient artists and technicians in their own right. We assist Architects, Designers and Government at all levels across Australia to find solutions in presenting the best possible options for interpretive and historical installations.

Brass Seat inlays after processing in our Chemical etching plant.

We also provide assistance to Sign companies and Engravers nation wide with our capabilities. Our discreet and professional approach has allowed other companies to take advantage of the products and services we provide.

Call and ask to speak to Jessica on toll free: PH: 1300 327 898 or email on engrave@engravingservices if you have a project you would like us to assist with.

Monumental Signage, Civic Art, Interpretive Signs

Peter Vasic - Thursday, December 14, 2017
Monumental Artwork, Civic Art installations and Interpretive signage take on many forms and are part of well conceived urban art concepts. Engraving Services Co and Insignius ( AMPE Signs ) have had a distinguished heritage steeped in the conception and production of many noted pieces through out Australia.
Our capabilities and production prowess allow our experienced team to work in collaboration with designers, architects, sign manufacturers, artists and government agencies to assist in creating statement pieces that are of local, and national significance.


We are a trusted and honourable firm with ethical and moral values that have allowed us to be involved in projects ranging from small pieces for sign companies and engravers, to large scale fabrication, metal etching and finishing. The old adage of no job is to big or to small fits neatly within our remit, therefore we can assist in any part of a project from a simple etched panel, to large and complicated production of Chemical milled metals such as Brass, Stainless Steel, Corten, Mild Steel, Aluminium.


Our depth and knowledge of metals allows us to create some extremely creative finishes on metals.

The end results are sophisticated artworks, interpretive signs and public civic art installations.


Our central production facilities are appointed with an array of equipment and machinery that include a Photo Chemical Machining plant, Flat Bed Router, CNC engraving machines, Pantographs, Laser engravers,Digital Printing facilities, Meta printing and Sublimation capabilities, Screen Printing facilities, Laser Cutter, Metal fabricating workshop, Baking ovens, Oversize Full down draft spray booth. 

Our team have many years of expertise and are recognized artists and technicians in their own right. Exhibiting artworks, etchings, photography and prints.
We work as a collaborative and creative team assisting, local government, architects, designers, sign manufacturers and engravers across Australia with the simplest of interactions to complete projects ready for installation.



Peter Vasic - Friday, November 03, 2017


We are often presented with photos of an old plaque or sign, or a text layout from a client that we are meant to replicate, often they can be of historical significance or public safety importance.

The client then asks us to replicate the image or text they send us and in the initial or originating artwork that may be correct, however during the file transfer process or typesetting, issues may occur. Software glitches, black outs, non Australian English spell check corrections or simply a mistyping error by a type setter.

A proof will always be sent out with the following disclaimers, so clients must check what the are going to receive and approve the artwork for production.


The client (You) visually scans the proof, signs it and returns the signed document.

The product is then manufactured the client receives it and there is a spelling error, a glaring error, an easily picked up, but missed, spelling error, the $4,569.37 plaque they ordered for the opening ceremony of the most important facility in their local authority’s history is opening in three days and the client
rings and says;

 “ You’ve made a mistake on our plaque, I GAVE YOU WHAT I WANTED, and you have supplied me something other than what I asked for...AND After I gave you the exact wording for it ! It is useless to us, I want you to fix YOUR error at YOUR cost, There is no excuse, no comeback. I GAVE you exactly what was required.”

But, for reasons aforementioned and because mistakes, errors, issues out of a manufacturers control can crop up, that is why a production proof is created.

The manufacturer is not “ recreating the original”, they are manufacturing a brand new item, therefore it is imperative when a proof is sent, to be fastidious with it’s review.

If you simply sign it after a cursory glance, buyer beware, because the disclaimer ensures YOU are confirming all is correct to how you require the new final product to be.

Having said that, what then happens with the $ 4,569.37 from our example previously; or the $10,000 or $20,000 product or the $100,000 of wasted materials, man hours and reputations.

The answer is simple; DO NOT SIGN The disclaimer and acceptance form and that will ensure the job does not proceed. 

But when you do sign, you are acknowledging that you have actually and  truly correctly reviewed the Production Proof for any errors that may have been made in the transferring of information from your notes, files, images, to our system and duly acknowledged that what we are presenting is in fact what you have asked for.

It is the production proof that shows you what you are going to receive, NOT original verbal requests, notes, photos, images or your files and text from before, they are all simply reference materials. for the Final PRODUCTION PROOF that requires You personally to qualify the final suitability of layout.  

Sports Club Memorial plaques

Peter Vasic - Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Sporting Clubs looking to find a way to honour their  past players, members and volunteers, can take advantage of the variety of themed sports memorial concepts we can provide. We offer, Memorial Plaques, Photo Memorial Plaques, Photo Walls, Themed historical murals, Photo wall montages and honour boards.

Whether you are on the look out for a significant memorial for a club great or a themed concept around Premiership teams we can provide fantastic and lasting commemorative installations for your sporting club.

Engraving Services Co has many years of involvement with Sporting clubs, the SANFL, SAAFL clubs and other sporting teams and associations through out Australia. whether it is a complete Team of the Century Style painting and associated prints or a historical collection of cast Bronze or Faux Cast Brass plaques to a themed Memorial Ceramic Tiled Photo Wall, we can provide a beautiful and sophisticated stand out concept for your sporting club.

  • Australian Rules Football
  • Soccer ( Association Football )
  • Rugby Union
  • Rugby League
  • Basketball
  • Netball
  • Softball
  • Baseball
  • Cricket
  • Motor Sports
In fact and sport from Bowls to Badminton that requires a classic Plaque or Themed Historical wall can take advantage of our spectacular products and services.

Printed acrylic memorial plaques, with photos, Brass plaques, Cast Bronze Plaques, Printed tiles, singles or Photo mural walls.

We also offer small memorial plaques for benches and other installations in and around clubs that are of special meaning.

Simply make an inquiry with your idea or concept in mind and we will contact you to discuss your possibilities.

Acrylic Photo imaged exterior or interior Memorial Plaques to those that have given exceptional service to your club or organization.

Super tough Labels

Peter Vasic - Monday, September 04, 2017

Creating Durable lifelong labels for industrial and commercial applications comes down to being able to provide the best solution for the longest period.

At Engraving Services Co our DNA is infused with decades of manufacturing Industrial labels, for a range of intense requirements.

Performance of industrial labels is a major concern for industries involved in Mining, Oil and Gas, Engineering, Aviation, Aerospace, Defence & Electrical.

Manufacturing durability is what we do.

Think exterior high U.V. wet and tropical applications, aggressive chemical, solvent environments or Marine locations.

There is a label with a purpose and a purpose with every label. Whether it be our durable self adhesive laminated labels or aluminium rating plates, through to our chemically milled 316 Marine Grade Stainless Steel.

Our Industrial labels and plates are manufactured to rigorous tolerances and fastidious standards to ensure, workers and public safety is ensured via clear concise information.

We have put years of development into our production systems and have our own external testing facility to ensure our labels meet the needs of our clients.Labels may include warning labels, asset identification labels, outdoor barcodes, and a myriad of others. You see these labels every day, hard at work and looking great.

When you see high voltage danger signs, labels on industrial machinery or are relying on Australia’s defence forces to take aim and fire, you can rest assured Engraving Services Co are constantly resourced to supply highly durable warning labels, signs and nameplates.
No matter how un-favourable the environment the durability and longevity of our systems are relied upon. We supply all facets of specification in regard to the variety of labels we manufacture, adhering to MIL-SPEC requirements with substrates and adhesive products.

Industries that should seriously consider using our super durable labels for extreme environments include:

  • Oil and Gas operators
  • Fuel Depots
  • Defence manufacturers
  • Ship and boat builders
  • Mining suppliers and mine sites
  • Warehouses
  • Electrical,Air conditioning and Heating Contractors
  • Automotive
  • Aviation and Aerospace operators
  • Schools, Colleges and Universities

Each environment poses its own set of destructive circumstances; therefore it is imperative you consider the end use of the label required and the life cycle you require it to provide.

Exterior labels and Signs are subject to UV attack which is aggressive in Australia’s conditions including rain, hail and abrasive sand storms in our outback. You can place total confidence in our production systems and manufacturing capabilities. Our Sales people are well trained and can advise you about the various products we have and the protective systems we utilize to give advanced life in our exterior label and sign products. Our overcoat systems are designed to allow your plates, labels and signs the maximum chance to keep conveying the original message.

OH&S laws demand high quality and durability, the safety of your workers, public and service people is in your hands, so to ensure you continue to provide the most durable labels contact our team to assist you with the best options.

Call us on 1300 327 898 or email; engrave@engravingservices.com.au.Visit www.engravingservices.com.au to browse our product range. The options we provide are pretty impressive and we are happy to help.

What are Engraving Plastics

Peter Vasic - Tuesday, August 22, 2017

What are engraving plastics ? 

There are thousands of types of plastic made today with different chemical and physical properties.  Engraving plastics have two main characteristics. The first is that they are formulated to be easily engraved or personalized. That generally means they cut cleanly and don’t melt or chip, and they don’t present a hazard to either human health or to your equipment. 
The second characteristic is most materials are constructed with a multi-layer composition with the layers having different contrasting colours. This allows you to get a range of surface colours contrasting against a myriad of core colours.

Some plastics, e.g. traditional acrylic materials, have excellent engraving properties for both laser and rotary engraving, but for many jobs requiring colour or colour density in the graphics, colour paint filling is the best way  to get the colours required.

For many years plastics were pretty much limited to phenolic, clear acrylic and conventional “laminated” plastic engraving stock in two or three thicknesses and in a few colours and wood grains. Laminated flexible engraving stock was manufactured using a heat fusion process which produced a relatively thick “cap layer.” 
   In recent years, there has been a virtual explosion in the types of plastic available, in addition to an incredible selection of colours, patterns, finishes, gauges, etc. Acrylic, for instance, is available  in many colours and thicknesses. Plastics are now available that resemble, stone marble granite or metal, combining the look of the real thing with the ease of engraving plastic. Microsurface plastic engraving stocks, with an exceptionally thin cap layer of about 0.08mm, are available which allow you to engrave amazingly detailed designs. Reverse engravable substrates are available for projects like subsurface and backlit signage. 

Cast acrylic sheets are manufactured by pouring a liquid monomer into a mold made of two sheets of glass. This type of acrylic is known for its optical clarity, strength and impact resistance, and it is easier to machine than extruded acrylic. Engraved lettering and designs on clear cast acrylic will turn frosty white, providing nice contrast. Extruded acrylic, on the other hand, is manufactured by a continuous production process, which results in a more consistent gauge tolerance across the sheet. This type of acrylic is less expensive than cast acrylic and remains clear when engraved. Both cast and extruded acrylics offer UV stability, weatherability, moderate chemical resistance and will withstand heat up to  82 C or 180º F.
   Traditional acrylic sheets (the materials used for signs) are available as a single-ply sheet typically in 3mm and 6 mm thicknesses
Engraving Acrylics are available in a range of optical appearances (clear, opaque, translucent, mirrored, fluorescent, frosted), a variety of finishes (matte, gloss, satin, textured) and a wide range of colours, making it suitable for a variety of applications.
   Popular applications for acrylic include interior and exterior signage, badges, awards, industrial applications, channel lettering,  backlit signage is becoming popular and acrylic is an excellent material for this application. Acrylic can also be formed into many different types of products, such as tent signs, display fixtures, desk accessories and personalized gift items (trays, coasters ornaments, picture frames, etc.).
    One of the  disadvantages to traditional acrylics as an engraving stock is their uniform colour construction throughout. If you want contrasting colour in the engraved graphics, you are adding an extra step of colour filling the material using paint or another filler.

“Exterior Traffolyte “
   In addition to single-ply acrylic substrates, manufacturers have created acrylic blends containing ingredients such as fillers, pigments and additives that vary the physical properties of the material to create “modified” and “impact modified” acrylics. These acrylic blends are used to manufacture two- and three-ply materials with contrasting core and surface colours through co-extrusion, lamination or by adding a foil cap. The idea here is to utilize the advantages of traditional acrylic (weatherabiity) with the performance characteristics of multi-ply, multi-colored engraving stocks.
   Modified acrylic materials are available in an extensive number of colour combinations and finish options, and can be fabricated using many different methods, including both rotary and laser engraving. In addition, the use of modified acrylic in these two- and three-ply substrates makes most of them UV stable and weatherable so they can be used for both interior and exterior applications. 
   Suppliers also offer cast and extruded acrylic sheets specifically designed for reverse engraving. This two-ply material consists of a thick clear surface (as viewed from the front) and a thin coloured layer on the back. When the thin coloured layer is engraved with a reverse-reading design, the letters and graphics show through the clear base material which can then be colour filled or back lit for a number of unique applications, including subsurface signage.
   As mentioned, acrylic is a versatile material that can be marked using a variety of methods, including rotary engraving, laser engraving, hot stamping, screen printing, pad printing, UV-LED/direct printing and sandblasting. It can also be fabricated by sawing, routing, thermo-bending, laser vector cutting, beveling and drilling.

“Interior Traffolyte”

Is a pliable material typically made up of modified acrylic or ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene). It is usually configured as a thermoplastic consisting of two separate extruded sheets, a relatively thin cap layer and a thick core which are then “laminated” together in a large heat press. The cap layer is 0.2-0.25 mmt hick and is laminated to a contrasting coloured core material so that when you engrave through the cap you see the underlying colour. Common thicknesses include 0.8mm, 1.6mm ,  and 3mm. 

Three-ply materials are available in 1.6mm, 3mm and 6mm and there is a wide variety of colours and finishes to choose from, including satin, gloss, matte, textured, woodgrains and metallics. Reverse engravable conventional plastic is also available.
   Traditional laminated plastics are prone to variations in thickness. That’s not much of a problem for rotary engraving using a depth nose, but without a nose, you’re likely to experience cutting depth variations.
   A big advantage of this flexible material is that you can easily fabricate it by shearing, die cutting, hole punching, thermo-bending, heat fusing, solvent welding, etc. The ABS sheet materials are recommended for interior applications while the acrylic-based plastics are UV stable, meaning they will maintain colorfastness in UV conditions for a limited period time, and are able to withstand exterior weather conditions. Since ABS materials are manufactured with a slightly softer resin than acrylic, they have the features of added flexibility and excellent electrical insulation properties in addition to impact resistance and durability. 
   Conventional plastic engraving stock is primarily designed for rotary engraving with a carbide cutter. The laminated acrylic materials can be laser engraved, but the ABS materials are not recommended for laser engraving. ABS has a lower melting point which can cause it to warp and burn and, more importantly, it emits toxic fumes when engraved with a laser. Also, the relatively thick cap necessitates deeper engraving so it’s not well-suited for super fine detail or laser engraving since a relatively high power and low speed setting are required to cut through the cap which can result in melting, burning and discoloration. This material can also be marked by hot stamping, screen printing, pad printing and UV-LED/direct printing. 

Microsurface Flexible Engraving Stock
   Microsurface flexible engraving stock came onto the scene in the mid-1970s. It is very similar to conventional laminated flexible engraving stocks except that it has a very thin cap layer, typically about 0.08mm thick as opposed to .02mm- .025mm. The manufacturing process is basically a hot stamping operation which involves using heat and pressure to fuse a thin color or pattern coating to the contrasting core material, which is typically made of ABS or modified acrylic. The micro-thin cap on these plastics means you don’t need to engrave very deep (just slightly deeper than .0.08mm), which allows you to engrave more easily and achieve exceptionally fine detail. The thin cap also makes the acrylic microsurface stock very laser friendly since lower power and higher speeds can be used to penetrate the cap. As mentioned, ABS materials are only recommended for rotary engraving. In addition, the micro-surface acrylic materials are UV-stable and weatherable, but the micro-surface ABS materials are not recommended for exterior applications.
   Nowadays, there is an enormous selection of colors available in micro surface plastics, including metallics, woodgrains and geometric patterns in a variety of different finishes. New “trending” colours are continuously being introduced by manufacturers, so there is always plenty to choose from and new varieties are being introduced all the time. 
   Micro-surface plastic is available as a two-ply (.8mm, 1.6mm, 3mm) and three-ply (3mm) material. Reverse engravable micro-surface plastic is also available. In terms of fabricating and marking, you can use all of the same techniques used for conventional laminated flexible engraving stocks.
Ultra-Thin Flexible Engraving Stock
   This unique plastic is a two-ply material with a very thin impact acrylic core and a very thin cap, typically 0.08mm or less. The overall thickness of these materials is only about 0.10mm-0.8mm. Some of these products also have a pressure-sensitive self-adhesive backing. 
   Ultra-thin engraving stock is available in brass and aluminum look-alikes and several colours, woodgrains and marbles, and are mostly sold in sheets although some are available in rolls. The notable characteristic about all of these materials is that they are extremely thin, flexible and bendable so that they can be put on nearly anything, including curved and tapered surfaces like a flashlight or coffee mug. These characteristics also make these materials well-suited for labelling applications. Ultra-thin plastics are usually intended for interior use only.
   Ultra-thin plastic can be rotary engraved or lasered (as long as they are acrylic-based), and they can be fabricated like other plastics through shearing, sawing, drilling, thermo-bending, etc. Because they are so thin, they can also be cut with simple tools like scissors, a paper cutter or a scoring knife.

Sublimation Plastic

   These “plastics” are designed to withstand temperatures up to 205º C so that full-color images can be sublimated onto the material with a heat press. There are two types of sublimatable plastic available: fiber glass reinforced plastic (FRP) and Subliflex. FRP is 2.4mm thick and Subliflex is offered in 0.8mm thickness. Both are available in white with gloss and matte finishes to show off sublimation’s colors.
   FRP is rotary engravable but cannot be laser engraved due to the fiberglass content. This is a rigid material that needs to be cut with a rotary engraving machine or a saw. It is primarily intended for interior use but can be used for short-term exterior applications.
   The thin Subliflex is a flexible material similar to that used for plastic hotel key cards or plastic ID cards, but it doesn’t contain PVC. This is a more versatile material as it can be rotary engraved, laser engraved, sheared and even cut with scissors. The flexible plastic material can also be thermobent into products such as tent signs and is popular for applications such as ID cards. This material is actually two-sided, with one side having a matte finish and the other having a gloss finish.
   Sublimatable plastic in general offers many different applications. Name badges, interior design, personal identification, signage, holiday decorations, key chains and picture frames are just a few of the many sublimatable plastic product applications.

UV-LED/Direct Print Plastics

Printing plastics can be extremely problematic due to a variety of issues related to adhesion, ensure your supplier has proven capabilities, knowledge and experience in the printing of plastics as inks can literally fall off the surface within weeks of printing if the the surfaces are not prepared properly.
   UV-LED/direct printing is making waves in the industry as a new method for direct printing colour images on a variety of materials, including plastic. Theoretically, you can use a UV-LED/direct printer to print on any of the plastics mentioned , although you will most likely need to use an adhesion promotor to ensure that the ink adheres well.


The Choices available are comprehensive.  Therefore it’s recommended to check the MSDS and ask your supplier for assistance to ensure you are purchasing the right plastic for your requirements. This is stringently important when the job needs to meet specific criteria, such as , weatherability, chemical/solvent resistance, military specifications, etc. . 

“Exterior Traffolyte “
   In addition to single-ply acrylic substrates, manufacturers have created acrylic blends containing ingredients such as fillers, pigments and additives that vary the physical properties of the material to create “modified” and “impact modified” acrylics. These acrylic blends are used to manufacture two- and three-ply materials with contrasting core and surface colours through co-extrusion, lamination or by adding a foil cap. The idea here is to utilize the advantages of traditional acrylic (weatherabiity) with the performance characteristics of multi-ply, multi-colored engraving stocks.
   Modified acrylic materials are available in an extensive number of colour combinations and finish options, and can be fabricated using many different methods, including both rotary and laser engraving. In addition, the use of modified acrylic in these two- and three-ply substrates makes most of them UV stable and weatherable so they can be used for both interior and exterior applications. 
   Suppliers also offer cast and extruded acrylic sheets specifically designed for reverse engraving. This two-ply material consists of a thick clear surface (as viewed from the front) and a thin coloured layer on the back. When the thin coloured layer is engraved with a reverse-reading design, the letters and graphics show through the clear base material which can then be colour filled or back lit for a number of unique applications, including subsurface signage.
   As mentioned, acrylic is a versatile material that can be marked using a variety of methods, including rotary engraving, laser engraving, hot stamping, screen printing, pad printing, UV-LED/direct printing and sandblasting. It can also be fabricated by sawing, routing, thermo-bending, laser vector cutting, beveling and drilling.


Traditional Acrylic
   Traditional acrylic has sleek, upmarket, modern qualities that make it a very popular choice for a range of identification purposes including awards, gifts and fabrication applications. Traditional clear or single-color acrylic  is often noted as a lightweight, scratch-resistant and less expensive alternative to glass and with better optical clarity. An advantage of acrylic over some other plastics is its UV stability (meaning it’s able to withstand exposure to UV light) and weatherability (meaning it’s able to withstand the elements, such as sunshine, hot, cold, rain, snow, etc.). 
Both cast and extruded acrylic are commonly used.

Professional Plaques

Peter Vasic - Monday, January 30, 2017
Professional Plaques encompass a range of different materials and substrates. The prime purpose of a plaque is to inform and that can be broken down into some sub requirements:
  • Advertise
  • Promote
  • Create a perception
  • Deliver a sense of stability, trust and reliability
The question we are commonly asked is what type of plaque do I need ?  The answer can be found in the following.
  • What type of profession are you in ?
  • Do you require a plaque that exudes, distinction, tradition and  stable foundations ?
  • Do you require a plaque that promotes an air of modernity and progressiveness
  • Do you wish to convey,trust, success and a perception of longevity in service ?
Once you have established the perception you wish to convey, you then need to define the message or title and the type style ( Font ) you wish to convey it with.

Various materials  or substrates convey different perceptions.
  • Cast Bronze plaques: are generally perceived as the pinnacle in defining a sense of foundation, longevity and distinction: Generally utilized by Legal Firms or other professional practices that wish to convey class and stability with a perception of long lived success.
  • Brass Plaques :  Brass is the most popular substrate for Professional plaques and has long been popular due to it's ability to convey a perception of refinement, quality and distinction. The Golden hues are lustrous and show the client they can rest assured they are in successful trusted hands. 
  • Stainless Steel: is a contemporary metal, it lets your clients know your practice is at the forefront of current technology and ideas, whilst at the same time delivering a hi tech modern face to your profession.
Cast Bronze Plaque.  Brass Plaque.  Stainless Steel Plaque.

Professional plaques are often named by their professions rather than the type of metal they are made from:

  • Doctor's Plaques
  • Lawyer's Plaques
  • Attorney plaques
  • Veterinarians plaque
  • Chiropractors plaque
  • Alternative medicine practitioners plaque
  • Medical practice plaque
"Faux" Cast Brass is an alternative to a Cast Bronze Plaque, it conveys a similar look, however allows for the inclusion of much finer detail to the plaques including images and logos.
Faux cast Brass 

Durability Counts - Industrial labels & Nameplates

Peter Vasic - Friday, January 27, 2017

Durability Matters, we are often asked about the durability of our name plates and industrial labels, many of our clients think that because someone sells a nameplate or label and they make a claim about the durability of the plate or label, that somehow they are automatically covered in a protective cloak of durability fairy dust and that the name plates will last as long as the unsubstantiated claims by the local engraver or name plate maker gives you. We often hear, “All name plates are the same “, “We know, as we have done our due diligence and all engravers are the same. “ Therefore, whatever you tell us is simply marketing hype.

Then six months or to give credit, within 12 months, we get a phone call or email, the name of the enquirer is familiar and then the nameplate or label artwork shows us who the original enquiry was from. Inevitably the bottom line was the only concern, but we also hear “These plates have to represent, Value, Quality and be Competitive”.  99% of the time this is code for “Give me your Cheapest Price as all Name plates are the same.”

BE WARNED!  Many Engravers, name plate producers and trophy shops simply do not have the knowledge or facilities for protective coatings or production systems to develop, test and authenticate the products they make. Most rely on the literature from overseas manufacturers or second hand knowledge from local suppliers of substrates or a variety of unmatched coatings or protective systems.

They tell you what you want to hear, based on the premise that you believe “All name plates and Engravers are the same. “ They then hit you where you want to be targeted; “Of course these name plates represent value!”, The bottom line is reviewed ( the belief that what you are being told is covered in magic protective fairy dust ) and as we so well know due diligence is complete.

At Engraving Services Co, we have had a long and proud tradition and history in the manufacture of Name plates and labels and protective coatings: YES we manufacture our own coatings! We also have our own exposure facilities for the testing of our products, our competitor’s products and the same base systems and substrates our competitors peddle. As a result we try our best to educate our clients about longevity and durability of our industrial labels or nameplates as their lives are numbered in years rather than months or as we have seen, in weeks. Australia’s climate is tortuous on substrates. The UV levels are Extreme and the driving rains, tropical weather, marine exposure or freezing conditions simply destroy competitor low balled products.. No one likes to spend money on a product, then turn around and have to replace that same product a year later.

Our products are manufactured to high quality standards, based on our testing and thorough knowledge of protective coatings and substrate technologies; we understand the science and the sophisticated interactions, between various substrates, protective systems, paints, inks and adhesion protocols for paints, primers and top coats. These are all exposed in our own Exposure racks to criteria as per National standards authorities.

Nothing beats a robust, durable, long life product, especially when safety relies on the ability to still read markings, engravings or messages, years down the line.

At ESC our standards of manufacture, our experienced team and our testing procedures have earned us Authority in the industry. The end result is products you can rely on in any circumstance or environment, across Australia.