Challenges of harsh environmental forces - how labelling products can help

January 22, 2020

When we think of industries such as the oil and gas, marine and aerospace industries, there is an instant association with extremely harsh environments. From facing the elements of the deep blue sea in the marine and oil and gas industry to the devastatingly harsh environments faced in the sky by aircraft – there is a real reliance on ensuring that the right types of products and materials are always used in the production of all equipment and machinery.

In this article, we take a closer look at some of the key environmental challenges faced by the industries, whilst also highlighting some of the ways durable labelling products have been able to ensure the safety of those who work within the sector.

Oil And Gas Industry & Marine Industry – Land & Sea

The oil and gas industry is an extremely important part of many modern countries’ economies, but the reality of working within the industry can actually pose many dangers to those who work within the sector.

With activity in the oil and gas industry taking place in a range of environments, there is a necessity for extremely durable products and materials to be used throughout the industry. The likes of durable labels, overlays and other information bearing signage can be difficult to come by for these industries, but are of the utmost importance.

It’s extremely important to guarantee that anyone who is working in the oil and gas industry has clear signage displayed throughout the workplace, to minimise the risk of injury. Utilising stainless steel 304 or 316, depending on the exact conditions that you are likely to be working in, is usually advised as the material can be finished in a variety of styles, including bright, satin and brushed finishes.

When it comes to the marine industry, there is an obvious need for products and equipment to be created with longevity in mind. The environments faced by anyone who works within the marine industry are usually challenging, especially when weather conditions are adverse. With the vast majority of the marine industry completely exposed to the elements, it’s extremely important that all products, equipment and signage are created with permanence in mind.

With a huge amount of oil and gas companies using offshore based machinery to gather fuel, it’s vital that every machine is capable of being identified clearly. Highly durable stainless steel labels are a necessity within the sector and used extensively.

To ensure long-term durability of the label, a chemical mask will be printed on the steel. This mask will then later resist an acid solution which the steel is immersed within. This process ensures that the bespoke design required is clearly visible, but also guarantees that each label is capable of withstanding the day to day wear and tear associated with being used in a particularly challenging environment.

The Aerospace Industry - Air

The aerospace industry competes with a whole host of issues on a regular basis, from rigorous design specifications to exposure to extreme environments. When designers are considering which products should be used within their aircraft, there are a number of considerations that must be taken to guarantee the safety, and longevity of the aircraft.

When it comes to labels used on and in aircraft, they are required to hit a number of complex specifications in order to be fit for use. Just a few of these specifications include being chemical resistant, weatherproof and flame retardant – all of these requirements are absolutely essential.

For example, when it comes to the use of aluminium labels within the aerospace industry, only fully anodised labels are suitable to be used. By utilising anodised aluminium labels, the text that needs to be displayed on the label can be either silkscreen or digitally printed to ensure the ink is locked within the grain of the product. By utilising this process, the finished product is extremely durable and hard wearing, making it perfect for the aerospace industry. Anodised aluminium has also passed salt mist and UV durability tests, which helps to guarantee the longevity of each product.

Another great example of durable labelling products being used within the aerospace industry can be seen through the use of fascia panels. This particular product has become a mainstay within almost all commercial aircraft, as they provide a clear readout for all instruments they accompany. When working within challenging environments, fascia panels are specifically created with durability and visibility in mind, for this reason they can be created with either an illuminated or non-illuminated panel.

Fascia panels can be created using a variety of materials, all of which are completely suitable for the harsh environments that the aerospace industry encounter on a regular basis. Under-surface printed plastic panels, fully anodised aluminium panels, etched and filled stainless steel panels are the most commonly used types of materials within the aerospace industry, as they are relatively cheap to manufacture but also offer robust properties.

This article was written by Phil Deller, Business Development Manager at GSM Graphic Arts, one of Europe’s largest manufacturers of high-quality labelling products.

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