Metal Label Adhesive GuidelinesMetal Product and Equipment Tags

Metal tags are used for a variety of reasons, but are most often used when they are in an environment that needs to be highly durable. Metal tags are extremely tough and are best for identification of machinery when delicate paper labels and even durable polyester would not last very long an certain environments where temperatures reach over 400F .

What are metal tags used for?

There are several uses for metal tags, but the most common usage is identifying equipment, machinery, and valuables at a glance. Metal tags are rugged enough to handle the stresses of even the nastiest conditions such as acids, radiation or corrosives. Metal tags can come with pre-drilled holes in them that can be used for mounting or can be chained to machinery, pipes, or equipment.

In addition, if a tag needs to survive not just for a few years, but decades, then a metal tag is used because it is durability.

Types of metal tags

There are four basic types of metal tags:

  • Screen Printed Metal Tags produces colorful images on a variety of different materials, is fairly durable and economical.
  • Anodized Aluminum Tags is very resistant to a wide range of temperatures, can stand up to abrasion and chemicals.
  • Stainless Steel Tags have incredible resistance to scratching, heat and chemicals because the graphics are etched in the material
  • Brass Tags are high in appearance and extremely durable. These tags are not susceptible to  salt water and are perfect for coastal environments.

You can also choose many different shapes and sizes for metal tags. The most common are rectangle-shaped, and many are also circular in shape.

Depending on what you need the tag for, the shape and size will be customizable based on your needs.

Additional options to consider with metal tags are:

  • Square or rounded corners
  • Standard thickness for aluminum include 0.003″, 0.005″, 0.008″, 0.012″, 0.020″, 0.032″, 0.63″
  • Drilled holes for mounting or pressure sensitive adhesive
  • Teflon coating

Benefits of metal tags

There are many excellent benefits to having metal tags, including:

  1. They are durable and long-lasting. It is not unusual for some metal tags to not only last years, but many decades. There are still metal tags that are still being used that date back 100 years or more.This makes metal tags perfect for any situation in which a label is not going to hold up, or you need it to last a long period of time in a very tough environment.
  2. Metal tags are almost impossible to alter. With permanent metal tags where data is etched below the surface, you don’t have to worry about anyone ever changing the tag to say something different.There is no practical way to alter it, and for many companies, that gives a very important sense of security. The same is true for metal tags that relate inspection information. An inspector can stamp a tag with a new date, which gives an accurate and tamper-proof record of inspections. This normally requires that the inspector carry specialized tools to punch the tag in the field. Sometimes it is easier to just replace the old tags with a new one.
  3. They can be customizable. There are many different shapes, colors, and styles that you can choose from. This gives you an excellent ability to customize what you want with your metal tags to match any environment.


There are a few disadvantages to these types of tags:

  1. The benefit of not being altered is also a disadvantage. The issue with this is that if it is etched incorrectly, or if the number needs to be changed, there is no way to alter it and the tag will have to be remade.That is the same with any label, but at least with typical poly labels it is possible to write on the label to change it. That being said, you can get a write-on label that will allow you to alter it whenever you need to.
  2. It is difficult to assign specific ID numbers to a tag at the time of production. Normally you will order tags with a series of serialized numbers which can take 2-3 weeks to produce. If you need to adjust those numbers at the time of production metal tags my not be a good fit for your application.
  3. Metal tags are fairly rigid which can limit their usefulness on certain pieces of equipment with irregular surfaces. .

History of The Metal ID Tag

Metal tags have been used to identify humans for many years, and are most commonly known as dog tags these days. The first tags to appear were just pieces of paper pinned to a coat or tied around a neck back in the days of the American Civil War.

This resulted in 75 per cent of bodies being listed as unknown since it was so easy for the identification tag to disappear. The original oval disc in 1913 featured the name of the soldier and their division. This was replaced by the rectangle-shaped dog tags that appeared in the Second World War, the most famous type.

All sorts of information was put on these tags, allowing for soldiers to be identified in the case they were killed in action. These days metal tags are used in the nastiest environments where heat, abrasion or chemicals will exclude you form using a plastic label.

If you are thinking about getting metal tags, be sure you know what you want. Double check your art, you don’t want to order a bunch of metal tags and then find out that you mistakenly labeled the tags with the wrong phone number for your company. Metal tags are highly durable, long-lasting, and perfect for the most extreme conditions.