Engraved Tags

Hand-engraved tags made of debossable aluminum
Aluminum Tags
Use debossable aluminum tags for "engraving" your own information on a durable surface that's still soft enough to write on.
Sometimes you need a light-weight material, or you aren't entirely certain what you're going to want to put on your engraved tag.Still, you know you need something a little more permanent than pencil on cardstock. For just such occasions, retailers offer debossable aluminum tags, made from specially annealed material with enough give that you can write on it in pen.

Annealed aluminum is treated with heat and then cold to realign its crystalline structures, leaving it softened but still durable. Writing on untreated metal can feel like trying to write on glass or ice, an exercise in futility; annealed aluminum is more yielding, and its softness allows it to take on ink, the same way paper does. The resulting tag is hard to miss – it's typically metallic and slightly shiny, as you'd expect, but like ink-on-paper, markings made on these tags don't come off, even if the ink does.

Since debossable aluminum can tolerate water and still keep whatever writing you choose for it, tags in this versatile material work well when hung on surfaces that might be subject to condensation, like valves, piping or cooling equipment in a hot, humid climate. (Put in the same place, cardstock would turn into an illegible slush of wood pulp.)

Inspection records for expensive equipment usually need to be permanent – if the record can be changed after the fact, it isn't as effective for keeping tabs for safety's sake. (The same goes for tool tags.) In effect, when users write on debossable aluminum, they're engraving an indelible message in the material for good, so there's no way to change or falsify it. If you're in charge of keeping inventory, then you know that it can be all too easy to erase a name or write over it. Using softened aluminum makes the information on your inventory tags stick.
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