THE SIGNAGE INDUSTRY’S OUTSOURCE RESOURCE FOR CHANNEL LETTER SIGNS AND LIGHTBOXES

Acrylic & Aluminium Channel Letter Signs

COMMONLY USED SUBSTRATES FOR CHANNEL LETTER SIGNAGE

Because of its unique properties, aluminium has become the substrate of choice for channel letter manufacture. The Channel Letter Factory is experts in the manufacture of aluminium channel letter signs.

Aluminium
Acrylic

Aluminium

Aluminium is a lightweight, durable and corrosion resistant substrate and used in applications ranging from traditional signage to extruded profiles for lightboxes, frames and POP display components. Aluminium channel letters can be manufactured manually, but the use of automated manufacturing tools is the new trend. Fully automated, channel letter benders provide computerized production environments that result in consistent fit, finish and 100% job accuracy with a quick production turnaround. Channel letter benders are extremely expensive and signage companies make use of outsourced services in this regard as a resource to compliment their existing production.

Aluminum is available in different thicknesses (0.9mm, 1.6mm, 2mm and 3mm) and finishes (plain, anodized, brushed anodized and plain brushed). Channel letters are joined using rivets, screws, glue and welding.

The job requirements will determine the thickness of the aluminium and joining method.

Advantages

  • Fire Proof – Aluminium does not burn.
  • Easily painted to suit corporate colours
  • Strong and durable, especially when exposed to harsh outdoor elements. Ideal for coastal environments.
  • Robust and not prone to cracking and breaking.
  • Quick production process with 100% reproduction accuracy and quality.
  • Easy to refurbish and reproduce only selected parts of the signage in the event of damage.
  • Negligible thermal expansion and contraction when compared to thermoplastics. This assists greatly with long term, secure anchoring or fixing of signage.
  • Cost effective with exceptional lifespan without material degradation

Disadvantages

  • Aluminium channel letters cannot be side illuminated.
  • Aluminium must be painted to produce a colour.
  • Limitations in terms of fine detail projects.
aluminium-channel-letter-signs

Acrylic

Acrylic is one of the most popular signage substrates in the signage and graphics industry. Available in a range of colours and thicknesses, acrylic can be used in the complete manufacturing process of channel letters or just as the “face” of channel letters where the return has been manufactured from aluminium. Acrylic is a very versatile substrate, but can prove challenging to work with for especially large scale or repeat projects.

Advantages

  • Can be laser cut with ease and is suitable for small, detailed projects.
  • Range of standard colours available, therefore, no painting required. (Provided there is a suitable colour in the supplier’s product offering.)
  • Using translucent grades of acrylic, side illuminated letters can be manufactured.
  • Acrylic can be thermoformed and is therefore suitable for 3D moulding which provides greater design flexibility.
  • Skilled sign manufacturers can fabricate acrylic letters with ease and relatively few production challenges.
  • Easy to work with – acrylic can be glued, sawed, routered and bent.
  • Flexibility in terms of thicknesses of sheets

Disadvantages

  • Prone to breakage and damage, especially on larger scale signage. Care with handling, transport and installation is important.
  • Colour range limited to the most popular standard colours. For custom colours, the material will have to be painted.
  • Fire Hazard – Acrylic will burn if an electrical malfunction causes fire.
  • Thermoplastics are prone to expansion and contraction as a result of temperature changes. If this is not taken into account during the manufacture process, cracks and breakages could occur, especially around mechanical fixing points.
  • Thermoplastics can stress crack on areas where thermoforming or intensive machining techniques was applied.
  • Stress cracking cannot be reversed.
  • Once fabricated, signage cannot be easily refurbished.
  • Channel Letters are produced using a manual fabrication process which can prove challenging to reproduce signs with 100% accuracy on repeat projects or when broken components on existing signage has to be replaced.
  • The manual production process is time consuming.

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