The Lincoln Electric Company, a worldwide manufacturer of industrial and consumer welders and equipment, was faced with several common problems manufacturers experience in today’s competitive global marketplace. It needed to update the look of its welding equipment and maintain consistent branding across all product lines, while at the same time, reducing manufacturing costs in order to remain competitive and increase market share.
Lincoln Electric had been using metal for most of its nameplates because the company believed metal was the only durable substrate that could withstand the welding environment. The problem was that it was expensive and, in some cases, exposure to salt water caused the metal to corrode. Lincoln Electric brought the problem to Visual Marking Systems, hoping to reduce manufacturing costs while still maintaining the high quality its customers had come to expect.
The challenge was to find a material that could not only withstand the harsh welding environment but deliver cost savings to Lincoln Electric. The answer? Polycarbonate! Our design engineers worked with Lincoln Electric to choose the correct gauge and finish of polycarbonate material that would be functional yet convey the corporate brand across Lincoln Electric’s entire line of welding equipment for both the consumer and industrial markets.
The polycarbonate material was tested for both weld sparking and saltwater corrosion, and the material passed with flying colors! It was also determined that the 45-degree bending capabilities of the polycarbonate graphic overlay and adhesive application allowed for easier access to the equipment for repairs.
The switch to polycarbonate enabled Lincoln Electric to reduce production costs on the graphics for its welders by 30 percent. By using the more versatile material in place of metal, VMS not only reduced Lincoln Electric’s overall costs for the overlay but also added design options to the nameplate, including the use of transparent inks to create clear windows for LCD displays. A wider variety of finishes, ink and color choices were now available to showcase Lincoln Electric’s new corporate image on its equipment, improving the look of the product and preserving the company’s corporate branding across its wide range of products.
The improved performance and durability of the polycarbonate graphic overlay stood up to weld sparking and eliminated the possibility of corrosion caused by salt water. Additional savings were achieved by reducing the required hardware and inventory. Using adhesives to secure the polycarbonate graphic overlays eliminated both the need for fasteners as well as the manufacturing operation of fastening the overlay to the equipment.
The challenges Lincoln Electric faced are common for many manufacturers today. VMS works with its customers to create effective equipment labels that meet those challenges. As a high-performance printer to America’s hardest-working companies, let us help you achieve your goals. Contact us and tell us about your product identification problems.