By Mark Langlois
Nameplates for Industry (NFI Corp.) recently announced that it has increased its staff by 10 percent and is adding new printing and production equipment to its facility in New Bedford, Massachusetts. The company, which employs 49 team members at its 14,000-square-foot facility, manufactures a variety of custom nameplates and sophisticated graphics, such as faceplates with holes and cutouts; overlays with keypads and windows; and membrane switch circuitry with graphics. NFI also makes basic labels, such as decals, tags, and stickers.
Marcia LaBelle, vice president of sales and marketing, said new ownership that took over the firm two years ago is investing in its staff and its equipment.
NFI Corp. offers rapid prototyping with three to five day turnaround, and small quantity turnaround of up to 10 pieces without full production or tooling costs. LaBelle spoke about a recent prototype that NFI turned around under trying circumstances in four days. She described an over-sized graphic overlay and faceplate that NFI designed and made for a railroad engineering car. That was a project that NFI handled while working with a new designer who’d had only a week on the job, and with a purchasing agent with the same tenure.
The overlay was designed to tell an engineer which switches and controls did what in the rail car. It was about 60 inches long and about 18 inches tall. To start, NFI sent a blank model to make sure they had the size right. It wasn’t.
The customer returned the blank model with new dimensions, and NFI made a second model.
They went back and forth, eventually making the overlay to specifications that evolved as the customer figured out the design.
The biggest challenge, according to LaBelle, was in overcoming the size component. “We were able to get video and pictures of the interior engine cabinet and decided that we would be able to piece multiple components together to reach their desired size without losing the integrity of the product image and placement,” she said in an emailed response.
Nameplates for Industry (http://nameplatesforindustry.com) was founded in New Bedford, Massachusetts, as a sales office for an Isle of Wight manufacturing firm in 1975, but after building up its own production capacity and customers, it became independent in 1988.
Today, the company serves a wide range of markets, including medical, military, industrial, transportation, technology, and communications. For added durability, nameplates are printed on the sub-surface of a custom plastic that is reported to offer exceptional durability against extreme conditions. The label ink is on the underside of clear plastic, making them resistant to abrasion, oil, and chemicals. The label is designed to last as long as the product indoors or outside.