GSK Montrose was preparing to open their first vaccines facility in the UK. This new £44 million manufacturing site will provide ingredients for more than 400 million vaccinations a year worldwide.
A commemorative plaque was required for the opening ceremony. Dave Mackenzie got in touch to ask if I could engrave a brushed stainless steel sign in time for 15th August when they were expecting the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, to do the honours.
Proofs for sign
David sent over a couple of sign mock ups and a GSK logo. He wanted a plain font with the GSK logo in the top right corner. Unfortunately, the artwork was very pixellated and not of high enough resolution to deliver good engravings. To achieve the best results, I created the text in vector format, traced the orange GSK logo to turn it into a vector too and sent a proof to David for approval together with a quote.
David decided to supply the stainless steel plaques to get the size and thickness they wanted.
How to engrave a stainless steel sign
Once David had approved the artwork and the stainless steel plates arrived, I could get to work.
As the laser isn’t powerful enough to engrave stainless steel, I used Thermark, a metal marking paste. It’s a mixture of glass particles and black pigment. Once it’s been spread on the surface to be engraved, it needs to be allowed to dry. Then engraving can commence.
When the laser engraves the paste, it melts the glass and traps the black pigment onto the surface of the metal. This process forms a thin layer of black enamel on the surface of the metal that can just be felt with a fingernail. It’s weatherproof and highly scratch resistant, making it perfect for outdoor display. And the matt black mark gives good contrast against the metal.
When the engraving was complete, the sign was rinsed to remove traces of the leftover paste.
David was pleased with the sign that arrived with time to spare, and the sun shone for the big day!