The LNI Quality Department is responsible for ensuring LNI products meet the exact standards for our customers as well as monitoring and maintaining the Quality Assurance System. Part of complying with any industry standard is having your products tested in a long-term outdoor exposure situation and evaluated for resistance to fading, heat, corrosion and general deterioration.
There are three main sites in the world where these tests are conducted:
A. Q-Lab, Southern Miami, Florida, USA
B. Q-Lab, Buckeye, Pheonix, Arizona, USA
C. Allunga, Mount Stuart, Townsville, Queensland, AUS
Each facility has unique tests for different types of exposures. All the tests are run from multiple angles on the same product and use multiple mounting methods to ensure the product has been through the toughest climates and received thorough test results to meet particular standards. The current types of exposure testing used at these facilities include:
- Direct Exposure: Is used for products on surfaces directly facing the sun.
- Under Glass: Interior-use materials, such as labelling and other products, normally conducted behind 3 mm window glass which will filter out short-wave UV.
- Black Box: For interior materials found on horizontal surfaces of a vehicle, including higher temperatures and wet areas.
- Salt-Accelerated Outdoor Corrosion: Direct exposure with salt spray can produce fast and realistic corrosion, particularly for coated metals.
- Mould/Biocide evaluation: A high rainfall, high humidity, tropical environment.
- Corrosion/Marine/Littoral exposure: On the shore of the Coral Sea
- Arid Tropical exposure: Low rainfall, low humidity, high radiation, high temperature variation climate.
- Accelerated Exposures: Seasonal angles, Tracrac, Altrac
- Temperature Normalized Radiation Tests
- Special Purpose Sites: Marine, arid, mould
Each method is then analysed for standards relating to the products colour, gloss, distinctiveness of image, tensile parameters and stability.
LNI ensures each product sold is tested on all the criteria in the harshest conditions around the world and have just received their latest test products back after two years of 24-hour exposure at the Allunga Exposure Laboratory in Queensland. LNI is proud to show that the LNI range has passed with excellent results.
Each sample is given its own analysis and report which is communicated with the LNI Quality Department to ensure each criterion for the product is met. LNI is the only badge, metal nameplate and label supplier going to these lengths to regularly conduct two years of outdoor testing. No-one else matches these standards of quality assurance validation and control.
The example on the left below shows what happens to digital printing after two years at Allunga. The bottom sample is straight digital print on a white material. It’s had a strip of material placed over the top section of the label during testing to show the fading characteristics. The top sample is the same part but finished as a Lenscal (or domed) badge. You can see how the UV resistant Lenscal resin topcoat protects the print detail.
On the example on the right below, the labels are screen printed. The print colour on the bottom parts is still perfect after two years at Allunga. The yellowing is the material aging, not the print. The top sample has a Lenscal (or domed) resin topcoat giving it perfect UV resistance.
Badges, labels and metal nameplates which fade is not the norm, and nor should it be. If your’s are fading then it is generally a result of cheap materials and inappropriate manufacturing methods.
For more information on how your LNI product will stand the test of time read our blog how long do you expect the printing to last on your metal nameplates, badges and labels. Or for more information regarding your product and the testing it goes through with LNI’s Quality Department, please contact us.