4 ways we make things better for manufacturers
We "eat our own dogfood", manufacturing 25K signs a month, 100% on demand and selling through our direct retail safety sign business. We design and make so fast it feels like we are picking the signs of the shelf & our customers consistently rate our service as 5 out of 5 stars.
Not everyone at Viking Signs is an engineer, but our MD and Chairman are and they have put robust engineering principles at the heart of everything that we do.
As an active member of MakeUK, the manufacturers' organisation - we do our bit to support the UK manufacturing industry and its vast contribution to the wider economy.
Quality Standards help to build trust, but we also appreciate the discipline of going through external accreditation to stress test our processes and to show we are actually doing what we say we do.
Made In Britain
We are proud to make all our products in the UK, sure we bring in raw materials, but all the processing is done here. As much as we love real ale and sausage rolls, our pride really comes from the power of distributed, lean, on demand manufacturing. Making locally means supply chains are more secure, transport CO2 is dramatically reduced and Just In Time becomes much more feasible.
Some of the processes that we offer
High precision, abrasion resistance labelling
Laser engraving allows for precise and detailed engraving. Engraving onto a two colour laminate means that you can create bold, easy to read graphics, with variable data like serial numbers; 2D barcodes, data matrix or QR codes. The laser laminate finished product is highly resistant to abrasion or UV damage - create the same thing on 316 marine grade stainless steel and it's practically indestructible. If you are currently using Traffolyte or another mechanically engraved substrate then please talk to one of our team about the performance, clarity and pricing benefits that might come from switching to laser engraved labels.
Control Panel Printing
Full colour, flexible control panels
Control panels or switch panels are often produced by attaching engraved labels to a powder coated steel backplate. We can make control panels this way but we also offer a number of unique alternatives. One of the most cost effective, flexible and powerful ways of labelling control panels is to print them directly onto a routed Aluminium Composite panel.
This solutions allows for more detailed information, including EN7010 warning symbols, full colour logos or photographic / illustrated mimic images. You can keep your marketing department happy, whilst improving the safety & usability of your machine and also potentially reduce costs.
Our Manufacturing On Demand set up means that we can customise these labels for you on the fly, making each panel unique or changed every batch. If you need similar flexibility with colour and print, but even need better abrasion or chemical resistance then take a look our Aluminium Ano-Printing.
Digital CNC Cutting
Fast & accurate cutting and finishing processes
Our digital CNC cutting & routing is at the heart of much of what we make. We use this to take sheets of printed vinyl and turn them into kiss-cut label sets. We also use this highly accurate process for routing printed aluminium composite control panels and individual label shapes.
We can use it to mechanically engrave larger than usual labels in any shape. It's fully integrated with our print systems using optical registration. With our software, soft tooling is created on the fly so material usage is maximised and waste reduced to a minimum.
All this allows us to remain highly responsive and competitive; and is better for the environment. We also use it for making giant, slot together Christmas trees so if you happen to need one of those, please let us know!
Full colour, highly abrasion and chemical resistant (& very pretty)
Anodised Aluminium Printing works by taking aluminium that has been only partially anodised and depositing ink into the open pores of the material. The anodising process is then completed leaving the printed ink sealed beneath the anodised surface. It is as close as you are going to get to a metal tattoo without getting "Megadeath" permanently inked on your forehead.
This process is not cheap, but it does offer an incredibly robust full colour printing. If you need full colour for machine branding or to convey better usage or safety information, then a simple printed solution might work, but if you also need this to work in a harsh environment where your labels or panels will resist abrasion, aggressive chemicals and heat then ano-printing may be the ideal solution.
This is also a really beautiful finish. Like a good firework, our clients pretty much always go "oooooh" when we hand them a sample of this for the first time. This is a great process for when our customers want a head-turning premium finish.
Full colour, abrasion and chemical resistant
Dye-Sublimation works by printing onto a carrier substrate, this is then heat fused onto a thin metallic sticker. This is then bonded directly onto a machine or onto a control panel. This offers a more cost effective way of producing premium labelling that is more resistant to abrasion and chemical damage, but without the cost of ano-printing. We used to outsource this process, but realising that this was very valuable to our clients we acquired a company that specialised in this service so that we could bring it in house.
Label or Sticker Print & Cut
From 10mm square to A0 on a range of materials
Our print and cut system allows us to produce a wide range of stickers and labels, from consolidated sets of thousands of earth labels, to one off printed stickers.
Label Set Consolidation
Poke Yoke quality control & simpler re-ordering
For a number of our customers we have consolidated the stickers they provide for their machines onto single label sheets. As well as supply chain simplification, this has a number of advantages. The sheets are set up as a single part number in our systems reducing re-ordering from a 40 line PO to a single line. It also makes management before the production line simpler, with a single part needing to be stored and prepared for production. Finally the label sheet itself offers a "Poke Yoke" or "Mistake Proofing" solution for application, if the sticker is still on the sheet at the end of the production run, then you can know for certain that a label has been missed from a machine. This helps stop a production line being stopped at the end of the process, or a machine (or a whole batch) being rejected by your customer. We love this sort of solution, not only does it play to our strengths, but it makes things better for our customers by reducing costs, simplifying their ordering process and helping make their lives easier. If you have a problem like this that we might be able to help with then please do let us know.
The Viking Approach
How we work
Designing & Drawing
We are happy to work from your engineering drawings. This is often where we start with new clients. Very often our manufacturers start involving us earlier in the design process so we can make recommendations based on new materials and processes.
We prototype using the same materials and processes that we use for full scale manufacturing. This means that we can produce items with a volume of one in an affordable way and if you want to scale then the final product will match the prototype with none of the variation that comes from changing processes for mass manufacture. If you are growing your business it means we can help you at the start, producing ones and twos and grow with you so that you don't have to shift suppliers when you are focusing on growing.
We use a wide range of quality processes, particularly Poke Yoke (making things mistake proof) to make sure that you get what you want when you need it. If you have an urgent requirement we will work with you to provide express production and shipping (sometimes as fast as same day).
How we work
About Viking Signs
Our two Missions - make things better & help people grow.
Mission #1 Make things better: To use and promote manufacturing on demand in the UK.
We believe it is:
Mission #2 Help people grow: We are deliberately building a company where we want our kids to work, not because of what they would gain, but because of who they would get to become.
We are building a company that helps anyone who joins our team to:
Who are we?
Commonly asked questions.
Who are you?
We are a team of 20. Our Chairman was Manufacturing Director for a number of PCB manufacturing firms before starting Viking Signs.
Our MD is an ex. Ford / Visteon design team leader and Chartered Engineer.
We have populated the rest of our team with people who care. Who want above all to get things right for our customers and who thrive on the challenge of making something new.
Where is your factory?
We are based in Grantham, 2 hours north of London. A base that gives us low costs with good transport links.
We eat our own dog food and use our manufacturing On Demand processes to make and sell over 20K safety signs every month through our e-commerce site www.safetysignsupplies.co.uk
What should you do next?
Give us a call and we can talk about how we can help you with consolidation, product development or reducing your lead times for signs and labels.