Customer Success Stories
How Biltrite Sign Service uses the TIG Brush to Fabricate Stainless Steel Signs
Biltrite Sign Service was founded by Neil Clark, an accomplished neon bender, in Greeley, Colorado in 1962. Biltrite designs, manufactures, installs and services signs. Biltrite Signs were contracted to create a series of 11 stainless steel signs for the city of Greeley, CO after the city had received a state government grant to encourage walking pedestrian use of their downtown area. The signs were to direct prospective pedestrian patrons, highlight the area’s history and help visitors find the historic features of the town.
Biltrite faced a number of challenges when taking on this project; the use of stainless steel to manufacture signage was a new process for them; the signs would be located on the sidewalks of the downtown area, under scrutiny from the public so it was important the finish was aesthetically pleasing as well. They also had to ensure the signs were visually interesting and in keeping with the historic landmarks and agricultural district location.
Biltrite chose to use 316 stainless steel because of its formability, strength, easy maintenance, and superior corrosion resistance. They were initially looking at two solutions; the first, a simple and effective process to clean and passivate the welds and the second; a way to create the distinctive wheat pattern at the base of the signs.
This was the first time Biltrite had used stainless steel as a material to manufacture signs however, they were conscious of the need to clean up the welds. After researching a couple of alternatives on the internet, they were intrigued by the TIG Brush and were confident it would provide a solution to both challenges because of its weld cleaning and branding capabilities. They were hoping the branding feature would allow them to create the wheat in a field pattern on the base of the signs.
Based on the information they gathered online, in blind faith and without an onsite demonstration, they purchased a TIG Brush and Branding Kit. After watching some further TIG Brush and branding demonstration videos, they tested the performance on some scrap pieces of stainless and found that TIG Brush was indeed able to solve both problems.
The TIG Brush was able to be used in their shop so no need to outsource any of the fabrication or design process. It cleaned and passivated the welds, and the printing (marking) fluid was the ideal solution to create the wheat design finish on the base of the signs.
They also discovered that by using the engraving (etching) fluid with the branding head they were able to erase grinder marks. In effect, this process dulled the shiny spots left by the grinder so that these areas more closely resembled the original mill finish of the stainless steel.
According to Scott Riley, VP of Biltrite Sign, using stainless steel was a new process for them. In the past they have steered away from using stainless steel for signage but now with the TIG Brush, they have more confidence to take on further stainless steel projects.