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ADA Sign-Making Tools: What You Need to Know

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The first step in ensuring that signs adhere to ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) rules and regulations is to get the right equipment. To be considered ADA compliant, signs need to have very specific features, such as Braille lettering. This is extremely intricate work, and it requires specific ADA sign-making tools to make sure the job is done correctly.

Why is it important to have the right tools?

As mentioned, it’s crucial for a sign shop to have the appropriate ADA sign-making tools because there are several criteria that must be met for a sign to achieve compliancy.

And these are just some of the basic requirements for ADA signage…

Creating ADA-compliant signage is a complex process, which makes it all the more important to have the right equipment and materials on hand. By having ADA sign-making tools in your facility, it not only simplifies the process of filling sign orders but also ensures that the finished product will be up to code.

When a business or individual contacts a sign shop to have an ADA sign order filled, they expect that the signage they receive meets all ADA guidelines. They rely on you to have everything needed to craft their signs, including ADA sign-making tools that are regularly used by those in the industry.

What ADA sign-making tools are needed?

Given the complex nature of ADA signage, sign shops need to have a number of ADA sign-making tools in their facility—that is, of course, if they’re making the signs in-house.

  1. Router– CNC routers make it easier for sign professionals to cut through aluminum, acrylic, and many other materials typically used for ADA signage. Since CNC routers are operated by a computer, the quality of the end product is significantly improved. Plus, using this type of machinery gives fabricators more options in terms of the shapes they can produce.
  2. UV inkjet printer– UV inkjet printers are commonly used for direct-to-substrate printing. Rather than printing on vinyl and then placing that material on the signage, using a UV inkjet printer allows fabricators to print directly on the substrate. This method results in a longer-lasting finish, with text and graphics that won’t peel over time.
  3. Paint booth– Most sign shops that produce signage in-house have some sort of painting station set up. However, many agree that the most efficient method of ADA signage production is the use of an actual paint booth. Having a paint booth set up with a variety of shades makes filling large orders a much quicker and easier process.
  4. Film printer– A film printer is typically used with photopolymer material. Since photopolymer has become a popular choice for ADA signage, many sign shops opt to use a film printer to create high-quality screens with precise details that will then be placed on the signage material.
  5. Photopolymer processor– With the growing popularity of photopolymer ADA signage, photopolymer processors can be found in many sign shops. This type of equipment allows fabricators to expose film to UV light. This changes its structural properties, making it a durable, long-lasting material that is perfect for ADA signage in high-traffic areas.
  6. Hot stamp machine– Hot stamp machines are also frequently used with photopolymer. With this type of machinery, fabricators can apply color and metallic effects to raised graphics on ADA signage.
  7. Engraver– If using the Raster® Braille method to create ADA-compliant signage, sign shops need an engraver that is compatible with the Raster® Braille System. Fortunately, there are several CNC engravers on the market that can be used for Raster® Braille.

In addition to these ADA sign-making tools, sign shops must also have the right materials and software to get the job done. If they plan on using the Raster® Braille method, they’ll also have to purchase the appropriate license kit.

Needless to say, in-house fabrication of ADA-compliant signage requires a hefty investment on the business’ part.

How much can you expect to spend on ADA sign-making tools?

The price of each machine varies depending on brand, model, capabilities, etc. However, sign shops that outfit their facilities with ADA sign-making tools spend, on average, at least a few hundred thousand dollars.

And that doesn’t include the cost of training employees to use the equipment. It also doesn’t factor in the cost of expanding/moving to a new facility to make sure there’s enough space.

Can you afford to make such an investment?

If you operate a smaller sign shop or one that doesn’t receive a lot of orders for ADA-compliant signs, it likely doesn’t make fiscal sense to invest in all of the ADA sign-making tools mentioned above.

In such cases, it’s more economical to partner with a sign shop that specializes in ADA sign manufacturing. Such a business will already have the necessary equipment in-house, and (if they’re committed to ensuring ADA compliancy) their team will have the knowledge of ADA rules and regulations to ensure that any order you outsource will fit your client’s needs.

Filed Under: ADA Signage

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