For more than 15 years, VisionMark Nameplate Company has manufactured the oval badges that adorn every Airstream Recreational Vehicle. It’s a lasting partnership between two all-American companies located 20 miles away from each other in rural Ohio.
Both VisionMark Nameplate Company and Airstream use teams of skilled laborers doing highly customized work. There’s no way to automate what they do. Over the course of almost 300 hours, many hands touch an Airstream. Workers rivet aluminum sheets, install furniture, and run ductwork, electrical lines, and plumbing. Likewise, VisionMark Nameplate Company products go through a hands-on process to create the etched zinc badges that identify each Airstream model.
It starts with a design sent over from Airstream. VisionMark Nameplate Company exposes that image onto film, which they in turn place on a plate of light-sensitive zinc. A second exposure leaves the design on the metal before the zinc plate moves to an acid bath. There, acid eats away at the uncovered sections of the design, leaving behind the words and images etched in the metal. Then the badges are cut and sanded.
From there, the process becomes even more hands on. Workers sand away any blemishes before each badge is hand-painted. Using tools resembling hypodermic syringes, workers fill in every tiny detail with paint.
The result is more than simply a nameplate: it’s a piece of collectible, industrial art.
Airstream and VisionMark Nameplate Company share more than their attention to detail. Both companies use green manufacturing practices. Innovative plant design means VisionMark Nameplate Company can handle their own hazardous waste. Airstream installed high-efficiency lighting in their sprawling plant. They reclaim thousands of gallons of water used during the manufacturing process. And the company also recycles everything they can, from aluminum and cardboard, to wood and plastics. It’s another way Airstream lives up to its goal to “Leave it Beautiful.”
Handcrafted. Sustainable. American-made. VisionMark Nameplate Company and Airstream are truly a match made in manufacturing heaven.
If you’re interested in how Airstreams are made, visit Jackson Center, Ohio and take a plant tour.