Joseph Zuniga engraving a nameplate at UCEC headquarters. 

Joseph Zuniga engraving a nameplate at UCEC headquarters. 

By Zach Fothergill

We’ve spent resources and effort in the past two years to upgrade our shop technology. From wire stripping and cutting machines to our advanced CNC machine, bringing panel shop technology into the 21st century is part of our mission. And with technology upgrades comes improved efficiency and even more consistent quality for our customers.


Recently, we upgraded our engraving software. This software is used to engrave the phenolic nameplates that we affix to the panel cabinets. Nameplate engraving is an example of technology that hasn’t changed for decades. But recent improvements in software led us to make the upgrade. (Phenolic nameplates are made of a material similar to plastic. Our engraving machine mechanically cuts away the top layer of the nameplate, exposing the contrasting color of the next layer. This permanent lettering is ideal for panel cabinets because it can’t be rubbed off.)

We’ve been working with the new software and it’s enabled us to be more efficient in our engraving (we do a lot of it). We can also scan images into the software program, so we can engrave customer logos with a cool texture or shadow. Joseph Zuniga (pictured above) on our team has really taken the lead on this project and it’s been neat to see what he has produced. He’s even figured out a way to upload and engrave faces onto nameplates. We have some great ideas of how to explore this new tech.

  Engraved images of our UCEC team. 

Engraved images of our UCEC team. 

Our new engraving software is a small piece of the entire puzzle of a panel, but it’s a great value add. By affixing a logo (the customer’s or ours, or both) we create a little bit more customization that echoes the panel itself: unique, handcrafted and entirely one-of-a-kind.

We are constantly evaluating upgrades to our current systems and processes, and only pursuing those that are cost effective and provide a better product for our customers.

Stay tuned to the blog or stop by and see us in the shop. We’re not sitting still at UCEC!

Zach is an Operations Support Manager at UCEC.