Printed Number Plate Suppliers

Printed number plates, the standard number plate format for all vehicles. These are the typical number plates that companies such as Halfords supply and come in mainly one size; 520mm x 111mm or 20.5” x 4.5” in old money.

However, one would assume that there is only one style of printed number plate and by style, what we actually mean is combination of materials. This is not the case. There are two printed number plate formats that comply with the newest BS AU145 standard..

We would like to begin by stating that here at JDM Plates, we offer the best quality printed number plates in the UK so if you are looking for your next number plate supplier then feel free to get in touch. We have tried and tested all the available combinations of producing standard registration plates and we can conclusively say that we utilize the best process and hardware.

In our opinion, and that of many customers we have previously spoken to, this printing system is by far the worst and produces the most inferior number plate finish.

This system consists of a black substrate which has a yellow or white reflective sheet molded into the black plastic; this reflective sheet has an adhesive layer on the front face. The registration number is printed onto a clear film (acetate) which is then applied to the front face of the reflective sheet by means of a number plate roller.

Now, you may be thinking that this sounds reasonable and you may well find that your number plate is of this style, well, here at JDM Plates we found that this method of manufacturing plates produces a substandard finish.


Peeling at the edges of the Number Plate Film

The relatively thin, weak film is essentially the front face of the number plate which is subject to dirt, grime and direct contact with other elements and because of this, the edges begin to prematurely peel. Once the peeling begins, it is quite easy to peel off the registration number leaving your vehicle with quite literally, a yellow or white reflective sheet with no number plate digits.

Faded Number Plate Letters

With no protection on the front face of the number plate by means of a UV stable acrylic, the printed registration characters essentially start to age quicker and the printed lettering begins to fade; this is a direct result of no UV protection. Letters need to be black only according to DVLA guidelines and if letters contain any fading or form of grayscale then they will need to be replaced and will subsequently fail and MOT.

However, thankfully another method of manufacturing printed registration plates is available which is the method we opted for!

Thankfully, a lot of cars in the UK leave dealerships with this style of standard number plate.Not only do they last significantly longer than the aforementioned style, they look significantly better too!

Here at JDM Plates, we believe the wet acrylic and dry reflective combination results in a significantly better quality number plate which is why we opted for this method!

This system consists of a clear acrylic number plate with a clear adhesive liner on one of the faces. It is important to recognise that the clear adhesive is on the rear face of the clear acrylic and not the front face!

The reflective sheet that is used is completely dry, by that we mean no adhesive is used. The reflective sheet is then printed using either thermal or laser jet printers; although both printers give a good finish, we believe the thermal printing method gives darker print. However, a thermal printer can only print in black whereas laserjet printers are used to print coloured flags, borders and unique logos.

Once the registration number is printed onto the dry reflective, the protective liner is peeled from the rear of the ‘wet’, optically clear standard number plate. The clear acrylic and dry reflective are rolled together by means of a pressure roller resulting in them being bonded together by the adhesive on the rear of the clear acrylic.

This is a fairly simple process to make a number plate, however, the key thing to remember here is that the acrylic is the front face of the number plate…

Protection against the elements

As previously mentioned, the front face of the second number plate combination is hard wearing acrylic plastic. This gives significantly more protection than the first number plate combination mentioned. The impact from stone chips, grit, salt and even sunlight are all significantly reduced by the acrylic layer on the second manufactured method.

The acrylic sheet, in order to comply with BS AU145e needs to be hardwearing, UV stable, impact, bend, and temperature resistant (all to a specific requirement) which helps protect against a lot of elements that number plates are subject to on a day to day basis.

Longevity and quality of finish

Standard printed number plates of this combination also look significantly better. The clear acrylic produces a crisper appearance than that of the substrate and clear film method; longevity of number plates manufactured using the latter method is drastically improved too.

Due to the protection from the elements because of the front face being made of solid acrylic, the reflective sheet is protected unlike the clear film on the inferior method which results in peeling to be crucially reduced. As peeling is reduced, the standard number plates will last longer which fundamentally saves you, the driver, money on petty expenses for items such as faded number plates.

Here at JDM Plates, we can offer a range of sizes in the ‘standard number plate’ format using the superior method mentioned above. We have in-house laser cutters and utilize laser cutting technology as well as thermal and laserjet printing techniques. With this combination of processes, we can create a vast range of smaller and completely road legal printed number plates for cars as well as motorcycles within the UK. Our standard motorbike number plates in the smallest allowable sizes are a popular choice amongst riders within the UK. The smallest legal size number plates do depend on the registration number however. If you have a private number plate with less than 7 character, then a short printed number plate can be beneficial!

With every vehicle type comes a choice as to whether a square or oblong number plate looks better. Please note, here at JDM Plates we can offer square number plates in our preferred manufacturing method. However, side note; oblong number plates unfortunately are not road legal on motorcycles therefore motorcycles should have square number plates secured to them in order to be road legal. Trailer number plates however are primarily square due to the recess for the number plate being the limiting factor not allowing a wide oblong number plate to fit.

Printed import number plate is what JDM Plates specialise in. We wanted to fill a gap in the market to provide custom size printed number plates for imported vehicles. Some folk believe that import number plates need to be square – over 2 lines – this is not the case. Using our aforementioned laser cutting technology, we can provide import size printed number plates in a range of dimensions that satisfy legislation. However, it must be noted that import number plates are not allowed to be used on UK cars due to the letter sizing being too small as they are the same size as motorcycle characters. For printed number plates to be road legal on UK cars, the lettering needs to be 50mm wide x 79mm high.

It may be worth considering when looking for your next set of standard number plates how they are manufactured. Companies try to cut corners and reduce costs where applicable which ultimately costs the consumer more money in the long run. Ensure you know that you are buying high quality printed number plates that will last you for years to come which are also fully road legal and compliant with relevant British Standard.

Buy your next set of printed number plates from JDM Plates

Here at JDM Plates, we produce thousands of high quality printed number plates and we only use the very best materials and equipment to carry out our work. We believe that investing in those things will help us become the leading printed number plate manufacturer in the U.K.

We do offer a range of number plate styles such as 4D number plates, 3d Gel plates, Hex plates and EV plates and we do stress that all of our number plates are manufactured using the latter, superior, acrylic plate and dry reflective combination! This gives all of our number plates that extra edge over a lot of manufacturers out there that use the sub-standard processes and materials. 

For all number plates enquiries, you can call us on 01493 230023or alternatively email us on our contact page or contact forms scattered around the website! So, if you have recently purchased some private number plates or your current number plates are simply looking old and tired; get in touch today!

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