Braille Sign Supplies of Torquay says its new BrailleFace, an innovative manufacturing process using one piece of metal, is attracting interest in Australia and abroad.
|Travis Ashford, braille sign|
BrailleFace, developed by Braille Sign Director Travis Ashford, produces continuous-sided braille and tactile signs from a single piece of aluminum, stainless steel and other types of metals such as brass and the copper.
“No parts are attached to the panel in any way, the process creates Braille and tactile panels that have exceptional durability, superior hygienic properties and are non-combustible,” the company said in a statement. from its factory in the seaside town of Torquay, 97 kilometers southwest of Melbourne.
“The fact that there is no etched part on the panel, which means there are no grooves or crevices for bacteria, is of significant importance in high traffic areas,” such as public transport and the health sector. A continuous-sided braille and touchscreen panel is also easier to clean and more comfortable to use, with no sharp edges or etched parts that could become dislodged over time.
Ashford, a skilled writer, started Braille Sign Supplies in his small Jan Juc garage 17 years ago after finding braille and tactile signage difficult to find. “Either they were cheap non-compliant imports or they were expensive with long delivery times,” he said.
After learning how to make Braille & Tactile signs on his own, the company took off with increasing demand due to changes in the building code. The original method was to drill holes in the panel and then manually insert each braille bead, which was labor intensive and made the panels vulnerable to vandalism and difficult to clean.
In 2014, Ashford found a solution for acrylic signs and produced them using a hydraulic press with 200 tons of pressure and heat to form a continuous face molded acrylic braille and tactile sign. The new method provided flexibility with colors, designs and backgrounds, allowing artistic freedom for designers.
Ashford continued to look for a better way to produce metal signs, which were made through the traditional process of machining and inserting braille beads – known as the Applique method.
After years of research and development, “an idea sprouted at a trade fair four years ago. After studying local options, Ashford ordered a machine from Germany and designed the tools himself in Torquay.