At present number plates may be manufactured using any material which performs satisfactorily in service, providing the requirements of the standard are met. Clearly, in many cases they do not.
Legislation regarding the durability and photometric quality of number plates sold in the UK has changed.
ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) is no longer just about speeding cameras. Good quality easily legible number plates during day and night hours are also required for matters of national security these days.
The new current standard for number plate testing within the UK is BS AU 145e : 2018 which specifies revised performance criteria of the following to assist ANPR capture and confirm construction durability:
• Chromaticity and Luminance properties
• Retro-reflection properties of character and reflective
• Accelerated weathering testing using daylight filtered xenon arc exposures
• Resistance to bending, impact, abrasion and corrosion by salt and solvents
• Thermal resistance to distortion and delamination during extremes of temperature
• Contrast ratio assessment of the characters against the reflective in the nIR spectrum for ANPR capture after mechanical testing.
The irony and frustration at AWL remains that after all of the additional costs required for conformance to BS AU 145e : 2018, no controls are yet in place regarding the laminator used to produce a number plate unit.
AWL is of the opinion that inclusion of an approved laminators, or at least compulsory requirements for a laminator should be provided within an annex of the new standard after its next revision. It has been our view for many years that without controls here, poor quality number plates in terms of adhesive delamination and other related effects will continue to hit the market place despite the use of good quality acrylics, adhesives and reflectives.
There is also the danger of course that poorly laminated number plate units submitted for testing may fail certain clauses of the standard despite being manufactured from high quality components.
For more information regarding number plate testing, please do not hesitate to contact us to further discuss your requirements.