In the past the most common means of illumination was neon. This technology is very old, expensive to manufacture as well as expensive to operate. Power consumption, reliability and the hazard of high voltage requirements has been superseded by the newer LED illumination technologies. Neon still has its place for the unique lighting and colors that neon can provide for specific applications, but for normal applications the LED technology is less expensive to fabricate and operate while producing a brighter illumination.

Inside of a Channel Letter Cabinet. Led Lights strung throughout passing back through the wall to the power source.

In the past we have discussed the applications, advantages and varying styles of channel letters available. Channel Letters are one of the most common illuminated type storefront signs used today. The technology today allows for fairly complex shapes, lighting styles and colors. This provides the designer more flexibility to be creative and create unique signs that will draw the attention of your potential customer.

Manufacturing techniques have changed quite a bit as well because of the introduction of CNC benders and crimping machines. The body of the letters or “Can” used to be formed around patterns and nails by hand which was labor intensive as well as more difficult to produce consistent shapes. The CNC machines now can form, bend and crimp automatically which has increased throughput as well as improved consistency in shapes.

Channel Letter Custom Cut Shape Lit prior to installation.

Mounting methods have also changed. Letters mounted on a raceway or channel which houses the wiring and power supplies used to be fabricated from sheet aluminum. This fabrication process required a fabricator to cut, bend and crimp a sheet metal panel into a long channel. Additionally the also had to fabricate the cap which covers the opening in the top of the raceway. Newer technologies in metal extrusion allow the raceway to be made from a long aluminum shaped extrusion which reduces labor cost in the fabrication process as well as providing a more consistent and rigid product.

In the following link, a video produced by the Science Channel explains how channel letters are produced.

Channel letter Fabrication

Stacked Channel Letters Creating 2 Lines of Type.

We recently installed a channel letter set for Dental Excellence of Parksburg. These were raceway mounted letters, one set stacked on top of another set to provide (2) lines of copy. They were mounted on a masonry wall with expanding masonry anchors. Power was run through the masonry wall in a seal-tite sleeve to protect the wires. This type of installation is much less labor intensive than individual letters as well as creating less penetrations into the wall of the structure.

Channel letters are typically easy to service. If the power supply fails you can easily reach the supply if mounted in the raceway for replacement. Also if the LED’s fail, the face of the letters are easily removable for access to replace the LED string if required.

If you are considering channel letters for your business, give the experts a call at Paramount Signs.

Remember, “getting you noticed is Paramount”.

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