How Extruded Panel Highway Guide Signs Are Made

What are Highway Guide Signs?

Highway Guide Sign

Highway guide signs provide mileage and directional information to specific destinations and feature white text on a green reflective background. They are typically placed overhead but they can also be located on the side of a freeway.

Warehouse full of guide signs

According to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highway (MUTCD), green colored signs indicate guide messages. Signs describing upcoming exits, mileages to upcoming cities, and mile markers are all guide messages, so they appear in white letters on a green background.

How Extruded Panel Guide Signs Are Made: Step by Step

Cut & Punch


extruded panel being cut with saw

  • The extruded panels are pulled from inventory to be cut and punched to the specified requirements provided by the customer. 
Aluminum Treatment 

 extruded panels in aluminum treatment tanks

  • After the panels are cut and punched, they begin the cleaning and etching phase of the fabrication process at our in-house chemical etching and corrosion treatment tanks. This process etches the aluminum panels surface to ensure better adhesion of the 3M Reflective Sheeting as well as provides increased corrosion protection. 
Sheeting Application

extruded panel laminator in action

3m reflective sheeting stock image

  • Once the panels are dry, they are sent to our sheeting and lamination department where they are sheeted and laminated at the same time using a combination of rollers and heated air blowers. As a 3M certified sign fabricator, we exclusively use 3M sheeting, inks, and over laminates to provide superior reflectively and weather resistance to all of our guide signs. 

extruded panel guide sign being assembled

  •  After the 3M sheeting and overlay films have been applied, it is time for the panels to be riveted together at our assembly department. 

applying legend to guide sign

  • Once the extruded panel guide sign has been assembled, the sign makes its way to "lay-out" where letters, numbers, and symbols are all applied.
Quality Audit

guide sign

extruded panel highway guide sign

  • The last step that our signs go through is a quality audit to ensure there is no sign damage and that the sign has been made to the proper specifications. 

highway guide sign delivery system

highway guide sign delivery system

  • The signs will be loaded on an Interstate open 30' trailer in the same sequence of installation. In addition, we can drop the trailer off at the jobsite and leave it for a prearranged period of time. Our loading team is well trained in the necessity of securely loading to prevent damage during travel. Our open 30' trailer delivery system, due to our ability to sequence loads, allows customers to concentrate on installing signs instead of locating the next sign to be installed; it simplifies the sign installation process. 

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