Who is Phoenix Foundry and why should I use them?
Phoenix Foundry is the leading Australian-owned supplier of cast bronze plaques. We have been creating and manufacturing beautiful cast bronze memorial markers, columbarium plaques, commercial and house signs, commemorative products, cast metal letters and numbers, honour rolls, coats of arms and badges since 1983. Phoenix Foundry supplies cast bronze products to the USA, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Do I have to consider copyright or permission for the use of emblems?
It’s important to note that approval from the Commonwealth Department of Veterans’ Affairs is required for the use of any military badge.
There are a variety of Military badges which vary depending upon the time of service. In order to ensure that the correct badge is used, a copy of the Discharge Certificate or any service papers which prove service is required to be sent to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
If these papers are unavailable then the Veteran’s full name, date of birth, date of death, service under which the Veteran served and service number is required. This process may take some weeks.
Memorial and Other Motifs
Some motifs in the Phoenix Motif Library and database may be copyright protected. This means that permission from the owner of the Copyright is required before it is used on a plaque or sign. Permission is usually granted by the copyright owner for one off memorial use at no charge.
Memorial Plaques in Public Venues
All Memorial Plaques to be installed in public venues require permission from the local Council to ensure they meet standard requirements. These requirements may relate to any number of elements such as size, color or fixing system, and will vary according to the type of memorial required (for example, burial, cremation or garden).
How do I design my bronze product?
Choose the product required from the listing under Our Bronze Products
- Use the information in the Design Information listing to help help choose how you’d like your product to loo
- Go the Order Enquiry section to choose from ordering on-line or choosing to contact Phoenix for help by a friendly staff member.
Rest assured that you will ALWAYS receive a proof from Phoenix Foundry before your order is finalised.
What size should I use? What size will look best?
It’s completely understandable that many customers are concerned about whether their product will look right in their desired location, whether it will be appropriate for the occasion, and whether their wording might look squashed or not quite right. Much of this concern is directly related to the size of the product.
Once you know what you are going to use the product for, and where the product will be going, you can then use the information provided on this website (or by contacting Phoenix Foundry directly) to help make your decision on size.
Sizes for Cemeteries
If you’re ordering a memorial marker or columbarium plaque to go into a cemetery, then you’ll need to find out a) which cemetery it’s going to be placed in, and b) what the size, fixing and design specifications are for that particular cemetery. Many cemeteries have their own pricing structure which is dependent upon these plaque specifications. Some cemeteries also have their own additional charges. This information may then dictate the type of product that you can choose.
Sizes for Other Products
You may find it helpful to read through our Design Information on size, which includes the most common sizes for many of our products. This will give you a starting point for creating your bronze product.
Remember that Phoenix Foundry staff have lots of experience in helping customers choose a size that is going to best suit their requirements. Please feel free to contact Phoenix directly to discuss your ideas over the phone or via email
What happens if I need to make changes to my order AFTER signing off on the proof?
Phoenix Foundry or your Local Memorial Consultant will be able to advise you what charges (if any) apply when you make the request for changes. Please note, however, that charges may apply in the following circumstances:
- A request for your plaque, sign or other product to be completed in less than 10 working days (called an accelerated delivery surcharge)
- Any changes to your order once production of it has commenced (called a restart)
- Changes to individual letters (usually spelling or name changes) or numbers (usually dates) on a finished ‘cast’ plaque or sign. Problems can arise if the change means the lettering or numbering will no longer fit into the existing space
- The addition of an individual motif to an existing plaque or sign
How do I place my order?
Placing orders for Memorial and Cremation Plaques going into a Cemetery
If you’re ordering a memorial or cremation plaque to go into a cemetery, then you’ll need to find out:
- which cemetery it’s going to be placed in, and
- what the size, fixing and design specifications are for that particular cemetery.
Many cemeteries have their own pricing structure which is dependent upon these plaque specifications. Some cemeteries also have their own additional charges. This information may then dictate the type of product that you can choose.
Placing orders for all other Products
- Memorial Markers and Columbarium Plaques NOT going into a cemetery,
- Take Home Memorials,
- Pet Memorials,
- Commemorative Plaques and Signs,
- Commercial Plaques and Signs,
- House Signs and Numbers
All can be placed via our online Design System (DOTS) or the Order Enquiry Form. Once you are happy with your product’s proof and cost, you can sign and return the accompanying consent form. Your order is then placed and it proceeds to the casting process. You will also be required to pay for your order at this stage. See the FAQ section entitled ‘How can I pay for my order?’ for more information.
How long will my product take to manufacture and deliver?
Although the production process can sometimes vary according to the type and level of detail of the product ordered, most standard orders received by Phoenix Foundry have a 4-week turnaround time. (i.e. 4 weeks following approval of the proof and/or quote).
What happens during my products casting process?
Phoenix Foundry manufactures thousands of bronze plaques and associated products every month, each one individually handcrafted and cast. There are 8 stages within the production process:
- Plaque Design – The layout of the inscription, motifs and other design features are keyed up in computer programs from information provided by our customer.
- Negative Production – The requested plaque designs are transferred to a photographic negative in an image setter.
- Moulding – The patterns are placed in a mould box and covered with a thin layer of virgin sands. The remainder of the box is filled with a mix of silica sand and binder which hardens the mould. The mould is then stripped and assembled to receive the molten bronze.
- Pouring – Bronze ingoys are melted to a temperature of around 1200 deg C. The molten bronze is poured into the mould and solidifies in the form of the finished plaque.
- Fettling – The plaque is cleaned and excess bronze is removed from around the plaque.
- Detailing – Required fixings are attached and any irregularities are eliminated.
- Linishing and Painting – The plaque is painted the requested color in a spray booth. The raised surfaces is then ground with a belt linishing machine to bring up the bronze metallic color. A clear protective layer of paint is then applied.
- Inspection and Packing – The plaques udergo a final quality inspection and are packed ready for dispatch.
Will my bronze product require any maintenance (indoors or outdoors)?
Your bronze plaque, sign, commemorative product or cast metal lettering should not require major regular maintenance of any type. The metal and all physical and design features of Phoenix bronze products will remain intact indefinitely.
Phoenix Foundry finishes all bronze products with a clear protective surface coating which ensures the product retains its visual appeal in the long term. Our coating is a Two Pack Thermosetting Acrylic clear paint, applied as a spray in a special purpose paint booth. The process is identical to that used on motor vehicles. In fact, the protective paint used at Phoenix Foundry is also used on superior motor cars such as BMWs. Both Phoenix Foundry and our paint supplier regularly conduct tests to assist us in arriving at the best possible paint and application procedures. This ensures our bronze products maintain their optimum appearance in all conditions.
However, eventually over a long period of time, the paint or patina and clear surface protective coating will break down and detract from the overall appearance of the product. The paint colour and integrity can be affected by ultraviolet light, extreme temperatures and extreme weather. Patina can be affected by extreme weather, industrial fall-out (chemicals) and high levels of atmospheric pollution. The clear surface protective coating can be affected by industrial fall-out (chemicals), accumulated dirt and airborne pollutants that may dull or bleach it, natural substances such as bird droppings, insect stains or tree saps that may mark or etch the film, and water containing salt or other minerals (eg bore water) that may cause the coating to fade.
Phoenix Foundry therefore recommends a degree of low-level, easy care and maintenance procedures which have the aim of preserving the paint and clear surface protective coating for as long as possible.
General Care and Maintenance
As a general rule, it is best to leave the product surface untouched. Only commence these procedures if obvious deterioration or staining occurs.
Plaques and Signs with a Painted Background and Clear Protective Coating:
1. Clean the plaque or sign with warm water and detergent
2. If necessary use a brush with soft plastic bristles such as a toothbrush
3. Do not use a wire brush or abrasive cleaning products
4. Rinse with clear water
Plaques and Signs with a Patina or Bare Metal Finish:
- Clean plaque or sign as above
- If the surface is tarnished or oxidised leaving an unattractive appearance, carefully rub over the surface with a fine “Scotch Brite” pad
- Wipe off the surface until it is clean and dry
- Apply a thin even coating of Microcrystalline wax
- Allow to dry and polish with a soft cloth
In the unlikely event of your bronze product deteriorating to the extent where the recommended care and maintenance steps are not effective, Phoenix can offer two product refurbishing options:
- Factory Refurbishment – the product is removed from the base structure and returned to Phoenix Foundry. The remaining paint and protective coating is removed by sand blasting. It is then subjected to the regular painting and protective coating procedures that all new bronze products receive. The product will be returned in an “as new” condition with the maximum possible protection against future deterioration.
- On-site Refurbishment – the product stays where it is (due its removal being impractical or not desired), and is refurbished in-situ using the Refurbishing Kit that Phoenix will supply. The Refurbishing Kit contains: a wire brush; abrasive paper; a brown paint aerosol spray can; a clear paint aerosol spray can; masking tape and a sanding block (eraser) used for plaques or signs with fine detail. You will also need to use a scrubbing brush, water bucket and some detergent. Note that the result will not be to as high a standard or as durable as a factory refurbished product, but certainly a much improved appearance will be achieved.
How to use the On-Site Refurbishment Kit:
Note that the paint drying times may need to be extended in cold weather.
1. Wash the product with detergent and water using a scrubbing brush. Rinse with clean water and allow to dry
2. Thoroughly clean the surface with the wire brush and dust off
3. Mask around the product to prevent paint getting on the surrounding area
4. Spray 3 coats of brown paint (allowing 1 minute between each coat) and allow paint to dry
5. Highlight the raised elements of the plaque or product (eg. inscription, border and motifs) with the abrasive paper
6. Thoroughly remove dust and grit with a soft brush and dust clean
7. Spray 4 coats of clear paint (allowing 1 minute between each coat)
Do I always have to use only bronze for my product?
As a first choice, Phoenix Foundry always recommends the use of bronze (an alloy of copper and tin) for any plaque, sign, emblem or commemorative product. Apart from its appealing ‘golden’ color post-casting, bronze is extremely durable and maintains an excellent standard of finish for generations.
However, there may be certain circumstances where other metals may need to be used. For example:
- Where a ‘silver’ colour is desired on parts of the plaque or sign, or special effects are required
- Where weight of the plaque or sign is an issue
- Where matching older style engraved plates is a priority
There are several other options that Phoenix Foundry can recommend to help you achieve the look or functionality that you require from your product:
Any plaque, sign, lettering or commemorative product can be made from aluminium. Aluminium can also be used for the raised sections of plaques or signs. It is important to note, though, that aluminium’s density (2700kg/m3) is only about one third of the density of bronze (8300kg/m3), and is cast in sand moulds at less heat than bronze. This means that aluminium does not have the durability and sustainability of bronze. The grade of aluminium used by Phoenix Foundry is DA601 aluminium, which is an alloy of 91% aluminium with silicon, iron and magnesium.
There are various other metals that Phoenix Foundry can work with such as stainless steel which can be used successfully for engraving or to achieve a particular ‘look’. Contact Phoenix Foundry if you’d like to discuss the options of using other metals for your selected product.