Green License Plate Production

By Glen Davis, Operations Supervisor, Arizona Correctional Industries and
Brad Barondeau, Marketing Manager, 3M


Arizona Correctional Industries (ACI) had been making plates with a conventional process that dates back 40 years. They screened license plate sheeting, applied ink to the raised alphanumeric characters and then dried the plates in an oven to remove the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s). The hundreds of gallons of diesel fuel burned to run the production line, the natural gas for the oven, the inks for printing and the VOC’s emitted by the process a…ffected the air quality in the state.

License Plates

License Plates

ACI found the production of license plates with a digital process to be a more environmentally friendly method of producing license plates. Digital license place production is a dry method of plate production that eliminates the diesel fueled production line, the natural gas oven, printing inks and all emissions. An estimated 1100 pounds per year of VOC’s are eliminated for each one million license plates produced by switching to the new dry printing method.

UntitledThere are additional operational benefits as well. All plate art work is stored in the system’s computer so ACI does not have to stock rolls of specialty plate sheeting. Another benefit is that all design work can now be done on site, reducing design and approval time for specialty plates. Plate production is now “just in time”, which allows ACI to keep their inventories at much lower levels. To save production time, and cost, the general issue Arizona plate is preprinted and the digital system efficiently prints the alphanumeric characters. It is also estimated that the cycle time for specialty plates has been reduced from weeks to days using a digital printing system.

Arizona’s Governor, the state’s DOT and DMV approved moving to the new production system in June 2007. The new system was installed and production began in late 2007. This was a very important step towards allowing the citizens of Arizona to breathe cleaner air!

Brian Radecki, CEO/General Manager, ACI commented, “We are pleased with all aspects of the digital printing process as it allows for smooth fl ow, a spotless production facility, just in time delivery and low inventory costs.”

From the Associated Press – November 10, 2007, Interview with Motor Vehicles Division spokesman Cydney DeModica: 

The change allows for more flexible production runs, doesn’t increase costs and eliminates paint drying that produced chemical emissions, DeModica said. “It actually has worked out all around.”

DeModica said Arizona is the 23rd state to switch to the new process o…ffered by 3M Co., which already is the contractor to supply license material used by the Department of Corrections’ inmate work program, Arizona Correctional Industries.

“It wasn’t anything brand new and untried and untested,” DeModica said.


Best Plate of 2011

Best Plate of 2011


Arizona was recently awarded
the Best Plate of 2011 by
The Automobile License Plate Collectors Association
(ALPCA, Inc).



For more information on Arizona Correctional Industries’ digital process please contact Glen Davis, ACI Operations Supervisor, 602-447-3112

For more information on digital license plate printing solutions, please contact your 3M Government Services Manager or visit