Dog Tags

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The dog tag is an informal tag for identification worn by military personnel. Do to their resemblance to actual dog tags. These tags are primarily used for the identification, such as for the dead or wounded. On the tags is basic medical information such as blood type and history of inoculations. Dog tags are usually made out of corrosion-resistant metal such as aluminum, monel or stainless-steel (war-time has forced them to use whatever metals were available). If the person has a medical condition that requires special attention, an additional red tag with the information is worn with the dog tags.

The process of making dog tag is to use sheet metal embossing. Sheet metal embossing is produce by raising or sickening designs on the metal tags. There are different types of process that can be use such as matching male to female roller dies, or by passing sheet or a strip of metal between rolls of the desired pattern.

Embossing the metal tags is accomplished with a combination of heat and pressure on the tag depending on what type of embossing is required. With any procedure, the metals thickness has change in its composition.

Metal tags are pulled through the male and female roller dies producing a pattern or design on the metal sheet. Depending on the roller dies used, different patterns can be produced on the metal sheet. This pressure and a combination of heat actually "iron" while raising the level of the image higher than the substrate to make it smooth. The term "impressing" enables one to distinguish an image lowered into the surface of a material, in distinction to an image raised out of the surface of a material

In most of the pressure embossing operation machines, the upper roll blocks are stationary, while the bottom roll blocks are movable. The pressure with which the bottom roll is raised is referred to as the tonnage capacity.

Embossing machines are generally sized to give 2" of strip clearance on each side of an engraved embossing roll. Many embossing machines are custom-manufactured, so there are no industry-standard widths. It is not uncommon to find embossing machines in operation producing patterns less than 6" wide all the way up to machines producing patterns 70"+ wide.

Military wear
Soldiers are required to where tags all times while in the field. For soldiers, dog tags contain two copies of the information and are designed to break easily into two pieces. This allows half the tag to be collected for notification while the other half remains with the body when battle conditions do not allow the casualty to be immediately recovered. Alternatively, two identical tags are issued. One is worn on a long chain around the neck; the second on a much smaller chain attached to the first chain. In the event the wearer is killed the second tag is collected and the first remains with the body.


Dog tag tattoos, alternately known as "meat tags" are growing in popularity for active U.S. soldiers. These are tattoos that are usually featured on the torso, and can be used for identification in case the deceased is otherwise unidentifiable.

Non-military wear
Also, dog tags have recently found their way into youth fashion by way of military chic. Originally worn as a part of a military uniform by youths wishing to present a tough or militaristic image, dog tags have since seeped out into wider fashion circles. They may be inscribed with a person's details, their beliefs or tastes, a favorite quote, or may bear the name or logo of a band or performer. Some people also prefer to have the information on their tags transferred to a smaller, sometimes golden or silver tag by a jeweler, as the original tag can be considered too large and bulky by some. Some are also used for health problems such as heart problems or epilepsy.

Types of Embossers for Dog Tag use:

  • ZM04801 CIM M10HE Embosser and Debosser - Manual, portable dog tag embosser, ideal for use in the field.

  • ZM08705 CIM MDT 500 or ZM08706 CIM MDT 500 Plus - Portable automatic dog tag and medical alert tag embosser.

  • ZM08603 CIM ME Series ME1000 Embosser - Manual-feed, heavy-duty, dog tag embosser for medium- volume.

  • ZM08703 CIM ME Series ME2000 Embosser - Fully-automatic, heavy-duty dog tag embosser, ideal for large-volume use such as at a central processing center.

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