CERN (the acronym for the European Organization for Nuclear Research) found out when it had to identify and remove 9,000 obsolete cables in order to upgrade, the importance of labeling cables. The extra care to get this task out of the way before installing cables will save you a headache in the future when it comes to performing maintenance or removing them. A complex setup can become a nightmare when you're trying to figure out which cable goes where, but thankfully it's one that's easily avoided. You need to identify your cables beforehand. Different label types and markers are used for an array of conduits, depending on if they are cables, wires, pipes or similar items. We are next going to look at the variety of available labeling products.
CABLE IDENTIFICATION TAGS
A cable ID tag typically consists of a tie that loops around cables (or cable bundles) with a tag on the end that serves to identify what it's wrapped around. Tags are found just about everywhere, from the networking and electrical fields to home use in entertainments systems and home theaters. There are many pre-printed varieties or blank options such as Kableflags® that let you write in whatever type of label you wish. These tags are useful because they allow for an easily readable, highly visible flat surface to clearly show the ID. A possible drawback to this type of system is that a tag hanging from cabling or bundles can take up room and be cumbersome. There are several varieties of tags, some with hook and loop closures, like the Panduit® Thermal Transfer Marker Plates.. Unitag™ from RIP-TIE® can be rotated 360 degrees for even more convenient identification.
Wire markers typically wrap around the cable and feature an identifying mark, usually a number or a color. This system makes it easy to ID a cable at a glance. The labeling process is simplified by using numbers and/or colors — it can be difficult to read longer text around the surface of a thin wire. A wire marker might be a tape-style, like the ones from Klein Tools®. These use adhesive to wrap around an individual cable. It may also be a plastic expandable ring that clips around the circumference. Wire markers are used to ID a single cable and aren't large enough to accommodate bundles.
HEAT SHRINK LABELS
If you need a wrap-around label in an environment where an adhesive label with the potential to peel is absolutely not an option, a heat shrink label may be your best bet. These labels from Panduit® are sleeves that fit around cables, then shrink to conform to the size and shape of the cable via application of heat. This creates a snugly fit label around wires and cables that won't peel or slip off — and can be used in a wide variety of environmental conditions. There are military grade heat shrink labels designed for radiation exposure, thermal aging and other challenging conditions. Heat shrink may be preferable to typical adhesive wire markers for applications that needs to be long-lasting and stand up to tough environmental conditions.
Like identifying cables, it is important to properly mark pipes to ensure that details like contents, flow direction and other factors are evident and visible. There are a few different types of markers to identify pipes, including fastening systems that strap, snap or mount a label on the pipe. Adhesive markers that stick directly to pipes are another way to recognize a pipe. A mounting clip straps onto the pipe and keeps your label separate and away from the pipe, in case the contents within or the pipe surface could affect the label. A strap-on system from Brady® attaches the marker without using adhesives, so that it can be secured to a textured or oily surface. For simpler applications, adhesive pipe markers or banding tape may suffice.
Shop here at CableOrganizer® for cable labels and printers.