Wire and cable labels are an essential part of our modern world. Whether constructing a new building, manufacturing aviation and aerospace equipment or setting up an office network, wire and cable markings are used to clearly identify what is connected to what and whether there is any danger present. By using wire and cable labels, such as heat shrink tubing, self-laminating wraps and cable tags, electricians, technicians and installers are able to ensure that anyone working on the job site in the future is completely in the know and can maintain or update the system properly and safely.
Neumann Marking has been serving the needs of heavy industry organizations with their wire and cable identification needs for over 20 years. Not only do we provide a number of industrial label printers for a variety of applications, we also supply a variety of cable and wire markers in every size, colour and material type.
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Top 3 Types of Wire and Cable Labels
There are 3 main types of wire and cable markers that are used by electricians, technicians and network installers alike: Heat Shrink Labels, Self Laminating Wire Labels and Wire/Cable Tags.
Heat Shrink Labels
Sometimes referred to as core markers, wire labels, shrink tube labels, heat shrink tubing or heat shrink sleeves – this is the most common form of wire identification in electrical panels. Whatever term used in the field, we’re talking about printable polyolefin heat shrink tubing. They are used in panels of various sizes—from the small electrical panels of vehicles such as cranes, to large panels used to power an energy power plant.
The most common wire diameter sizes of heat shrink wire markers are 1/8” (3mm), 3/16” (5mm) and ¼” (8mm) though they can go up to 7/8” (21mm). The common wire gauges for shrink tube sleeves are 16-22 AWG, 10-20 AWG, 8-12 AWG, 6-18 AWG, 2-8 AWG, 0-5 AWG, and up to 0000-1 AWG. The shrink ratios are either 2:1 or 3:1 and there are various color combinations available such as black on white, black on yellow, black on red, black on green, black on blue and white on black. These color variations are available for specific applications such as black on red for fire alarm wires.
Watch one of our best selling heat shrink label printers, the Impact AWMS-245 Plus, in action.
Self Laminating Wire Labels
This style of wire marker is used when cable identification is needed but your wires are terminated and you cannot get a sleeve over the wire. Self laminating wire and cable labels, or self lams as they are known in heavy industry, are meant to wrap around the wire and offer a clear protective layer around the label.
They are generally made from clear polyester or vinyl label material with a small, white printable area. The installer can either hand write or use a label printer to mark the legend/data message. Similar to self lam labels are rotate and repeat labels that can also be used to wrap wires. Rotate and repeat labels are one color and the data is printed multiple times on the label allowing it to be read from any angle.
Watch a brief demo of the different ways to print self laminating wire labels here.
Cable tags, or tie on cable labels, are typically used on larger cables, conduit, wire bundles and hoses. The sizes range from ¼”, 1/2” and ¾” high and about 2 ½”-3” wide. Printed with a thermal transfer label printer such as the TSC TTP-247 or Impact AWMS-245 Plus desktop label printer, the color is usually white and the material is tear-resistant polyethylene. The installer then uses zip ties or cable ties of nylon or stainless steel to mount to the cables.
Wire and cable tags can be a very affordable alternative to lamicoids or stainless steel cable tags which require an expensive engraving machine to produce. Flame retardant cable tags are also available for special applications such as in avionics FRT tags which are made of a thermoplastic polyether-polyurethane material and are halogen free, hydrolysis and micro-organism resistant.
The Label Printers That Make It All Happen
There are a number of excellent desktop and portable label printers that can be used to produce wire and cable labels. Many organizations will go with a combination of both, using the desktop printers for large volume printing in preparation for a project install and using portable printers at the job site for on-the-fly printing and adjustments. But don’t take our word for it – check out this case study on Fibertel Communications where they talk about the printers and supplies they used for a large college campus datacom installation.
Want to talk to our industrial identification experts about your wire id needs for your next project – call us at 780-434-9152, Toll-Free at 1-800-268-7636 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.