Wires and cables are used everywhere, from cars and planes to offices and server rooms. These wires must be appropriately identified and can resist the environments in which they’re found. This can include resistance to scratching, exposure to chemicals and solvents, as well as extreme temperatures and weather conditions. However, not all labels are created equal. Wire and cable labels come in a variety of sizes and formats made from various materials to meet the specific needs of different projects.
Here we’ll rundown some of the most common electrical cable identification methods currently available on the market and the benefits they provide.
Wrap-Around Electrical Wire Labels
These wrap-around labels are a great way to label both terminated and unterminated cables, offering a permanent, durable solution. These electrical wire labels are self-laminating, which provides optimal resistance to abrasion, chemicals, and temperature, and are the recommended choice when addressing durability and stability requirements. Available in laser and thermal-transfer formats, they can be printed with your printer of choice, such as Brother or Zebra. They are a great option when you want to make sure the printout won’t fade or smudge over time.
Utilized by the automotive label industry and in construction, these labels offer the needed protection against outside factors like weather and chemicals that could compromise your data. Their strong adhesion to curved wires and cables subject to movement make them an ideal solution for identifying areas that undergo routine maintenance and repair. A great way to organize your cables and reduce maintenance time.
Flagging Electrical Wire Labels
Flag labels for your wires and cables are two-sided and offer far more print area than other options, perfect for barcodes are needed. Unlike other wire labels, flag labels provide a flat surface that can be easily viewed from either side and allows both 1D and 2D barcodes to be scanned with ease. Another advantage of flag wire and cable labels is that they can be provided with an adhesive-free tail, which means no adhesive comes in direct contact with the wire, making removal clean and simple.
These flag labels can be provided in a P- or T- shape as needed and can be applied to a wide range of cable diameters and are recommended for tight spaces when readability and scanning are required. Available in a range of colors for color-coding, these electrical wire labels are ideal for coaxial, shielded/unshielded twisted-pair cables, fiber optic, USB, display, and other communication/data cables and can be used before or after termination work.
Heat Shrink Sleeves
Heat shrink tubing is a type of protective electrical insulation that shrinks when heat is applied, with a durable exterior and tight fit. Commonly used in the insulation protection of cables, wires, and terminals, it molds around the shape of the cable or wire, protecting against various environmental strains and damage. The sleeves can be moved up or down the wire prior to being heat shrunk into position but need to be slid over the wire before termination.
This form of electrical cable identification can be used to identify various components, bundle loose wires, color-code cables, and act as an environmental seal to protect from chemicals and moisture, or as a protective covering to safeguard from damage, peeling, cutting, and abrasion. They are a versatile option, available in various sizes and thicknesses to fit a vast array of wires. It should be noted that heat tools are required to shrink the tubing to its final size, which are not needed for other wire and cable labels. Depending on your needs, a custom-made solution might be required. In this case, partnering with an experienced label manufacturer is your best choice. They can recommend the ideal labeling solution for your application and tailor it to your exact specifications. Whether you require a wrap-around, flag, or even simple folded label, they should be able to meet your requirements.