Methods For Labeling Machinery Wiring
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    Default Methods For Labeling Machinery Wiring

    Anyone have any recommendations on identification tags for wiring? I'm putting together a control box right now, and I'm forced to duplicate some colors (mixed AC/DC stuff and pre-wired modules). Per NFPA 79 it looks like I'll be fine, assuming I've got ID tags on each ends of the conductors. Not sure what to use. I'm thinking some kind of laminated, adhesive tag with letter or number designations that I can reference in the documentation. Nothing too crazy as far as temperature extremes - The insulation is only rated to 85°C.

    Ultimately this thing isn't going to need to pass any kind of certification. It will however be used as a demonstration and test bed. Lots of showing off and mucking around in there.

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    They sell sticker books on amazon for maybe $10-20. Letters and numbers although the ones I got never had enough numbers.

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    I find the slip-on markers the best choice. I would not recommend any type of adhesive or sticker type. Too often I see the stuff just fall off after a few years - this including wiring I did in the past. A "permanent" adhesive marking system from 3M I was using some 20 years ago all peeled off on a system I recently got back.


    PMH Series - Phoenix Contact - Markers | Online Catalog | DigiKey Electronics

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    Quote Originally Posted by jonesturf View Post
    They sell sticker books on amazon for maybe $10-20. Letters and numbers although the ones I got never had enough numbers.
    Similar to what he said but someone sells a roll with only 0-9 so you can make whatever number you need.

    Also available are adhesive write on labels that have a small white tab and a clear strip about 3x as long as the white part. You write the number on the white part and wrap around the wire and the clear part acts as a protector.

    I assume you don't have a label maker but if you did there are heat shrink sleeves that can have numbers printed on them.

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    There is clear heat shrink tubing that can be used to make a temporary label permanent.

    I miss the old number markers that were printed on a fabric based stock. The adhesive would eventually disolve in oil, but if the marker was kept dry it would last a long time. I have machines with 60 year old labels just as readable and firmly attached as when they left the factory.

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    I have the 3M wire marker tape sets, bought used and of unknown age. Amazon.com: 3M 12174 Wire Marker Tape Dispenser: Automotive The adhesive does not stick well and the tape falls off in a short time. So I put clear heat shrink tubing over the marker tape, making it close to permanent, but not eternal. Works well and looks neat.

    The best markers I have seen are aluminum with embossed markings. The old-time motor makers used them to identify the motor leads in the junction box.

    Larry


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    I have a set of slip on markers similar to those linked to by billzwieg, Tyco brand I think. Not completely impressed. Big adavantage is that you can clip them on with wires connected. Theoretically they stay in place with any reasonable size wire but my experience is that they will fall off unless the wire size is so small that they slide up and down instead. OK they usually stay in place but finding 5 out of 40 lying in the bottom of the electrical cabinet 5 or so years after installation doesn't inpire long term confidence. Better if you do a bit of clip wrangling with a scriber point to ensure proper seating and wrap round rather than simple component spring retention. Bit of a faff really. Not Bubba proof either.

    Best ones are the full round sleeves, preferably heat shrink type, but you need specific sizes to fit each wire diameter you use. Not too bad if doing series production but a stock nightmare for Mr Fixit types. I have machinery over 50 years old with black on white numbering still excellently legible. Slack slip on if the wire is too small can work but its a right pain if one or more numbers slip away into hiding. Had to do a fixit on a control box set up with about 6 wires misplaced for that reason. I ended up having to trace the wiring and figure out the circuit, naturally no documentation. When I disconnected things and moved the wires around the errant numbers shyly popped out of hiding. If I haven't got a small enough size I prefer to put a rubber sleeve on first to build things up so the numbers stay put.

    Clive

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    Could you use bands of colored shrink tubing at each end of a wire? This would be a lot more durable than any kind of label or tape. Documentation would say something like Red Wire/Black Band or RED/BLK.

    In the old days it was common to use wires with different color tracer stripes. With the 10 colors in the EIA color code in combination with stripes it was possible to use unique colors to identify individual circuits in complex assemblies.

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    There are heat shrink labels for the Dymo Rhino 6000 label printers (and similar devices).
    I don't own a Rhino printer, and I'm not shilling for these guys:
    Cable Labels, Wire Markers and Label Printers
    but they have a variety of permanent and probably-not-so-permanent options, at prices I hope you can beat.(!)

    Chip

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    Many years ago I made some tags using a DYMO plastic embosser label maker. The adhesive backing was incredibly strong and the tags held up very well. Wonder if one of these old embossers would be strong enough to punch aluminum strips for wraparound tags like the ones L Vanice refers to?

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    I've used the wife's nail polish and made a chart which I placed in the control box. Neal

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Fleming View Post
    Similar to what he said but someone sells a roll with only 0-9 so you can make whatever number you need.
    These are also useful for any yime you need to take something apart and would like to have temporary marks... three phase motor circuits come readily to mind. I've had both the plastic and paper tape type, and like the plastic better. The key is to make them long enough to wrap over themselves maybe one full wrap or more. I've had them come loose from old wire insulation so the slide back and forth, but never had them come loose from themselves.
    Also available are adhesive write on labels that have a small white tab and a clear strip about 3x as long as the white part. You write the number on the white part and wrap around the wire and the clear part acts as a protector.
    Careful what you write on these with. I received a brand new molding press from a major manufacturer that used relay labels of this type; some were pre-printed, while others were hand written in what I recall looked like ballpoint pen.Twenty years later, the pen ink has completely disappeared, like it was never there, except I remember it being there. My best guess is the ink simply evaporated in the heat of the cabinet, but troubleshooting sure sucks. Luckily they tended to number the relays on the DIN rail in order, so I can still find the numbers on the schematic and then count over from the last pre-printed one.

    Dennis

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    I like the slide on PVC sleeve types the most, If you go pro and use wire ferrals they can't come of that end even if the wire is disconnected, it only takes a small cable tie to stop em falling down the wire too.

    Wire labelling is one of thoes pain in the ass things, but come back in there in the future and it is so worth the effort. Same goes for neat wireing + using ferrles every were, it takes time, but its just so simple later.

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    I have been looking at the Epson labelworks Epson LabelWorks LW-600P App-enabled, Portable Label Printer with Bonus 1" (24mm) Tape Cartridge https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IL7BJMM..._.lsYwbZ1N359B .

    They sell labels specifically for wiring.

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    I've been using the Brady BMP21 for wire and terminal block labeling for a couple years now. Fantastic device. The label stock is pricey, but comes in many materials and colors. Pro-quality tool, you'll love it.

    Jeff

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    For places where they will not be bothered by conditions, I like the self laminating labels. You can print anything you want on them and they have a clear section which laps over the printing to protect it. I have seen them last over 10 years in use without any of them coming off or becoming illegible.

    For places with harsher conditions, like the inside and outside of much of our shop equipment, I like the heat shrink tubing that you can print on. Shrink it on and it stays put. PERIOD. It takes a lot to cut it off. They make printers that will print the label two or more times on each piece of tubing so the information is duplicated against loss from abrasive action. You can just purchase white or yellow heat shrink tubing and write on it with a pen or marker. But I don't know how long that would last.

    A trick is to use clear heat shrink tubing over whatever label you choose to use. It will go a long way toward protecting any label under it and the text will be perfectly legible.

    As for the markings themselves, I have seen several systems. Some of them try to incorporate the location of both ends of the wire in the label. That can produce long and confusing labels and I do not like it. I prefer simple, serial style numbers with the same number on both ends. A printed wiring list is used to show the TOs and FROMs and can also contain a lot more additional information.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cranium View Post
    Many years ago I made some tags using a DYMO plastic embosser label maker. The adhesive backing was incredibly strong and the tags held up very well. Wonder if one of these old embossers would be strong enough to punch aluminum strips for wraparound tags like the ones L Vanice refers to?
    Dymo makes one that will emboss plastic, aluminum, or SS tape. It has a built in hole puncher for tiny screws and slot puncher for cable ties.

    Amazon.com : DYMO Tapewriter Metal Tape Embosser (101105) : Label Applicators : Office Products

    My dad bought one of these when they first came out over 50 years ago. Only difference in the appearance from then to now is the old ones were chrome plated while they appear to be powder coated now. It comes with two embossing wheels. One will do raised characters like all the plastic label writers and the other will punch the characters into the tape rather than raising.

    The metal tape is available both with and without adhesive backing.

    Not cheap, but in a whole 'nuther class as compared to run of the mill tape embossers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gbent View Post
    I miss the old number markers that were printed on a fabric based stock. The adhesive would eventually disolve in oil, but if the marker was kept dry it would last a long time. I have machines with 60 year old labels just as readable and firmly attached as when they left the factory.
    Brady still has the markers made from vinyl coated fabric.

    https://www.bradyid.com/en-us/produc...e-label-books#

    The price is for a ten pack of sheets although it first appears that they're 25 bucks per sheet.

    I'd say there are more durable options out there today with the availability of heat shrink markers, but IMO the Brady cloth markers are about 10X more durable than the 3M number tape that's available in rolls.

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    Thanks for all the suggestions! Sorry about the lack of replies, I've been spending an inordinate amount of time getting this thing to take its first baby steps. I wanted to use a discrete computer for control, but ran into some issues so I had to switch gears and get an embedded single board computer. Going to have to do some finagling to get the thing nicely integrated into the enclosure. Might end up keeping it separate, could wind up running into some issues with EMI.

    I ordered some of the Phoenix tags that billzweig suggested right after I saw the post. They look like the bee's knees. I also like the thought of getting a printer that can handle heatshrink. Maybe not for this project, but I've got one application in particular that would be great for that kind of thing. Been doing small production runs for about two years now, labeled heat shrink would be a dead simple retrofit and ease the assembly process by quite a bit.

    The metal embosser is a damn cool tool - I've been toying around with doing the same thing with a 5 ton punch press, but it's kinda like remodeling a house with Tannerite.

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    Post 19 is the first mention of looking for a method of marking wires suitable for production. The various tag/sleeve/tape ideas are more suited to hand assembled low volume work.

    I worked for a truck maker who had to have complex wiring with means to trace the circuits. The making of the production wiring harnesses was farmed out to specialist suppliers. But the Engineering shops had to be able to make prototype harnesses to the production designs. the wires were insulated in a variety of solid and striped colors. But the wires also had numbers hot stamped into the insulation with a Kingsley hot stamping machine. They used special type with a convex face to match the curve of the insulation. Numbers were stamped at each end of each wire in the harness. In production, I think they used type wheels that stamped the numbers at regular intervals along the wires. That was long enough ago that I suspect hot stamping has been replaced with a newer process.

    Larry


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