46 SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2022 Wiring Harness News INDUSTRIAL INFO-TAINMENT
What You Need to Know About Control Cabinet Marking
By Scott Nizolak , Connor Norton , and Logan Morrow , Phoenix Contact USA ___________________________
If you have experience in the industrial world , you might know how important it is to mark and identify the components in your control cabinet . Marking allows you to identify products , wires , and cables with a quick glance . This makes your cabinet easy to maintain , work on , and organize .
There are so many industrial printing options , such as different printers and marking materials , that it can be a challenge to find what best suits your needs . Here are a few essential things to understand when choosing the best marking system for your needs .
What should you mark – and why ?
Everything in and around a cabinet can be marked . Whether it be terminal blocks , conductors , a power system , or even buttons for your industrial equipment , a properly marked cabinet is an organized cabinet ( Figure 1 ).
Maintaining organization in a cabinet makes identification and maintenance much easier . Terminal marking ensures that the wiring in the control
cabinet is clearly assigned . This helps prevent errors during setup , maintenance , and repair work .
While marking is always a best practice , marking is required for some certifications . For example , UL states , “ Many electrical , electronic , and related technology products are required to be permanently marked with specific safety-related information including hazards , warnings , cautionary markings , installation instructions and electrical ratings .”
Cabinet marking essentials
There is a multitude of printers and materials that can meet the needs of any marking application . Common types include card , roll , mobile , and heavy-duty engravers . Each type has its own unique capabilities , so it can be challenging to decide which printer is best suited for your application . Selecting the right software can be just as important as selecting the right printer , as detailed below .
The roll and card printers will fit the needs of nearly every application . These printers use thermal transfer printing technology to provide a clean and reliable mark . The card printer can print on both flexible sheets and rigid plastic cards ( Figure 2 ). With the flexible sheets , you can make adhesive labels for equipment marking , warning signs , and component marking . Rigid plastic card markers will generally be used for snap-in marking on terminals and clip-on wire marking . The roll printer will mainly be used for wire marking and equipment marking . This includes wire shrink sleeves , self-laminating wire wraps , push-button marking , and magnetic markers .
Stainless steel and aluminum engraving are well suited for harsh environments . This method can also print on card and sheet materials like the roll and card printer . Many consumers use these products for highquality and high-volume applications .
There are numerous software options for designing and printing your labels and marking materials . Handheld / portable printers typically have self-contained software that allows you to print on the device . Some feature smartphone apps that connect via Bluetooth . Desktop printers generally are connected to a PC that runs printer manufacturer-specific software .
When evaluating software options , consider the following three points : capabilities , ease of use , and cost .
Capabilities : Different applications have different needs . You might need a software that allows you to do some or all of the following : type electrical and other symbols , format font size and style , save files , sequential auto-numbering , import functionality , integration with planning / design software , barcode and QR code marking , and importing of images / logos .
Ease of use : Depending on your workflow , you might have a few different people operating the software and printers . Choosing a user-friendly software can limit training and troubleshooting time . Typically , software based on the Microsoft Office platform will be familiar and easy to learn for diverse groups .
Cost : This can vary from free to hundreds of dollars . If you choose to pay for software , find out if you are paying for a single computer license , or if you can use the software on multiple computers , as this can impact your final cost .
Figure 2 : Card printers use thermal transfer printing to provide a clean and reliable mark .
While picking the right marking equipment can be challenging , a well-marked cabinet is surely worth the effort . Marking doesn ’ t have to remain just inside the cabinet – it can be used almost anywhere .
Marking can be used to meet a certification or to organize your cabinet for ease of maintenance . With many printing options on the market , most consumers will meet their needs with either a roll or card style printer . A printer is only as good as the software it runs on . Make sure to consider the capabilities , ease of use , and cost of your printing software .
Learn more about marking solutions at https :// www . phoenixcontact . com / en-us / products / printers .
Figure 1 . Marking allows you to identify products , wires , and cables with a quick glance .
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