The utility industry is at the forefront of providing dependable services to customers, which is achieved through advanced machinery, equipment, and tools. However, these assets are often subjected to harsh and hazardous conditions that can cause wear and tear over time. Therefore, it is imperative to identify and track them for optimal maintenance, safety, and compliance.
Metal tags have emerged as a practical solution for marking assets and ensuring their durability and reliability. They possess the toughness to withstand the harshest of conditions, including acids, radiation, and corrosives. They can also be fitted with pre-drilled holes for easy mounting or attached to machinery, pipes, or equipment using chains.
This article will explore the various uses of metal tags in the utility industry and their different marking methods.
Applications of Metal Tags
Metal tags have become an essential tool for the utility industry due to their ability to facilitate effective asset management. The sector can also ensure the safe and reliable operation of its equipment, tools, and machinery while maintaining compliance with regulations and standards.
Here are three common applications of tags in the industry:
Asset Identification and Tracking
Each tag can be marked with a unique identification number, serial number, or barcode that facilitates asset tracking. This information can be stored in a database or asset management system, streamlining equipment and tool maintenance. Furthermore, the utility industry can easily locate assets, monitor usage, and perform routine check-ups, resulting in increased efficiency and reduced costs.
Safety and Compliance
Most tags can be marked with warning messages like “high voltage” or “hazardous material” to notify workers of potential hazards. They can also be stamped with compliance information — such as inspection dates or certification numbers — to ensure that equipment and tools adhere to regulations. This can help the industry reduce accident risks and avoid costly fines.
Maintenance and Repair
The tags can serve as a record of an asset’s maintenance and repair activities. They can be marked with a date, technician name, and repair description, creating a detailed history of the asset’s repair work. This information can also be used to schedule preventive maintenance, anticipate future repair needs, and identify recurring problems.
Methods of Marking Metal Tags
Metal tags can be marked in various ways, depending on the desired level of durability, legibility, and aesthetic appeal. Below are common methods that Universal Metal Marking offers for marking tags:
Ink marking involves applying ink to the surface of a tag. It is a cost-effective solution for marking tags with basic text or graphics. However, ink markings can be prone to fading, smudging, and scratching, making the label difficult to read or illegible over time.
Impression stamping marks tags using stamps to create an indentation on the surface. It is particularly effective for labels with identification numbers, serial numbers, or logos because it can produce a permanent and easily readable mark.
During engraving, a rotary tool or laser is used to remove a portion of the surface of a tag, leaving a permanent mark. This technique is extremely efficient for marking labels requiring detailed text, images, or barcodes.
Etching is a subtractive marking process that dissolves metal layers from the surface of a tag using acid or chemicals. It generates precise and detailed tag markings, notably in the aerospace and medicine industries.
Laser marking is a non-contact method that uses a laser beam to remove a small part of the tag’s surface material. This creates a durable and high-contrast mark. In addition, its precision and accuracy make it especially suitable for marking labels with intricate designs, logos, or barcodes.
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