Making the most of marking

Marking systems product marketing ICT Division, Dipl Ing Georg Grunenberg, highlights the importance of efficient marking systems When assembling control cabinets and mechatronic systems, the marking of equipment, terminals and conductors is increasingly complex. If each component and conductor can be identified quickly and easily, start-up, operation and maintenance is easier. Quality, high-legibility labelling and a well-organised ID system are the hallmarks of a good system. Electrical engineering labels are increasingly elaborate, featuring information about plant, location, source/target, etc. A good system, from planning to production, has three tiers: software, hardware and label stock.

CAE systems provide the basis for label data for conductors, terminals and equipment. From Eplan to AutoCAD electric, Phoenix Contacts Clip Project advanced labelling and planning software can import identification data for standard electrical engineering systems. The most suitable label stock is suggested and sorted automatically. If required, the user can specify preferences such as stock type.

Manual input and human error are eliminated. Descriptive texts help users assign labelling items to plant and locations. The software automatically determines the size and number of characters for each label. With this system, the identification data entered during planning/design applies through to production. Excel or ASCII-formatted label data can also be imported. Field data is positioned on the label stock via drag and drop and a preview window displays the final format before printing. The software printing on thermal transfer printers, plotters and Phoenix Contacts Bluemark X1 printer.

In todays industries, projects are increasingly multiple location, often in different countries. The softwares Unicode capability addresses this, providing labelling in any language. Vector and pixel-based images can be positioned and printed. Clip Project advanced is forward compatible and designed for Microsofts Vista operating system. Software updates are automatically issued via the Internet.

The specific labelling demands often mean different printers are required. Thermal transfer printers and plotters are often used for labels in production environments. Operating procedures and stock vary for these, while the manual reloading of plotter cartridges can be time-consuming. Solvent inks can make labels susceptible to environmental influences such as humidity and temperature, while plotter pens can quickly dry out if used irregularly or operated in low-humidity environments.

Phoenix Contacts Bluemark X1 printer is designed to provide a universal solution. It is engineered to print on all label types, with the process reliability almost completely unaffected by environmental conditions.

Many demands are placed on label stock which should be fast and easy to process. Halogen and silicone-free stocks that comply with flammability class V2 (UL 94 regulation) satisfy most industrial labelling demands. Phoenix Contacts Universal Card label strips are designed for marking conductors, terminals and equipment. Combined with the Bluemark X1 printer, these strips are designed to produce pixel-accurate label printout. Their standard format also simplifies labelling in existing plotter systems.