Your Guide to Proper Pipe Marking

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Proper Pipe Marking

Your Guide to Proper Pipe Marking

If you are looking to implement or update a pipe marking strategy for your facility it is important to start by gathering as much information together as possible. While the concept of marking pipes seems pretty straight forward, there is actually a lot you need to know in order to get it right. Everything from ASME standards to conveying information clearly and much else besides needs to be taken into account.

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With that in mind, this guide has been put together to help provide a one stop source for everything you need to know about pipe marking for your facility. This will include different standards out there, the way to get the right pipe marking labels, how to use valve signs and much more.

If you start your pipe marking strategy with this guide you're sure to get the best possible results that will help ensure your facility's pipe markings are safe, easy to understand and helpful for everyone in the area.

ASME Standards

Whenever discussing pipe markings, you need to make sure that you are following the ASME standards. ASME stands for American Society of Mechanical Engineers and they have a variety of requirements when it comes to labeling or marking pipes. Learning about these standards will help ensure you are in compliance at all times.

ASME Pipe Standards

ASME has a lot of different types of standards, and they can all be extremely helpful to many facilities. When working on pipe markings, however, you'll want to stay focused on the ASME pipe standards that they put out. When studying up on what ASME has to say about pipes and pipe labeling you will not only learn how to stay in compliance but also about how to ensure your piping is as safe as possible throughout your facility.

ASME A13.1

One of the best ways to learn about ASME standards is by looking at the ASME A13.1. This is a document that is available online and will help you learn what types of information needs to be on a given pipe marking label. It is an extremely helpful guide that will help you get a good base understanding of what you need to know before you start labeling your pipes.

The standard contains on things such as the coloring requirements, the arrow usage and more. Here are a few examples of what you'll find in the ASME A13.1:

  • Flammable and/or oxidizing - Any pipe that contains flammable fluids or vapor, or any kind of oxidizing agent needs to have a label that has black text on a yellow background.
  • Combustible - Fluids that can ignite in the presence of a heat source, but are not flammable under normal circumstances, should be written with white text on a brown background.
  • Toxic and/or Corrosive - This type of pipe marking is for fluids that can be toxic or corrosive. This type of marking should have black text with an orange background.
  • Fire Quenching - Water or other fire suppression substances need to be labeled with white text on a red background.
  • Other Water - Any water that is not intended to be used for fire suppression should be labeled with white text on a green background.
  • Compressed Air - Any vapor or gas that is under pressure but does not fit in another category (such as compressed air) will be labeled with white text on a blue background.

The guide also has several options for user defined labeling color codes. These include white on black, black on white, white on purple and white on gray. Whenever using these 'open' color options you want to make sure that they are followed throughout the facility to avoid any type of confusion.

ASME Pipe Color Code

ASME Pipe Color Code

The ASME pipe color code is often used as a starting point for many facilities. This set of color codes is very helpful and has been in place for many years. In fact, most facilities can choose to just use this standard in their own facility. In the even that your facility does need additional colors or their recommendations don't work properly for some reason, that is okay.


Many people wonder whether they should be using the ASME or the ANSI standards in their facility. There are a few things to think about when deciding which of these options to follow. First of all, much of what they require is going to be complimentary so you won't actually need to choose one over the other for a lot of it.

When the two do not match up nicely, it is usually left up to the industry to decide which option to follow. Different industries tend to side with one over the other to help ensure people from throughout the industry are on the same page. No matter what you choose, however, you'll find that both provide exceptional information that can help ensure your pipes are marked properly to ensure safety throughout the facility.

ANSI Piping Standards

Another set of standards that you should be aware of is from ANSI, which stands for the American National Standards Institute. They also issue a variety of different types of standards that you should be aware of. Whether you are specifically required to follow their set of regulations or not, they are certainly something to know about and understand as they are very commonly used throughout most industries.

ANSI Pipe Label Size Standards

ANSI Pipe Sizes

One of the most useful things about the ANSI standards is their ANSI pipe sizes which provide detailed information about the different size pipes that are used. You can look at the chart for everything from 1/8'' to 48'' pipes and get the detailed information you will need to use them safely. Many companies that have a variety of different sized pipes will benefit greatly from having this type of ANSI pipe size chart available to reference within the facility.

ANSI Piping Color Code Chart

Keeping an ANSI piping color code chart in your facility will help ensure everyone is on the same page. This is, of course, necessary if you are using the ASI pipe color code as your standard. Even if you're not, however, you can put this type of chart up because it will be largely in line with what most other standards use.

ANSI Pipe Color Chart

When looking for an ANSI pipe color chart you may find that it has several different names. Finding them is easier this way, but for some people it can be confusing. Whatever you choose to call it you just need to make sure that everyone knows what the different colors mean and when they should be used.

Piping Color Standards

When deciding what type of color standards to use when labeling your facility, it is important that you know all your options. The different organizations listed above have recommendations for what color combinations should be used for a variety of types of labeling. Except in cases where there are legal or regulatory requirements that must be followed, your facility will get to choose what colors you use.

Of course, it makes sense to choose one of the color codes and stick with it. Putting some thought into which color standards to use is well worth the effort as it will not be something you will want to change down the road. High quality pipe markings can last for years and if you adjust the standard you follow you'll need to go through and replace all the pipe markings in the facility.

With this in mind, take some time to really think about your different pipe color standards and which one will work best for your facility.

Pipeline Colour Code Chart

One of the first things to keep in mind when looking at your pipeline colour code chart is that not all countries are the same. This is important for any international company or any company that works for other organizations outside the united states. You'll notice that the spelling of color is different in this paragraph (colour). This is because most other English speaking countries use this type of spelling.

It is a simple example of how there are likely going to be many small changes to the way things are done in different countries. This can make it somewhat confusing when trying to figure out exactly how you should do your pipe colour coding. Taking the time to think about how it will impact your facility directly and any others that you work with is very important.

Standard Piping Color Code

Once you have an idea of how you want to label your pipes and what colors you want to use it is smart to create a standard piping color code. This is something that can be unique to your facility. The set of color codes will allow your facility to have everything documented clearly concerning what colors mean what and when they should be used.

Standard Pipe Color Codes

Of course, this set of standard pipe color codes is going to have many entries in it. Many companies find that this is helpful because it will help ensure everyone throughout the facility are following the same set of guidelines when it comes to labeling pipes. When you have one standard pipe color code book that all the departments are following, for example, it is much easier to ensure there is a good standard throughout.

Pipeline Color Code PDF

One quick tip that many companies follow is creating a pipeline color code PDF. This can be created by the facility itself or you can use a template from a variety of other sources. Having it saved in a PDF makes it easy to place on people's computers throughout the facility. It can also be easily printed into a sign that can be hung up in key areas to help ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to the colors used in pipe markings.

Pipe Color Standard

This PDF should, of course, follow the pipe color standards that have been agreed on by the entire facility. This will be just one more way that your facility can keep on the same page for everyone. Making sure the entire facility follows the same pipe color coding standards can help avoid confusion and other issues.

Pipe Color Coding Standards

Some people worry that they will be over thinking the pipe color coding standards in their facility. The fact is, however, that once you settle on a specific set of pipe color coding standards, they will become like second nature to people who work in these areas. This means you really won't want to change them unless there is some sort of urgent need.

Keeping the standards, the same over long periods of time can help ensure everyone understands what the different labels mean and what message they are sending.

Color Coding of Pipes Standards

Once you have your color coding of pipes standards set you can really file them away and not need to give them much more attention. As pipe labels get damaged or new pipes need to be labeled, your facility can just pull out the set of standards and follow them.

You'll find that over time this helps to speed up the process of labeling the pipes throughout the facility. In the long run you'll be saving time and energy by putting a lot of thought into this type of system.

Marine Pipe Marking

Marine Pipe Color Code

As was mentioned above, marine pipe color codes can often be quite different from those that are used on land. There are many reasons for this including the fact that ships often have unique chemicals and other items that are in use. Keeping in line with the marine pipe color standards is very important for any company that operates these types of vessels or facilities.

ISO 14726:2008

One last set of standards that you should at least be aware of is the ISO 14726. This is a set of standards from ISO, which stands for International Standards Organization. This set of standards is for identifying colors for the content of piping systems on ships and marine technology.

If you own or operate ships or other marine vessels, this is the set of standards that will need to take priority over the others. It is largely in line with the other standard organizations but where there are differences it is important to follow this one.

Not only will this help to ensure you are in line with what all other ships will have, but there are some rules in regulations in most countries that require the proper safety labeling in ships. These rules and regulations are almost always written based on the ISO 14726 standard so that is the one that should always be followed.

Proper Pipe Marking

As you can see, there is a lot to learn when it comes to pipe marking. The more time you spend learning about how to properly mark your pipes, the better off you will be. While this may not be the most exciting topic around, it will certainly give your facility many great benefits.

Consider taking a few minutes to watch this simple video about pipe marking and how it should be done in your facility:

Pipe Marking Tape Suppliers

When you are ready to begin actually labeling your pipes you will want to make sure you are working with great pipe marking tape suppliers. Having a reliable and proven supplier can help ensure you have access to the most common types of pipe marking labels and markers around.

Having the right labels and markings for commonly used pipes in your facility can save you a lot of time and money over the long run. This is because you will need to use a lot of these labels in your facility. Piping often extends great distances throughout the facility, so having a supplier that can send you pre-printed labels that you need can be a great option.

The following are a few different types of markers and labels that you can benefit from in your facility:

  • Ammonia Markers - If your facility uses an ammonia refrigeration system it is essential to use approved ammonia markers. These markers need to meet the IIAR standards for abbreviation, physical state, marker body, pressure level and flow direction. Of course, they also need to be durable and long lasting.
  • Pipe Marking Labels - You can order standard pipe marking labels for your facility from a good supplier. Some of these markings will be very common labels such as those that say, "œFire Sprinkler" on them. Others will need to be custom printed to meet your specific needs.
  • Pipe Marking Arrow Tape - In virtually every situation you will want your pipe markings to identify which direction the contents of a pipe are flowing. The easiest and most effective way to do this is by using arrow tape. As the name implies it is just tape with arrows pointing in one direction. This tape can come in a variety of color options to ensure you're in line with whatever color standards you have decided on.
Pipe Marking Arrows

Pipe Logos and Markings

Most companies will want to add pipe logos and markings to their pipe signs. This is an excellent option when trying to convey a clear message without requiring everyone to read through a lot of text. Logos and markings are an excellent form of visual communication.

You can print these types of logos, markings, pictograms and symbols right onto the sign or even onto the label itself. This is an excellent way to improve the effectiveness of your entire pipe marking and labeling strategy within your facility.

How to Make a Marker Pipe

If you do choose to get a pipe marking label printer you will want to learn how to properly make the right labels for the facility you are in. Fortunately, this is made extremely easy with each of the above mentioned printers. They can print from common programs like Microsoft Word so creating custom labels is very simple.

They also come with design software that has many of the most popular types of labels included. This makes it even easier than ever to be able to get your labels created quickly and sent to your printer so they can be used.

Whenever making a pipe marker you will want to make sure you know exactly what information you want on it and how it should be formatted. One of the best ways to get some great ideas on how this should work is by reading through a free pipe marking guide such as the one offered by Creative Safety Supply. This guide can make it easier than ever to create effective pipe labels.

Pipe Marker Tape

Another option when marking pipes is to use tape. Just like floor marking tape can be used to convey messages to people who see it on the floor, pipe marker tape can do the same for pipes. Whether it is a simple single color piece of tape, multi-colored or any other type, you will find it is extremely useful. Many companies use pipe marker tape on either side of the actual label to help convey a clear message.

Pipe Marking Valve Tags

Valve Tag

The best way to mark a pipe valve is to use a valve tag. Valve tags can be placed directly on the valve and will tell everyone in the area exactly what they need to know about the valve. This would include things like the exact information about what will come out of that valve, what potential dangers exist, what safety precautions need to be taken and much more.

Valve tags are extremely easy to use and very effective. Facilities should ideally have them placed on every valve that is used. This includes water valves, chemical valves, gas valves and any others that are present. They take just moments to attach and can remain in place for years without a problem, which is one of the reasons they are so popular.

There are many types of valve tags that you can choose from depending on the specific situation you are in. Consider some of the following types of valve tags to see which ones will work in your facility.

Pipe Valve

When labeling your pipes, it is important to also include the pipe valves in your planning. Valves are one of the most commonly interacted portions of the pipe and there is a lot of potential for problems. If people can't easily tell what is in a pipe, for example, they might open the valve without realizing that it could be dangerous.

Marking the valves is a very important step in making sure your facility's pipes are as safe as possible. In addition to improving the safety of your facility, it will also help employees to be able to work more efficiently since they can tell what each valve is for with just a glance.

Stainless Steel Valve Tags

Stainless Steel Valve Tags

Stainless steel valve tags are great because they can be used in wet areas or even when they are exposed to certain chemicals. Most companies will need to use etching or engraving for their stainless steel valve tags. This is a very effective way to convey a clear message that will last for many years without any trouble.

You can design custom valve tags using AutoCAD programs as well. This is an excellent option when you want to create a very precise tag that can be used in your facility. Since the AutoCAD system is so detailed you can make valve tags that convey the exact message that you need shared. Review this interesting video to see how to create custom valve tags with AutoCAD:

Plastic Valve Tags

Plastic is another great option. Most companies that use plastic valve tags print off labels that are then applied to the plastic valve backing. This allows you to reuse the tags many times depending on the specific need you have in the facility. Plastic tags can be used in almost any environment as long as it is not extremely hot.

Pipe Label Printer

Another great option is to have your own pipe label printer in your facility. This will help ensure you always have access to the exact type of label you need for your piping system. Pipe label printers can create a label that says exactly what you need it to.

Pipe Marking Printer

Many companies use these pipe markings as supplemental items to the standard labels so they can convey additional information. This would be in addition to printing off the high quality pipe markings that are needed in a given facility.

There are a variety of excellent pipe label printers on the market today to choose from. Of course, they can be used for making any types of labels that are needed in your facility, which makes them an even better option for your facility. Check out the following three popular industrial label printers:

  • LabelTac 4 - The LabelTac 4 is great for printing between ½" and 4" labels. It can create a label with great 300 dpi so your pipes will be easy to read. This printer also comes with a lifetime warranty.
  • LabelTac 4 PRO - the Pro version of the LabelTac 4 printer has an upgraded cutter, motor and print head to ensure it provides you with a faster and easier printing system. It also has an upgraded ribbon capacity so you won't need to change the ribbon nearly as often.
  • LabelTac 9 - This is the largest industrial label printer commonly used. It is for labels between 4'' and 9'' in width. It is made with die-cast metal and has a clear media view for easy use.

Pipe Labelling

Whenever working with the piping in your facility it is important to remember that your number one goal is to help ensure everyone can work safely with the pipes in your facility. This not only requires high quality pipe labelling but also the sharing of information about what the different labels mean.

As with any safety improvement strategy in a facility is critical to incorporate training into your overall plan. Sharing information with the employees who will be directly using these pipes and reading the labels on them will help you to get the most out of your overall strategy.

Without proper training you will find that employees are actually wasting time and being less safe because they need to stop and read each label every time. They will also have to determine what the meaning of each one is. This can be difficult and will tend to cause delayed responses, which is the last thing you want.

When it comes to training for pipe labelling make sure you cover the following most important training times with your employees:

  • Onboarding - Whenever a new employee who will be working with or around the pipes is hired they need to be trained on things like your pipe marking standards. This includes the color charts and more. Taking the time to ensure they understand what your pipe marking labels means will prepare them for a long and safe employment.
  • Refresher - Having annual refresher training offered to employees is a great idea. This doesn't have to be an extensive training course that takes all day or anything. You can just provide computer based training or even handouts that will remind people of the importance of understanding what the pipe marking labels mean.
  • Visual Reminders - Having signs, posters and other items hung up around your facility is a great way to reinforce what people already know. Whether it is just covering the color guide for pipe markings or reinforcing more detailed information, these visual reminders are very effective.

Pipe Sign

You can also use pipe signs to let people know the information that is relevant. Pipe signs can be placed on the wall or other surface right next to the pipe or valve. These signs are useful because of the fact that they can often contain significantly more information than would commonly fit on a normal pipe label.

You can use the industrial label printers mentioned above to print off pipe signs too, which is a great way to convey a message in the facility. You can even use these types of pipe signs just to let people know about what safety precautions they need to take when working with or near the pipes in question.

When you take pipe marking seriously in your facility, so will your employees. Taking the time to label your pipes and valves properly and then training all the employees to get the most out of these labels is well worth the effort.

Now that you have gone through this entire guide you are ready to start planning your full pipe marking strategy. While it will certainly take some time and effort, it will be well worth it in the end.

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