Valve tags are used to provide information about an individual valve where it is attached. The tags can be made to have very basic information, or customized to include additional details that can help inform those working in the area. Valves can be located in almost any environment, so it is important to have them made out of a variety of different types of materials to ensure they will remain in good shape. The following are some of the most popular types of valve tags, and examples of situations where they may be used.
Metal Valve Tags
Metal valve tags are engraved with the information that is needed in a given situation. Most of the time these types of tags are purchased with the information already engraved into the metal, but some facilities will do it themselves. Metal tags can also be embossed. Either way, this type of tag is most commonly used in areas where the temperature can get very high. Metal has a much higher heat tolerance than the other options, which is why this is such a good fit. Metal tags can also handle very cold temperatures, and even humidity quite well. The one downside to metal valve tags is that they are more costly than the other options.
Plastic Valve Tags
Plastic valve tags will usually come pre-printed with the information that is needed. Another popular option is to have a blank plastic tag so that a facility can use their industrial label printer to create a label that is applied to the blank tag. Plastic valve tags are ideally suited for areas that have high moisture, or even may become completely submerged in water. Plastic doesn’t rust of get damaged in the water, which is why this is a great material for these situations. While plastic can tolerate some heat, extreme temperatures could result in the plastic melting.
Wood Valve Tags
Wood valve tags can be printed on with ink, have labels applied to them, or have information etched into it. Wood doesn’t stand up to water as good as plastic, or heat as good as metal. The advantage of wood is that it doesn’t transmit the heat nearly as much as metal but can still remain strong even when quite hot. Any area that has high, but not extreme, temperatures can benefit from the properties of wood valve tags.
Paper/Cardboard Valve Tags
Paper or cardboard valve tags are the least durable option, but they are also the least expensive. Another advantage is that they can be printed off with custom information without any issues. Valves found in areas without much risk of damage can use this type of tag. Another common option is to use paper tags temporarily while waiting for a permanent option to arrive.
What do different materials of tags mean?
Valve tags can be made from a variety of different materials. While there is no set standard that says a facility must use a specific material in a specific location, it does make sense to choose which material to use carefully. When done properly, the people in the facility will be able to tell what potential hazards or situations may be present just by looking at what the tag is made out of. Of course, this would be in addition to looking at the information that is on the tag itself.
Metal Valve Tags: Metal valve tags can either have the information engraved on them, or embossed. Either way, using this type of material will indicate that the valve is going to contain something with a high temperature. This is because metal can stand up to higher temperatures than paper, plastic, or even wood. Metal valve tags are commonly used on heating pipes, steam pipes, and many others.
Plastic Valve Tags: Plastic valve tags are intended to last a long time, so the information contained on them is likely going to apply long into the future. Plastic can be used around hot temperatures, though not as hot as metal. The best characteristic of plastic valve tags is that they won’t rust or get damaged when exposed to water or high moisture levels. Of course, almost all pipes will be transporting some type of liquid. A plastic valve tag, however, may indicate that when the valve is opened it will result in the contents coming out and causing the area to become wet, which is good information to have.
Paper Valve Tags: Paper tags are often going to be used in areas that aren’t used very often since they are much more vulnerable to damage. A permanent paper or cardboard tag can be used in areas that don’t get wet or too hot. Another common use of these types of tags is when the tag is only needed temporarily. An example of this could be if a valve needs to be tagged while maintenance is being performed on pipe system to ensure it isn’t opened until the work is done.
No matter what type of material is used for valve tags, it is important to make sure that everyone knows when each material is used and why. Most facilities today will have a central set of procedures that specifies what type of tag to use for each valve in the area.
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