Engraved Tags

Engraved Tags for Valves & Pipes

Whenever a building is built or renovated, builders usually take the opportunity to bring valves and pipes up to standard. In 1996 and 2007, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) worked together with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to develop voluntary (but recommended) standards for relevant industries.

Standard A13.1 defines the pipe and valve labeling recommendations for piping systems used in commercial and institutional installations and in buildings used for public assembly. ASME notes that underground pipes and electrical conduits are not covered under the standard.

A number of methods are recommended for differentiating pipes and making sure that they are clearly labeled. The use of different colors for different purposes is perhaps the most obvious feature of pipe and valve labels. ASME defines the piping color scheme as follows:

In keeping with the color coding, it’s quite possible for a pipe’s contents to fit into more than one category. In such an instance, whichever feature is deemed the most hazardous determines the color of the label.

Pipe labels utilize a variety of attachment methods. Some are self-adhesive, some wrap around the pipes and snap, and some are bands. Choosing the ideal attachment method depends on a number of factors. If the pipe is likely to get extremely hot, for instance, you may opt for one that snaps over a self-adhesive, since the adhesive could melt at high temperatures. Personal preference also plays a role.

Engraved pipe labels may be a good option, too. Most adhesives used on metal and plastic valve tags are strong enough to withstand high temperatures with a greater permanence than the ones that work like children’s stickers. And they’re unlikely to get taken by anyone or fall off, like the snapping wraparound labels.
Pipe labels also need to do the following:

  • Indicate the direction of flow.
  • Have high visibility from the angles at which they’ll be seen.
  • Be placed adjacent to all valves, flanges and changes of direction.
  • Be placed on both sides of wall or floor penetrations and at regular intervals on straight runs.
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