In any significant electrical work, cable identification plays a pivotal role in initial labelling and further maintenance of electrical systems.
Of all the different marking systems which can perform this function, PVC marking tubes remain a popular option for its low cost and effective labelling ability.
However, with the large number of different brands out there (and with all of them looking the same), how can I judge which brand provides the most valued-for-money marking tube?
After years of interacting with customers, we gathered countless customer feedback and consolidated it to this simple guide for you to find your perfect marking tube.
1) All That Glitters Is Not Gold
Upon inspection, you may find that some marking tubes are glossy in appearance and smooth to touch. While it may be intuitive for us to relate shiny objects as being high quality, this same principle should not be applied to marking tubes.
One common complaint that we have received from customers that have switched to our i-Bon marking tube is that when their previous brands’ marking tube is too smooth, the printing on the tube is often unclear. This is counter-productive to the core function of a marking tube.
Other users have also reflected that these glossy marking tubes often shorten the lifespan of their printer head, increasing the frequency in which they require to send the tube printer for servicing.
Marking tubes with a matt surface are typically more beneficial for sustainable use.
2) Damaging Powdery Surface
Some marking tubes may feel powdery when touched. This powder can easily increase the amount of friction between the marking tube and the printer head, causing the printer head to wear out faster.
Do make sure that your marking tubing does not contain such powdery residue for your printer head to last the distance.
3) Finding the Right Fit
Just as cables have varying sizes, marking tubes must also come in different sizes to fit their designated cables. Finding the right size marking tube size is vital towards obtaining effective cable identification.
Most legitimate marking tube suppliers would provide a sizing guide to ensure that you get the right fit.
4) External Factors Beyond The Marking Tube
While the quality of the marking tube is important, you should not neglect the ribbon tape you are using.
Our users have often found that Original ribbon tapes produce clearer printing than OEM/Compatible ribbon tapes.
Additionally, some compatible/OEM ribbon tapes can even shorten the lifespan of your tube printers.
OEM/Compatible consumables may help you generate small cost savings in the near time. But do consider the bigger expenditure in procuring a new tube printer when the lifespan of your labeller is shortened.
Many of the factors discussed here will not be detectable simply through a photo or a catalogue.
This is why we recommend all users, and encourage our own customers, to request for a marking tube sample.
Touch the tubing, put it under the light and do a test print. Only by doing so can you truly see if you are getting a quality marking tube.