The specifications are in, the decisions are made, the designing has been completed and the contractors have arrived to start the job. Your massive carbon friendly and long-term money saving multi PV solar and wind array project is about to kick-off.
All goes well with only a few minor adjustments. Everything is marked perfectly; each panel has a QR code that denotes the date of installation, serial number, phone numbers etc. Each cable and wire has a label describing the source and destination. So, for the contractor getting his job signed off, all is in order.
There is however often one oversight; identifying the components of the system, not now, but in a few years’ time.
PV systems require very little maintenance, but the day will come when repairs need to be done, cables replaced, or an inverter changed.
Wind and wave power generation both require regular maintenance due to their mechanics and moving parts.
The common denominator with all these forms of generation is that they always need to be situated in extreme and/or remote environments to be economically viable. High UV, high winds, temperature or rough seas.
Plastic markers are well suited inside controlled environments and are generally inexpensive. These markers can usually be matched to one or two of these adverse conditions.
- Polyamide markers are excellent in areas where petrochemicals and subsequent fumes arise; but when rainwater and sunshine are abundant, the porosity of the plastic breaks down the bond of ink to the label prematurely.
- Polycarbonate is exceptionally mechanically strong but breaks down when exposed to certain common petrochemicals and heat.
- Polyester is resistant to UV but is less suited to abrasive conditions.
When protective devices (like carriers or shock covers) are used, the prices increase for both the labelling and labour required.
In short; plastic markers are not advisable for long term external conditions where wind, rain, sun and water can cause premature degradation of labelling for equipment that has expected life spans of 10, 20, 30 or even 45 years.
From a personal point I have always seen printing on a stainless steel or aluminium marker as an expensive and rather questionable exercise.
- Expensive; in that polymer coated aluminium or stainless-steel makers are considerably more costly than their plastic counter parts.
- Questionable; in that you are basically using plastic to coat a metal to make it printable with a plastic ink.
This is where I can quite easily end off my article – Metal Engraving.
- Cost effective; no ink and metal markers do not require polymer enhancing.
- Price of stainless-steel markers are comparable (and in some cases less expensive) than their plastic counterparts.
- Chemicals; one, the marker (either stainless steel or aluminium)
The TOPMARK NEO
Phoenix Contact has the answer in the TOPMARK Neo Laser. This laser engraver can be used to engrave a wide range of aluminium and hi-grade (V4A) stainless-steel labels to suite a combination of adverse environmental conditions.
Advantages of the TOPMARK NEO:
- Direct engraving onto stainless-steel or aluminium
- Low cost of metal marking
- No ink required
- Low maintenance
- Small footprint
- Annealing onto stainless steel
- Host of anodised (coloured) aluminium markers available
- A large selection of terminal markers available (UCT-…) for various manufacturers
- Auto mode for terminal markers
- Low noise
- 7-part filter to remove dangerous particles produced by the laser
- Phoenix Contacts’ Project Complete software comes standard with the unit
- Includes installation and training.
- Initial outlay
Stainless steel has been used for centuries as a method to guard against adverse environmental conditions. As time has gone by its usefulness has only increased.
Anodized aluminium adds variety and colour to a multitude of manufactured goods. It makes sense to use these metals in marking material.
With the increasing demands on identification systems of everything from cables, wires, terminals, panels and other types of equipment there is no doubt that the TOPMARK NEO sets a new, much higher standard. Dare I say; even revolutionizes the marking industry.
For more information, please contact Kevin Mann – firstname.lastname@example.org