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kedminster (Electrical)
17 Sep 10 22:10
I am looking for recommendations for marking ribbon cable assemblies. We need to build and label a bunch of flat, fine pitch (0.025"), 100 circuit cables that are 2.5" wide. The insulation is PVC. I need a label or marker that is moderately durable and will withstand normal installation and handling without slipping or delaminating.

Anything will beat hand marking with a Sharpie!

I was considering a Brady LS2000 or TLS2200 but have heard some poor reviews. Anyone have feedback on these and the self-laminating labels? Does anyone have any experience marking ribbon cables and have a printer/marker solution that they are happy with?

Thanks to everyone who reads this post! I really appreciate your help.  

Karl Edminster
www.electromechanica.com
Does that smell like burning FR-4? Nah...just the FETs breaking in...

MikeHalloran (Mechanical)
17 Sep 10 22:45
People who make disk drive ribbon cables have for decades used inkjet printers that mark directly on the ribbon.  I suspect they're an accessory to the feed/cut/terminate machines.

I have encountered fabric labels that are inserted around/under the strain relief bar on ribbon cable connectors.  I think they're hot stamped.

There's always aerosol spray paint applied through a stencil...

 

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

catserveng (Electrical)
17 Sep 10 22:48
I don't mark many ribbon cables but carry two TLS2200's in my truck, use almost daily.

Pros,

Pretty broad range of applications, I use mine mostly for wire marking, some component marking and panel lableing.

LabelMark software makes making a bunch of labels handy, and you can save files for reuse.

At least for me, Brady's service has been good, fast turn around on repairs and upgrades.

Large varity of labels available.

Cons,

Doesn't like dirt and rough handleing.  In my former company we had a couple in the toolroom, always had problems with them, when we issued them to individuals we had fewer problems.

Labels are pricey, not the cheapest solution out there.

Battery life sucks, both of mine have AC adaptors, a must have if you do more than 100 labels a day in my experience.

We had a couple of tough marking problems, called Brady tech support, told them what we were trying to mark, the printed some samples and sent them out for us to try.  Some worked and some didn't but the only investment was a little time, and in general they used to be pretty helpful.

The self laminating markers have held up pretty well for us, after several years most sites are still readable and in pretty good shape.  Some calibration and ID lables exposed to the sun have faded, but in general compared to other brands we've had pretty good luck.

Hope that helps.

Mike L.
kedminster (Electrical)
17 Sep 10 23:06
Thanks guys! Great feedback!

The connectors we are using do not have a loop around strain relief so we can't attach a label there.

We are marking each cable end individually with a unige connector reference number to indicate which connector it goes to. The machine has 20 different headers into which the cables must be correctly inserted. All 20 headers use the exact same physical connector so confusion would run rampant if we don't mark these well. I wish I could mechanically key the connectors but can't as there are no free pins to use for keying.

Unfortunately I am not making enough of these to warrant custom inkjet printing equipment... but I sure wish I was!

Karl Edminster
www.electromechanica.com
Does that smell like burning FR-4? Nah...just the FETs breaking in...

ScottyUK (Electrical)
18 Sep 10 2:34
Mark the connector backshell / strain relief? There should be enough available plastic to accept a narrow label.
  

----------------------------------
  
If we learn from our mistakes I'm getting a great education!
 

Compositepro (Chemical)
18 Sep 10 12:40
I've found that you can make very professional looking labels using a laser printer to print on paper and then using clear polyester adhesive tape over the label to protect it and stick it down. This only sticks the label down at the edges which is adequate in most cases and sometimes desirable. If the back of the label must be bonded then two-sided tape works. This technique is very inexpensive and very flexible in terms of size and design of label.
MacGyverS2000 (Electrical)
19 Sep 10 13:07
Karl,

How many are we talking about here?  Laser marking of the connector might be an option, though this would be done in batches before they ever came near the cable.  I do quite a bit of that kind of serialized marking...

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

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