Labeling is an essential step for most industries. Whether used for simple identification or critical warnings, labels play more than a support role. We depend on them.
This is especially relevant for outdoor applications. That’s when the label is a vital component in a system – and, where it’s most vulnerable to failure.
It sounds intuitive to purchase solar labels from a company with “labels” in its name. Most people use the same logic with fast food restaurants and retail eye glass chains.
As a company that commits continuous research in the solar industry, HellermannTyton knows a great deal about materials and how they react to weather, extreme temperatures and direct sunlight.
We apply the same truth for solar fasteners as we do with labels. They need to last, no matter what. Solar PV system owners want to avoid frequent maintenance, costly truck rolls and failed inspections. And above all, safety is crucial.
Here are some fundamental questions you should be able to answer when sourcing outdoor labels.
What is the label made of? Paper labels don’t last long, so you can rule them out. Vinyl is better, but what type of vinyl? Some vinyl materials are called “UV vinyl.” That’s a good start. Better yet, look for “UV stabilized vinyl.”
The same criteria apply to the adhesive; go with UV stabilized acrylic for the longest lasting surface bond. Make sure it’s compatible with baked enamel surfaces, like a standard breaker box, and powder coated surfaces, as found on some inverters, as well as bare metal. There is nothing worse than applying labels and coming back 24 hours later to see them lifting and even falling off.
What type of ink? Are the labels printed with “UV inks” or “UV printing”? Either is better than basic inks, but “UV stabilized ink” will outperform ordinary UV rated pigments. It’s a question of how long you want that warning message to be readable. Often, the vinyl outlasts the ink – and all a service technician or emergency worker sees is a blank, white sticker where there was once a critical warning.
What is the lifespan? If there is nothing promised about years of service, it’s probably not a solar label. Perhaps it’s “rated” for a certain number of years outdoors, or just the vinyl is rated. This “implies” product confidence and performance, but there’s no guarantee. It’s more of a friendly wink.
A guarantee says the manufacturer trusts its products to stand up to weather extremes. HellermannTyton is the only producer in the industry that guarantees 7 years of performance on solar labels and an incomparable 25 years on metal solar placards.
Do they meet the latest NEC & International Fire Code standards? Don’t take a chance on a failed inspection. Make sure your labels contain the correct messaging and imagery and text attributes to meet safety codes. We’ve got that part taken care of.
HellermannTyton enjoys a leadership role in the solar industry, particularly where it comes to education and safety. On the identification side alone, we have produced guides, posters, articles, FAQs and more – all free for you to download without providing any personal information.
Treat solar labeling as critically as any component on a solar installation and know it will return the favor for many years.