It’s mid-winter and pretty cold outside but, on a positive note, I’m now the proud owner of a new log burner! That’s what I call planning ahead! Better still, I’m told it’s much more environmentally friendly than the previous open fire and a lot more efficient.
The trouble is, I just can’t get it to start. I’ve wasted so much time trying to set it up. Yes, I read the instructions – but to no avail. Quite apart from the time I wasted, there are the wasted logs and the frustration of it all. It must the log burner itself.
So I called the manufacturers. Still no joy! Then I started to work things out for myself. It’s the “b”logs, as my wife calls them. Sure enough, it turns out they’re the wrong type of wood and way too damp.
Don’t be hard on me. How was I to know? I thought all “b”logs were the same. They certainly look the same. Now I’ve learned my lesson, I ask the right questions and use a damp meter. It all works perfectly
So, what’s this got to do with low smoke zero halogen (LSZH) labels? It’s about asking the right questions and reviewing data before you choose a product, to make sure it not only works, but works properly and safely in your system.
Not so long ago, we were introduced to an engineer in the oil and gas industry whose organisation had a lot of problems with their LSZH tie-on cable labels. Put simply, the labels kept cracking up and falling off.
When this engineer encountered Silver Fox’s labels, he was impressed with what we had to say and was even more impressed with all the independent testing – but his observation struck a chord with our team. He said: “That’s all well and good but they look the same as the ones I’m using. So what chances have they of performing any differently?”
It’s fair to say that we were all stunned when we set a match to some “LSZH” labels from one of our significant competitors and found that, after just ten seconds, they started to burn vigorously, emitting burning particles and black smoke.
Just because one manufacturer’s label looks the same as another’s, it doesn’t mean they are the same. Read data sheets carefully – and compare. Some tests call for material only; for example, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) stipulates that, in its tests of smoke and toxicity, only the material should be tested. On the other hand, other tests do allow for the final printed label to be tested. But that does not mean that even if a manufacturer tests their labels in these test that they will test any more than just the label material. For us it makes clear sense for us to test the final printed label wherever possible. Equally it makes clear sense for you to ask the questions and look for satisfactory answers.
Watch out for specification sheets that refer to tests that aren’t relevant to the application or seem a bit ‘strange’. This could mean that the manufacturer/supplier is relying on test results from the base material supplier and not actually testing the finished product themselves. As a rule of thumb, ask for copies of the actual test reports carried out by the label manufacturers. Use that ‘damp meter’ and probe a little. It could save you a lot of time, frustration, inconvenience and even cost later down the track.
This type of careful review can translate to any component selection, as one must carefully review all data sheets and specifications before selecting a product that can be used safely and effectively in a system.
Contributed by Nick Michaelson, CEO of labelling solutions manufacturers, Silver Fox Ltd.