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Tips for choosing the optimal floor marking tape

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

By Lucas Wiseman

Industrial floor marking tape is an investment in safety that needs to last to achieve maximum effect. To make sure each facility gets the most out of its safety investment, it is important to choose the correct marking tape based on the facility’s needs and how the tape will be used.

Identify goals for floor marking
When choosing floor marking, the first question to consider is: “What purpose should it achieve in this facility?” 5S organization tape in a warehouse is not always the right choice for emergency exit guidance in an office building, and both types of tape are different from slip protection on an outdoor ladder. Knowing the goal the floor marking needs to achieve will help identify which type of floor marking option will serve the facility best.

Example goals
Implement Emergency Egress Marking - Using glow-in-the-dark tape to indicate the most direct route to an exit in your facility.

Organize The Facility With 5S - Using different tape colors, floor signs and printed floor tape to indicate storage areas, walking paths, forklift lanes, pallet locations, red tag areas, raw material storage, areas to be kept clear, hazards, and other efficiency based organization initiatives.

Add Traction - Providing a textured surface for areas where slips and falls are a serious hazard, like ladder rungs, ramps, in maritime environments, areas exposed to outdoor elements such as loading docks, or other slippery areas.
Create A Wayfinding System - Creating an interconnected system of directional signs, labels and floor markings to help people know where they are and where they’re going in your facility.

Facility environmental conditions
The conditions within a facility can also affect the type of floor marking tape that needs to be chosen for the best longevity and effectiveness. Floor marking tapes applied indoors which are not subjected to environmental conditions such as repeated exposure to water, large temperature shifts, UV light, and dirt/debris may not require the level of durability and longevity that tape near a freight elevator or loading dock might.

For completely indoor options with little to no environmental exposure, the PathFinder LITE series of floor marking tape is a sufficient, cost effective choice, providing multiple colors for a multitude of uses.

For mixed use areas that will see a variety of environmental exposure, like dirt, water or frequent travel, PathFinder FLEX is a solid option with the durability required to survive low and medium impact environmental effects. FLEX is easy to clean and can be applied to sloping surfaces like ramps without difficulty, and it has an average lifespan of 5 years even in direct sunlight. In situations where the floor tape will be exposed to harsher conditions, such as high forklift traffic, an option like RIGID may be the best choice for optimized longevity.

Expected wear and tear
After evaluating expected environmental conditions, it is wise to assess expected wear and tear. If the floor marking tape will predominately be walked upon it will tend to last longer than tape that is constantly driven over by forklifts.

For low foot traffic areas, LITE and its wide variety of color options is ideal for wayfinding and 5S applications. LITE’s Laminated series is developed with an additional layer of film for added protection making it more resistant to impact, scratching and damage which is useful in medium traffic areas.

For high foot traffic areas and locations with occasional equipment usage like pallet jacks and dollys, FLEX is a more durable option that can withstand prolonged use in warehouse facilities. FLEX has a wide variety of color options available and offers more durability than LITE, though it still maintains the low-profile, high-visibility standard expected.

PathFinder RIGID is designed to be used with forklifts and other machine traffic. It is constructed from an impact resistant PVC film minimizing any potential damage caused by heavy objects striking the tape. In addition the tape features beveled edges making them less likely to catch on a wheel or an edge of a pallet. For a visual representation of how these floor tape options hold up to forklifts, see a demonstration video.

Floor marking tape applications
Below are examples of different floor marking applications which PathFinder Tapes are ideally suited for.

  • • Aisle Tape: Outline safe walking areas for pedestrians and driving lanes for forklifts with Aisle tape. Aisle tape typically needs to be able to withstand a range of heavy traffic including abuse from forklifts, hand trucks, and pedestrians. PathFinder aisle tape can be ordered in FLEX or RIGID variants, as is needed. Additionally, PathFinder tape can come with preprinted messages like “Forklift Traffic” to enhance the tape’s effect. Aisle tape can range in width between 0.5” to 6”.
  • • 5S Tape: Implement the 5S system for facility organization using this low-cost, high visibility floor marking tape. PathFinder LITE tapes can be used for 5S marking on nearly any surface and provide solutions for a range of project types. These tapes come in a variety of colors, patterns, and widths ideal for Lean, 5S, or general purpose use.
  • • Glow in the Dark Tape: Be prepared for a power outage with high-quality PathFinder GLOW tape, perfect for highlighting egress pathways in emergency and low-light situations. This tape glows for an average of six hours when fully charged. GLOW tape is UV resistant, so relying on natural sunlight to charge the tape will not diminish its longevity. PathFinder GLOW tape meets the requirements set out in: PSPA Standard 002 Part 2 1993, Class A+B Rev 2, IMO Resolution A. 752 (18), ISO 15370, ASTM/E 162/E 648/E 662, ASTM E 2072-00 / E 2073-00, DIN 67510 Parts 1-4.
  • • Reflective Tape: Grab attention with high-quality PathFinder reflective tape which increases visibility, day or night. Selection ranges from engineer-grade reflective and prismatic-reflective tape to high-powered conspicuity tape for transportation use (Department of Transportation certified tape), compliant with DOT 2/NHTSA standards. PathFinder High Intensity Reflective Tape has an average 10 year outdoor lifespan, where the Engineering Grade has a 7 year span.
  • • Anti-Slip Tape: Keep a firm grip and stay upright with anti-slip PathFinder TREAD tape. Non-skid tapes include standard, coarse, extra-coarse, and more. TREAD tape can come in glow-in-the-dark, hazard striped, or solid color. TREAD tape is recommended for maritime use and helps comply with 29 CFR 1910.21 Subpart D, Walking Working Surfaces Rules. TREAD resists water, some chemical exposures and general wear and tear. It also complies with OSHA 29 CFR 1910.23, CoF Standards for Americans with Disabilities Act 2008, and NFSI (National Flooring Safety Institute) 101-A.
  • • Floor Signs: Create a safer and more efficient workplace with easy-to-read floor signs, an ideal way to improve pedestrian awareness as they travel through a facility or warehouse. With over 50 premade signs and the option to create custom made floor signs, these self-adhesive floor signs are ready for immediate installation and can withstand pedestrian, pallet jack and even light forklift traffic. Floor signs are ideal for communicating simple messages that need to make a big impact.
  • • Floor Shapes: Communicate messages quickly and clearly with floor marking shapes like footprints, circles, corners, or Ts. Floor shapes are a cost-efficient way to indicate the proper storage locations and designated worker pathways without using a large amount of product.

Where to order floor marking tape
Identifying the floor marking tape that best suits your facility is step one; next it’s time to commit to your facility’s safety. If your facility could use a combination of signs and floor tape for drawing extra attention to fire extinguishers, first aid kits or electrical panels, consider one of the PathFinder sign bundles offered by Graphic Products.

Lucas Wiseman writes for Graphic Products, makers of the DuraLabel line of industrial label and sign printers. For more information about customized visual communication, 

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