Pipe ID Tape Helps Manage the Pipeline Jungle

By: Anthony Abram

Pipe ID tapes are used to mark each pipeline to identify its contents. In a process industry with many process and service pipelines, this becomes an essential task.

Requirements to be Met by Pipe ID Tapes

Pipeline identification tapes are typically used in harsh environments. Pipes are used offshore and onshore, upstream and downstream, and can be constantly exposed to salt water sprays, different humidity conditions and corrosive chemicals like Hydrogen Sulphide.

The tapes need to be made with materials that can resist UV light, salt water, different chemicals and solvents. They might also have to work in wide temperature ranges from much below zero to above water boiling point.

Pipe ID tapes are hence made of tough materials like polyester and finished with UV resistant laminates that also enhance the tape's durability. Tapes might come with a backing paper over the adhesive surface. The backing paper is removed as the tape is wound around the pipe.

Thus one typical structure adopted for pipe id tape is a four-layer construction. A polyester base and a solvent adhesive form the core of the construction. A polyester laminate coats the polyester base while a siliconized backing paper protects the adhesive surface.

At times, it might not be possible to wind the tape completely around the pipe. In such cases, the tape should be capable of being cut and applied to the accessible circumference.

One convenience is "upside down" printing of the messages. This means that messages are printed in pairs, in reverse directions. This can be a great convenience in some situations, as persons coming from opposite directions can easily read the message.

Standard Pipe ID Tapes

There are many standard color combinations, service messages, symbols, directional arrows and languages that are typically available ready made from stock. Additionally, you can specify your own special requirements for color, color combinations, text and symbols. The width requirements can differ, say, 50mm, 100mm or 150mm. The rolls might come in 25-meter rolls.

The tape supplier should also be able to meet standards like BS1710, ISO standards or local standards.

Considering the rigorous conditions that pipeline identification tapes have to face, the tapes are typically subjected to a number of tests before being passed for distribution. These tests include:

  • Simulated External Weathering: This test evaluates the weatherability of the tape

  • Moisture Resistance: The tape is tested under varying temperature and humidity conditions

  • Low Temperature: The performance of the tape is tested under -25 degrees or -40 degrees Celsius

  • Salt Mist: The tape is exposed to salt mist for specified numbers of hours

  • Sour Ageing: The tape is exposed to gas mixtures containing Hydrogen Sulphide


Pipe ID tape, or pipeline identification tape, is used to label the contents of each pipe in process industries that typically employ several process and service pipelines. The pipe ID tapes typically work under very harsh conditions, including offshore and corrosive environments. Hence they have to be extra durable and be able to resist many kinds of exposures.

To meet the rigorous requirements, pipe ID tapes are made in several layers such as a base that is protected by a laminate layer and an adhesive surface protected by backing paper. The tapes also typically undergo several tests before being passed.

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Anthony Abram writes about Pipe id Tape please visit our website for further details.

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