Electricians may not be first responders—but you are ‘First Protectors.’ To keep our world running you need to face some harsh conditions and wiggle into some tight spaces–part physics professor, part craftsman, part acrobat. If you’re reading this paragraph, it’s because an electrician like you was on the job. We’re here to keep you well equipped, and that means having the right tape on hand and knowing when, how and where to apply it.
Environmental contaminants can be introduced at any point during a job. Dust, dirt, chemicals and water can all compromise a splice. Protect against corrosion with best practice tape application techniques. This begins with product selection.
Refrigeration units and boiler rooms put different stresses on electrical connections. Cold and hot climates do the same. Our premium tapes are designed to give exemplary performance in extreme temperatures.
Rodents will chew it; forklifts will stab it; gravel will abrade it; and motor vibrations will wear it down. It seems like everything is determined to ruin your cable. Keeping conductors safe from intrusion involves good technique and that means using quality tape.
When you can’t afford to fail, your tape should not be at fault. Whether you’re keeping the hospital ICU running, data centers online, or making sure the milk is cold at the corner store; select our premium tapes.
If you’re a third-generation electrician, there’s a good chance your Granddaddy used Scotch® 33+ Vinyl Electrical Tape. Six decades have passed and Scotch® Super 33+™ Vinyl Electrical Tape is now the rugged standard. As industrial power demands increased, the engineers at 3M continued to innovate, developing new materials to help keep out contaminants. Dirt, debris, grease, chemicals and even water can contaminate your tape job and cause air pockets or problems with adhesion. Over time, these problems may become channels for moisture and are vulnerable if corrosive chemicals are spilled on the splice.
Earth, Wind and Fire
Contaminants are often introduced at the installation stage; dirt and debris can be transferred onto the adhesive layer from an electrician’s glove. This is why the mastic material is so important. Mastic tapes with PVC backing insulate low voltage connections and act as a barricade in one step. They do this by combining a very sticky component that grips tight in greasy or moist environments with a durable vinyl outer layer. These tapes adhere to steel and have excellent resistance to alkalis, acid, UV rays and copper corrosion. If punctured, the pliant mastic flows to fill in air pockets—helping keep the seal tight.
Scotch® Electrical Tape Pro Tips:
- In outdoor locations where splices are exposed to moisture in addition to harsh chemicals, start with a mastic tape and over wrap with a high-performance vinyl tape. It’s important to use a tape with minimal flagging (<0.1 in.) so the tape won’t curl and expose the connection to air pockets.
- To form a strong seal where contaminants are present; make sure to jacket with a heavy vinyl tape. Tape that has greater elongation properties, that can stretch 2.5x its original length will recoil when released; snapping into place and forming a snug airtight wrap.
- If you need to get around bolt heads and other odd shaped components use a mastic tape without a vinyl backing. This avoids entangling the backing while padding the components. Overwrap the connection with a premium tape like Scotch® Super 33+™ Vinyl Electrical Tape to contain mastic oozing.
The heat is on. And so is the cold. Blizzards, cold rooms, boilers, deserts, the oceanside and even the company’s front lawn can wreak havoc on electrical installations. Most people don’t think of the green space outside the factory as an extreme environment. Fertilizer seeping into underground electrical runs can be just as corrosive as the salty spray at a shipyard.
When the heat – or cold – is on.
onduit piping inside a large plant can be exposed to steam and condensation, or sparks, open flames and heat. When there’s constant exposure to heat—such as a boiler room—tape can become brittle, crack, and compromise the jacket, providing a path to corrosion.
For electrical installations where moisture is the main concern, not just any tape will do. Sometimes the job calls for more than just premium vinyl electrical tapes. 3M offers several solutions to help ensure you get the results you need no matter the job. Rubber tapes are a great option for helping to seal out moisture when you’re working on jobs with voltage over 600V. However, mastic tapes combined with a rubber insulator may be your best defense and are recommended for subterranean and suspended high voltage applications. Mastics are rated up to 600V so for high voltage applications they must be coupled with a primary rubber insulator. Both mastic and rubber tapes protect against alkalis and acids which become airborne or that seep into subterranean installations.
Scotch® Premium Tape Pro Tips:
- In industrial locations where chemical aerosols are routinely used, insulate low voltage connections with a premium vinyl tape that’s compatible with epoxy resins, rubber and synthetic splicing compounds. High voltage connections that are wrapped with rubber tape can be over wrapped with a thicker PVC backed vinyl tape like Scotch® Vinyl Electrical Tape Super 88.
- If you’re wrapping pipe or conduit in a refrigerated area, you’ll need a tape with an aggressive adhesive to make the initial grip. Add tapes to your kit that can hold tight in temperatures as low as 0ºF (-18ºC) and can take the heat in temperatures up to 220ºF (105ºC).
- For high voltage applications where liquids are a potential electric hazard, combine a self-fusing primary rubber tape like Scotch® Linerless Rubber Splicing Tape 130C with a tough vinyl over wrap. Rubber tapes provide excellent thermal dissipation and can be wrapped around mastics to contain oozing.
You splice your motor leads. The connection is tight—you’ve made the perfect spiral wrap. You snap the lid of the motor box; energize the circuit. You switch on the machine and the production line comes back to life. And then the motor box begins to shake, violently! Extreme vibrations pull at a splice over time and work environments can be rough and destructive to your cables. For that kind of abuse, we’ve developed tapes that insulate, protect and persist.
Shake, Rattle and Roll. There’s a tape for that.
Your cable might be compromised even before deployment. Construction sites are a dirty business. You may be dragging cable across a concrete floor and snag it on rebar. Punctures and abrasions on cable jackets can be an easy fix if the injury doesn’t penetrate to conductor depth. Sometimes, even the gold standard of vinyl tape needs a little extra support. A premium mastic tape with a vulcanized CSM rubber backing is ultra-tough and helps repair cables injured in rough industrial environments like petroleum plants, and construction sites. Thicker 8.5 and 10-mil vinyl tapes are a great option for extra mechanical protection in those rough environments.
Scotch® Maintenance Pro Tips:
- Motors often have a service life shorter than the machine they run in; so re-entry is a key concern. Wrapping first with a vinyl creates an interim layer between the conductor and the self-fusing rubber tape so you can insulate and still slice through to peel clean when you need to re-enter. For better results; wrap the leads initially with a vinyl tape, adhesive side out. Then add a rubber tape like Scotch® Linerless Rubber Splicing Tape 130C, to moisture seal, and finish with a premium vinyl tape. In a tight space or a box where there are multiple leads, Scotch® Super 33+ ™ Vinyl Electrical Tape provides the better stretch for a thin finish tape.
- For rougher daily applications that may pose a risk of abrasion or puncture; you’ll need a tape which creates additional padding. Use a thicker premium vinyl tape that has an elevated breaking point, especially for connections which need to endure shake and vibration. Scotch® Vinyl Electrical Tape Super 88 is a great tape that gives you extra padding at 8.5 mil, and robust performance when you need it.
In most instances an electrical fault stops at the breaker box. The fail safe in the system works as designed. But sometimes there are electrical shorts that shut down production lines, leaving personnel idly standing by. Far worse are electrical catastrophes that cause cascading failures, explosions and loss of life. An electrician needs to be focused. You need to be ready to go in, all neurons firing. You need to do your job safely so at the end of the day you can go home in as good of shape as you came. Your family counts on that. And the public counts on you.
When You Can’t Afford to Fail.
Not all electrical installations are created equal. There are some locations which are simply hard to reach. Oil derricks, stadium light poles, wireless cellular towers, ocean liner engine rooms and mineshafts are just a few. There are other situations where the down time caused by electric failures may cause a significant loss of revenue. If you’re an electrician who services a hospital you know how critical your work is to patient care. Every situation calls for quality craftsmanship but these critical jobs require nothing less than top of the line supplies. If you’re on a scheduled maintenance routine, you’ll want your splices to exceed this performance regimen. If you’re making a critical repair after a storm, you want that mend to hold tight when the next one rolls in. These jobs – and your safety – call for using the quality materials. Premium quality vinyl, mastic and rubber tapes help make sure you have the right tools so the job is done the right way, and help you get home safe.
Scotch® Critical Jobs Pro Tips:
- When failure is not an option, your jobs and your reputation depend on proper installation of tapes you can trust. Use products with staying power, premium tapes with adhesion designed for sustained ambient temperatures from 0ºF (-18ºC) to 220ºF (105ºC) which meet UL 510 standards of flame retardance.
- Critical jobs often involve high voltage installations. If you are working on terminations on power lines guard against arcing and tracking by using a self-fusing silicone rubber tape. Arc suppression provides added protection for you when you’re up on the pole.
- Moisture sealing and weather proofing your connections with premium rubber and mastic tapes helps prevent damage to your electrical systems and reduces the risk of unexpected and costly failures. Jeopardizing your reputation by not having the right tools for the job is a risk you don’t want to take.