August 24, 2022

NFC Tags: What tags should I choose, and how do I apply them?

NFC Tags: What tags should I choose, and how do I apply them?

About the author:

Nick has 20-odd years of experience working on ropes, starting his career in entertainment rigging before moving into rope access, and then on to becoming Head Rigger and Height Safety and Rescue Trainer for Cirque du Soleil.

Nick has also worked with Gravitec Systems Inc, The Chicago Flyhouse, SGS, and Harken Industrial in roles from developing big top rescue plans with, building splicing training programs, and creating an introduction to Non-destructive Testing (NDT) inspection training. 

Ready to pick up some tags from our shop, and would like some guidance as to what tags you should use, as well as where and how best to apply them? 

You know just as well as we do that there are literally hundreds of thousands of different pieces of equipment used for work at height. 

While we can’t give specific advice on every product this blog will point you in the right direction and guide you to tag your equipment with NFC tags. 

A few things worth mentioning.

Although our tags are durable and designed specifically for equipment used for work at height, you should always try to place them in a low-wear zone. 

NFC stands for Near Field Communication, which means that NFC technology reads tags at a close range. You need to be able to get your phone’s NFC reader pretty close to the tag, so think about that placement-wise.

It’s good to remember that when sticking something to a surface the bond is only as good as your surface preparation. Any oil, grease or dirt will weaken this bond so clean your surface with some alcohol (rubbing, not drinking), or another suitable cleaner.

Due to the way NFC technology works, tags that are being attached to metal need to have special shielding qualities to enable the antenna to operate without interference. All this to say, we’ve got you covered! If attaching a tag to metal, just make sure you use our on-metal tags or another tag designed to be placed on metal.

Right, let's get into it!

Carabiners 

The workhorse of the height safety world needs some suitably durable solutions. 

First up is our in-house designed I-Beam Carabiner NFC Tag

This tag is made to sit perfectly in the channel of an I-beam carabiner. 

These tags will need to be stuck on with an adhesive (we’ve found Loctite 480 or a Two-Part Epoxy to work really well).

Not limited to carabiners, you can use these tags anywhere else you may want to stick one. 

I-Beam Carabiner NFC Tag

For most other carabiners, our 15x15mm On-Metal NFC Tag will be your go-to. 

The 15x15mm On-Metal NFC Tag covered with our 15mm Ø x 25mm Length Adhesive-Lined Heat shrink.

To keep the tag secure, you will need some of our 15mm Ø x 25mm Length Adhesive-Lined Heat shrink

When applying the On-Metal NFC Tag, don’t stick them in the bearing point of the biner. We think the outside of the spine and a bit below halfway is a good spot as it means the gate is not opening onto the heat shrink every time you open the biner. 

The ideal 15x15mm On-Metal NFC Tag placement on a carabiner.
Other Hardware

We have a few options for you depending on the surface area available, and the surface type.

If the surface is metal and there is room to stick a tag on, your options are either a 15x15mm On-Metal NFC Tag, the 6mm Ø On-Metal Disc NFC Tag, or our trusty Zip Tie NFC Tag.

The 15x15mm On-Metal NFC Tag is a sticker with a very high adhesive backing, so it’s great if you have a smooth piece of real estate on your bit of kit to fit one.

The 15x15mm On-Metal NFC Tag

If space is at a premium, the 6mm Ø On-Metal Disc NFC Tags are small and low profile. Some manufacturers even have recesses where the tag fits perfectly. 

The 6mm Ø On-Metal Disc NFC Tag

The 6mm Ø On-Metal Disc NFC Tags will need to be stuck on with an adhesive (again, we’ve found Loctite 480 or a Two-Part Epoxy to work really well).   

If you don’t have the real estate to stick something to—or you'd prefer not to—we have the good old Zip Tie NFC Tag, which is about as versatile as we all know zip ties are.

A Zip Tie NFC Tag hiding on a Petzl ASAP Lock
Rope

This is an easy one! Use one of our 30mm x 60mm Rope Labels

If you have your own rope labels, you can use one of our under label tags

We know some of you are rough with rope, so a wrap of PPT tape over top makes them extra durable.

The 30mm x 60mm Rope Label
The 12x19mm Under Label NFC Tag being applied under a rope label.
Helmets

Another easy one as we have just the sticker for this application. 

Our 30mm Ø Helmet Sticker NFC Tag uses a Petzl approved adhesive, meaning it is guaranteed to not compromise the strength of your helmet. 

We recommend popping the sticker just inside the rim of the helmet so you can reach it with the scanning part of your phone. With many phones, the NFC readers will pick up the tag from the outside of the helmet, making scanning helmets too easy!  

The 30mm Ø Helmet Sticker NFC Tag
Harnesses

Depending on the harness you have, there may be a harness ID card or label that’s protected enough to put the 12x19mm Under Label NFC Tag under, on, or inside. 

The 12x19mm Under Label NFC Tag on a Petzl AVAO Harness ID Card

But fear not! The old-faithful Zip Tie NFC Tag comes to the rescue if your harness doesn’t have an ID card or label.

A Zip Tie NFC Tag attached to the gear loop of a harness.

We’ve not met a bit of gear that we can’t tag yet! If you think you have one, let us know here. We love a challenge!

If you want to geek out on NFC tech, or you're curious why we use NFC over other technology, stay tuned for a blog post about this coming soon.

As always, if you have any questions or great ideas about tags (or anything else we do) please get in touch with us here.