This year’s annual MCAA Convention for the Mechanical Contractors Association of America was a huge hit.
Fencetech 2017 just wrapped up at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas. The show, which went from February 1st to February 5th, was a huge success and San Antonio was a fantastic host. More than 4,500 fence industry professionals were at the conference to attend meetings, meet with clients, and be educated about new fence standards and products in the industry.
The Electrical Association presented the 2017 Chicago Safety & Sustainability Conference on January 19, 2017 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois. This conference is a table top tradeshow that allows manufacturers to show their latest products and services to over 600 industry professionals. The event is primarily attended by Chicago’s Electrical and Building Industry, Building Owners and Managers, Local Municipalities, Electrical Inspectors, University and Hospital Planners, Engineers, Sustainable Energy Consultants, Construction Safety Managers and more.
Have you ever wondered who is behind the production of your tubular products? Over the next few months, I will be highlighting team members of Wheatland Tube who happen to be some of the best in our industry. I recently interviewed Kim Westfall who is our Coatings Engineer at the Wheatland Tube facility in Chicago.
Will the wind blow down a fence? It sure will! In my many years of experience in the fence industry, I have visited countless sites and seen photos of fences bent anywhere from 30 degrees or more to just about flat to the ground. One time I visited a tennis court site at Montauk Point on Long Island; unfortunately, the wind screens were left on during a storm and I couldn’t believe my eyes…one 120-foot side of the court fence was blown a full 60 feet to the other! The post, including the massive footings were actually pulled out of the sandy ground.
I am pleased to announce that Wheatland Tube – Council Ave plant has completed the final phase of Project Phoenix, a six phase plant upgrade with new inline finishing equipment. As previously noted the project was eliminating 4 major bottlenecks in the production and shipping areas (facing, testing, painting and shipping). This upgrade was the largest undertaking the facility has ever gone through in its roughly 81 years of operation.
In an effort to help understand the importance of logistics in a manufacturing environment, let’s first define the word logistics.the aspect of military science dealing with the procurement, maintenance, and transportation of military matériel, facilities, and personnelthe handling of the details of an operation
Meet Jeff Shulman, Vice President of Logistics at Zekelman Industries. Jeff has held various roles at Zekelman Industries on the logistics team and has contributed to the overall growth and achievement of the Logistics department. Jeff hold an Honors Bachelor of Commerce Degree from McMaster University, Hamilton Ontario Canada.
Q: How can distribution and logistics work together to reduce costs and eliminate any logistical hiccups in a manufacturing environment?
Jeff: One of the most important factors these days is a truck driver’s hours of service. Therefore, it is imperative that both the loading origin and unloading destination take necessary steps to turn the trucks as quickly as possible.
In the heat of this historic presidential election, the public has heard endless talk from candidates about rebuilding our national economy and our manufacturing sector. However, as the campaigns roar through the states, we in Pennsylvania have yet to receive any plans these candidates have to ensure that unfair trade does not destroy the core of this nation’s manufacturing sector, along with its workers and communities.
As a native of Mercer County, I am proud to call this area home and to be part of a multi-generational family that has dedicated itself to the U.S. steel-pipe and -tube industry. In the Sharon-Wheatland area, those of us at Wheatland Tube, a division of JMC Steel Group know the benefits that manufacturing brings to communities.
Our company, like many others in the region, provides good-wage jobs that help expand our economy, and we have done this for more than a century. During the course of history, our company has faced many challenges, including the onslaught of unfairly traded steel-pipe and -tube imports. Of course we are not alone, as we are part of the greater steel family, all of which is under attack.
Over the past decade, the manufacturing sector has lost more than 100,000 jobs in Pennsylvania. That is simply unacceptable — and in the case of steel-pipe and -tube, these losses have been attributed to unfairly traded imports.
Even in the current political climate, regardless of party affiliation, we all should agree that we have a problem. Those seeking higher elected office should do more; they should offer solutions. We at Wheatland believe it is time for them to step up and stand up for our industry.
We currently are at phase 5.5 of 6 phases of the project. We started up from our winter shutdown on January 4, 2016. During the shutdown we tied in additional capacity to our straightening, facing and testing operations. Since the start-up we have increased our finished tons per week by 17%.
Additionally, our shipping capacity has improved by handling the finished bundles as opposed to our previous method of manual order breakdowns. Our average time to load the customer trucks is around 35 minutes. We also have additional capacity by adding crews and/or shifts as needed.
We continue to make improvements to our coatings and stencil through rigorous testing and process improvements.
Our in-line threader, a PMC model, has outstanding thread quality and the hex packaging with off-set coupling ends and capped ends blend nicely with our other hex finished bundles.
Our final phase will be completed over the mill shutdown in July of this year. This phase is the installation of a second MAIR plain end. This plain end will be a twin machine to the high-speed 4-spindle machine we installed last summer. The new plain end will be in line with our mill and testing operations. The newly designed plain ends have length and inspection systems. This machine will replace a 45 year old facing unit.
Fire protection systems are the most critical systems of any building. From a protection standpoint, fire sprinkler pipe helps ensure that when the need arises, water will flow and spray from the system properly.
However, if the pipe is compromised in any way it’s not always possible for this to happen. And while there are several regulations that fire protection systems must meet or exceed to stay up to code, it doesn’t mean that the pipe isn’t susceptible to elements that can compromise its performance and increase corrosion. One element that has the ability to significantly cause corrosion of fire sprinkler pipe, and thus decreasing its effectiveness, is MIC.
Throughout this blog post, we’re going to review what MIC is, how it affects fire sprinkler pipe and how you can help prevent it from forming.
Let’s get started!What is MIC?
MIC is the acronym used for microbiologically influenced corrosion, a problem for the long-term health of fire sprinkler and standard pipes. MIC is caused when unseen biological organisms called microbes gather to accelerate corrosion on the surface of alloys including copper, ductile iron, steel, and stainless steel.
When it comes to standard pipe (and really any steel pipe or tube product), there’s always a question of quality when comparing domestic and import products. At Wheatland Tube, we’re committed to manufacturing the highest quality products, including our SureThreadTM continuous weld (CW) standard pipe. That’s why we’ve set out to educate pipe consumers (distributors and contractors) about the differences between our CW pipe and import ERW pipe, specifically when referring to the smaller diameters of ½” to 2”.
Made to ASTM A53 Type F Grade A specifications, SureThreadTM CW pipe is easier to work with than import ERW pipe because of its uniform grain structure. This makes it easier to bend, cut and thread.
The difference in quality all begins with how the pipe is manufactured.
Where import ERW pipe is cold-formed, SureThread is hot-formed. Throughout the process of CW pipe formation, the entire steel pipe is heated, not just the edges as in ERW pipe. During a process called annealing, the manufacturers heat and slowly cool the steel to reduce its brittleness. When the steel reaches 2,450° F, it is rolled into a cylindrical shape and the edges are fused together through pressure and heat. During the ERW process, the edges of the steel are heated to 2,600° F by revolving copper discs (that serve as electrodes) and fused together.
For SureThreadTM, the result is a stronger, more ductile pipe with a smooth weld seam and uniform grain pattern throughout the entire pipe. Import ERW pipe, on the other hand, is harder and more brittle with: irregular grain patterns, a bump at the weld seam, and a weld seam with different metal properties that the rest of the pipe.For contractors using standard pipe, the difference really is in the quality of pipe used. According to a survey, 70% prefer working with SureThread over import ERW pipe.
Back in July, we announced the revitalization program that our Council Avenue plant is undergoing and how it will benefit our customers. Since our last post, we’ve made great progress with the upgrades, and we continue to work diligently to complete this project so our customers receive an even better product from Wheatland Tube.
Well into phase five of six total phases, here are some highlights of the project:
• We have installed and commissioned an 8-head high speeds hydro and flush system. The high speed hydro tester will help eliminate operational bottle necks, enhancing our product throughput, and improving cycle times and customer service. The flush system will improve the ID (inside diameter) of our product, and both systems will add MIC shield to our product.
• We have installed and commissioned a new 4 head PMC threader. This new threader is an upgrade from our current threading machine. It will produce a world-class thread, while the unit automatically installs thread protectors. The new threader will install thread protectors (TPs) on one end of the pipe, while a coupling is applied to the other end. The pipe is then put into a hex-bundle which helps in stacking/storing the material.
• Improved painting, stenciling and packing expertise, resulting in an overall higher quality product.
There’s no better way to meet and network with your peers, and check out thousands of product and service solutions than at the National Electrical Contractor’s Association’s number one show for the electrical industry. Wheatland Tube was one of the many exhibitors that displayed products at NECA from October 3 – 6 in San Francisco, California. Judging by this year’s turnout, we understand why San Francisco has been named “Everybody’s Favorite City.” There is strength in numbers and it was great to see a steady stream of attendees during the NECA show. We also enjoyed talking to both current and potential customers.Wheatland Tube’s 2015 NECA Focus
This year, Wheatland came with a bigger focus and a bigger presence to deliver a stronger message in terms of “Working Smarter, Not Harder” for the end user. We introduced our new specialty products at NECA and explained why they are easy to use and how they deliver true on-the-job time savings. Our featured products this year included:20” EMT and DuraGuard Rigid Steel Conduit
Faster, lower-cost installation• Ideal for long runs• Cuts production costs by eliminating 50% of the connections used for each run• Used for big-box retail, airports, data centers and other projects that require large volumes of conduit and fittings• 100% Made & Melted in U.S.A.Color-Coded EMT
Easy identification• Available in 9 vivid colors• Enables on the sport identification of critical circuits such as fire, alarm, healthcare, and high and low voltage systems• Available in trade sizes ½” – 4”• Available in 10’ and 20’ lengthsSmartSet™ EMT with Built-in Set Screw Coupling ~ NEW PRODUCT
The Smart Way to Raceway• No need to inventory or install separate couplings, SmartSet EMT comes with a built-in set screw coupling• Available in trade sizes 1¼” – 4”• Available in 10’ and 20’ lengths• Available in 9 vibrant colors
In the world of tubing, things can get a bit confusing. With many different types of tubing for different applications, terms and meanings can be a bit ambiguous. With this in mind, we’ve set out to explain the difference between structural tubing and mechanical tubing.
Let’s get started.Definitions
Mechanical Tubing: tubing used for mechanical and light gauge structural applications. Mechanical tube is produced to meet specific end use requirements, specifications, tolerances and chemistries. This allows for more specific property uniformity throughout the tube compared to standard pipe. While Mechanical tube can be produced to standard specifications when requested, it is often produced to “typical” properties that focus mainly on the yield strength for a particular size and wall thickness. In some applications with severe forming, yield strength may not even be specified and the Mechanical tube is produced to be “fit for use”. Mechanical tubing encompasses a wide range of both structural and non-structural applications.
Structural Tubing: tubing used for structural applications. Standard strength requirements of the tube help dictate applications for which certain tubing is most appropriate. Structural tube is often referred to as hollow structural sections or HSS.
In a world where choices are endless, a buying decision often comes down to how a customer is treated. One wrong response/action can completely erase months or even years worth of relationship building. And that can be detrimental to a business.
At Wheatland Tube, we count on our customer service representatives to manage the day-to-day communication with our customers. These individuals are the ones helping our customers get what they need, when they need it. And they do it day in and day out with smiles on their faces – something we know our customers can hear through the phone!
I recently sat down with Carol Pylypiw, the manager for customer service and pricing for our standard pipe division, and Toni Thacker, the customer service manager for our electrical and mechanical divisions, to talk about customer service and its importance to an organization, specifically Wheatland Tube. Here’s what they had to say:Q: Why do you think customer service is so important to an organization? How do you and your teams go above and beyond to continuously exceed our customer’s expectations?
Carol: “Customer service is an extension of our sales force; we can make or break a sale. We know our customers don’t forget when we do something outside of our guidelines (i.e. break a bundle of pipe when they only need a few pieces to satisfy their customers’ requirements). As a rule, we don’t say no unless we have exhausted all possibilities.
In speaking with our regional sales managers, they feel the customer service representative (CSR) has more direct interaction with the customer than the outside sales rep. The CSRs are able to establish great relationships because of the constant contact and variance they deal with. On any given day, a CSR could deal with the same customer on quotes, expediting, MTR’s, quality issues, etc. The point is: there are a lot of opportunities to make us or breaks us with a customer. And while the outside sales rep can make the call, it’s the CSR who really has the ability to influence where the relationship goes from there.”
Wheatland Tube, a division of JMC Steel Group, recognizes the issues contractors face day in and day out. As manufacturers, we experience many of the same pain points as it relates to labor, costs, quality and service. Recently, we launched a revitalization program for our Council Avenue plant in Wheatland, Pennsylvania.
By adding new equipment, we are realigning our manufacturing footprint and automating many processes throughout the facility. 100 percent invested in this project, our goal is to ensure that we continue to deliver our customers the highest quality products, specifically a product that bends, cuts, and threads easier with our SureThread™ continuous weld (CW) standard steel pipe.
This investment will create a safer, cleaner workplace; eliminate production bottlenecks; reduce work-in-process inventory levels; optimize production efficiencies; and improve customer service in the most cost-effective manner.How will this revitalization benefit our customers?
During a time when things have quickly become digitally driven, many companies have turned to a digital approach to sales and marketing. And while digital assets such as your website, blog and email marketing have the ability to generate leads and close those leads into customers, there’s something to be said about sticking with more “traditional” means of marketing.
For some industries, sticking to digital might work. However, industries that rely heavily on personal relationships, brand loyalty and product knowledge in an effort to increase sales, customers and market share, elements of traditional marketing is vital.
With so many avenues to choose from, it’s imperative to find the best channels to produce a measureable ROI. Sure ads in magazines and trade publications are great, but can you really measure the success of an ad campaign? Beyond ads and billboards, there are certainly other traditional means of marketing and one that continues to be valuable despite the digital takeover are trade shows. According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, 99% of exhibitors find unique value delivered by B2B tradeshows which are not provided by other marketing channels.
At Wheatland Tube, we’ve embraced the digital way of marketing, but we haven’t given up on trade shows. Attending several each year has resulted in increased awareness about our brand and its products. It also gives us “face time” with customers, both existing and potential, including distributors, contractors and end users. What’s more, these trade shows give us an opportunity to introduce new products and allow attendees (industry professionals) to test and review the products right in front of us, providing invaluable feedback.
Through all of the trade shows we’ve attended, we’ve learned a lot; not only about which shows are best for our sales and marketing goals, but also the best ways to approach each show. If you’re new to the trade show scene or interested in ramping up your presence, here are five essential elements for exhibiting at any trade show.
Over the past several years, solar power has taken off. With residential, non-residential and utility-sized projects popping up all over the country, solar power is an environmentally-friendly and sustainable alternative form of energy that’s continuing to grow.
From rooftop solar panels on homes and businesses to ground-mounted utility solar projects, we are harnessing the power of the sun to fuel our electrical needs, one solar panel at a time.
Here are four examples of growth within the solar industry that’ll quickly illustrate how far we’ve come in the past few years, and where we’re headed in the future.Solar energy accounted for 32% of all new electricity generating capacity
According to Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the U.S. solar industry grew 34% in 2014 compared to 2013. Solar power accounted for 32% of all new electricity generating capacity in the U.S., coming in after natural gas which generated 42% of new electric capacity.
(Image Source: SEIA)
Over the past several months, we’ve continued to see the number of import steel products rise – despite efforts to stop the dumping of inferior import products into the U.S.
In March alone, steel imports accounted for 34 percent of the U.S. steel market, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. Compared to 2014, year-to-date steel imports have increased for total and finished products, up 20 percent and 35 percent respectively. The most notable culprits of importing steel into the U.S. during the first three months of 2015 include South Korea, Turkey, China, Japan and Taiwan. And while the non-enforcement of current trade laws continue to allow this to happen, steel manufacturers all over the country are being forced to shut and/or slow down operations and lay off workers.
And while we’re fighting to keep inferior quality and price-slashed imports out of the U.S., legislation is on the brink of being passed to undermine manufacturers and their workers. While that’s a story for another day (you can also read about it here and here), let’s focus on the “inferior quality” part of the growing import issue.
Better yet, let’s let a short video do the talking. Here’s a video that demonstrates the differences between import ERW pipe and our SureThread continuous weld A53 pipe – a Made in the USA product – as told by a Chicago piping professional:
When it comes down to it, steel that’s manufactured and produced in the U.S. is not only higher quality, but in purchasing and using domestic steel, you’re supporting American businesses, workers and communities.
The American Cancer Society has been saving lives for more than 100 years. Today, the Chicago Electrical Industry (CEI) is helping to save more than 400 lives a day that would have otherwise been lost to cancer. We won't stop until we finish the fight. Our goal across the electrical industry is to raise $1million dollars.
To date, the Chicago Electrical Industry (CEI) has collectively raised $200,000. Team Wheatland has raised and donated more than $6,000 towards the cause and we participated in the Walk & Roll Event on Saturday, April 25, 2015. We battled the cold and rain, but we made it to the finish line!
Thank you to all that donated and participated in this event, including the Wheatland sales and customer service teams!
For more information about The American Cancer Society visit cancer.org or contact them at 1-800-227-2345. If you would like to donate against the fight against cancer there is still time, please donate here.
Too often manufacturers take advantage of their relationship with distributors. They think: we’ll just make sure they’re all stocked with our products so they can go to work and move our offerings off the floor. Said manufacturers (and their salespeople) might provide some information about their products, but other than that they leave it up to the distributor to field questions and sell their products for them.
This is where a gap begins to form between manufacturers and distributors. However, distributors are an important element of our business, and we have to make sure we are doing everything we can to bridge the unfortunate, yet inevitable gap that is created. Instead of thinking of distributors as just another way to get our products into the hands of as many customers as possible, we need to think of them as part of the team.
Here are three ways we attempt to bridge the gap and nurture mutually-beneficial relationships at Wheatland Tube:1. Keep the lines of communication open
Communication is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle when it comes to working with distributors. In this light, you really can’t communicate too much with the distributors that are stocking your products. From making sure your distributors have direct access to a salesperson to that salesperson dropping by regularly (every several weeks or so) and staying in touch in the interim, being available to provide information or answer any questions they may have will benefit you in the long run.
This brings me to my next point…
Wheatland’s Schedule 40 black and galvanized pipe, made to conform to the ASTM A53 specification, is intended for mechanical and pressure applications. The Scope of ASTM A53 states, "Pipe ordered under this specification is intended for mechanical and pressure applications and is also acceptable for ordinary uses in steam, water, gas and air lines". Pipe for use under pressure is also important for sprinkler piping, API Line pipe, tubing and casing and the coupling stock we make.
To help you differentiate between the types of testing, working and burst pressures, below is a brief review.
Test pressure refers to the hydrostatic (water) pressure test applied at the mill. It is an inspection device used to assure integrity of the pipe body and weld.
A general rule applied in selecting test pressures is that test pressure must exceed service pressure to which the pipe would ordinarily be subjected. Test pressures do, however, increase as the wall thickness of the pipe increases
It's a well-known fact that working in construction has its hazards, and with construction season upon us – if winter ever decides to leave, that is – safety on the job site should be a focal point for every project manager's mind.
If safety's not a main concern, take these numbers into consideration (courtesy of OSHA): the construction industry accounted for 20.3% (or 796) of all worker fatalities in 2013. It also came in at number one for fatal injuries in 2013.
Those are some staggering facts. Although accidents can and unfortunately will happen, contractors and their employees must take the necessary precautions to mitigate risk as much as possible.
According to OSHA, four types of accidents accounted for more than 50% of construction worker deaths in 2013. These accidents, referred to as the "Fatal Four" include falls, struck by an object, electrocution and caught-in/between.
How do you decrease construction accidents and fatalities? How do you make sure your workers are being safe, know proper safety protocols and are taking the necessary precautions to help eliminate accidents and injuries? And more importantly, how do you ensure safety is one of the most important aspects of completing a project?
Just a couple weeks ago, Wheatland Tube sales, marketing and manufacturing associates participated in FENCETECH 2015 at the Orlando Convention Center.
The fence industries premier event, this week long program consisted of seminars, meetings and a trade show. Attracting more than 4,200 industry professionals from across the country, this year's attendance was one of the largest in recent years, indicating growth within the industry since the "great recession".
All of the seminars, meetings and presentations were informative and well-attended. Additionally, optimism about the upcoming year was rampant on the on the trade show floor amongst contractors, distributors and manufacturers.
Every five years, each ASTM standard must be reviewed and updated, and once revisions are made, they must be placed into the balloting process or re-approval. The ASTM F14 Fence Committee met all day on Tuesday, February 3rd, addressing two new standards. These proposals include a standard specifying drive anchors for setting posts and a standard practice for specifying welded wire security fence. With 16 total standard revisions identified for 2015, the committee surely has their work cut out for them this year!
The Chain Link Fence Manufacturers Institute also held a short meeting on Friday morning summarizing 2014s accomplishments and laying out 2015 plans. A busy meeting is scheduled for the summer meeting in July.
When people think of careers in manufacturing, it’s safe to say they think of the plant workers and not far beyond that. And there’s no question the production workers are the heart of our operation. Without our plant employees, we wouldn’t be able to produce anything – even given the increase in automated plant tasks. However, there are more careers in manufacturing than skilled/unskilled positions. In fact, manufacturing is home to a wide range of careers that require varied levels of education and training.
Science, technology, engineering and mathematics education have been a topic of conversation lately and we think it’s a great thing to see and hear. The STEM areas of education are critical to our growth and success as a company, as well as for manufacturing as an industry.
For the US and the rest of North America to continue to reshore manufacturing jobs, we need to “step up our game” when it comes to educating tomorrow’s manufacturing workers. This begins at the elementary level where we must introduce the vast opportunities available in STEM careers to young boys and girls, specifically manufacturing. This education and awareness has to continue through high school and college, showing students the possibilities available to them.
Leaving the education to the teachers and professors (for now, anyways), we’re going to review some of the neglected careers of manufacturing. The careers students don’t give a second thought to, careers that are vital to the success of a manufacturing production, and careers that are simply overlooked if you’re unfamiliar with the industry.Engineering and Technology
Typically speaking, engineering and technology jobs require post-secondary education, from gaining an Associate’s degree to a Bachelor’s degree and beyond, if you want to be involved with designing and building things, you will have to do some schooling.
Switching from the familiar to the unfamiliar can be a difficult change for anyone, and it's no different for contractors when deciding to specify a new product for their next project. Sure, the unfamiliar is intimidating, but it also holds the potential to completely revolutionize the way you do business, complete projects, and save money.
Slightly partial to our own 20-foot FastrakTM Plus EMT and DuraGuardTM conduit products, we've identified several advantages of switching from standard 10-foot products to longer, more efficient 20-foot products. Sharing that knowledge with you, below I'll outline some benefits of using 20-foot conduit, in addition to the projects that are most suited for 20' EMT.
Let's get started!Projects Most Suitable for 20-Foot Conduit
While I'd love to tell you, "use 20-foot conduit for every project", the truth is it's not ideal for all applications. However, it is highly effective for long-run applications. In fact, the 20' product saved one of our customer's team 15 to 20 minutes of installation time per 100 feet.
Some projects applications that have seen just how beneficial 20' conduit is include:
As project manager, it’s your job to make sure a project is completed. Responsible for the planning, coordinating, budgeting and supervision the project from start to finish, you are the point person. You make sure everything goes smoothly – even though it probably won’t. (It’s the sad truth, my friends.)
Despite the hours spent planning and coordinating, we know issues and setbacks will arise, and it’s up to you to oversee and make sure those issues are resolved – all in a timely manner, of course. Not only is it your duty to ensure the job is completed on time, you must also do it within budget!
Luckily, you’re not alone. You have the help of building specialists including architects, engineers, and your team of trade contractors. However, “too many hands in the cookie jar” is often the culprit for things getting out of hand, costs increasing quickly, and work not being completed on time.
We know how competitive the construction world is, and we want to make sure as project manager, you’re able to help save money on construction projects, not spend more than you have budgeted.
While there are various are to make cuts and save money, here are four ways to consider during your next (or current) project:
Not only have our elves, we mean employees, been busy keeping our workshops facilities running this holiday season, they’ve also managed to take the time to reflect on what the holiday season really means: giving to those in need.
Giving to children and families in need, the employees in our Wheatland plant - on Western Blvd. in Chicago - donated toys to Chicago’s 12th Ward 12th Annual Toys for Kids, led by Alderman George Cardenas.
The first toy drive our plant has participated in, the majority of donations came in monetary form the plant employees. After donations were collected, Jennifer Bogs, Wheatland’s Environmental Manager, purchased 50 toys for the deserving children of the 12th Ward, who might not have gotten any gifts this year.
Chicago’s 12th Ward 12th Annual Toys for Kids
Today, Monday, December 22, 2014, from 10:00am to 1:00pm, residents of the 12th Ward (Brighton Park, McKinley Park and Little Village) can join Alderman George Cardenas and his staff at McKinley Park to have their picture taken with Santa Clause and receive a gift (while supplies last).
On Saturday, December 13, 2014, the Chicago Electric Industry hosted their 23rd Annual Homeless Children’s Christmas Party, to benefit young homeless children and their families throughout Chicagoland.
A success for sure, more than 250 families attended the event to enjoy a hot, holiday meal, a visit from Santa, - with gifts, of course - storytelling, face painting and a DJ. With ages ranging from infancy to 14 years old, more than 400 gifts were passed out to the well deserving children and their families.
Two of our own employees, Camille Grayson and Michael Strawn, attended the event, helping give these children a holiday season to remember. Camille, our marketing manager at corporate HQ, said this was the best event she’s volunteered for all year. “Just seeing the smiles on the children’s faces anticipating Santa and getting a gift was great.”
In our latest blog post, we talked about manufacturing’s greatest, most underutilized asset, which of course, are women. And that got us thinking about the Wheatland women. During a time when women in manufacturing has become such a hot topic, we are doing what we can to grow the workforce and put people back to work.
Although we can’t say enough about the men working in our facilities, we wanted to take the time to highlight a few of the many women working at our facilities.
In celebrating our women, we sat down with three outstanding employees and discussed a variety of topics, including why they think there is such a significant gap in the number of women who work in manufacturing and how we can get more young girls and women interested in manufacturing.
Meet Lisa Beers, Christine Walczak and Sue Preston: three women who have collectively contributed more than 50 years of service to Wheatland Tube. Let’s get to know these women and their thoughts about the state of manufacturing and the future of women in the industry.
The US manufacturing industry is flourishing. The skilled manufacturing workforce is not.
Promising numbers, manufacturing isn't going anywhere: it's primed to grow. According to the Accenture 2014 Manufacturing Skills and Training Study (a study about the state of manufacturing and potential threats to its continued growth), 82% of survey respondents plan to increase production, with 50% saying that they plan to increase US-based production by at least 5 percent over the next five years. What's more, almost 25% of those surveyed intend to increase manufacturing roles in the US by more than 10% in the next five years.
However, despite the slated growth over the next five years, US manufacturers are facing quite the dilemma: a shortage in skilled workers.
Although there's been an influx in automation within manufacturing, resulting in the need for a smaller workforce, there continues to be a high demand for skilled and highly skilled workers. In fact, according to Accenture's study, 80% of the manufacturing roles fell into the skilled and highly skilled categories.
And this is where the problem lies: there aren't enough qualified job seekers in the industry. And unfortunately, this supply and demand issue will only continue to grow as the current skilled workforce reaches retirement age over the next 10 to 15 years.
Wheatland Tube was one of the several hundred companies to display their latest products at this years' event. With a manufacturing facility and corporate headquarters in Chicago, we proudly displayed our U.S. produced steel conduit, EMT and electrical nipple, elbow and coupling lines at the 2014 NECA Trade Show that took place right here in Chicago from September 28th through the 30th.
In addition to our participation as a sponsor and exhibitor, I was given the opportunity to lead a workshop; Steel Conduit and EMT: Understanding Corrosion and Raceway Restoration. My fifty minute seminar offered a review of UL® and NEC® requirements for corrosion protection, as well as an evaluation of storm- and water-damaged steel conduit and electrical metallic tubing. I also reviewed the process of restoring usable conduit and EMT to be used for service, including the guidelines that must be followed, cleaning agents to employ and best practices for the restoration of raceways. The workshop was offered in an effort to provide some guidance to contractors and inspectors who are dealing with these issues more and more.Wheatland Tube's 2014 NECA Focus
Myself, along with Scott Collins, Dan Binkowski, Michael Strawn, and Philip Racine from our Chicago sales team, are very excited about the awareness and exposure that NECA created for our conduit and EMT product lines. While we offer many different products, our main focus this year was on our 20' EMT and conduit, in addition to our Color Check™ Color-Coded EMT. After talking with current and potential prospects, we are confident about the buzz we created, and expect to see growth within these product lines. It's always a great venue for me to catch up with contractors, inspectors and NECA staff that I do not often see.
If you were unable to attend the convention, here is a breakdown of the products we focused on during the show.
Wheatland Tube's 20' conduit:
JMC Steel Group and Wheatland Tube were honored at the Mahoning Valley Safety Council's Annual Safety Leadership Award Luncheon on Wednesday, May 14. Wheatland Tube's Warren and Niles facilities were recognized for their effort in preventing accidents and injuries in the workplace, receiving the "Special Award." The Special Award is given to employers that accumulate at least 500,000 hours and at least six months without an injury or illness resulting in a day away from work. Human Resource Manager, Denise Carissimo, accepted the award on behalf of JMC.
Summer is around the corner and the construction season is getting off to a slow, but steady start. Wheatland Tube wants to assure you when you specify our galvanized mechanical tubular products that you are taking the first step in making sure that your projects are protected against corrosion and white rust. When you specify Wheatland's ThunderCoat™ or SURcoat mechanical tubing you get a product that can withstand the elements on its own.
Pre-galvanized products do not provide the "complete" protection of the SURcoat process. On the inside of a SURcoat tube, a corrosion resistant zinc rich coating is applied after the tube is welded, providing 100% corrosion protection on the interior including the weld seam. This becomes a tough baked-on coating during the in-line galvanizing process offering a combination of barrier and galvanic protection to the ID of the tube. Wheatland's SURcoat process provides all tubular products with a smooth, shiny, clean appearance that will not flake or chip during fabrication. The synergistic triple coating impedes oxidation (graying down) and flaking common to many pre-galvanized products. Our "triple coat" or "triple threat" as we tend to call it also works to combat white rust formation on the surface of the zinc coating that may be seen on some pre-galvanized products.
When you are looking for a coating that can withstand the rigors of your fabrication process look no further than our ThunderCoat coating to be your option. A heavier zinc coating is applied in-line to prepare the tube for outdoor applications or any highly corrosive environments. Twice the level of 99.99% pure zinc compared to our SURcoat product, ThunderCoat is ideal for outdoor applications. Our in-line galvanizing process gives you the benefit of the galvanic protection of a durable zinc layer and then makes it even better with the application of a conversion coating to stop white rust, and a top coat to seal the surface from the elements. While our nearly pure zinc coating is protecting the bare steel beneath it, our top coats are protecting the zinc as well. The weld is completely covered in our process, unlike pre-gal products that must try to repair the weld surface after forming.
The synergistic effects of this coating system are well established in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Our highly controlled, uniform OD coating provides protection that can still be easily fabricated, welded, or powder coated while maintaining superior corrosion protection.
Both our SURcoat and ThunderCoat coatings from Wheatland Tube helps to minimize cost associated with superior corrosion protection. We deliver product to you that’s ready to use without additional cost or lead times, providing you with the quality of products that you expect and deserve.
Celebrating its 43rd year, the American Cancer Society Walk & Roll event has a proud tradition of raising funds to fight cancer in a family-friendly atmosphere. Walk & Roll is a 5K walk, 10K skate and 15K bike ride that is followed by great entertainment and a picnic! It's a celebration of the fundraising efforts of teams and individuals who have contributed their time and fundraising expertise to support this cause throughout the year. On Saturday, April 26th, Team Wheatland partnered with Continental Electrical Construction Company, Inc. and other companies within the Chicago Electrical Industry to help support the American Cancer Society in their fight against cancer. Wheatland was well represented and we are proud to say that were able to raise over $6,000 dollars for the American Cancer Society.
Although Team Wheatland made it to the finish line, collectively our work is never finished until there is a cure for this disease. There is still time to donate to this cause, fundraising is open until the end of July just click on the following link to make a gift to support Team Wheatland. http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR?company_id=210579&fr_id=56228&pg=company
The American Cancer Society fights for every birthday threatened by cancer in every community. Money raised helps to support the following services:$50 helps provide 5-rides to or from treatment $100 helps guide 4-women facing breast cancer through every step of their journey $250 helps a cancer patient and their caregivers 1-week of free lodging $1,000 helps identify a cancer-causing gene in DNA, so that we may stop cancer in patients or prevent the cancer from occurring
A huge Thank You goes out to all of you that supported and participated in this event. We look forward to participating next year!
The latest infographic from Solar Energy Industries Association® (SEIA) ranks the Top 10 Solar States based on solar capacity installed in 2013. It also includes the number of megawatts installed per state, number of houses powered per megawatt of solar added, and facts about each state. SEIA also shows a remixed version of the rankings based on the number of solar jobs added in 2013, cumulative solar capacity, price decline in 2012-2013, and percentage of new electricity generation fromSolar.
Solar was the second-largest source of new electricity generating capacity in the U.S., exceeded only by natural gas. It is the first time in over fifteen years that the U.S. installed more solar capacity than Germany. Learn more at www.seia.org/research-resources/2013-top-10-solar-states
According to the SEIA, the U.S. installed 930 megawatts (MW) of photovoltaics (PV) in Q3 2013, up 20 percent over Q2 2013 and 35 percent over Q3 2012. This represents the second largest quarter in the history of the U.S. solar market and the largest quarter ever for residential PV installations. Even more importantly, 2013 was a first in over 15 years that the U.S. installed more solar capacity than world leader Germany, according to GTM Research forecasts.
GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association® (SEIA®), Solar Market Insight: 3rd Quarter 2013 report shows that it has been a stellar year for the solar business in the United States. This quarter's report states that in 2013 Photovoltaic (PV) installations continued to rise, increasing 41% over 2012 to reach 4,751 MW. According to SEIA, there were 52 utility PV projects completed in Q3 2013, totaling 539 MW of capacity. The majority of these projects came from California with one 32 MW project that was completed in Nevada by SunEdison.
Solar was the second-largest source of new electricity generating capacity in the U.S., exceeded only by natural gas. It is the first time in over fifteen years that the U.S. installed more solar capacity than Germany, talk about the source of power!The residential market continues to see an upswing in the U.S. solar market with PV installations up 49% year-over-year and it is anticipated further expansion up to 52% by the end of Q4. Nearly 31,000 individual residential installations were completed in the third quarter, bringing the cumulative total in the U.S. to 360,000 with California and Arizona showing the strongest in residential growth. The non-residential market continues to struggle but showed 4% growth over 2012 due to commercial, government, school and non-profit installations.
Key Figures:The U.S. installed 4,751 MW of solar PV in 2013, up 41% over 2012 and nearly fifteen times the amount installed in 2008.There is now a total of 12.1 GW of PV and 918 MW of CSP operating in the U.SThere were 140,000 individual solar installations in the U.S. in 2013, and a total of over 440,000 systems operating in total today.More solar has been installed in the U.S. in the last 18 months than in the 30 years prior.The market value of all PV installations completed in 2013 was $13.7 billion.Solar accounted for 29% of all new electricity generation capacity in 2013, up from 10% in 2012. This made solar the second-largest source of new generating capacity behind natural gas.Weighted average PV system prices fell 15% in 2013, reaching a new low of $2.59/W in the fourth quarter.SEIA forecasts 26% PV installation growth in 2014, with installations reaching nearly 6 GW. Growth will occur in all segments but will be most rapid in the residential market.The U.S. installed 410 MW of concentrating solar (CSP) in 2013, increasing total CSP capacity in the U.S. more than 80%The wave of concentrating solar power installations slated for completion at the end of 2013 into 2014 kicked off with the 280 MWac Solana project and the Genesis Solar project's initial 125 MWac phase. In early 2014, Brightsource's iconic Ivanpah project also began operating and SolarReserve's Crescent Dunes project began commissioning
President Obama Gives His Stamp of Approval for Renewable EnergyPresident Obama supports renewable energy stating government should lead by example, targeting 20% renewable energy use by 2020 for all 500,000 federal buildings. President Obama has urged the federal government to step up its use of renewable energy sources in order to reach a 2020 target of 20% clean energy use.
Solar Outlook for 2014The U.S. Solar Market Insight predicts that 2014 will be about defining solutions. Solar is not bound by cost, but rather by its role in the electricity sector and as it becomes more mainstream from a technical, market and regulatory perspective will become one of the most important issues in the industry.
FENCETECH attracts more than 3,800 industry professionals from across the country which makes this one of the industry's premier events. The show was held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center where manufacturers, distributors, contractors and specifiers celebrated Fence Industry Week and participated in the FENCETECH show either as an exhibitor or attendee.
Overall the show was very positive. The impact of new AFA management was well received across the board. ASTM meetings were well attended and all goals were met. New tie wire specifications in ASTM F567 and F626 were approved which clarifies and clears up any confusing issues. New items addressed were adding more gate designs, reviewing the current wood standards, drive anchors, temporary fencing, and adding cable to fence for crash ratings, completing a security application for welded wire mesh and cleaning up some in items in the current F1043 framework. Lots of discussions and a lot of ideas were brought to the table.
The Chain Link Fence Manufacturers Institute's meeting members were brought up to date on the 2014 economic and production projections and all activities that are taking place within the CLFMI group.The State of the Industry Panel held Friday morning was presented to a full house. The panel addressed issues from steel, aluminum, PVC profiles and wood future costs and availability, to Obama Care, OSHA, overwhelming contract paperwork requirements, potential labor shortages, industry trend and just about every issue a fence contractor faces.Now on to the show! The FENCETECH show was very well attended. There was a steady stream of visitors to our booth and throughout the show. One of the main highlights of the show was our virtual friend Meisha, a talking life-like hologram who literally had people stopping in their tracks to take pictures as they listened to her provide information on our fence framework products and our new F1083 high strength 50,000 psi yield Schedule 40 pipe which is 1.6667 times stronger than regular grade Schedule 40 pipe. Many contractors expressed interest in receiving Wheatland Tube's in-line galvanized product by name and also expressed their concerns about the quality of some pre-galvanized products not meeting required specifications and the negative impact that these deficiencies have on our industry.
For more information about our fence framework products, contact your local Sales Representative at 800-343-0124 or visit our website at wheatland.com
KNOW BETTER. KNOW WHEATLAND.
Wheatland Tube is excited to announce the new brand name of its continuous weld (CW) pipe to SureThread. This name speaks to the excellent threading and fabrication characteristics of CW pipe. Many of our customers tell us that our CW pipe “threads like butter” and doesn’t have all of those hard spots like imported ERW pipe,” so SureThread just made sense. Wheatland Tube is North America’s only full-line producer of A53 SureThread (CW) and Electric Resistance Weld (ERW) standard steel pipe.
Wheatland Tube’s SureThread pipe’s uniform grain pattern and smooth surface cause less wear and tear on tools and dies than ERW pipe. In a recent survey of contractors, 72% of respondents indicated they believe our SureThread continuous weld pipe to be easier on their tools. A new engineering study confirms their belief as fact: Threading tools use 22% less wattage while threading continuous weld pipe (compared to ERW pipe)
Not all pipe is the same, and it’s important that when you specify SureThread pipe, by Wheatland, you can rest assure that you’re getting better efficiency, better durability and better results.Bending, cutting and threading made easierBlack, passivate, bare, pickled and oiled, and hot-dip galvanized finishesSizes: ¼” to 4”Standard and Extra heavyProduced to ASTM A53A 53M, federal specification WW-P404 and ASME B36.10MNSF-61 compliant
When you want a pipe that offers all of these benefits and is Made in America, ask for it by name. Ask for Wheatland’s SureThread pipe and look for the blue stencil.
We are the only producer of CW pipe in North America and likely, one of the only producers of CW pipe in the world. For more information about our SureThread product call 800.257.8182 or visit our website at wheatland.com.
Chicago Bid Incentive Program
Through the Chicago First procurement ordinance, Municipal Code 2-92-410, the City of Chicago provides a bid incentive of up to 2% for contractors using Chicago-made products. This means that if you agree to install any Atlas Tube HSS, Atlas Tube pipe piles, or Wheatland electrical products – all made in Chicago – you’ll win more project bids!
Here’s how to win more bids with JMC Steel Group:Print an affidavit for your respective division of choiceComplete the affidavit and submit it with your Chicago project bidWin the bid!
Visit the Atlas Tube, Atlas Pipe Piles, and Wheatland Electrical bid incentive pages for more details, as well as to download the affidavit.
If you have any questions about this bid incentive program, please contact the respective customer service representatives on the division-specific pages, or leave a comment below.
Welcome to Devine's Corner, the official newsletter for our Mechanical Tube division.
We appreciate you taking the time to read some of the articles that we will be sharing with you monthly. Nothing incredible is accomplished alone we definitely want you in our corner! Wheatland Tube has over 100 years of experience in making steel tube and pipe, and is a division of the largest independent tube manufacturer in North America – JMC Steel Group. After significant organizational changes we have renewed and galvanized our commitment to servicing the mechanical market, delivering only the best products and customer service that you deserve.
What makes us different from the competition? Well for one, we know that every job is different, and Wheatland makes the right tube for every project; whether it's solar racking structures, greenhouses, playgrounds and recreational equipment or agricultural and dairy products. Our mechanical tubing provides structural integrity and unmatched corrosion resistance. By eliminating additional secondary galvanizing as well as added freight, handling and labor, you can achieve quicker turnaround and fewer SKUs and deal with fewer vendors in your supply chain. Wheatland's higher strength products means you can often achieve lighter wall thickness, so more tubing can fit on a truck, reducing deliveries and associated costs.
Our tubing is easy to fabricate, powder coat and weld. We offer custom lengths to match your specific needs, can provide value - added fabrication services upon request and deliver the mix of tubular products you require, as needed.
Happy New Year! It may be the dead of winter but construction season is around the corner for Wheatland and our customers. This month Wheatland would like to focus on welding processes, guidelines and safety practices. Wheatland's mechanical tubing provides excellent structural integrity making it easy to fabricate, powder coat and weld so you save on fabrication, installation and labor costs. The precision, toughness and long-lasting protection of galvanized mechanical tubing make it ideal for projects that demand superior surface finishes and precise dimensions. Users of our in-line galvanized products are much more competitive in their respective market places.Are you reluctant to weld galvanized tubing? Are you spending too much time and effort welding uncoated products, only to have them later hot-dipped galvanized? Are you seeing your products, warp, twist or crack after hot-dip galvanizing, well look no further Wheatland creates tube that is easy for you to weld in the factory and easier for you on the job site. It's really simple, the 99.99% zinc, highly uniform coating can give you a faster more dependable weld, typically without needing to remove the coating. In-line galvanized mechanical tube creates a tough, easy-to-handle product with superior corrosion resistance and should be your preferred choice for OEM applications.
Learn more about our welding designs, welding processes and safety practices by downloading our Welding Guidelines on our website http://www.wheatland.com/mechanical-tube. Also, download our Fact Sheet about welding we may have a solution to some of your reoccurring problems.
For more information about our mechanical tube products, contact your local Sales Representative at 800-733-5608.KNOW BETTER. KNOW WHEATLAND.
Wheatland Tube recognizes the importance of being lead-free, as our standard pipe supply has been lead-free for over a decade. As of January 4, 2014, all manufacturers, distributors, plumbers and builders must be in compliance with the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act, affecting all potable plumbing products sold or installed in the United States. The new national mandate requires that every pipe, fixture, and fitting used to convey water for potable use contain less than 0.25% of lead by weight. Professionals can comply with the new law by selling and/or installing NSF-61 certified products.
The sure way to comply is to stock Wheatland Tube. Look for NSF-61 stenciled on our pipe and ensure that you are in compliance. Wheatland has achieved third party compliance through Water Quality Association (WQA) http://wqa.org on its black and galvanized pipe.A53 CW and ERW PipeGalvanized Pipe (99.99% pure zinc)All sizes (1/8" – 6"NPS)
We have years of experience in water system component safety. Wheatland has prepared a technical briefing to help distributors and contractors understand the new regulations regarding lead levels in drinking water. Know better. Know Wheatland.
For more information, visit wheatland.com/NSF-61
Wheatland Tube now offers expanded service to customers in Northern Illinois and Northwest Indiana. Our new, Chicago-based dedicated sales team will be able to help distribution customers and contractors take advantage of and comply with projects that require products that are Made in Chicago. Wheatland uses steel that is 100% manufactured domestically and our IMC and EMT — including Color Check™ color-coded EMT and 20' EMT — are all certified and Made in Chicago. In addition, we have the full line of GRC, aluminum rigid conduit and fittings (EC&N) inventoried at our manufacturing plant on the South Side of Chicago.
Wheatland Tube is equipped to provide you with the highest quality products, backed by top-notch local service. Contact Lindsay Dowling for more information:
Lindsay Dowling, Inside Sales Representative
226 West Monroe Street, 26th floor
Click here to register
American-made products are a hot button when people are out of work, when the economy is sluggish, during election season and so on. The perception, and reality, is that domestic companies do more for the U.S. economy and American jobs than foreign companies. While fair competition is what this country was founded on, the upheaval of imports and decrease in exports have greatly impacted domestic manufacturers like Wheatland Tube. We've even gone to Congress to testify against unfairly priced foreign steel and have been successful. The recent resurgence of Made in the USA has become critical to Wheatland's job creation and new business expansion as dumped imports present a real threat to U.S. manufacturing.
As part of a larger, corporate initiative to identify the unique characteristics and behavioral drivers of mechanical contractors, Wheatland conducted an American-made products survey; open to participants May 1 – July 31, 2013. The study was conducted in response to what Wheatland Tube is already observing through in-depth field interviews, particularly an increase in calls from contractors looking for domestic product to support ARRA and Buy America projects. Survey participants were incentivized to take the survey by an opportunity to win an iPad® and 95 percent of participants completed the survey in a blind manner (i.e. they were unaware that Wheatland sponsored the survey).
Our latest infographic highlights the results of the survey and provides additional evidence supporting the increased demand for domestic products.
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In-line galvanization offers superior flexibility and quality when compared to products made from pre-galvanized coil or post hot-dipped galvanized tube. In-line galvanizing produces a bright, virtually lead-free coating that is exceptionally durable and can stand up to the most severe fabrication processes — all without flaking or chipping.
Galvanized tube is triple coated using a high-grade zinc alloy, followed by a conversion coating designed to reduce white rust and a clear polymer that seals the tube, adding a bright, long-lasting shine. These coatings offer precision, toughness and long-lasting protection for our mechanical tubing.
In-line galvanized mechanical tube creates a tough, easy-to-handle product with superior corrosion resistance and should be your preferred choice for OEM applications.
1. 99.99% high grade zinc exterior coating – The trip-coat process starts with a high-grade 99.99% pure zinc coating. Therefore, the heavy metals that may be found in other coatings are not significant components within the in-line galvanized product.
Wheatland Tube has over 100 years of experience in making steel tube and pipe, and is a division of the largest independent tube manufacturer in North America – JMC Steel Group. After significant organizational changes we have renewed and galvanized our commitment to servicing the mechanical market, delivering only the best products and customer service that you deserve.
What makes us different from the competition? Well for one, we know that every job is different, and Wheatland makes the right tube for every project; whether it’s solar racking structures, greenhouses, playgrounds and recreational equipment or agricultural and dairy products. Our mechanical tubing provides structural integrity and unmatched corrosion resistance. By eliminating additional secondary galvanizing as well as added freight, handling and labor, you can achieve quicker turnaround and fewer SKUs and deal with fewer vendors in your supply chain. Wheatland’s higher strength products means you can often achieve lighter wall thickness, so more tubing can fit on a truck, reducing deliveries and associated costs.
Our tubing is easy to fabricate, powder coat and weld. We offer custom lengths to match your specific needs, can provide value-added fabrication services upon request and deliver the mix of tubular products you require, as needed.
What sets us apart from the rest? It’s simply The Wheatland Difference:Exceptional Customer ServiceCost Efficiencies with Dependable Lead TimesInnovative Coatings providing 100% corrosion protection on both the OD and IDMake to Order ProductionMade in the USA – Guarantee
Wheatland will fight for your business! Click here to find out more http://www.wheatland.com/mechanical-tube. For more information about our mechanical tube products, contact your local Sales Representative at 800-733-5608.
Over 40 people tuned in yesterday to attend The Benefits of Steel Tube in Solar Racking Structures webinar, held by Solar Power World and sponsored by Wheatland Tube. OYA Solar, a premiere developer of Solar PV systems in Ontario, led the webinar discussing the recent developments from Phase 1 of its solar roofing project with Atlas Tube.The OYA/Atlas Tube roofing project is unique in that it utilized 100% steel tube for the racking structure. When complete, this 3.5 MW project will be the largest of its kind in Canada, and one of the top 5 largest in North America. With an annual power output of almost 900,000 kWh, this installation will supply enough electricity to power 60 homes for a whole year.The webinar also provided a cost benefit analysis and a comprehensive comparative analysis of using steel tube for rooftop racking structures, versus more traditional rooftop options such as aluminum. There were excellent questions from participants throughout, namely surrounding the galvanization process.Atlas Tube live-tweeted some of the highlights during the presentation:
If you attended the presentation, or have any questions regarding this solar project, let us know! Leave a comment below.
As part of Wheatland’s initiative to educate our customers on our products and processes, we have developed this Q&A resource to help you to understand what corrosion protection is, the industry requirements and how Wheatland meets those requirements, and which those environments require special coatings for protection. We have enlisted our in-house expert, Mike Ziegler, product development, coatings and quality, to answer a few questions about this subject.
Q: In the steel pipe world, what does corrosion protection mean?
A: Basically, the idea of corrosion protection in our industry comes down to keeping the steel of the pipes from being converted to iron oxide (rust). The main way in which this is done is to coat the pipe with something that prevents that oxidation reaction from occurring. The two most common examples of this are galvanizing and painting.
Q: What are the industry requirements for corrosion protection?
A: Given the wide variety of end-markets that we support, that’s a complicated question to answer. For pipe products that go into electrical applications (e.g., conduit), there are a number of requirements maintained by organizations such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). These requirements detail the length of time that a pipe must be able to withstand being exposed to various corrosive environments without degradation. Other end-use areas — such as sprinkler pipe, gas transmission pipe, drill casings, drinking water piping and others — are also governed by various regulations that address the type of environments those pipes are likely to be exposed to as well as how long the pipe should be able to withstand those environments. For example, the industry requirement for corrosion resistance in electrical conduit is 600 hours of exposure to a saltwater mist without any visible red rust formation on the surface.
We recently celebrated our two year anniversary in Chicago with a guided tour, luncheon and visit from Mayor Rahm Emanuel at the South Side Wheatland Tube manufacturing facility. Mayor Emanuel gave a speech highlighting Wheatland Tube's contribution to local economic growth, after remarks from JMC's CEO, Barry Zekelman, who spoke to the company's role in strengthening Chicago's workforce.
Wheatland Tube invited employees and their families, as well as customers, local contractors, city agencies, and local and state politicians—including Alderman George Cardenas and Illinois State Senator Tony Munoz—to gather at the manufacturing plant and celebrate Chicago's strong base of manufacturing companies.
“It’s not always all about office work. It’s about being able to do all you can for the city. It’s the men and women in the back door of Chicago— the 600-plus people who are committed to the city—who export out of this facility,” Mayor Emanuel said.
During the event, Mayor Emanuel gave a speech highlighting Wheatland’s growth and continued effort to strengthen Chicago’s workforce, as well as the local economy. The event honored the hard work and effort of our employees, who have been the backbone to strengthening the manufacturing industry in Chicago and in our plants across the country.
“The Wheatland Chicago plant has been and will continue to be a wonderful, safe, welcoming place for many years to come to work,” Mayor Emanuel said. “Our employees and their tremendous work ethic and pride keep us competitive and give us the ability to continually invest in Chicago and its community.”
Patriot Solar, a racking manufacturer, made the switch from aluminum to steel to become a more practical, sound design choice for customers. With over eight million steel structures worldwide, they have established functionality, durability, availability, capacity and cost effectiveness as motivators behind their switch to steel.
In a recent webinar, hosted by Solar Power World, Patriot Solar provides solar manufacturers a strong insight into the benefits of switching from aluminum to steel.FunctionalityYou have to be able to adapt to your customers’ requirements and be able to fulfill their needs to bring a solar project to reality. Steel is able to adjust to these specific requirements allowing racking manufacturers to change on-the-go and meet customers’ needs. The flexible material offers multiple post options, various sizes gauges, thickness and lengths and easier installation processes.DurabilityWhile properly alloyed aluminum can equal the yield and strength of steel, steel possesses approximately three times the modulus of elasticity (E) of aluminum. Thus, under load, identically-sized steel members deflect only a third as much as aluminum. For certain applications, this stiffness is important.When multiple parties and companies are committing to a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA), it is important to be confident that the structure will hold and withstand throughout that 25-year PPA period. In fact, steel has been used in applications that are well over 50 years old and still standing.AvailabilityRacking manufactures need to work with suppliers who have the product volume and location availability to meet their needs. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, in 2012, U.S. steel production was 91 million tons, while U.S. aluminum production was 2 million tons. Furthermore, about 48 companies produce raw steel at about 108 minimills. Five companies operate about 10 primary aluminum smelters, four of which were temporarily closed in 2012. CapacityAnyone in the business knows that solar projects never begin on their scheduled time. The solar construction industry is a hurry-up-and-wait scenario. Steel’s production capabilities result in high volume of materials that meet the strict deadlines and project needs for customers. Wheatland Tube products are rolled in the shortest cycle times, every three to four weeks, resulting in reduced lead times. As the largest independent pipe and tube manufacturer, Wheatland Tube has the capacity to meet large requirements or produce standard sizes in multiple facilities, so they can deliver the pipe and tube solutions you need as soon as you need them. CostCompared to steel, aluminum requires larger or more members to support to same load. With steel tubing, you can reduce the amount of parts required in your design, which affects your labor and installation time, and ultimately saves you money.
“When we switched to galvanized steel rails for our racking solutions, we were able to span a further gap due to the strength of the steel,” said Sam Jaquette, “which brought a lower price per watt over racking, that we passed on to our end customer.”
Making the switch to steel also provides additional value such as integrated wire management, a singular set of hardware to connect rails to truss and environmental benefits, such as recyclability.
Learn more about making the switch and watch the full webinar here: http://www.solarpowerworldonline.com/webinars/
In an information-driven society, it is only fitting that the needs of professionals in the plumbing, mechanical and fire safety industries have access to technical and product information quickly. We’ve responded to this need in its recent release of the Wheatland Pipe Catalog app for the iPad®.
The advantages of the growing mobile application offerings are tremendous. With the launch of Wheatland Pipe Catalog, valued steel pipe sales teams and customers are now equipped with up-to-date product-specific and educational material, accessible anywhere, anytime.
The new, user-friendly app will give professionals access to Wheatland’s steel pipe product information, in addition to the latest technical papers and videos. The Wheatland Pipe Catalog app allows users to:View and share the Wheatland steel pipe product catalogAccess educational videos, briefings and fact sheets about Wheatland productsLook up product specifications for Wheatland productsReference code compliance information about Wheatland productsView and share the entire library of Wheatland pipe and fire sprinkler brochures and submittal sheets
Upon downloading the Wheatland Pipe Catalog app, professionals in the plumbing, mechanical and fire protection industries will have convenient access to Wheatland's steel pipe product information, in addition to the latest technical papers and videos.
To download the new Wheatland Pipe Catalog app for iPad, visit the App StoreSM. Wheatland’s first interactive iPad app, Wheatland Electric Catalog, is also available for download.
Whether you're installing a utility-scale ground-mounted, carport structure, or rooftop solar system, JMC Steel Group can provide the galvanized round, square and rectangular steel tubing that you need.
Join our live webinar, Using Steel in Solar Racking and Mounting, Tuesday, July 30 at 2 p.m. Steel supplier JMC Steel and racking manufacturer Patriot Solar Group detail the latest in steel-working knowledge and how best to apply the metal in solar racking and mounting.
Attend this webinar to:Learn the applications where steel outperforms other materials Understand the types of ASTM specification used in steel racking and supportGain insights into the galvanization processConsider secondary fabrication options See how turn-key customization can save designers and manufacturers time and money Find out more about America’s No. 1 recycled material — steel Identify how the use of steel in solar applications helps achieve LEED credits
When it comes to solar installations, steel provides a number of advantages that you may not already know.
Register today at: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/367089634.
In May 2013, the Solar Energy Industries Association released the report, "Enlisting the Sun: Powering the U.S. Military with Solar Energy," which included the U.S. Military's plan to introduce renewable energy sources into every day practices. In the past year alone, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) spent more than $20 billion on energy and consumed over five billion gallons of oil.
In attempt to comply with the DOD's objective requiring 25 percent of total facility energy consumption to come from renewable energy sources by 2025, U.S. Military teams have enacted aggressive tactics. To date, the Navy has installed more than either the Army or Air Force, but all U.S. Military branches continue to make solar a vital piece of the efforts to meet their renewables targets.
Cost effectiveness is not the only reason the U.S. Military is turning to solar energy relief. Solar energy provides:Aid for the DOD’s efforts to procure more secure and independent energyReprieve from million dollar expenditures, which in turn can be reinvested to ensure more ready and able armed forcesA clean energy source that offsets the military’s greenhouse gas emissions
The growing adoption of solar projects across Navy, Air Force, and Army bases has led to at least 31 states moving forward in the solar market. Solar’s rapidly growing role in the military will ensure a more able, efficient, and secure armed forces in the years ahead.
All content is from the American Institute of Steel Construction
In a comment on a proposed change to the Florida Building Code in September of 2012, Damon Roby wrote, "most of the steel used in the US must be obtained from overseas."
Sorry Mr. Roby, you've got it all wrong.
While the myth is that the American steel industry no longer exists, the reality is that the American structural steel industry is alive and well.
America produces more structural steel than it uses.
All information from SEIA/GTM Research “U.S. Solar Market Insight: Q1 2013” unless noted otherwise.
Since publishing its first quarterly findings in 2010, the Solar Energy Industries Association has documented and forecasted the volatile environment of the U.S. solar market and evaluated its implications for the energy industry at large. The report, which breaks down the solar industry into three segments: residential, non-residential and utility, measures installation growth, price decline, economic progress and forecasts future market conditions.
This year’s U.S. solar market had a strong first quarter of what is expected to be another record for the industry. Photovoltaic (PV) installations grew 33 percent over Q1 2012. Year-over-year, the residential market grew 53 percent, but the non-residential market was down 20 percent — reflecting the general outlook for the year. The non-residential market will take more time to adjust after being hit hard by a general decrease in state-level incentives.
While all segment predictions remain strong, the utility market leads the solar industry’s development. Despite utility installations decline from Q4 2012, they were up more than 130 percent from Q1 2012. This market generally experiences a boom in the fourth quarter and the SEIA expects the same pattern to hold in 2013.
On April 1, JMC Steel Group brought back the Sharon Tube name due to its reputation for high-quality tubes and delivery on promises. Read the announcement here.
Last week, JMC Steel Group CEO Barry Zekelman and Sharon Tube President Bill Perrine cut the ribbon to commemorate the expansion of Sharon Tube’s 250,000-square-foot plant and the new state-of-the-art manufacturing process.
Brenda J. Linert, a Tribune Chronicle journalist who attended the event wrote,
“Other than the clang of steel tubes being spit from new processing equipment or from bundles of product being dropped into bins from overhead cranes, the new Sharon Tube plant is exceptionally quiet, as far as steel manufacturers go.
That's not to say it isn't humming.”
Did you know you can save 50% on connections cost when using 20-foot conduit? It’s true: 20-foot conduit reduces the number of connections and associated labor cost when installing, while performing up to the high manufacturing standards of 10-foot conduit. For long runs, jobs big and small, with volumes of all sizes, 20-foot conduit outperforms for faster and more cost-effective installs.
Learn all the advantages of running 20-foot conduit for your next job. Check out the following top seven benefits of 20-foot:
1) Reduce coupling time – Because 20-foot sections are double the length of 10-foot, you’ll spend half the time you normally would connecting pieces. A team can connect a 100-foot run of 2-inch EMT in six minutes and forty seconds when using 20-foot sections. Conversely, it takes nine minutes and twenty four seconds to complete the same job when using 10’ sections.
2) Save on connections – Use 50% less connections with 20-foot. Let’s do the math: 50 10-foot conduit pieces require 48 couplings. When 20-foot is used, only 23 couplings are necessary.
3) Handle less material – 20-foot sections allow your team to complete jobs faster since only half the material needs to be handled.
Believe it or not, there are still some contractors who don’t realize the savings of 20 foot conduit and are hesitant to use it for applications like retail stores, warehouses, utilities, mass transportation infrastructure and other large runs. There are many projects where 20 foot conduit can save electrical contractors both time and money. Don’t take my word for it— hear the outstanding feedback I’ve received regarding the advantages of using 20 foot conduit.Elevated Installations
In Denton, Texas, Humphrey & Associates discovered that 20' EMT was perfect for high bay lighting installations. Tommy McCormick, Humphrey’s project manager and estimator, saw the potential to cut both labor and coupling costs in a variety of installations, reporting that, “You can just fly when you are using it in elevated installations. I’d assign the savings largely to the faster installation times though you also use fewer couplings. The difference is in the speed of the installation.”
McCormick acknowledged some initial issues with transportation logistics needed to be overcome, but emphasized, “Even with those issues, it was still a big savings for me. I did a lot of high bay lighting jobs with it, and it was a tremendous time saver.”Post-bid Substitutions
Ditto that from Tom Ryckman and Duane Wolfe of Team Electric in Denver, CO where they first used 20' EMT in several post-bid substitutions for 10' lengths in large “big box” retail construction jobs and a parking garage, citing one example of 1/2 and 1 1/4 EMT used in approximately 60 runs of 350' each.
Mr. Ryckman, president of team electric, states, “It came in real handy on the branch feeders where we’d throw up one pipe instead of two.” Duane Wolfe, Team Electric’s project superintendent adds, “We’d figure the needed pieces and make any necessary bends, then band it and lift it and just fly.”
Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) are designed to disconnect power to a branch circuit whenever the unit detects an imbalance of current between the energized conductor and the neutral conductor. Since the 1970s, GFCIs have saved thousands of lives and helped cut the number of home electrocutions in half. In recent years, the NEC has expanded the requirements for these devices to many other areas outside the home. Introduced in the 1999 edition of the NEC, arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) provide enhanced protection against fire hazards in the home known as arc faults. An arc fault is a dangerous electrical problem caused by damaged, overheated, or stressed electrical wiring or devices. Without AFCIs, arc faults can create dangerous fire situations within the hidden spaces of dwelling units. In this webinar, Mike Holt explains the current NEC requirements for GFCIs and AFCIs. He also explains how they operate, what causes their premature failure, and when they won't provide the safety protection you might have thought they would.
Learn what you need to know through this live presentation with NEC expert Mike Holt.
Why are some of the largest and most cost efficient companies turning to solar for energy consumed by on-site facilities? It’s pretty simple; they want to continue to be the largest and most cost efficient companies. Iconic brands like WalMart, Costco, IKEA, Kohl’s, and Walgreens are synonymous with proficient management, low overhead and profitable business models. And now they’re deploying record level solar systems because they see a smart investment comprised of decreasing installation costs, innovative financing options, and the ability to stabilize future energy expenses.
When the price of commercial solar systems dropped almost 14 percent in 2012, advantageous companies saw an opportunity to reduce a portion of their operating expenses by controlling their energy costs. Solar energy provides an appealing choice with predictable prices for 20-30 years, reducing utility price volatility for large organizations managing long terms budgets.
A report by Solar Energy Industries Association and Vote Solar Initiative analyzed 42 companies that deployed at least 312 megawatts (MV) of photovoltaic (PV) capacity at more than 750 locations in at least 26 states and Puerto Rico. According to the study, the 20 companies with the highest installed capacity have deployed at least 279 MV, enough to supply all the electricity needs of 46,500 American households. From large organizations to small business, deploying solar energy cuts operating costs, improves the bottom line, and increases profits, thus allowing brands to focus on their core business.
Nick LaMonto, piping superintendent at Chicago-based Atomatic Mechanical Services, threads pipe every day. As an experienced piping professional, he knows the importance of tool longevity and what it can cost when working with an inferior product.
We put Nick’s machines to the test, threading both types of steel standard pipe: continuous weld and electric resistance weld.
First up, Nick threads continuous weld standard pipe.
“It cuts awful nice,” Nick said, “without any hard spots.”
We want to welcome the newest addition to the Wheatland team, Dennis Fowler. Dennis has accepted the position of Southeast Regional Sales Manager, Electrical Division.
Dennis has more than 25 years of industry experience and most recently worked for Cooper Wiring Devices (a division of Eaton). He has excellent relationships with electrical distributors and contractors throughout the southeast. At Wheatland, he will be managing a network of sales agents and working closely with key accounts throughout the southeast to ensure all actions are aligned with long-term strategic growth initiatives.
Wheatland is committed to driving stronger local distributor partnerships throughout North America. Dennis Fowler's comprehensive understanding of the electrical distribution sales channel will greatly benefit Wheatland Tube, our sales network and our distributor partners.
Globalizing business was the common thread laced throughout the North American Fire Sprinkler Expo™. The inaugural event, hosted by the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA) in conjunction with the Canadian Automatic Sprinkler Association (CASA) and the newly formed Mexican Fire Sprinkler Association (AMRACI), provided excitement and opportunity for those looking to extend beyond the borders.
In a statement, NFSA’s new president, Russ Fleming, said: “I am absolutely delighted that both CASA and AMRACI have agreed to partner with NFSA to host what will be the first ever North American Fire Sprinkler Expo. By bringing together fire sprinkler industry interests from all over the continent for the NFSA Annual Seminar and North American Fire Sprinkler Expo, for the very first time in the history of the industry we will have created a unique opportunity for contractors, suppliers and manufacturers from all over the continent to meet in one place to network, conduct business, discuss issues of common interest and to learn from the industry’s foremost authorities.”
While some contractors’ spoke of a sluggish market and a lack of prospects, the formation of the International Fire Sprinkler Association, may provide untapped opportunities. The Wheatland booth was no exception to this growing trend, as groups of people from South America flocked to our booth with interest in our products. Wheatland plans to become an IFSA member, as to give back to an industry that is key to our business.
Have you ever noticed how quickly you go through a set of dies when you’re threading pipe? Do you find that today’s pipe is harder to bend in the field? If so, you’re probably using imported electric resistance weld (ERW) pipe — and you’ve probably already noticed that this type of pipe can wreak havoc on your tools and increase labor. Continuous weld (CW) pipe may be your answer.
While ERW pipe does meet industry standards, it’s a known fact that CW pipe has a more uniform grain structure, making it easier to bend, cut and thread — while still meeting all industry standards.
Easier on tools
The uniform grain pattern and smooth surface mean that CW pipe will cause less wear and tear on tools and dies than ERW pipe. In a recent contractor survey, 72 percent of respondents indicated they believe CW pipe is easier on tools. A new engineering study confirms it: Threading tools use 22 percent less wattage while threading CW pipe (compared to ERW pipe).
I’m sure there are some applications where installing CPVC sprinkler pipe makes sense.
Like, for instance, when the installer contractors won’t be eating lunch that day.
And when you’re certain no one will ever be painting, soldering or wiring anywhere near it. Or caulking. Or spraying for pests. Or using any number of oils, greases, solvents or foams in the CPVC’s vicinity — for years after you finish the job.
I’m sure applications like that exist…. I just can’t think of any.
In all seriousness (because this is a very serious topic), there’s a good chance that you may not be fully aware of just how many materials are incompatible with CPVC sprinkler pipe. Common products that contractors could possibly encounter— like caulk residue or oil on French Fries — could potentially come in contact with the CPVC and may cause the system to drip, crack or fail completely. Then you find yourself potentially at risk for potential property damage or even loss of life — and if, something like that happens, you and your company may be held liable.
Each electrical install has its unique challenges. While not suitable for every job, 20 Foot EMT and rigid conduit may be a simple way to lower project costs. That’s because it reduces the number of required connections while still conforming to the same high manufacturing standards of 10-foot lengths.
20-foot lengths are ideal for:WarehousesManufacturing FacilitiesHealth CareBig Box RetailEnergyInfrastructureMass TransitParking GaragesSome contractors that pre-fabricate stub-ups etc. have standardized on 20 Foot EMT to reduce waste.
We put two crews to the test. Each crew was instructed to install a 100 foot run of 2-inch EMT. The red crew used 10-foot lengths of Wheatland EMT and the yellow crew used 20-foot lengths. Check out the video and see which team won:
Our free calculator app ‘EMT Calc’ calculates the monetary difference between using 20' rather than 10' EMT. It is available at wheatland.com/worksmarter, as well as the App Store and Google Play as "EMT Calc."
Since its introduction, Wheatland’s FasTrak Plus EMT has gained wide acceptance among electrical contractors across the country. Now we want to see how you’re using it in the field — and one lucky winner will get a $500 Visa gift card!
1) Two photos:A close-up of our FasTrak Plus EMT product in an install, clearly displaying the yellow labelA wide shot that showcases the overall install, showing the product in application
2) Email these two photos to with the following information:Project name or type (e.g., residential, etc.)Project application (e.g., basement, etc.)Project location (city and state)Your name and phone number (or preferred method of contact)Name of distributor (supplier of FasTrak Plus EMT)
All entries must be received by midnight, April 30, 2013. The winner will be randomly selected from all entrants and will be notified in May 2013. All entries become the property of Wheatland Tube and may be used for informational and promotional purposes. Multiple entries will be accepted as long as photos and product applications are different. Please visit wheatland.com/FTphotos to review the full terms and conditions of this promotion.
Steel pipe in sprinkler systems has been used for over 100 years without the kinds of cautions and warnings that CPVC pipe carries. Today, some CPVC have abdicated compatibility testing, leaving it to third party testing agencies.
Any contractor or engineer who designs or installs fire protection systems must understand the implications of the most recent changes to manufacturer certification criteria.
Effective January 1, 2013, some CPVC manufacturers are no longer listing steel pipe in their compatibility certification programs. Previously, CPVC manufacturers were responsible for testing and certifying the compatibility of their product for use in fire protection systems.
Why risk fire safety…or the reputation of your business…or your customer’s peace of mind…when you can be 100 percent compliant with 100 percent steel?
Let’s face it: the perfect job for a contractor is to get on, get out and be comfortable knowing that the job is protected by steel with a proven track record of compatibility with all of the typical ancillary products used in a system. This allows the contractor a competitive edge in not being tied to specific products that have to be specially tested as compatible with plastic pipe as you do with CPVC.
Wheatland Tube recently released our first iPad® application, Wheatland Electric Catalog, for our electrical sales teams, distribution partners and end-user electrical contractors.
Wheatland Electric Catalog is the newest addition to our growing offering of mobile applications that support our business partners and end-user customers. Our first smart phone application, Wheatland Savings Calculator, makes it possible to estimate savings from choosing 20' electrical metallic tubing (EMT) over traditional 10' lengths.
The new, user-friendly app features an easy and attractive interface and presentation. Wheatland Electric Catalog allows users to:View and share the Wheatland electrical product catalogAccess educational videos about Wheatland productsLook up product specifications for Wheatland productsRead code compliance information about Wheatland productsView the entire library of Wheatland electrical brochures and literature
Through Wheatland Electric Catalog, professionals in the electrical contracting and distribution industries can learn about Wheatland’s full line of products conveniently, from an iPad®, and can access the latest conduit and elbows, couplings and nipples (EC&N) product information available from Wheatland Tube.
To download the new Wheatland Electric Catalog for the iPad®, please visit the App StoreSM.
You’ve heard it again and again: time is money. But what does it mean?
“The less time the electrician has to think about what he needs to do, the more work he’ll get done,” said Gordon Stewart vice president and general manager for Houston-based Joe Swartz Electric Co. [Source]
The good news is that you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to trim costs toward winning jobs and improving margins. On most projects, eliminating time wasters requires attentiveness, calculation and approach.
In Denton, Texas, Humphrey & Associates discovered that 20' length EMT was perfect for high bay lighting installations. Tommy McCormick, Humphrey’s project manager and estimator, saw the potential to cut both labor and coupling costs in a variety of installations, reporting that, “You can just fly when you are using it in elevated installations. I’d assign the savings largely to the faster installation times though you also use fewer couplings. The difference is in the speed of the installation.” McCormick acknowledged initial issues with transportation logistics needed to be overcome, but emphasized, “Even with those issues, it was still a big savings for me. I did a lot of high bay lighting jobs with it, and it was a tremendous time saver.” Read the full case study here.
So just how much do you think you might save? Here are three installation efficiencies that equal major advantages on the job:
At Wheatland Tube, we’re all for shining the spotlight on the electrical industry’s adoption of social media.
If social media isn’t on your 2013 marketing bucket list, you might want to think again. Take a look at the National Electrical Contractors Association’s (@NECAnet) Social Media Guide, where they dedicate a whole section of their site with information on how to get started with various tools to keep up with the industry and connect with business contacts online.
Our team came together and pulled our favorite blogs from 2012. If you know a distributor or a contractor that should be included on this list, please let us know.
1. 3M - Made in USA by AD HQ
We won’t deny that Made in America is a feel-good issue, but the bottom line is many project owners, contractors, inspectors and users want products that are made in America, because of quality and risk.
A lot has been said recently in the marketplace and in the news about the need for products to be MADE IN THE USA. After all, 2012 is an election year, and American-made products are a hot button when people are out of work. Just look at all the websites and organizations promoting the need to “BUY AMERICA.” But again, to many people this is just a feel-good issue to feed on the “crisis of the moment.” The real issue is WHY?
The bottom line is that many project owners, contractors, inspectors and users simply WANT products that are made in America. Why? Because of QUALITY and RISK MANAGEMENT. You may try and argue that most homeowners or office tenants could care less – that they have too many other things to worry about, simply aren’t aware of country of origin issues, or are only concerned with price and appearance. I would argue otherwise.
I suspect that most people today will not accept Chinese drywall after all of the issues that have arisen with homes contaminated by the product. And what about those contractors or distributors who purchased Chinese EMT, only to have UL pull the UL listing when it was found that the product did not meet corrosion testing requirements? How were they going to be able to recover their costs once they realized they could no longer sell or install this material – much less address the concerns of those building owners or homeowners who had this material installed? This is a SAFETY issue as well as a COST issue.
The bottom line is this: Why take the risk of buying foreign products?
As a distributor, do you really know that the products on your shelf are not going to a state or federally funded project that requires only Made in the USA or Made in America products? As a contractor, do you want the risk of installing foreign products, only to find later that the products do not meet certain standards? It simply doesn’t make sense to take these kinds of risks.
In February, the Department of Defense released its budget request for the 2013 fiscal year. Of particular note was the allocation for Military Construction (MilCon).
According to the DoD, MIL-CON accounts "provide funds for new construction, construction improvements, planning and design, and host nation support."
Additionally, "projects funded by these accounts include facilities for operations, training, maintenance, research and development, supply, medical care and force protection, as well as unaccompanied housing, utilities infrastructure and land acquisition."
The DoD's proposed request for MilCon in the FY 2013 budget was approximately $11.2 billion, a decrease from the enacted FY 2012 budget of approximately $13.6 billion and the enacted FY 2011 budget of approximately $17.4 billion (see table 1). The comptroller stated that the FY 2013 MilCon investment is "less than investments in prior years until the Department reassesses its investment strategy next year, when the impacts of forced structure changes on infrastructure requirements has been assessed."
The DoD breaks down MilCon into three main components: General MilCon, Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) and Family Housing. General MilCon (FY 2013 proposed $9.1 billion) consists of the "beddown" of weapons systems, providing operational and training facilities, and recapitalizing aging facilities and modernizing facilities. BRAC (FY 2013 proposed $0.5 billion) funds environmental and caretaker costs for properties not yet conveyed in prior rounds. Family Housing (FY 2013 proposed $1.7 billion) funds construction, improvements, operation and maintenance of government-owned family housing worldwide to provide quality, affordable housing to the U.S. military and their families.The top five states for MilCon and Family Housing per total obligational authority - as well as two of their main projects of note - for the DoD's FY 2013 budget are as follows:
Providing high-quality products is only part of the equation- at Wheatland Tube, we pride ourselves on bringing you, our customers and partners, the expertise and support that fosters your success.
Our industry is undergoing rapid changes — not only in the way we search for product specifications and code requirements, but in the way we conduct business overall. There’s no denying that information is available to help guide you through what social media is and how it can benefit the electrical industry. And there are tools to make it easier for your sales reps get up to speed.
Just take a look at the National Electrical Contractors Association’s (@necanet) Guide to Social Media, an entire section of their website dedicated to providing useful tips on how to begin, how to connect with business contacts online and how to keep up with the industry.
We’re proud to say many of our partners are already using social media to build trust and interact with your customers. If you’re looking to get started in social media, these are the companies you should be looking at. Here is our list of electrical distributors on Twitter:
According to the Steel Recycling Institute (SRI) and the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC), there are numerous advantages of specifying steel construction for a LEED project.
In fact, the LEED system rewards the building industry for higher recycled steel content in their building materials. Steel is a natural fit for green building initiatives and can make the greatest contribution to the Materials and Resources LEED category that encourages using sustainable building materials and reducing waste.As the worldwide demand for steel increases, the available scrap will be stretched among more and more steel products, meaning that more steel from virgin materials will enter the production stream to meet the demand. However, because of steel’s high recovery rate, more scrap will also be available for future recycling, thus minimizing the long-term amount of virgin material required.Steel is dimensionally stable and, when properly designed, can provide an exceptionally tight building envelope for less air loss and better HVAC performance over time.Steel is made to exact specifications, so on-site waste is minimized.Material from demolition or construction can be easily recycled, with the magnetic properties of steel greatly facilitating its separation from other materials.
Do you have experience with a LEED-registered project? Tell us about your experience with steel's LEED benefits in the comments section below.
The USGBC’s LEED rating system is the world’s most popular green building performance metric. LEED certification is the recognized standard for measuring building sustainability, and is the best way to demonstrate that a building project is truly “green.” Green (also known as green construction or sustainable) buildings refer to a structure and using process that is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building's life-cycle: from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition.
Cost/benefit of a green building project:
According to the NRDC, Green building skeptics sometimes argue that it's difficult or even impossible to build green without paying a big cost premium. LEED Certification involves a massive amount of document production, review and verification. These certification costs could be better used toward materials capable of making the building even more sustainable.
Often when a LEED rating is pursued, the cost of initial design and construction rises. One reason for the higher cost is project designers may not fully understand sustainable construction principles. LEED is a design tool and not a performance measurement tool. Some of the finer points of LEED could possibly lead to misunderstandings between the design team, construction team, and client, which could result in construction delays.
LEED has been developed and continuously modified by workers in the green building industry; especially in the ten largest metro areas in the U.S. Unfortunately, LEED certified buildings have been slower to penetrate small and mid-major markets. Also, some criticism suggests that the LEED rating system is not sensitive and does not vary enough with regard to local environmental conditions.
It continues to happen on a regular basis.
The contractor contacts me and wants to discuss putting together a deal that cuts out the distributor. Or the large oil company gets a new VP Purchasing and sends out "feelers" about Request For Proposals (RFP) for direct quotations from the manufacturer to them, the installer/end user. Funny thing is, they also want all of the "value proposition" that distribution offers (special handling/stocking services, terms and conditions, local hand holding etc.) but for some reason feel that by "dealing directly" they can get a better price AND KEEP ALL THE THINGS DISTRIBUTORS DO FOR THEM.
I have yet to see this work. It is a fantasy.
When it really comes down to the nuts and bolts of serving the contractor or industrial account, no one can do it better than distributors. The really savvy contractors have recognized this and are now willing to pay distributors to do things like storeroom/inventory management because they came to realize that distributors can do it better and cheaper than they can do it on their own.
Contractors also recognize that distributors do a lot of the work for them today that they are not set up to do themselves any longer. These services include submittals, managing the lighting and gear on projects, expediting material, staging product for multiple drops on the job-site, kitting different products together based on room templates/requirements, etc. Sure, the contractors pay for these services. Some of it is factored into the costs of the material. In some cases, the distributors negotiate a separate line charge for monthly storage fees, etc. But those contractors or industrial customers that really understand the cost of running a business figure out pretty quickly that paying the distributor, the masters of logistics, is cheaper, more accurate and overall more efficient than doing it on their own.
Electrical distributors provide the essential connection between manufacturers and contractors. Contractors, especially small and mid-sized contracting firms, rely on their distributors as key sources of industry information. At Wheatland Tube, we know that finding ways to share information and connect across every channel is critical to filling this need.
Social media is often underutilized as a means to finding and connecting with customers and prospects (the same way you do at networking events, regional conferences and tradeshows). LinkedIn and Twitter are two free powerful solutions to help you more easily share industry and product information with your customers.
Today, I challenge distributors to get on board with social media — because now is the time.
If you’re not sure where to get started, Wheatland Tube can help. We recently hosted a webinar with TED Magazine that covered how to inform and engage customers, gather and provide customer data to sales teams and simultaneously enhance web presence and company reputation.
Here are five key take-aways from our webinar with TED Magazine, Social Media and Customer Relationships: Don’t Get Left Behind.
Webinar Focuses on How Electrical Industry, Distributors Can Utilize Social Media
Wheatland Tube, a division of JMC Steel Group, has announced it will cohost a webinar with tEd Magazine on Tuesday, October 16, 2012, at 2 p.m. CT. The webinar, “Social Media and Customer Relationships: Don’t Get Left Behind,” will provide an overview of how the electrical industry can best use social media to its advantage.
According to the latest data, nearly one-third of industrial buyers are already using social media to source and buy products and services. Electrical conduit distributors are invited to attend the Wheatland Tube and tEd Magazine webinar to learn how to connect with buyers who are already present on social media platforms. The webinar will cover how to inform and engage customers, gather and provide customer data to sales teams, and simultaneously enhance web presence and company reputation — all through social media. Distributors will learn how to put social media to work for them in just 15 minutes a day.
Jelani Rucker, director of marketing and business development for JMC Steel Group, will be presenting during the webinar, speaking directly to the electrical industry on the benefits of embracing social media and the top advantages Wheatland Tube has seen through its own robust social media platforms.
“Our social media and blog programs make it easier to grow our reach, strengthen our engagement, participate in deeper conversations and establish ourselves as a thought leader in the industry,” said Rucker. “We hope this webinar will encourage distributors to get on board with social media — because now is the time. Frankly, if you’re not connecting with your customers through these platforms, someone else is.”
The National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) Convention serves as a unique venue for us to work side by side with our distributor partners and to promote our products directly to end users. The NECA staff did a great job and the new NECA 2012 Las Vegas app was fantastic – it provided a quick and easy way to view the convention layout, schedule our agenda and access handouts via our smartphones.
The Wheatland booth was manned by Marty Brett, Mike Kreger, our new Southwest Regional Manager, and me. We demonstrated the difference in friction reduction between or our new FasTrak Plus EMT ID coating and our old ID coating, displayed samples of our Color Check EMT, and showed our segment on Fox Business Network's "Manufacturing Marvels," a series that showcases leading American manufacturers.
I learned a lot. High interest around Color Check EMT taught me that more project owners are specifying colors for systems. Project owners told me that savings, quality of the coating and convenience are the main reasons for choosing factory applied versus on the job coatings. We had visitors from coast to coast, Hawaii, and Peru. It was very exciting to hear that Wheatland's electrical conduit and EMT products are being specified and requested by contractors in Peru.
The numbers I heard regarding this year's show seem to reflect the activity we saw at our booth. Attendance was reported to be over 3,700 registered attendees, not counting staff and exhibitor personnel. In the past more than 60% of attendees were owners, top executives and supervisors -- this year appears to have followed that mix.
Well, if you missed us at NECA this year, mark your calendar for October 13 - 15, 2013 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC. We will be in booth 551, so stop by!
When we think of galvanized steel, we tend to think of bright, shiny, silver things like electrical conduit, fence posts, old school buckets, and garbage cans. Silver –not green – is the color that comes to mind (unless you’re thinking about Wheatland Tube’s green Color-Check™ EMT, but that’s a discussion for another day!). However, maybe we should think green when we see a galvanized tube instead.
Of course, the green we’re talking about in this case is the idea of doing things in an environmentally responsible way. JMC Steel is committed to being part of the ongoing transformation to a greener world. One of the ways we’re doing that is through our commitment to the solar energy market with our galvanized hollow structural sections (HSS).
Solar energy offers a clean and renewable supplement to fossil fuel energy sources, and we’re excited to be part of that industry’s growth. A major challenge that this technology faces is the often harsh environments where solar energy is most efficiently collected. The steel supporting those delicate and expensive panels needs to be strong, and it needs to last. Studies have shown that hot dip galvanizing (HDG) can provide 50 or more years of maintenance free corrosion protection. It’s clear, therefore, that JMC’s galvanized HSS have the long-lasting strength to support the solar energy industry.
If you’ve ever seen (or even been relatively close to) a HDG kettle, you might be thinking that a process as energy intensive as HDG can’t possibly be good for the environment, even if it does allow for the growth of the solar industry.
(If you haven’t seen, or been relatively close to, an HDG kettle, a very basic description of the process is that zinc metal is heated until it melts at around 800° F, and the steel to be treated is dipped into or passed through a kettle full of the molten zinc).
The title of this post isn’t the beginning of a bad joke; it’s a question that highlights one of the key aspects of FasTrak Plus EMT. Depending on your perspective, you can probably think of a bunch of different answers, but the one we’re thinking of is zinc.
Since 1982, U.S. One Cent Pieces (better known as pennies) have been made from 97.5 percent by weight zinc with a thin cosmetic plating of copper to maintain their recognizable color. FasTrak Plus, on the other hand, is made with 100 percent made in America steel, and galvanized with a layer of zinc alloy to give it protection from corrosion and maintain its recognizable appearance.
Unlike pennies and some galvanized products on the market, our high temperature galvanizing process doesn’t just plate a cosmetic layer of zinc on the pipe; it actually enables the zinc to react with the surface of the steel to provide the multiple alloy layers shown in the cross-sectional microscope image below. This strengthens the bond between the zinc and the steel, which leads to a greater level of corrosion protection.
Last week, I had the pleasure of attending Solar Power International, an annual conference sponsored by SEIA and SEPA, which featured major speakers such as President Bill Clinton as well as leaders from every business sector, technical presentations from universities and renewable energy laboratories that highlighted solar technology and applications from around the country.
As quoted by the Huffington Post, President Clinton stated at SPI that he feels strongly about this industry sector.
"We've got to get the basic facts out there first, about our capacity to produce this energy, about current job creation and about future job prospects too," said President Clinton.
In synch with President Clinton and based on the latest data, we also believe that solar energy is solidly positioned to become a mainstream energy source. A recently published report, U.S. Solar Market Insight: 2nd Quarter 2012, finds that U.S. solar achieved its second-best quarter in history, having installed 742 megawatts of solar power, with the best quarter on record for the utility-scale solar market segment.
Below are five key takeaways from Solar Power International and the U.S. Solar Market Insight: 2nd Quarter 2012, issued by GTM Research and SEIA:
In the last year or so, our industry has taken a reflective approach—recognizing changing workplace trends and harnessing opportunities to better ourselves and our companies. Conference agendas and industry associations alike remind us that the next generation doesn’t “get” electrical distribution; much less why they would want to work in our industry (it certainly isn’t as sexy compared to Apple or Google).
And yet, there is no easy way to fill this skills gap. If we want to continue to be the innovative and successful industry we are today, we need recruit from the largest available pool of candidates. And when we do attract qualified candidates, we must then retain them, as the younger generation is quick to change jobs.
This topic, of next generation leadership and attracting a young workforce, was voted on by the Electrical Distributor magazine readers for the second live Twitter chat. As always, it was a lively and honest discussion about the critical need to invest in the changing workforce. It’s clear that all participants understand that young men and women look for companies who invest in them and offer new challenges.
Here are some key takeaways from tED’s second twitter chat on how the industry can be better and do more to recruit and retain young talent:Make sure seasoned employees know they are part of the solution—they need to help just as their mentors helped them many years ago"Coach" older employees to show more interest in younger employees because new hires look for guidanceOffer opportunities for "special projects" that challenge creativity, give them a chance to stand outSocial media is a great start, but Millenials will disconnect if your business and brand don't back up your messageProduct development teams are great to let younger gen's show their out of the box thinking and it takes off the older guys "blinders"Worry less about how long they will stay and more about performance and keeping them engaged
Finding the right candidate with the necessary skills to perform a specific job is not a unique circumstance to the distribution and manufacturing industries. While at the tail-end of the conversation, self-described “20-something electrical distributor manager” Nick Arb said it best,
When you first walk into a car dealership and lay your eyes on the vehicle that you’ve been researching on the web for the past month, what’s the first thing you see? If you’re like most people it’s the paint job. The glossy, shiny, just waxed looking clearcoat over the rich and vibrant basecoat is the very first that catches your eye.
This is also the first thing that comes to mind when we think of paint; how it adds to the beauty and appearance of the things that are painted. However, the true beauty of that paint isn’t just skin deep! A small army of scientists have spent countless hours in the lab making sure that not only does every layer of the paint job look great, but that it also functions to protects your investment in that new ride from rust, acid rain, sunlight, gravel, and all the other things that Mother Nature (and the 18 wheeler in front of you) can throw at it.
That functional aspect of paint is at the heart of our new FasTrak Plus line of EMTproducts. All EMT manufacturers paint the inside surface of EMT, but not all coatings are created equal.
At JMC Steel Group, we understand how important it is to our customer to be able to easily push and pull wires through our EMT, and we understand how to deliver that performance.
At a microscopic level, any roughness on the inside of the tube will act like Velcro®, pulling at the surface of the wire passing through the tube and creating drag which makes it harder to move the wire. We’ve worked with our suppliers’ coatings experts to develop a new coating which not only smoothly covers any roughness, but also builds a molecular layer of lubricant at the surface of the coating.
Wheatland Tube recently developed its first smartphone and tablet app, EMT Calc, for contractors and engineers in the field. If you haven't downloaded it yet, you better do it soon. You can enter to win a free iPad after completing the form at wheatland.com/20foot.
This new savings calculator - available for Android smartphones and tablets or iPhone®, iPod touch® and iPad® devices - makes it possible to estimate savings from choosing 20' electrical metallic tubing (EMT) over traditional 10' lengths. Available for free at Google Play and the App Store, as well as on our website, EMT Calc is a powerful tool to help users win more jobs and secure greater profits.
In addition to the Wheatland Savings Calculator, several other key apps are available to assist construction professionals. Engineering News Record recently polled its readers asking them for their favorite construction apps. Here are the top 10 responses:
American manufacturing has a long history of a favorable, patriotic indication and a track record of top notch innovation. According to a recent poll, voters say that creating jobs, specifically in manufacturing, and strengthening manufacturing in the U.S., are top economic priorities.
In today’s global market, there are too many instances where the domestic industry has been decimated by unfairly traded imports—to the point where it is very tough for a domestic manufacturer to compete against products imported from other countries.
A recent report, Preparing for 21st Century Risks: Revitalizing American Manufacturing to Protect, Respond, and Recover, written by former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and former Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security Robert B. Stephan states:
“We are becoming too reliant on global suppliers (many of whom may not have our best interests at heart in a time of crisis), along with a highly complex and vulnerable global supply chain needed to bolster our weak points or come to our rescue in the midst of an emergency.”
The report, released by the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) reflects on the importance of domestic steel products and materials as essential components of our nation’s critical infrastructure base.
A major component of the solar industry is the design, manufacturing and installation of the infrastructure used to support solar panel array systems. While panel technology continues to improve and become more efficient, infrastructure solutions have evolved at a slower pace. This begs the question: should the solar industry develop its own set of construction standards? With reports illuminating North America’s increasing demand for green energy, Wheatland Tube supports the development of industry-wide standards that drive consistency, efficiency, longevity and cost savings.
Here is an overview of the obstacles facing the solar industry today and our case for a set of industry standards.
1. Design, installation and construction comprise of 50 percent of total cost.
The average cost of a completed PV system dropped by 17 percent in the first quarter of 2012 compared to the first quarter of 2011. Overall, the average price of a solar panel has declined by 47 percent since Q1 2011. While these price drops are beneficial for the end user, the sharp fall in prices has put a serious strain on solar manufacturers. (Data provided by SEIA.)
Just a few months ago, top leaders in the industry gathered at the National Association of Electrical Distributors National Meeting, giving us the opportunity to meet with distributor partners. We had over 25 of these meetings to harvest our customers’ intelligence and insights to become a more effective part of their success. Ultimately, we were able to ask the tough questions—about ourselves and where we can improve. I left with a sense of accomplishment knowing that I had learned a lot about our customers’ needs and what we need to do to be a better partner.
Yesterday, the Electrical Distributor Magazine and the NAED continued to push the envelope by hosting a live Twitter chat around the critical role of electrical distributors, their strengths and values as well as the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
With a handful of industry folks ready to dive in, the conversation took off with a bold statement, “Manufacturers must get access to market.”
While we all should recognize there are more options than ever for buying and selling electrical supplies, I believe more is involved than personal relationships and financial risk. Distributors have a real opportunity to drive new products and plenty of options. Here’s a snapshot of the conversation that ensued:
When you are dealing with codes and standards you learn how important it is to choose the proper words. The Code requirements are what products are evaluated against to be “listed for the purpose.” And the Listing standard determines the testing of a product to evaluate its suitability for the installation and use in conformity with the Code (Article 110). Quite often products are specified with a reference to the Listing Standard because the listing is very specific to the tests and procedures used to conduct the product evaluation. The specifier or designer is assured that the product listed to the standard has the properties needed to comply with the Code and installed performance requirements. These standards ensure that products function as intended in the field and properly mate with cable and raceway system components.
An ongoing problem in specifying our products is the use of the term “fitting” in conjunction with the threaded conduit nipples, or threaded or unthreaded factory made elbows and threaded couplings for use with Rigid and Intermediate Metal Conduit or Electrical Metallic Tubing. It is misleading as to what standard they may be listed to and therefore, their suitability for some applications in the Code.
The listing standards applicable to Rigid Metal Conduit (RMC), Intermediate Metal Conduit (IMC) and Electrical Metallic Tubing (EMT) are UL 6, 1242 and 797 respectively. The scopes (Clause 1.1) of these standards include nipples, elbows and couplings with the exception of EMT which only includes elbows. These items are not considered “fittings” except for the integral couplings I will address later.
The listing standard for the “fittings” used with these raceways is the Standard for Conduit, Tubing and Cable Fittings, UL 514B. The reference to fittings within the above mentioned raceway standards is to connectors, couplings, hubs, bushings, etc. that are listed to UL 514B as noted in the standard. These are made from die-cast, iron, malleable iron material or non-metallic materials and are used to provide additional properties required by the system design or simply to join straight sections. A good example would be EMT which has straight section and elbows listed to UL 797 but no component to join them to create a system.In the case of RMC and IMC fittings “listed for the purpose” are need to connect to a box, enclosure or transition to another raceway type or conduit which are not provided for under their listing. Fittings listed under UL 514B are needed.
The three National Electrical Code® (NEC®) Articles that specifically address the requirements, permissions and limitations of our products are 342 Intermediate Metal Conduit, 344 Rigid Metal Conduit and 358 Electrical Metallic Tubing. In Part I. General, of each Article, you have a Scope Section XXX.1, Definition Section XXX.2 and the Listing Requirements Section XXX.6. The XXX is a place holder the applicable Article number. These Articles, of course, can be and often are modified by other sections of the Code.
Building information modeling (BIM) seeks to assist mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineers in predicting the outcome of a system before executing the project. A 2009 research report from McGraw-Hill Construction finds that BIM adoption has grown significantly and is now used by half of the North American construction industry. While holistic adoption has its many advantages and barriers, some question whether suppliers, contractors or engineers should drive the movement. Arguments on both sides are compelling.
If you’re not already using BIM, have you considered conducting research to make a business case for implementing the software? If so, then you know the amount of information is tremendous because the industry’s changeover is happening faster than many recognize.
While some industry figures have found success by using BIM to document and represent complex building geometry, there are a few things you should know before your firm converges and implements an entire new process. Sample documents and figures will help you better understand the principles of the software and how it works in practice.
Having done the research for you, whether you are a designer involved in process piping for the first time or an expert engineer, you will find the resources below beneficial for developing a strategy to integrate BIM throughout your organization.
Whether you’re a distributor, contractor or engineer, you know the solar energy business is growing rapidly and requires a steel structure customized for assembling solar panels. You also know that as the solar industry grows, so does its impact on the economy. But did you know that the average cost of a completed PV system dropped by 17 percent in the first quarter of 2012 compared to the first quarter of 2011?
Amid uncertainty in the global economy, the U.S. began 2012 with the second highest quarter for solar installations ever, according to a recent report by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association. As a result of a strong first quarter, the outlook for 2012 has improved and installations will likely total 3.3 GW. Overall, the U.S. Solar Market Insight report predicts annual solar PV installations for 2012 may exceed 3,200 megawatts, 75 percent greater than last year’s total and 15 percent higher than previous annual forecasts for 2012.That’s good news for anyone who wants a real edge in the industry.
While these numbers are noteworthy, the SEIA advises we remain cautious. Overcoming the U.S. solar market’s greatest challenge, to ultimately drive the price down to traditional fossil fuel sources levels, relies on increasing the production and distribution of solar energy technology.
Not to mention, according to recent headlines, U.S. solar panel manufacturers continue to face increased global competition and uncertainty surrounding global trade disputes.
With our recent announcement of a free mobile and tablet application that enables electrical contractors to calculate the monetary difference when using 20' rather than 10' EMT, I wanted to provide you a little background on steel rigid conduit and why a few extra feet can save you and ourcustomer money.
A Brief HistorySteel Rigid and EMT has been a "mature product" for as long as anyone can remember. The first rigid conduit system was probably the system installed by Greenfield in 1888; zinc tubes with copper elbows were used. Once people recognized the merits of electrical raceway systems, conduits were offered and installed made of insulating paper tubes, woven fabrics, fiber and even "flexible glass" as the insulating and sheathing material. Eventually paper tubes encased in steel armor or thin sheet brass were offered to provide greater physical protection.By 1890, wires were being installed in plain unlined gas pipe as the simplicity and low cost combined with the added strength made this a preferred wiring method. The next twenty five years saw further developments in steel rigid conduit with hot-dipped galvanized rigid product finally being available around 1912.As early as December of 1928, "Electrical World" mentioned a reduced wall raceway, "Electrical Metallic Tubing", which was approved by the National Electric Code in limited applications.It appears that during this period of product development, rigid and EMT was always sold with a maximum length of ten feet.With the harmonization of the North American codes and standards, the restrictive language limiting the conduit length to 10 feet was removed. This opened up the possibilities for the conduit producers to offer longer lengths. Now, 20 Foot EMT is available in all Trade Sizes (1/2 – 4) and 20 Foot Hot Dipped Rigid Steel Conduit is available in Trade Sizes 2-6.Simple MathTwenty Foot EMT and Rigid Steel Conduit offers immediate and obvious labor savings for the electrical contractor without requiring an investment in equipment, training or time. Every electrical installation offers different challenges. While not suitable for every job (Manhattan jobsites cometo mind, for example), 20 Foot EMT and Rigid may be a simple way to reduce the installed costs of steel EMT or Rigid.One of the first jobs that used 20 Foot Rigid was a prison in Upstate New York, where 20 foot lengths of 4 inch Steel Rigid, direct buried on a gravel bed, were used to connect all the manhole access points. The DFW Airport People- Mover has 6 inch Rigid installed as high as 30 feet off theground. Both jobs were perfect installations for 20 Foot Rigid. Some recent 20 Foot EMT jobs have included off-site Data Centers, Distribution Centers, Hospitals, and Shopping Centers. Some contractors that pre-fabricate stub-ups etc. have standardized on 20 Foot EMT to reduce waste.Less Handling, Less Labor and Fewer CouplingsThis free calculator app — Wheatland Tube's first — is easy to download and use. It is available at wheatland.com/worksmarter, as well as the App Store and Google Play as "EMT Calc."
The 1965 edition of the National Electrical Code® (NEC®) added the requirement that “raceways be suitable for the corrosive environment to which it is exposed.” Section 300.6, Protection Against Corrosion and Deterioration, requires that, ”Raceways, cable trays, cable bus, auxiliary gutters, cable armor, boxes, cable sheathing, cabinets, elbows, couplings, fittings, supports and support hardware shall be of materials suitable for the environment in which they are to be installed.” Article 300 Wiring Methods apply generally to all wiring methods unless modified by other articles.
So, what defines corrosion?
Corrosion, simply put, is the atmospheric oxidation of metals: iron + oxygen + water = rust. Limit the factors contributing to the corrosion rate of metal, and you extend the service life of the metal. The galvanizing processes used on our steel RMC, IMC and EMT have demonstrated that the zinc coating provides long-lasting protection. However, the requirement that it “…shall be of materials suitable for the environment in which they are to be installed” indicates a need to be more specific.
While Article 344, Rigid Metal Conduit, and Article 342, Intermediate Metal Conduit, states that galvanized steel RMC and IMC “shall be permitted under all atmospheric conditions” — and Article 358, Electrical Metallic Tubing, has a similar requirement, except limiting atmospheres (excluding some hazardous locations) — “where protected by corrosion protection and approved as suitable for the condition” charges the contractor and Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) with the responsibility to employ other methods of corrosion control when deemed necessary. This could mean changing to a more suitable material, a modification to the environment (such as increased ventilation or drainage), or the use of supplementary PVC coating, paints or wraps.
How do you deal with it?
Building owners and architects are continually looking for more value from their investments.
Either they want to be able to show value to their future tenants, or they are looking more and more towards the life-cycle cost of maintaining the building through office change-outs, workstation relocations, etc. In fact, some studies have shown the churn rate (movement of desks/offices) to be as high as 30+ percent.
Therefore, it is important for the facility managers of these properties to be able to identify what is in each of the raceways to help keep the cost and replacement of a new wire pull as inexpensive and quick as possible. Over time, those building owners and architects asked Wheatland to make conduit in different colors to help satisfy certain requirements for the identification of runs of conduit and the wires that they contain, e.g., fire alarm circuits, critical power circuits, etc. Hence, Wheatland’s Color Check™ Color-Coded EMT was launched as a more consistent and sophisticated way for quick circuit identification.
Prior to Wheatland offering colored conduit, contractors used spray paint for electrical systems identification. They would either spray the fittings every 10’ (some inspectors thought this was good enough), or they would just spray the conduit after it was installed. There was very little effort into making the paint job look good or worrying about where the overspray went.
Here at Wheatland, we decided to change all that. We employ specialists to produce quality EMT and apply color coatings in accordance with the product listing. No concern about voiding the manufacturer's warranty, questioning the proper application of a coating, or wondering if the coating will be approved by the AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction). Forget the call to the manufacturer for advice on how to do the surface preparation and what type of paint should be used. Forget looking for a paint source, cutting and tracking a purchase order, and worrying if it will arrive when needed. Forget prepping and painting. Instead, select your color and call Wheatland.
One benefit of continuous weld (CW) pipe is its easy threadability in the field, compared to ERW (electric resistance welded) pipe. Today we want to explore this benefit of CW pipe by discussing the threading process and highlighting additional CW benefits.
This process requires a universal die head, which threads pipe from 1/8" to 2" in diameter. Lay the die head with the index numbers facing up. Loosen the clamp lever and place the throwout arm toward the open position. Then lift the lock washer from the gauge bar slot and slide the assembly past the gauge bar slot as indicated on the head assembly.
As I discussed in a recent post, the concept of Made in America is not always as simple as it seems. Buyers need to be vigilant to ensure every element of a product they buy is made in the U.S. When it comes to pipe and tubing, it’s not uncommon for a product to be sold as “made in America” — but the elbows, couplings and nipples used could have been manufactured elsewhere.
Deception and uncertainty can create a major problem for engineers and contractors who have enough to worry about when it comes to ensuring compliance with domestic content laws.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), passed in 2009, has raised the issue of domestic content to a new level over the past few years, as industries have scrambled to ensure they are in compliance. The law includes a Buy American provision that requires any public project funded by the act to use only iron, steel and other manufactured goods produced in the United States. But ARRA is just part of the picture.
The Buy American Act and The Buy America Act have been part of the government purchasing landscape for years. These acts favor U.S.-made products for government purchases. New regulations will continue be added. A recent federal transportation bill also includes a Buy American amendment.
Additionally, there are multiple state regulations, including Pennsylvania’s Steel Products Procurement Act. States continue to push for Buy American laws, so regional complexity is likely to grow. The Pennsylvania law was recently upheld by the 3rd District Court of Appeals — another clear sign that we’ll continue to have a combination of state and federal regulations.