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Top 5 Electrician Apps

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In today’s digital world, there is a smartphone application for everything. There are apps to connect with friends, plan a trip, and even apps to shop for groceries. With all of the apps out there, it is no surprise that there are even apps to help support electrical contractors and installers with their projects. With the large multitude of apps to choose from, it might be difficult and overwhelming to find ones that fit your electrical needs. Therefore, we created a list of some of the top apps.

iBend App- This app is perfect for electrical contractors that need to bend a large amount of conduit for projects. iBend ensures accurate conduit bends by calculating the math for you, saving you time. You can even customize the app to mimic the exact bender you are using. The app is available for iPhones for $4.99 as well as Android phones for $2.99.

App Features:

Calculate conduit bend marks for an offset, by entering height and bend angle.Calculate conduit bend marks for a rolled offset, by entering the rise and roll of your offset.Calculate conduit bend marks for a three-bend saddle, by entering saddle height and choosing bend angles.Calculate the adjustment for the starting point of an offset to make your offsets parallel.Calculate conduit bend marks for a compound 90 to avoid a round, square or rectangular object in a corner.Calculate conduit bend marks for a segmented 90.Calculate conduit bend marks for 90 stub up.Ability to edit the deducts/take-up for different size pipe.ElectroDroid App- This app allows electricians to have as many tools and references as possible at their fingertips. ElectroDroid is available in two different formats: a free version that has access to basic tools, and a paid The PRO version doesn’t have any ads. It has also some additional features (e.g. the “Inverse Resistor Calculator”, improved LED resistor calculator), and more pinouts and resources. You will also get extra free space in the circuit simulator Everycircuit. Both the free and paid versions of the app are available on iTunes and Google Play.

App Features the following tools:

Resistor color code decoder (3-6 bands, with inverse look-up);SMD Resistor Code;Inductor color code decoder;Ohm’s law calculator;Reactance/Resonance calculator;Filters;Voltage divider;Resistors ratio, value/series/parallel;Capacitor charge calculation;Zener Diode Calculator;Adjustable voltage regulator/LM317 calculator (with customizable values);Fieldwire App: Fieldwire is a task managing app that is built specifically for construction workers and the construction industry. You can organize your tasks by blueprints, job sites, and category tasks to maintain a simplified and more user friendly organizational system. You can set deadlines for tasks and Fieldwire will send you reminders and let you know when task are overdue. The app is available in a free and paid version and can be downloaded to your iPhone or Android phone.

App Features the following tools:

Create punch lists right on your drawings and blueprints to put tasks in context.Alert workers of assigned jobs by email or app message.See instantly which tasks are complete or overdue.Navigate quickly through your task lists by location or priority.Add detail to your tasks by uploading photos, PDFs, and other attachmentsCreate daily reports to highlight progress and any outstanding jobs.Share up-to-date technical drawings with whoever needs them.BuilderTREND App: Features an in-app messaging tool that allows real-time communication between subcontractors, vendors, product managers, and customers. This will help to minimize errors and communication gaps on a project. BuilderTREND even allows you to complete payment transactions within the app. BuilderTREND starts at $99 per month and is available for iPhone and Android phones. This app seems to have boundless features to help assist you from start to finish on any project.

App Features the following tools:

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How important is Logistics in a Manufacturing Environment?

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

The Interview

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.

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The difference between SureThread CW Pipe & Import ERW Pipe

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.

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An Interview with Wheatland Tube’s Customer Service Managers

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.”

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Wheatland Tube Plant Revitalization Will Prove Beneficial For Customers

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?

 

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5 Essential Elements for Exhibiting at Any Trade Show

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.

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Support Made In The USA Products: A Case Against Import Steel

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.

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Wheatland Tube Helps in the Fight Against Cancer

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.

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A Simple, Four-Step Approach to Construction Safety

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?

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17 Neglected Manufacturing Careers

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.

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How 20-Foot Conduit Can Benefit Your Next Project

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:

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4 Ways Project Managers Can Save Money on Construction Projects

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:

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Wheatland Tube Wins Special Safety Award

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.

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Cool infographic depicts 2013 Top 10 Solar States

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.

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SEIA Q3 Report 2013 Shares Glowing Reviews on Solar Industry

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.

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Machinability Has A New Name: SureThread

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.

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Chicago Bid Incentive Program

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.

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Wheatland Tube is NSF-61 compliant, are you?

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

 

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The Benefits of Steel Tube in Solar Racking Structures [Webinar]

OYA Solar Inc. (OYA), a premiere developer of Solar PV systems, recently completed the first phase of its largest solar project with Atlas Tube, a division of JMC Steel Group. On Wednesday, November 13, OYA and Solar Power World will host a webinar to provide a cost benefit analysis of using steel tube for rooftop racking structures and offer a comprehensive comparative analysis versus traditional rooftop options.  Project Background: OYA installed Canada’s largest rooftop Solar Photovoltaic plant utilizing 100% steel tube for the racking structure. The 718.08 Kilowatt (kW) solar plant, which spans over nearly 120,000 square feet of roof top space, the length of 7 hockey rinks, is the first phase of a planned 3.5 Megawatt (MW) rooftop project. This installation will be largest operating rooftop solar installation in Canada and will supply enough electricity to power 60 homes for a whole year, with an annual power output of 897,128 kilowatt-hours (kWh). Attend this webinar to learn about:  Canada’s single largest rooftop Solar PV installation. The cost benefit of using steel tube in rooftop racking structures. A comprehensive comparative analysis of using steel tube versus traditional rooftop options. Date: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 Time: 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EST

Click here to register

 

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[INFOGRAPHIC] Contractors Favor American-made Steel Pipe

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.

Share this infographic on LinkedIn.

Share this infographic on Twitter. 

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Solarwebinar Recap: The Benefits of Steel Tube in Solar Racking Structures

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.

 

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel Speaks at Wheatland Tube

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.”

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Product Information and Educational Tools Go Mobile

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.

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Webinar: Using Steel in Solar Racking and Mounting

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.

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U.S. Military Seek Renewable Energy Solutions

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.

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Four Reasons the American Structural Steel Industry is Alive and Well

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.

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Solar Forecast: Installations, Prices, Employment and the Future

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.

Increasing Installations

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Sharon Tube is Back and Stronger than Ever

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.”

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Top Commercial Brands are Solar Energy Customers

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.

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CPVC Sprinkler Pipe: 31 Flavors of Risk

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.

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The 5 Must-read Electrical Blogs of 2012

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.

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What the DoD Proposed Military Construction Budget Means for Contractors

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:

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It's True: Electrical Distributors Are Using Twitter

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:

 

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5 Key Take-Aways from Our Social Media Webinar

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.

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Wheatland Tube and tED Magazine to Co-Host Social Media Webinar

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.”

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Top 10 Apps for the Construction Industry

 

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:

 

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Why Domestic Manufacturing is Important Now More than Ever

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.

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Why the Market Shows Us We Need Solar Construction Standards

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.

Today’s challenges:

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.)

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Top Resources for MEP Pros to Review before Choosing BIM

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.

BLOGS:

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The Changing (and Challenging) Role of Engineers

When publications and research groups join together, companies like Wheatland Tube are able to analyze a wide range of data and harvest their customer reflections to become a more effective part of their success. Reed Business Information’s Boston Research Division group, in conjunction with Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine recently completed a study among engineering professionals. The National Engineering Survey* investigates the plight of the engineer and highlights their profession and the challenges they face. Of approximately 1,200* engineers surveyed, 55 percent design/specify/select electrical power; 43 percent design/specify/select lighting & lighting controls; 43 percent design/specify/select HVAC; 39 percent design/specify/select fire protection/life safety.  Here’s a breakdown of their challenges:  Here’s why some engineers voted the way they did: “Over the next three years, consulting engineers anticipate some changes in their role. Many cite the emergence of green technologies and a greater focus on LEED as reasons for the change. Others cite the role of the engineer will be viewed as more important due to issues of the environment, the knowledge that they retain and the growing importance of becoming energy efficient,” according to the survey. The move toward alternative energy is a key factor driving the green industry.  Commercial and industrial building projects are increasingly emphasizing efficient construction, driven by the need to reduced costs, as well as LEED and other green incentives. For consulting engineers, this means opportunities in areas such as lighting systems upgrades, installation of solar electric windows, upgrading utilities and appliances that utilize renewable energy and parking lot electrical outlets. Commitment to QualityAnother data point that hit close to home for us was supplier selection, “Consulting engineers were asked about the three most important factors leading to select one supplier over another. Ranking first with nearly 50 percent of the engineers is product quality.”   We’re happy to hear product quality ranks first among factors leading you to select one supplier over another. When you spec Wheatland Tube, you know you’re getting the highest-quality products you can buy, that meet your project’s specifications. Our products undergo rigorous testing at our quality labs, which are among the industry’s most advanced quality assurance facilities. This testing assures Wheatland’s products are produced to the proper requirements and that the appropriate quality systems are in place. Dissecting the Engineer’s Reflection Evident in the survey results, engineers anticipate facing many challenges, some traditional and some uncharted. The industry must support its engineers by providing information on emerging technologies, engineering and construction best practices as well as current events and legislation. I encourage you to take a closer look at the survey results and see where you fall among the respondents.  What challenges do you anticipate facing over the next three years?   *The results are based on 1,249 completed surveys. The margin of error for this study is +/-3.0% at the 95% confidence level. This means that if the entire population responded, results would fall within +/-3.0% 95 times out of 100. The survey was completed in 2010.
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SEIA Q1 Report – A Bright Spot for the U.S. Solar Market

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.

Staying Vigilant

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.

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Reflections on the Growth of the Solar Industry

Last week, I discussed three statistics from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) that demonstrate the momentum of the solar industry. This week, with the World Renewable Energy Forum underway, I want to look more closely at industry statistics, particularly at the nonresidential and utility sectors.

Growing Pains

The solar market often appears to be taking two steps forward and one step back. Government incentives are still essential to this market, so when programs change or expire, they threaten to hinder growth. The expiration of the Section 1603 Treasury Grants at the end of 2011 is an important example. Of course, an industry bolstered by government incentives is subject to the whims of politics and perception. When a high-profile setback like the Solyndra bankruptcy makes headlines, it can damage public perception and threaten to erode federal and state support.

A Historic Year

The SEIA’s U.S. Solar Market Insight Report calls 2011 a historic year with solar installations booming and 1,855 megawatts (MW) of PV solar systems installed — a 109 percent growth over 2010. Of particular interest for construction and solar racking companies is the fact that nonresidential installations grew 127 percent and utility installations grew 185 percent.

The market is concentrated in only a few states, with California representing 29 percent of the installations, New Jersey representing 17 percent and the next five most active states comprising 34 percent. While this may seem and to suggest regional limitations on opportunity, the fact is that this market is still in its infancy. As it continues to make economic sense for businesses across the U.S. to invest in solar, they will — with or without government incentives. Indeed, in 2009 only two states installed more the 50 MW of capacity, in 2010 it was five states and in 2011, that number grew to eight states.

 

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Three Key Solar Industry Statistics

While solar power often appears to be an issue outside of the mainstream, industry statistics tell the story of a robust industry with strong momentum that is on track to become a key driver of the U.S. economy. 

As the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) states on its home page, "Every energy resource deployed in the U.S. has approximately 30 years of innovation and early adoption before mainstream adoption." 

Solar energy is solidly poised to become a mainstream energy source. The progress has been impressive. Below are three statistics from the SEIA that demonstrate the industry's momentum and its growing economic importance.

 

 

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For Electrical Contractors the Color of Opportunity is Green

In an economy still struggling to recover, most businesses, especially ones tied to construction, have serious concerns about what the next year holds.

Times have been tough for many commercial electrical contractors, despite some optimistic construction forecasts.

Even where projects are emerging or restarting, project owners are often placing increased price pressure on installers and suppliers. It’s still largely a buyer’s market.

Do robust opportunities exist? The answer lies in a set of industries that are rapidly emerging as part of the green economy. Green building and renewable energy sectors present an enormous potential for contractors to grow their businesses in the short and long-term. Driven by tax incentives and the rising costs of fossil fuels, opportunities will continue to expand.

Commercial Green Construction

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The JMC Steel Group’s Solar Solutions

Fueled by the rising cost of fossil fuels and increasing concerns about global climate change, solar energy is the fastest growing energy technology in the United States.

With the increased demand for alternative energy, a robust solar construction industry has emerged, JMC Steel Group companies Wheatland Tube and Atlas Tube  – have emerged as leaders, helping engineers and contractors to design and build the solar projects of tomorrow.

Whether you’re installing a utility-scale ground-mounted, carport structure or a commercial rooftop solar system, JMC Steel Group can provide the entire galvanized round, square and rectangular steel tubing you need.

Not only do we have the capacity to meet the demand for any size project under even the tightest of schedules, we have the largest size range in the industry (up to 22” square and 20” round).  Engineers don’t need to be limited to standard sizes when it comes to Wheatland and Atlas products. We also produce custom wall thicknesses to help engineers design a more cost effective solution.  What’s custom for the rest of the industry is standard for us.

For rooftop applications, our structural tubing offers substantial weight, strength and approximately 20% cost advantages over aluminum. For utility-scale ground mounted projects, steel is a better structural support solution than roll-formed and structural beams. We have technical experts who can help you plan the most cost-effective solution for your project.

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Welcome to the Wheatland Standard

The Wheatland Standard is the new blog from Wheatland Tube.

At Wheatland Tube, we are committed to the success of our customers and partners — engineers, contractors and distributors as well as our third-party representatives. The goal of this blog is to give insight, information and perspective on the issues that matter to your steel pipe and / or conduit business.

Here at the Wheatland Standard you’ll find valuable information and advice on a wide range of topics, from designing with and installing electrical conduit, to government regulations, to building and managing your business. We will discuss the issues that matter and help you to stay current with best practices and emerging technologies in the engineering and construction industries.

We know that providing high quality products is only part of the equation, and we pride ourselves on bringing our clients the expertise and support that fosters success.

The Wheatland Standard will bring you thoughts from some of our brightest minds, who will share their decades of experience with pipe and tube manufacturing and installation. No one knows the industry better than us and we’re happy to share our knowledge with you.

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