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Wheatland Tube's 2015 NECA Recap

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’ lengths

SmartSet™ 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

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Wheatland Tube’s 2014 NECA Recap

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:

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Do You Make This Mistake? Elbows, Couplings and Nipples Are Not Fittings

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.

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Corrosion: What it is, What it Does and How to Address it

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?

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