Wheatland Tube Color

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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Are YOU Using Color Coded EMT on Your Projects? An Overview of Advantages and Applications

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.

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Threading Pipe in the Field

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.



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Relieving Your Domestic Content Headaches

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.

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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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NAED Recap Part 2: NAED Encourages Industry to Recruit New Talent

After attending what I believe is my 21st consecutive NAED Annual Meeting, I noticed much has changed over the years. For example, the consolidation of both distributors and manufacturers has made this conference a constantly changing landscape. But one very specific (positive) change stood out in my mind during this conference: our industry has finally recognized that we must put a greater focus on attracting and retaining young talent. This was a topic that came up in many presentations and almost every discussion.

Bob Reynolds, Chairman, President and CEO of Graybar, spoke convincingly about the need to embrace the concept of attracting young people to our industry. He made a very compelling argument that it is critical to our industry’s future that we must all do a better job developing talent to fill the leadership pipeline. Further, Bob pointed out that we must recognize changing workplace trends and harness those opportunities to better ourselves and our companies (Facebook? /Twitter?/Flexible Hours?/etc.). He reminded us that we need to understand that the next generation doesn’t even understand electrical distribution; much less whether they would want to work in this industry (it certainly isn’t as romantic as working at Apple or Google).

Eli Lustgarten, senior vice president of Longbow Securities gave a good long-term guesstimate of where our market opportunities are headed. With a PowerPoint of over 100 slides, there was much more economic data than any one person could consume. He told a very humorous story about someone trying to get a loan from the FHA. Too long a story to tell here, but it showed that regardless of who is in power in Washington, bureaucracy takes on a life of its own.

Charlie Cook, the political analyst who spoke next, gave a wonderful presentation on the upcoming election and politics in general. It was balanced and not partisan. His discussion was entertaining and avoided the easy, cheap shots towards either party or candidate. It was a lively discussion that illustrated and explained in a humorous way our current political landscape, without taking sides.  


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NAED Recap Part 1: Harvesting Our Customers’ Intelligence

Every year, top leaders in the industry gather at the National Association of Electrical Distributors National Meeting examine important trends and analysis of the electrical distribution channel issues. Part 1 of this 2-part series will summarize the NAED national meeting and forecast what the next year will look like for both manufacturers and distributors.  In Part 2, I’ll look at why the industry must place a greater emphasis on attracting and retaining young talent.

Let’s start off this discussion first by saying that the Annual NAED Meeting in Washington, D.C. was a roaring success.

The annual meeting offers the opportunity to meet one-on- one with distributors without the local sales agent. Wheatland Tube had over 25 one–on–one meetings with key distributor partners where we discussed a wide range of topics and harvested our customer’s intelligence and insights to become a more effective part of their success.

While we are committed to the independent sales agent model for most markets, not all sales agents are equal – reps are a fluid bunch in that the best reps may start to wither and the weaker reps improve and fill that void; it is my job to identify these shifts and move quickly to capitalize on them so that we can stay one step ahead of our competition. The meetings give us the opportunity to ask the tough questions – and I thank our distributors for offering candid answers about our rep network, both positive and negative.

We received very good feedback from our distributor partners. Some of the feedback was very positive as distributors recognized the recent improvements we have made in improving our service. We had one distributor go out of his way to tell us “I don’t know exactly what you are doing but keep doing it, as you are taking share” – the best part is it looked like another distributor overheard the conversation—I cannot help but wonder what he was thinking. Maybe, just maybe, he is scratching his head and wondering if he is missing an opportunity to grow his business by not shifting more tons our way.

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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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Does “Made in America” Mean Made in America?

We all think we know what Made in America means. The concept is simple enough. And the implications are certainly clear. American manufacturing has always suggested a high standard of quality along with patriotic pride and the support of the economy.

The importance of supporting the domestic economy has become an increasingly critical issue as America continues to work its way out of the deep recession that has engulfed the world over the past few years.

For engineers and contractors, Made in America isn’t just a rallying cry. Meeting the requirements of domestic content laws is a fundamental challenge for the design and construction business.

Long standing federal legislation, such as the Buy America Act as well as more recent laws such as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), create a series of (often confusing) mandates about the use of American-made products in federally-funded projects. State laws such as Pennsylvania’s Steel Products Procurement Act add an additional layer of complexity.

And the legal landscape is only going to get more complex.

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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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