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Photo Contest: How do you use EMT in the Field?

Since its introduction, Wheatland’s FasTrak Plus EMT has gained wide acceptance among electrical contractors across the country. Now we want to see how you’re using it in the field — and one lucky winner will get a $500 Visa gift card!

1) Two photos:

A close-up of our FasTrak Plus EMT product in an install, clearly displaying the yellow labelA wide shot that showcases the overall install, showing the product in application

2) Email these two photos to  with the following information:

Project name or type (e.g., residential, etc.)Project application (e.g., basement, etc.)Project location (city and state)Your name and phone number (or preferred method of contact)Name of distributor (supplier of FasTrak Plus EMT)

All entries must be received by midnight, April 30, 2013.  The winner will be randomly selected from all entrants and will be notified in May 2013. All entries become the property of Wheatland Tube and may be used for informational and promotional purposes.  Multiple entries will be accepted as long as photos and product applications are different. Please visit wheatland.com/FTphotos to review the full terms and conditions of this promotion. 

 

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More Than Warm and Fuzzy: Why American-made Material Is Critical to Your Project

A lot has been said recently in the marketplace and in the news about the need for products to be MADE IN THE USA. After all, 2012 is an election year, and American-made products are a hot button when people are out of work. Just look at all the websites and organizations promoting the need to “BUY AMERICA.” But again, to many people this is just a feel-good issue to feed on the “crisis of the moment.” The real issue is WHY?

The bottom line is that many project owners, contractors, inspectors and users simply WANT products that are made in America. Why? Because of QUALITY and RISK MANAGEMENT. You may try and argue that most homeowners or office tenants could care less – that they have too many other things to worry about, simply aren’t aware of country of origin issues, or are only concerned with price and appearance. I would argue otherwise.

I suspect that most people today will not accept Chinese drywall after all of the issues that have arisen with homes contaminated by the product. And what about those contractors or distributors who purchased Chinese EMT, only to have UL pull the UL listing when it was found that the product did not meet corrosion testing requirements? How were they going to be able to recover their costs once they realized they could no longer sell or install this material – much less address the concerns of those building owners or homeowners who had this material installed? This is a SAFETY issue as well as a COST issue.

The bottom line is this: Why take the risk of buying foreign products?

As a distributor, do you really know that the products on your shelf are not going to a state or federally funded project that requires only Made in the USA or Made in America products? As a contractor, do you want the risk of installing foreign products, only to find later that the products do not meet certain standards? It simply doesn’t make sense to take these kinds of risks.

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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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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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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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