Friday, June 17, 2016

Specifying products backed by proven high-quality manufacturing standards is the only reliable way of getting the performance you paid for.

Specifying products backed by proven high-quality manufacturing standards is the only reliable way of getting the performance you paid for.
Stephanie Ellis
Corrosion College

Most manufacturers are satisfied to meet basic industry best practices and standards for product compliance. Unfortunately, this statement can even be true with niche products where there is an imperative to perform and where a customer spends additional cost for that level of performance.

Forward-thinking manufacturers strive to differentiate themselves by producing products that exceed basic standards. Such products frequently provide added value at competitive costs. Identifying and hard-specifying manufacturers that go above-and-beyond minimum expectations is the only way for owners and end-users to be assured of the product performance they paid for.

In today’s competitive, quickly changing, and sometimes litigious marketplaces, there is a growing acceptance of the fact that “not all products are created equal”, therefore specifiable products should offer objectively verified product performance along with proven consistent quality in the manufacturing processes.

In rapidly growing numbers, owners and end-users, as well as specifying-consulting engineers, have begun to reject products that simply meet standards shared by all other manufacturers, and accept products that have proven themselves to offer performance attributes exceeding basic compliances or the status quo.


As a case in point, let’s look at the example of PVC-coated galvanized rigid conduit and standards that govern the industry.

UL 6

All major brands of PVC-coated conduit meet the exact same requirements of UL 6.


“These requirements cover electrical rigid metal conduit-steel (ERMC-S), elbows, couplings, and nipples for use as a metal raceway for installation of wires and cables in accordance with CSA C22.1, Canadian Electrical Code, Part 1, NOM-001-SEDE, Standard for Electrical Installations, and NFPA 70, National Electric Code (see Reference Item No. 1 Annex a). ERMC-S is provided with a zinc, zinc-based, nonmetallic, or other alternate corrosion-resistant exterior coating and an organic or zinc interior coating. It is the user’s responsibility to determine the appropriate product for their application.

The last statement of the standard description is an important message of the user’s responsibility to determine the best product use for the application. The UL listing is important to the industry standard and the safety performance of the product, but by its own acknowledgement, not to the performance in the application of the product. UL Listed products also imply that those products, through a regulated service, are allowed to carry the UL label. The regulated service is continually followed up by a third party, in this case UL, for ongoing compliance in order to maintain the listing.


All major brands of PVC-coated conduit meet the exact same requirements of NEMA RN1, an industry best practice created by members of the National Electrical Manufacture’s Association (NEMA) as a guideline for applying plastic coatings to galvanized rigid steel conduit.


All major brands of PVC-coated conduit meet the exact same requirements ASTM ANSI C80.1 that establishes the industry standards for electrical rigid steel conduit for use as a raceway for the wires or cables of an electrical system. Raceway systems (conduit, fittings, and enclosures) are relied upon to provide mechanical protection for circuit conductors and carry potentially dangerous fault currents.


Only some major brands of PVC-coated conduit are verified to carry an ETL-PVC-001 label.

This gets to the heart of why not all products are created equal.

For many years, end-users and owners found it adequate to accept products based on the fact that they all shared the same standards.

No longer.

In the instance of PVC-coated galvanized rigid conduit, ETL-PVC-001 has become critical to proper product specification because not all manufacturers have been able to meet the quality standards necessary for passing independently confirmed product testing.

Unlike other standards that are traditionally safety-specific, ETL PVC-001 Verified is an internationally recognized listing based on performance evaluations and on predicting service life.
It is on the basis of independent, objective? product comparisons by Intertek ETL that only some brands of PVC-coated conduit have been proven to provide ten or more times the protective service life of compared to brands that are not authorized to carry the ETL PVC-001 label.
ETL PVC-001 validates the coating performance of PVC-coated galvanized rigid conduit based on? ASTM D870 and ASTM D1151/ASTM D2247. These accepted ASTM tests methods, along with the criteria set within ETL PVC-001 create the standard for predicting product service life. These tests are not intended to replicate a specific environment. Rather, they are designed to predict the service life of a coating under the two most common conditions that affect adhesive bonds: heat and humidity. ?
When a customer is expecting a product to perform and spends a premium they should never settle for a “one and done” test. Unlike some standards that only require a product to pass required testing once, ETL PVC-001 verification is based on a quarterly requirement to repeatedly and successfully pass the stringent performance tests demanded for verification. ?
Furthermore, ETL verification is an “open standard”. Testing is open to any manufacturer who believes that the quality of its protective coating can consistently meet ETL verification requirements. This points to the vital importance of owners, end-users and specifiers understanding the scope and purpose of all standards related to products with imperative. The absence of a listing, certification or verification demands an answer to the question: “why has this standard not been met?”
That is “how” not all products are created equal.

Let’s now explore “why.”


The decision to produce a product that exceeds basic standard criteria is in part a conscious, philosophical commitment by a manufacturer it also requires a level of technical competence necessary to achieve a high level of quality and consistency in the production process.

To take the example of PVC-coated conduit one-step more: some manufacturers of this product are ISO 9001: 2008 certified. Others are not. Interestingly, but not surprisingly, the manufacturers who are ISO certified are also ETL-verified. Those who are not ISO certified have not been verified by ETL.

ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is the world’s largest developer of voluntary International Standards. ISO 9001:2008 focuses on meeting customer expectations and delivering customer satisfaction by ensuring an organization delivers a consistent level of quality to its customers by requiring well developed processes and procedures as well as implementing continual improvement. 

ISO 9001 is a recognized quality management system (QMS) and is the only ISO standard that requires certification.  ISO Certification is a seal of approval from a 3rd party body that a company runs to one of the internationally recognized ISO management systems. The certification can be used to tender for business as a proof of a company’s credibility, but also to install confidence in the potential client that they will keep their promises. Additional benefits to customers of ISO 9001 certified organizations are improved quality and service, on time delivery, and confidence that things will be right the first time – every time.

To self-initiate a level of regulated discipline in both product performance and manufacturing quality speaks to a company’s personal level of commitment to build a product that will perform at the level required, every time. All of this speaks to a business model that is based on numerous quality management principles including a strong customer focus, management leadership, a disciplined process approach and continual improvement with the end goal of consistent quality.


To review and to apply the lessons of PVC-coated conduit to any and all other specified products:

All major PVC-coated conduit brands comply with exactly the same standards --- except that some are verified to meet the requirements of ETL PVC-001 Verification of product performance and predictability of service life in addition to base standards. ?

Not all major manufacturers of PVC-coated conduit are ISO 9001: 2008 certified. Currently those that are, have also been able to achieve ETL-verification through superior quality made possible by consistency in the manufacturing process.

Therefore, if reliability of product service life is important to engineering design, avoidance of costly or catastrophic product or system failure, it should be assumed in the specification process that only PVC-coated galvanized conduit, produced by a ISO-certified manufacturing environment and carrying the ETL verification label have met --- or will exceed --- the standards established by all relevant ASTM tests, including those predicting product service life.

Exactly the same logic can and should be applied to the specification of all products for any application. Specifying products backed by
proven high-quality manufacturing standards, is the only reliable way
of getting the performance you paid for, every time. 

Monday, May 9, 2016

Can I use a shoe for rigid metal conduit (RMC) to bend PVC coated conduit of the same size?


Question: Chris, can I use a shoe for rigid metal conduit (RMC) to bend PVC coated conduit of the same size?
Answer: There are shoes made specifically for PVC coated conduit which will accommodate for the exterior coating and bend the elbow properly. Using a shoe made for RMC will cause the coating to be pinched. Using a shoe for the next trade size up will collapse the elbow. Shoes made specifically for PVC coated conduit can be purchased from the hydraulic bender manufacturer.

Wrong show bend for pvc coated conduit     Correct Shoe used for bending pvc coated conduit
Photo Caption 6: (Left side, Incorrect) The shoe used to bend this elbow was a 2″ shoe made for rigid metal conduit (RMC).  Which does not accommodate coated products and causes the coating to be pinched. Using a shoe made for RMC the next trade size (2-1/2″) will collapse the elbow.
(Right side, Correct)  PVC coated conduit should be bent with shoes made specifically for PVC coated conduit.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

KorKap’s Contractor Commitment: On Time Delivery & Proper Material Handling

Currently, the shipping industry in the United States has been become a challenge for anyone trying to schedule electrical products to a job site.
The reasons?
A shortage of truck drivers plus newly implemented driver-regulations that limit time on the road. Unfortunately, this situation does not appear that it will improve any time soon. According to a report by transportation analysts Stifel Financial Corp, the industry as a whole will be short 240,000 drivers by 2022.
Because on-time product delivery is critical, some electrical contractors have found a way to gain a competitive edge by asking vendors to assist them with shipping challenges.
KorKap PVC-Coated Conduit is one such vendor and has been using its many resources to ship products on time to meet necessary deadlines. Additionally, KorKap professionals have proactively been working to ensure that conduit arrives on the job site without damage.
The best way to prevent product damage is to be knowledgeable about proper handling techniques. To facilitate a necessary level of understanding, KorKap has provided online instructions available to anyone involved in the shipping/delivery of PVC-coated conduit.
An overview for proper material handling of KorKap PVC-Coated Conduit features:
  • Forklift
  • 4x4” Board (Lumber)
  • Strap – 2″ Wide x 4′ Long – (Grainger PN 38U307)
Instructions for loading and unloading in a LTL truck:
  1. Place the board about 6″ inward from the end of the conduit. Position the forklift at the end of the bundle and tilt the forks forward.
  1. Lower forks onto the board and wrap the strap around the bundle and the forks. The strap should be wrapped about 4″ away from the ends of the forks.
  1. Tilt the forks back towards the forklift first, then lift the bundle gently.
  1. KorKap Material HandlingPosition and place carefully into the trailers. Lower the bundle and remove the board and strap. Repeat the process to remove the bundle from the trailer.
To protect financial interests, KorKap recommends that all freight be fully inspected for damage.  If the product arrives with damage you can refuse the entire shipment, putting the liability on the freight company. If you can’t allow for schedule delays be sure any damage or incomplete shipments are noted on the freight company’s bill of lading prior to signing. Notation on the bill of lading is a critical part of the process that allows for you to make a freight claim against the carrier.
KorKap PVC-Coated Conduit is committed to making life easier for electrical contractors. To learn more about KorKap visit:
For immediate guidance about proper handling of PVC-coated conduit — or for testimonials about how KorKap has helped contractors ensure safe, on-time delivery of products, call: 903.843.6562

Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES) publishes Lighting for Airport Environments

New York – The Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES) is pleased to announce the publication of Outdoor Lighting for Airport Environments (RP-37-15), a publication in the IES Recommended Practice series that provides in-depth treatment about specific lighting applications.
RP-37-15 is a guide for the application of fixed outdoor lighting in and around the airport environment with respect to the airport’s special requirements. These requirements include (but are not limited to) height restrictions (such as obstructions affecting navigable airspace) as defined by the governing civil aviation authorities, the ability to distinguish color of light for visual cues, and light trespass that may interfere with visibility of Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) controllers or pilots.
The purpose of RP-37-15 is to provide:
  • adequately lighted airside areas where parked aircraft are safely serviced; aircraft crew and passengers safely board and deplane, and where cargo operations are conducted
  • adequately lighted landside areas such as access roads and parking areas for safety and security of pedestrians and vehicles;
  • guidance for lighting in the adjacent development vicinities of the airport (including areas outside the airport property line), while also taking into account the special needs of the airport environment, such as height restrictions and potential light interference with air traffic controller and/or pilot vision
"Safety is of utmost importance in aviation travel, which is why anyone involved in outdoor lighting of an airport should be knowledgeable about the recommendations in RP-37-15. It is vital that they fully understand the impact of airside and land side lighting to eliminate or minimize the production of glare that would affect control tower operators or pilots," said Richard Larivée, ing. P.Eng, Sub-Chair of the Aviation Recommended Practices Subcommittee of the IES Aviation Lighting Committee.
"Outdoor Lighting for Airport Environments (RP-37-15) has been needed for a long time. For years, we have had to glean through a myriad of various resources to apply sound lighting principles in the airport environment. Now we have one-stop shopping!" said Carl Johnson, Senior Aviation Lighting Specialist, AVCON, INC.
IES is the oldest and largest educational and scientific society in North America devoted to lighting. Since 1906, the IES has sought to improve the lighted environment by bringing together those with lighting knowledge and by translating that knowledge into actions that benefit the public. A broad variety of programs, including publications, conferences and seminars, have been established to accomplish this mission. IES publishes and distributes the finest lighting literature authored by committees with the most experienced minds in industry and academia today. For more information about IES, go to
The IES Aviation Lighting Committee was formed on October 21, 1929. Its mission is to study the application of light and lighting to spaces and functions involved in the operation of aircraft and spacecraft.
The Committee is comprised of members from all sources of general aviation lighting specialists, including engineers, manufacturers, designers, contractors, airport authorities, federal authorities (FAA & Transport Canada), US & Canadian military, and general aviation from North America and around the world. It is a non-commercial technical committee. For more information about ALC, go to

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Two St. Louis plants took a beating during a 100-year flood event in December 2015. Learn about the recovery process and what plant staff learned from the event.

The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District plans to have its flood-damaged Fenton Wastewater Treatment Plant restored to full treatment capability by April after it was damaged by floods in late December. For several weeks, the plant discharged 5 million gallons of raw sewage every day into the Meramec River.
The MSD suffered about $25 million in damages to two wastewater treatment plants and the collections system during record rains from Dec. 28-30. Across the region, anywhere from 6 to 12 inches of rain fell, causing a 500-year flood event that swelled the Mississippi River to historic levels and pushed the Meramec River 4 feet above the previous record.
The Fenton plant is situated along the Meramec in southwestern St. Louis, surrounded by a 6-foot levy designed for a 500-year flood. The Grand Glaize Wastewater Treatment Plant, located several miles upstream, is outside the 100-year floodplain but was also damaged and put out of service for several days.
The weather system eventually caused flooding across 13 states, killing at least 25 people. It spawned 28 confirmed tornadoes that killed 23 more. It also brought winter storms from Texas to Wisconsin and then eastward into New England, causing or contributing to about 20 more deaths.
Amazing numbers
The Fenton plant experienced two events. “The flows coming into Fenton the evening of the 28th spilled out of the wet wells and blew out a transformer and the switch gear,” says Jon Sprague, MSD director of operations.
The power outage forced the plant offline, but more was to come.
The cause of such high internal flows is not yet known. I&I contributed, but other factors could include flooded manholes, a break in a line, or it could have come from the 12 pump stations near the Meramec that were flooded, many in areas that had never experienced flooding before.
As rain continued across the region, the Meramec River rose 25 feet in three days. “It went from a level of 20 feet up to 45 feet deep. The forecast just kept getting higher,” says Sprague.
And that put another plant at risk. Since the 5 mgd Fenton plant was already offline due to internal flooding and was surrounded by the 500-year levy, crews began work on the larger 15 mgd Grand Glaize plant a few miles upstream in case the river reached that high.
“We were doing all we could, scrambling to build sandbag walls,” says Sprague.
“When you’re sandbagging, you ask how high you need to build it,” says Division Manager Todd Heller. “We arbitrarily picked 45 feet. At the time, it was almost 3 feet over where we thought we needed to be and everyone was saying it was a little extravagant. But as we’re sandbagging, the forecast was changing hour by hour. And it wasn’t by inches, it was by almost a foot per hour.”
The river crests
The Meramec reached its peak on Dec. 31. At Fenton, a bad situation became worse when waters overtopped the plant’s levy.
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“We lost everything,” says Sprague. “Every piece of switchgear, all the control systems, every motor, every system. All of the buildings were flooded with over 6 feet of water and the whole plant was wiped out.”
The mood was much brighter at Grand Glaize. The sandbag levy was just high enough. “We were high-fiving each other; we thought we had it knocked,” says Heller.
But as MSD spokesman Lance LeComb adds, “Mother Nature can always trump you.” As the Meramec receded, part of the sandbag wall gave way.
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“Holding as long as it did — and sandbagging all the doors — mitigated the flooding enough that we didn’t have major damage,” says Sprague. “It took out the plant, but we were able to get it up within days.”
Although full treatment was restored at Grand Glaize by the third week of January, it will be June before all redundant equipment is restored and building damages such as drywall and flooring are repaired.
It’s a different story at Fenton, where primary treatment wasn’t restored until Feb. 12. Full treatment won’t be back online until April, and it will probably be July before all the damaged equipment is replaced and building repairs are complete.
Drinking water hasn’t been affected, but warning signs have been posted all along the Meramec River advising people to avoid contact with the water. Once full treatment is restored, the river is expected to return to normal within a few weeks.

Not the first time
It was just 2008 when St. Louis experienced another 100-year rain event with almost 10 inches of rain over three days from the remnants of Hurricane Ike. That happened just as the district began improving its Capacity Management, Operations and Maintenance Program.
“In 2008, we had 6,700 water backup calls with nearly 4,000 being our responsibility,” says Sprague. By ordinance, MSD pays up to $3,000 per case for sewage backups that are deemed to be its responsibility. This time, there were only 3,000 water backup calls with the district being responsible for 1,400.
“Less than half of the call volume and less than half being our responsibility — as bad as it was, it just shows the improvement we’ve made to our system through proactive cleaning and better maintenance and rehab on our system, and we have a program to install check valves in homes that have repeated backups,” says Sprague.
“Our stormwater maintenance group was out 24/7 responding to calls and worked 10 days straight,” he continues. But they got help from other workers who had been trained to help. “We do a great job day-to-day taking care of our plants and our system. When it comes to emergency response like this, our folks have really shown their dedication.”
Funding during emergencies
Normally, procurement rules require governmental agencies to develop specs and issue bid requests for large projects. MSD has an emergency procurement process to bypass those usual steps along with a list of emergency contractors. Within hours of incurring flood damage, contracts were issued, workers were mobilized and recovery work was underway.
KCI Construction was hired to handle repairs at Fenton with Goodwin Brothers Construction selected for work at Grand Glaize. In addition, KAI Design & Build was hired to provide construction management for both projects.
Total damages won’t be known until recovery is complete, but the estimate is about $25 million. Damage to the Fenton plant is expected to be $10 million and damage at Grand Glaize is $5 million; insurance should cover all but $500,000 in plant damages. The sewer district also faces around $4.6 million in basement backup claims. Because it was declared a federal disaster, funds may be available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but that can take many months, if not years, to determine.
Lessons learned from this and the previous event are now being documented. “We’re putting together a manual on lessons learned and what precautions to take based on river levels,” says Sprague. “We’re also looking at mitigation efforts. Should we raise the levy at Fenton, what are the odds versus the costs? Even though Grand Glaize is above the 100-year floodplain, do we build a levy or take other provisions to protect the plant?”
And there’s the unanswerable question about weather patterns, according to LeComb. “It seems a new bar is being set the past 10 or 20 years. Does that necessitate a whole new set of design standards? That’s something the industry and regulators will have to struggle with over the next couple of years.”

Monday, February 15, 2016

Bob Knight, legendary basketball coach, joins KorKap PVC-coated conduit sales reps during NEMRA 2016 annual conference.

“The key is not the will to win—everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.” -Bob Knight
KorKap Representatives at NEMRA

Photo Caption: KorKap representatives walk away inspired by Bob Knight, legendary college and Olympic basketball coach, at a special dinner held during the NEMRA 2016 Conference 
Robert “Bob” Knight is one of college basketball’s most successful and innovative coaches. Recently at a special dinner held during the 2016 NEMRA annual conference, Coach Knight entertained and inspired KorKap PVC coated conduit sales reps with many stories from his legendary career. His themes included thoughts on how to become and remain leaders by not accepting anything less than the best, and by not making excuses in the pursuit of world-class performance excellence.
Bob Knight won 902 NCAA Division men’s college basketball games, the most “all-time” games, at the time of his retirement. Knight is best known as head coach of the Indiana Hoosiers from 1971–2000. During his time at Indiana, Knight led his teams to three NCAA Championships, one National Invitation Tournament, and 11 Big Ten Conference championships.  He received National Coach of the Year honors four times and Big Ten Coach of the Year honors eight times. In 1984, he coached the USA men’s Olympic team to a gold medal.
KorKap PVC-Coated Conduit offers a complete line of PVC coated conduit, fittings and accessories to provide resistance to corrosion for electrical raceway systems in the most demanding environments. KorKap is a key link in a raceway system designed to beat the high cost of corrosion damage. KorKap carries the combined ETL/UL label, assuring users the protection needed for long-term success on projects. PVC-coated brands authorized to carry both the ETL and UL label have been proven by independent third-parties to provide a reliable service life ten or more times longer than brands that do not feature both labels.
For more information, visit:

Monday, February 8, 2016

KorKap PVC Coated Conduit Quickly Prepare Accurate Submittal Packages with an New Online Tool

KorKap’s Customer Service Commitment: Making Your Life Easier!
Quickly Prepare Accurate Submittal Packages with a New Online Tool----
KorKap ® PVC Coated Conduit is committed to servicing their customers through the development of newer and better tools. So, when our customers asked for an additional submittal tool, we listened and responded.
Today, Quick Submittal is available on our website at:
KorKap Quick Submittal Tool
KorKap Quick Submittal Tool
Quick Submittal allows you to quickly and easily generate a combined submittal package by product families without individual product size cut sheets. Quick Submittal offers a simple one-page selection and can be completed with a few simple clicks. Cut sheets by product family include information such as family part numbers, features, and technical specifications.
For those who want individual cut sheets specific to a product by size check out My-Catalog?. KorKap My-Catalog?. is another submission online tool, enabling users to manage their own personalized catalog of products. It quickly assembles and downloads customized submittal packages as well add on sheets such as SDS sheets, Installation Re-certification information, and Chemical Resistance Charts. Every user’s completed My-Catalog? submittal receives a confirmation email with live document links that remain valid for 30 days.
Registration for My-Catalog? is free and simple, providing new users with immediate access to the system. Registered users can access it with any dependable Internet connection, including mobile devices.
A short online tutorial video for new My-Catalog? users is available at:
KorKap My-Catalog
Visit the KorKap website to experience the benefits of the new Quick Submittal or My-Catalog? online tools for creating fast submittal packages for PVC-coated galvanized rigid conduit.
Additional information on My-Catalog? can also be found at: