13 May 2015

Calbrite®, the leading brand of stainless steel conduit, fittings, and accessories, offers a stainless steel conduit raceway system with a number of benefits compared to using a standard pipe.

Calbrite® products also satisfy the regulatory requirements of UL, ANSI, and NEC while maintaining cost-effectiveness. Calbrite® offers four different types of conduit: stainless steel rigid conduit, stainless steel EMT, stainless steel IMC, and stainless steel flex conduit (bare and coated).

Stainless steel rigid conduit functions exactly the same way as any other metallic conduit. The ease of installation mitigates the need for labor-intensive installation procedures and complicated maintenance and repair that are typically inherent with PVC-coated conduit systems.

Stainless steel EMT conduit and fittings combine strength with ductility, resulting in a lightweight and easy-to-handle conduit assembly.

Stainless steel threaded and non-threaded IMC is often specified in corrosive environments where it is subjected to harsh chemical treatments or wash-downs due to its lighter weight, precise tolerances, and ease of installation.

Flexible stainless steel conduit can be used for protecting electronic/electrical wires and cable in applications consisting of motion and vibration. Calbrite®’s NEMA 4X approved coated stainless steel flexible conduit is suitable for those damp environments.

“There are many owners, end-users, or contractors who recognize the benefits of stainless steel but may be led to believe cost savings are available by installing stainless steel pipe rather than conduit,” said Matt Westerfield, Director of Operations for Calbrite®. “Even if the piping system, often referred to as ‘plumbing pipe’ or ‘water pipe,’ is stainless steel, the issues and hidden costs that will be present by not using a UL listed and approved electrical conduit system can be detrimental to the entire installation.”

‘Pipe’ is not manufactured or designed to meet the strict guidelines set forth by the electrical industry standards of UL and ANSI and therefore does not meet the approval of the National Electrical Code (NEC).

‘Pipe’ is sold in inconsistent, undetermined lengths and often ranges from 19’ to 21’ in length. Typically a single bundle of pipe will likely have varied pipe lengths that can present unnecessary challenges when planning and laying out a conduit run. It is also sold as non-threaded, or plain-end, which requires every piece to be cut and threaded on the job site, whereas stainless conduit is manufactured to precut, pre-threaded, and pre-coupled UL listed lengths and dimensions.

Conduit is provided in industry standard 10’ lengths, with a UL approved coupling, and can also be provided in any custom length requested up to 20’, all while maintaining its compliance to applicable industry standards.

‘Pipe’ couplings (also known as plumbing couplings) are typically sold through pipe, valve and fitting distributors and are sold separately. They are manufactured with ‘plumbing’ tapered threads (NPT), meaning that a large gap would be present between each conduit length when connected. The conduit or any male thread can only thread approximately halfway into the pipe coupling, causing ‘snags’ when pulling wire that can create potentially hazardous issues to the electrician and plant operators. Calbrite®’s threaded conduit includes one UL listed electrical coupling per each length sold and are manufactured with straight threads, which are required by UL, ANSI, and NEC. These straight tapped electrical couplings thread much deeper into the pipe, allowing for a seamless connection between conduits.

Calbrite® stainless steel conduit offers a great number of advantages over using pipe, particularly in the surface preparation and finished interior and exterior. Whereas pipe is usually found unpolished, dull and often with mill markings stamped continuously along the pipe, Calbrite®’s conduit utilizes a unique and original finishing process which ensures each stick of conduit marked and identified with an industry standard UL listed label. The result is a UL listed finished conduit providing greater corrosion resistance, and allowing for easier visual inspection and product identification.

Stainless conduit is often recommended when corrosive applications exceed the limitations of PVC conduit, aluminum conduit, rigid steel, and PVC-coated conduit. Calbrite®‘s type 304 and 316 UL-cUL listed stainless steel conduit meets and exceeds current requirements for the strictest mandates by various state agencies and hundreds of common regulatory requirements throughout a wide variety of corrosive environments. Coinciding with nearly all Calbrite® products, Calbrite®’s stainless steel conduit is manufactured in the United States.