Nothing Happens Without a Volunteer

 

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In the business world, it’s often said that “Nothing happens without a sale.”But in the association world, “Nothing happens without a volunteer.”

_ _ All of NCCA’s members are volunteers. All of our board members and all of our committees are 100 percent volunteers. Everything we do depends on someone who is willing to work for free for the good of our industry.
These are the people who, when they hear the call for a volunteer, raise their hand and put their shoulder to the wheel. After that task is complete, they raise their hand again for the next challenge. And the next one. And again, and again.

rlw2-2The Hall of Fame 

___ Because of supreme importance of volunteers, we give special recognition to those members who have excelled in their service to the association. That’s also why we established the NCCA Hall of Fame in 1992. At that time, the association was marking its 30th year, and we acutely felt indebtedness to so many who had volunteered so much time and effort for the advancement of our industry.
___ At the NCCA 2014 Annual Meeting in Napa, Calif., we formally inducted Vic Locastro of Precoat Metals into our Hall of Fame, the 43rd inductee in our history. Vic started his career with Precoat Metals 44 years ago. Within his first few years there, Vic became an active volunteer in NCCA, and he hasn’t stopped.
___ Over the decades, he initiated, participated in, and chaired a number of committees, including the Marketing Committee, Container Products Committee, Building Products Committee, Garage Door Committee, the Program Planning Committee, and many others. Vic also served on the NCCA board of directors from 1983 to 1986.

Expanding Our Market
___ The majority of Vic’s contributions focused on expanding our market and strengthening the influence of NCCA. He volunteered to help develop many of our marketing pieces and brochures. He helped establish the steps and procedures in prepaint conversion projects. He became an industry spokesperson in publications, seminars, and trade shows, and he served as NCCA’s ambassador to other associations.
___ Vic also played an integral role in converting the building products industry from polyester and vinyl technologies into siliconized polyesters and PVDF/Kynar coatings. This helped the sales of prepainted metal to grow exponentially in the 1970s and 1980s in construction products.
___ For nearly four decades, Vic Locastro has served as a great example of how associations excel. NCCA has thrived because of that volunteer spirit of people who are devoted to our industry, believe in our mission, and willingly thrust themselves into our work.

Volunteers Among Us
___ There are more such volunteers among us. They may be only in their first year or their 31st year, but they are the fuel that powers us forward.
___ So, we thank Vic and all those who join us in our ongoing quest “to promote the growth of coil coated products.” Their selfless duty has made our industry stronger, expanded our markets, and helped our members gain more sales.
___ After all, in the business world, “Nothing happens without a sale.”

Learn more about our work at www.coilcoating.org.

 

 

Coping with ACA

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The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), a/k/a Obamacare, was enacted on March 23, 2010. This health care reform legislation made sweeping changes to the laws that govern employer-sponsored health plans. Health care reform includes expanded coverage, disclosure, and reporting rules. In many cases, these changes will require plan amendments and notices to participants and beneficiaries. Failure to comply with the health care reform requirements can result in significant consequences, including the imposition of excise taxes under the Internal Revenue Code and the risk of participant claims for benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). Although the government agencies responsible for enforcing health care reform have issued a substantial amount of guidance since the law’s enactment, many questions regarding implementation remain unanswered and will require further clarification and interpretation. The health care reform requirements become effective over several years ranging from 2010 through 2018.
___ Starting in 2014, most individuals must have a minimum qualifying level of health coverage either through an employer, a Health Insurance Exchange, or a government program like Medicare (if they are eligible). Persons without coverage will face a tax penalty based on a sliding scale related to their income. Similarly, beginning in 2014, large employers must offer affordable “minimum essential coverage” to their full-time employees and dependents or face the possibility of paying a monthly penalty if at least one employee enrolls in a health plan under an Exchange and receives a premium credit or cost sharing reduction. The Administration recently announced that employer penalties will be delayed until January 1, 2015.
___ At the end of 2012, each State made an election to either create a State-Based Exchange, partner with the federal government, or rely totally upon the federal government’s exchange. 17 states and the District of Columbia opted to create their own exchange. Effective October 1, 2013 the SBEs and federal exchange were supposed to be up and running. The Exchanges are still a “work in progress.”
Beginning in 2015, applicable large employers may be subject to an “Employer Shared ___Responsibility Payment” (penalty tax) if (1) they fail to offer substantially all (i.e., 95%) of their full-time employees and certain dependents (26 years old or younger children) the opportunity to enroll in a health plan that offers minimum essential coverage or (2) they offer minimum essential coverage but it is unaffordable or does not provide the required minimum value; and (3) at least one of the employer’s full-time employees receives a premium tax credit or cost-sharing reduction for purchasing health insurance through a Health Insurance Exchange. Let’s take a closer look at these key terms.
___ An employer is considered an “applicable large employer” for a calendar year if it employed, on average, at least 50 full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees, on business days during the preceding calendar year. For this purpose, “full-time employee” is defined as an employee who is employed for an average of at least 30 hours of service per week, including hours for which the employee is paid or entitled to payment even when no work is performed (such as PTO or vacation). For a calendar month, 130 hours of service is treated as the monthly equivalent of 30 hours per week.
To calculate full-time equivalent employees (FTEEs) for a particular month, an employer must add up the total number of hours of service for all employees who were not employed on average at least 30 hours of service per week, then divide that total by 120. The resulting number is the number of FTEEs for that month. To determine whether the 50-employee threshold is met with respect to a given year, the totals for both full-time employees and FTEEs for each calendar month are added together for all months in the preceding calendar year, and then divided by 12. If the result is not a whole number, it is rounded down to the next lowest whole number.
___ Sole proprietors, partners in partnerships, 2% S-corporation shareholders, employees who work outside the United States, and leased employees are generally not considered employees for purposes of the applicable large employer determination. Special rules also apply for counting seasonal workers and employees that work variable hours.
___ The term “minimum essential coverage” means coverage, except coverage only for an excepted benefit (dental, vision, and most health FSAs), that meets typical benefits currently offered by most insurers today. This also includes most government plans, i.e., Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE, CHAMPVA, etc., as well as most employer-sponsored plans.
Beginning in 2015, an applicable large employer is liable for a penalty tax for any month that – (1) the employer fails to offer substantially all of its full-time employees and their dependents the opportunity to enroll in minimum essential coverage under an eligible employer-sponsored plan for that month; and (2) any full-time employee of such employer is certified to receive a premium tax credit or cost-sharing reduction for purchasing health coverage through an Exchange.
___ If no health coverage is provided, and if any full-time employee enrolls in the Exchange and receives a subsidy, the amount of the monthly penalty is $2,000 (adjusted for inflation) divided by 12 ($166.67) multiplied by the number of full-time employees employed during the applicable month, not counting the first 30 full-time employees.
___ If an applicable large employer offers the opportunity to enroll in minimum essential coverage under an eligible employer-sponsored plan to its full-time employees and dependents, but the plan’s coverage is either unaffordable or does not provide minimum value, and any full-time employee of such employer is certified to receive a premium tax credit or cost-sharing reduction for purchasing health coverage through an Exchange, the employer is liable for a different penalty. The amount of this monthly penalty is $3,000 (adjusted for inflation) divided by 12 ($250.00) multiplied by the number of full-time employees who are certified to receive a premium tax credit or cost-sharing reduction for purchasing health coverage through an Exchange. However, this penalty is capped at the amount the employer would pay if it were subject to the penalty for providing no coverage at all.
___ For any calendar month, an applicable large employer may be liable for either penalty, but cannot be liable for both penalties for the same calendar month.
To be considered minimum essential coverage, the coverage will need to meet an affordability requirement and provide minimum value. Coverage is affordable if the employee is not charged more than 9.5% of household income. Since most employers will not necessarily know household income, they can use the employee’s W-2 wages as an index. Minimum value means that the total cost to the employee for using the plan cannot exceed 40% of the value of all benefits. In other words, when you add up all of the co-pays, deductibles, and out-of-pocket expenses, the employee cannot bear more than 40% of the cost of services provided. In most situations, the employer will want to get a certification of minimum value from the insurer.
___ Employers should not delay plans to cope with this law. Instead, contact your insurance broker and start working on this problem. Here are some things to do:
• Determine if you are an applicable large employer. If you are close, consider changes to reduce headcount by outsourcing or leasing back some employees. Remember that you cannot directly control leased workers or you become a joint employer and they will count for purposes of the ACA.
• Determine who must be offered coverage and the cost for providing it. You need to work with your broker to obtain quotes for plans you will offer. Note that you can offer more than one plan, but you need to ensure that the lowest-value plan is affordable and provides minimum value. Some employers may wish to offer bronze, silver, gold, and/or platinum plans.
• Calculate the penalty for not offering coverage. Determine whether it makes more economic sense to “play” (i.e., provide compliant healthcare coverage) or “pay” (i.e., the penalty/tax).
• Consider reducing hours below 30 per week, outsourcing, or using leased employees to reduce the number of employees who must be offered coverage or for whom you might face a penalty.
• Do not fire employees or reduce hours alone. Instead, undertake a comprehensive evaluation of costs and benefits across the board.
• Consider forming or joining a cooperative with other employers to expand the risk pool and obtain more favorable quotes from the insurance carrier.
• Make plans to communicate any changes to your workforce both through required notices and employee meetings. In this process, you will want to candid about costs and coverages to maintain employee morale.
___ This is important and employers need to start working on solutions and answers. If you need help with these issues and suggestions, please contact competent legal counsel.

Got Rust? Get Zam

 

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The main objective of coating steel sheet is to add value, enhance appearance and prolong the service life—in short, to prevent rust. Wheeling-Nisshin, Inc. Follansbee, WVA believes they have a new answer to a very old problem with the introduction of their new coated steel product—ZAM®.

___ Market segments such as agriculture, automotive, construction, solar and numerous others battle corrosion everyday and ultimately spend billions of dollars annually dealing with corrosion. For years, the options to protect steel sheet from corrosion have been limited to galvanized, aluminum-zinc alloy coatings or reverting to costly stainless steel or aluminum substrates.

A summary report of inquiries made to Galvinfo Center stated that the predominate question asked by users of metallic-coated steel sheet is “how long will the material last in service.” Those service environments included indoor and outdoor atmospheric, aqueous, in-concrete, in-soil, in contact with treated wood, and animal containment structures. Clearly the market wants to have their coated sheet products last longer.

Zinc, aluminum, magnesium alloy coatings are the latest innovation to the coated steel market to fight corrosion and minimize environmental impact. There are currently about 10 such products, either commercially available or under development, in the world.

 

rlw1-3___ ZAM is one such hot-dipped, super-corrosion-resistant zinc, aluminum, magnesium alloy coated steel. The ZAM coating was developed by Wheeling-Nisshin’s parent company, Nisshin Steel Co. Ltd. Early development of the new coating started in 1994 and commercial production was in place by 1999. The company first applied for patent in 1996 in Japan and in the U.S. in 1997. Sales of ZAM coated product for Nisshin Steel have grown over the past 15 years to over 60,000 tons per month.

 

___ ZAM is one such hot-dipped, super-corrosion-resistant zinc, aluminum, magnesium alloy coated steel. The ZAM coating was developed by Wheeling-Nisshin’s parent company, Nisshin Steel Co. Ltd. Early development of the new coating started in 1994 and commercial production was in place by 1999. The company first applied for patent in 1996 in Japan and in the U.S. in 1997. Sales of ZAM coated product for Nisshin Steel have grown over the past 15 years to over 60,000 tons per month.

The ZAM project at Wheeling-Nisshin began in October 2012 and was fully completed one year later at a cost of $28 million. Wheeling-Nisshin is the first zinc, aluminum, magnesium (Zn-Al-Mg) alloy producer in the United States and North America. Initial (hot run) production was conducted in May, a second run in August and the final installation run in November of 2013. The ZAM project has been Wheeling-Nisshin’s largest investment to their facility since the second coating line was commissioned in 1993. Wheeling-Nisshin has a hot-dip coating capacity of 700,000 tons per year of coated steel products to include Galvalume® Aluminized (type 1 and type 2), Galvanized, Galvanneal, and now ZAM.
___ Wheeling-Nisshin President/CEO, Noboru “Ricky” Onishi, explains that ZAM is a “natural extension for our current operations in West Virginia and allows our company and employees to grow into a new area of production.” He continued saying, “we have a significant investment because we see the potential of ZAM, a potential, we think, that can be considered the corrosion protection of the 21st century.”
___ Onishi states that “this product is five-to 10-times stronger than existing coatings and is suitable for a wide array of end-uses. It’s for anybody looking for higher, better corrosion resistance. Gradually, we’ll expand sales of ZAM to our customers. It’s not going to happen overnight, since very few people know about it and it will be an education process.”

rlw1-4  What is ZAM, How Does it Work

___ ZAM is an extremely corrosion resistant alloy coating comprised of 91% zinc, 6% aluminum, 3% magnesium. This coating falls within the ASTM A1046 specification and has been shown to out perform galvanized coatings in corrosion resistance by a factor of up to 10 times. The chemistry of 6% Aluminum and 3% Magnesium is the key to ZAM’s excellent performance.
The alloy coating starts to oxidize when it is exposed to air, and the subsequent formation of corrosion products creates a fine, dense protective barrier on its surface. The percentages of aluminum and magnesium used in the Zn-6%Al-3%Mg alloy facilitate the formation of optimum corrosion products—that is, basic zinc compounds (basic zinc aluminum carbonate) and amorphous compounds containing aluminum and magnesium that are composed of very fine crystal structures.

___ The superior corrosion stability of the Zn-Al-Mg alloy is related to the presence of oxide layers with better protective properties than those of zinc-based oxide layers.. This layer provides long term corrosion resistance by suppressing further oxidation, which inhibits corrosion of the underlying Zn-6%Al-3%Mg alloy coating.
Accelerated testing of ZAM coating demonstrates the unique and remarkable protection provided by the alloy.
___

 

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The same corrosion product film that forms on the surface of ZAM also protects any exposed (cut) edge. Over time, this film flows over cut edges with the aid of moisture. This effect is dependent on how wet the environment is, so the more humid an environment the sooner the cut the cut edge will be protected by this film. It should be noted that, since ZAM is 91% zinc, the cut edges would be protected in the interim by galvanic reaction, where the zinc will sacrifice itself prior to the base steel rusting.
___ This attribute can extend the life of the base metal and coating by many years. It also allows ZAM to be used where particular applications previously required post dipping or heavy galvanized coatings.

 

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___ The improved corrosion protection of ZAM makes possible lower ZAM coating weights as replacement for heavier conventional coatings—thus saving cost and resources. This product has also been proven to be remarkably resistant to high chlorides (marine), high ammonia (agriculture) and high sulfur dioxides (industrial) environments. No other metallic coating offers better protection than ZAM. Due to the exceptional corrosion resistance, Wheeling-Nisshin offers a limited long-term warranty for ZAM steel sheeting.
___ Many independent studies have been conducted to review the significance of Zn-Al-Mg alloy coatings. An April 2008 report published by the French Institute of Corrosion titled “Zn-Mg Automotive Steel Coatings”, reported that the alloying of zinc coatings with magnesium and aluminum significantly improves their corrosion resistance under atmospheric conditions. Red rust appearance and onset of paint delamination from defects were delayed in comparison to traditional zinc coated steel with comparable coating thickness.

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ZAM has been promoted historically as a bare coated sheet, but a great deal of work has been done regarding the pre-painting of this new alloy coating. Nisshin Steel

currently pre-paints about 1,000 tons of ZAM products each month, while several customers are pre-painting their own ZAM material with great success.

___ Our company is working closely with key paint related vendors to assure that best practices are developed within the U.S. market. To date, three coil coating companies (four paint lines); four paint suppliers and four pretreatment suppliers are actively painting and evaluating pre-painted ZAM.
___ One related characteristic of the ZAM coating is the fact the coating surface is significantly harder than other conventional coatings—nearly three times harder than galvanized coating surfaces.
___ While all metal coatings experience some degree of cracking when formed, the harder ZAM surface is prone to microcracking when end product forming is severe—similar to the performance of Galvalume coated sheet.
___ Nisshin Steel’s pre-paint customers have followed a full range of approaches for pre-painting ZAM sheet—from using conventional polyester paint systems to using more robust macromolecular paint systems that exhibit greater elasticity. The ZAM surface hardness should be considered when determining the very best pre-paint system to use. Clearly this has been addressed in many cases without issue.
___ The exceptional corrosion protection of the ZAM coating is still in play when pre-painting the product. One important improvement found with pre-painted ZAM is edge creep corrosion performance at cut edges. The width of edge creep over time (10 years and greater) is remarkable.
___ Edge creep depth for pre-painted ZAM is significantly less than GI and GL coatings under the exact same conditions.

 

Improved Corrosion Resistance
___ ZAM has been developed to give improved corrosion resistance in aggressive environments, with greatly improved corrosion resistance at cut edges. ZAM coated steel offers the buyer a thinner coating, yet more protection than conventional coatings. This thinner coater can mean cost savings for the buyer. Significant cost savings can be gained due to:
• Longer service liferlw1-8
• Lower maintenance
• Lower coating weights than other metallic coatings, reducing cost and benefiting the environment.
___ Additionally, there are some important features of the product such as:
• Superior cut edge rust protection over other coated products • Harder surface with less abrasion resulting in better formability and less tool cleaning
• Self-healing coating—small scratches at the cutting face or surface do not rust and are self-healing
• Excellent weldability with lower coating weights.

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_ Suitable applications for ZAM include architectural building panels, perforated panels, construction (roofing, fascia, building panels, etc.), agriculture (chicken grow out houses, swine containment, hoop buildings, grain bins and silos, etc), solar racking, automotive, school bus, electrical cabinets, sign posts, guardrail, sound/wind/snow barriers, green house structures, industrial HVAC, and many other applications.

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