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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Indian and Chinese Heat Shrink Tubing

Heat Shrink Tubing from India or China

    Had another report this morning from a customer who took the chance and purchased some heat shrink tubing from China or India.  It did not work out.  Here is their list of pros and cons they came up with after the fact:
Low Cost
Didn't shrink right
Sometimes wouldn't shrink all the way down to the cable
Inconsistent wall thickness had them concerned about voltage ratings (since wall thickness directly determines voltage rating)
Adhesive didn't flow right
Adhesive didn't properly bond to cable
Lead time was long
Transit time was long
Credit terms were unavailable
     I understand that WCSM is a high quality product.  High quality products generally require a somewhat premium price.  But let's face it, the adage "you get what you pay for" is very often true.  WCSM is manufactured right here in the United States of America.  It is manufactured by American workers.  It is manufactured using the same high quality components that it has always used.  WCSM has been consistently made (other than some minor sizing changes) for decades now!
     When you buy foreign made shrink tubing, you are gambling on a novice heat shrink manufacturer.  This other company is often chemically cross linking their product rather than spending the money to use radiation to crosslink the PE (radiation crosslinking is more expensive, more reliable and more consistent). 
     Those of you in the electrical world - I don't know the answer, but you probably do.  What is the cost when a seal fails?  What is the cost when water is able to get to a connection and short out the cable?  What is the cost in down time, in a lost anode bed, in a lost anode, in some kind of electrical blow out?  I bet it is costly both in terms of dollars and in terms of reputation - "Company X used some kind of cheap Indian heat shrink and as a result our system is currently all screwed up."  That sort of a situation is going to COST you a lot more than you will ever save by purchasing some cheap, poorly made shrink tubing. 
     That is the way I see it anyway.  It just isn't worth the risk.

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