Bridging the Nation: Ocal® celebrates 60 years of coast-to-coast corrosion protection

For 60 years, designers and engineers have trusted Ocal® conduit and its corrosion-resistant PVC-coated construction to protect electrical wiring from intense weather conditions and chemical exposure.

There are more than 617,000 bridges across the United States, stretching coast-to-coast and connecting us by land and over water. With structures expected to perform reliably and safely in all types of conditions, corrosion – or the gradual destruction of materials by a reaction with their environment – is a leading cause of bridge failure.

For 60 years, designers and engineers have trusted Ocal® conduit and its corrosion-resistant PVC-coated construction to protect electrical wiring from intense weather conditions and chemical exposure. Found on bridges and other structures nationwide, from foggy San Francisco to bustling New York City, Ocal PVC-coated conduit and fittings from ABB Installation Products stand up to the most demanding and corrosive environments. Stretching East to West in the U.S., the total amount of Ocal conduit produced over six decades would span coast-to-coast 33 times.  

Helping combat corrosion

The effect of corrosion translates to millions of dollars in lost time, material damage and labor costs. In coastal areas, climate changes, high humidity, and exposure to corrosive salt and sand can accelerate infrastructure deterioration and result in more costly damage. To help ensure long-term reliability, Ocal PVC-coated conduit and fittings are designed to provide a complete corrosion-protection package and help extend the life of electrical systems for many years beyond the lifespan of standard rigid conduit systems.

Ocal® conduits and fittings have delivered corrosion protection in harsh, highly corrosive environments for 60 years to help avoid deterioration such as these pictured.

Each year, 1,560 miles of Ocal conduit is produced at ABB’s Jonesboro, Arkansas facility. The manufacturing process begins with a raw steel shell that is cut, threaded and prepared for the hot-dip galvanizing process. The interior galvanizing process offers industry-leading thread protection, while the exterior delivers corrosion protection. The threaded conduit is then immersed in molten zinc, enabling the zinc to penetrate the steel. Blue urethane is applied to the interior of the conduit and to the exterior threads before the exterior conduit is coated with PVC. The design also provides UV resistance. 

Ocal “Double-Coat” coated fittings are made with Blue Urethane applied to the interior and exterior of the fittings before the PVC coating. Form 7 conduit body covers are coated with a molded flange and conduit bodies are molded with a flat surface to ensure a superior seal. If the PVC protection is accidentally breached from cuts, scrapes or damage, it is critical to have a second line of defense such as the galvanized coating.

Founded in 1962 and acquired by Thomas & Betts in 1999, the complete line of Ocal® solutions became part of the ABB Installation Products portfolio in 2012. Over the past 60 years, Ocal PVC-coated conduit and fittings have been proven to protect electrical systems from corrosive conditions in large-size infrastructure projects, water treatment plants, food & beverage facilities and other wet and corrosive environments. To learn how Ocal PVC-coated conduit and fittings can help provide peace of mind and protection, visit

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About the author

Trent Davis & Jeff Ice

Trent Davis is the National Market Development Manager for Industrial Fittings and Cable Protection Systems from ABB Installation Products. Trent focuses on end-user engagement to understand market needs, and works with ABB’s product and engineering teams to evolve existing solutions and help ensure new products being developed meet customer needs. Jeff Ice is the Product Applications Engineer for Industrial Rigid Fittings from ABB Installation Products. With over 30 years of experience in the electrical systems industry, Jeff joined Thomas & Betts in 1998 and was recruited to lead sales and applications support for Ocal in 1999. Jeff's main focus areas include electrical conduit systems, application solutions, new product development and Ocal installation support for contractors and engineers.
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