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Delta Faucet enters new category

BY Brae Canlen

Delta Faucet has expanded its product portfolio to include a new collection of water-efficient toilets, the company has announced. Aimed at the DIY customer as well as the professional installer, Delta’s “SmartFit” design focuses on eliminating leaks through external tank-to-bowl connections and integrated supply lines. The toilets also come with a mulit-tool, which includes a wrench specifically designed to fit the bolts and a two-in-one screwdriver adapter to secure the other mounting components. The two-piece toilets are easy to install and require no additional tools, according to Delta.

The 1.2-gallons-per-flush SmartFit toilets offer savings of more than $90 per year in reduced water bills, according to the manufacturer. They come in a variety of styles, including a round front suitable for smaller spaces. Select models offer a quick-release seat designed for easy undocking prior to cleaning. Some of the models also come packaged with an “EZ Out toilet removal kit” that includes a disposable scraper, pair of gloves, absorbent sponge and a cloth for cleanup that doubles as a temporary drain plug while the new toilet is being prepped for installation.

Delta’s new line of toilets began shipping last month and is currently available for sale at Home Depot, according to a Delta spokeswoman.

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Market Recap: RISI Crow’s Construction Materials Cost Index

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for Sept. 28, 2012

*Western – regional species perimeter foundation; Southern – regional species slab construction.

Crow’s Market Recap — A condensed recap of the market conditions for the major North American softwood lumber and panel products as reported in Crow’s Weekly Market Report.     

Lumber: SPF lumber prices weakened further in response to producers trying to sell volumes with greater urgency and limited demand from buyers. Inquiries fielded by producers were limited in volume and often highly specified and mixed. Southern Pine lumber volumes available for quick shipment were priced to sell, as September closed and producers looked to invoice as much volume as possible. Mills listened to counters. Coastal species lumber mills were again forced to enter the market with sizable volumes to sell, placing downward pressure on prices. Buyers, trying to hedge against lower prices in the near future, countered deeply. Mills accepted the deepest counters to move floor stocks. The Inland species lumber market remained weak, but the volume of discounted sales slowed as mills cleaned up excesses. The flow of material through the system remained good, and distributers and reloads reported good sales and shipments to their customers. The highlight for Eastern White Pine producers was strong sales of 10-in. and 12-in. Standard, which pushed order files out three to five weeks. Sales of other widths and grades were slower. Sales activity in the Ponderosa Pine board market was sporadic. Overall, sales were lackluster. The market for Ponderosa Pine Moulding and Shop grades remained quiet. Need rather than price seemed to be the determining factor where buying decisions were concerned. The Radiata Pine market remains flat for Mldg&Btr. Traders reported booking business for November delivery at current price levels. Expecting Western Red Cedar market activity to have begun to subside by now, some producers were pleasantly surprised by the volumes still selling heading into October. Prices were steady.

Panels: OSB sales volumes at the mill level were light and most came with counters to quoted levels. Wholesalers concentrated on selling off their contract commitments, usually below replacement costs. Traders were successful putting some back to back business together. Prices were weak. Southern Pine plywood buyers purchased sparingly, limiting the extent of mills’ order files to the week of Oct. 8. Volumes available for quicker shipment were popular among those buyers needing to cover immediate needs. Western Fir plywood producers were forced to aggressively seek CDX sales. Order files extended into the week of Oct. 8, but plenty of volumes were available for quicker shipments. The Canadian plywood market developed into a two tier market, as some distributors sold at below replacement costs in order to lighten inventory positions. Distribution yards reported steady sales. Particleboard producers continued to adjust production according to demand, still producing more than what is being consumed. MDF production was readily absorbed, with any extra production quickly bought up. 

For more on RISI, click here.

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Whirlpool Corp., LG Electronics settle refrigerator patent disputes

BY Brae Canlen

LG Electronics and Whirlpool Corp. have agreed to settle their respective patent infringement disputes related to refrigerators, ending years of litigation between the two companies. Three pending lawsuits will be dismissed in the U.S. District Courts in Delaware and New Jersey, according to the announcement. All other terms of the settlement are confidential.

The patents, which related to bottom-mount refrigerators and ice-making machines, were also the subject of rulings by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. For the most part, the rulings favored LG’s position. 

The two companies are still at odds over another kitchen appliance, however. Earlier this year, Whirlpool accused both LG and Samsung of “dumping” residential washers made in Mexico and South Korea and below fair value. The ITC, after initially siding with Whirlpool, later ruled that LG had not caused material injury to U.S. manufacturers.

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