Why Are Pipe Diameter Tape Measures So Scarce?

Why Are Pipe Diameter Tape Measures So Scarce?
Why Are Pipe Diameter Tape Measures So Scarce?

In 2021 and still in 2022, there are widespread supply chain issues worldwide. Many products that are made in China have had 2 problems making it to the United States. First of all, is their labor problem. Covid 19 outbreaks have closed down Chinese factories at least twice since 2019. Secondly, transportation issues have been another major issue. The price of shipping has increased drastically, and the port of Los Angeles had a bottleneck issue several months ago.

All these issues have contributed to the dramatic slowdown of raw materials and

Lufkin Pipe Diameter Tape Measure
Lufkin Pipe Diameter Tape Measure

finished products. Pipe diameter tape measures are no exception. Lufkin makes the most popular one, and has shipped only a small amount of inventory in the last 12 months to its distributors. At this point, August 2022, the future of more shipments is uncertain. An alternative diameter tape is made in China, the Pi-Cobra Diameter Tape. Shipments are due in the United States shortly, but maybe not soon enough or big enough to satisfy the need of customers.

A Pipe Diameter Tape Measure is used by oil companies and Water utility companies. The oil companies are doing very well right now, due to the profitability of oil drilling. So their need for these tapes is higher than the supply. This is driving up the price of the Pi-Cobra tapes. Hopefully, this supply chain problem will soon come to an end.

Promotional Maglights (Maglites) Not Affected by Chinese Lockdown

Promotional Maglights (Maglites) are always made in the USA. Fortunately they

K3A LED Mini Maglite, a promotional Maglight
K3A LED Mini Maglite

will not be affected by the Covid lockdowns occurring in China this month.

This month’s supply chain issues are mainly caused by China’s lockdown due to an increased occurrence of Covid.

Our trade association, Advertising Specialy Institute (ASI) reported that “Suppliers say lockdowns in Shanghai and other areas of China are likely to delay restocking of promo products in North America.”

I know, there has been an inventory issue for a year. Now it is getting worse. China was producing and shipping at a reduced volume last year. Now they are blatantly shut down. The Port of Shanghai is now a huge ship parking lot.  These ships are either waiting to get loaded or unloaded.

Container Ship Waiting to Get Unloaded
Container Ship Waiting to Get Unloaded

How long will this problem last? It depends on the lockdown, and how the Chinese government handles the issue. Fortunately, Maglite is not affected. Many other suppliers like SanMar (according to ASI) have anticipated this problem, and have stocked up on inventory, to above average levels. Other promotional product suppliers that saw this lockdown coming, also are probably prepared to meet customer demand this year. Hopefully China will get back on its feet again soon.

Who Makes Diameter Tape Measures?

Lufkin Pipe Diameter Measuring Tape
Lufkin Pipe Diameter Measuring Tape

There are 4 main manufacturers of diameter tape measures.

  1. Lufkin® has a world-wide reputation for making high quality tape measures. They used to make them in the USA, but they have shifted the production facilities to Mexico. Some of the tapes are made out of a cast case, which is highly polished and chrome plated, like the w906pd. Others, like the w606pd have a stamped case, which is shiny and chrome plated.  A third type of case is black plastic, like the asw616pd. However, the tape blade inside is the same in all 3 types of cases. It is capable of measuring diameters up to 23 inches.
  2. Pi-Cobra is a brand name for diameter tapes made with

    Pi-Cobra Diameter Tape, Metric Pi-Cobra Diameter Tape, Metric

    a cast case which is chrome plated. It can hold a longer tape blade, capable of measuring diameters up to 38 inches. The case is very durable. These are manufactured in China.

  3. 24inch-od-tape

    Various other Chinese manufacturers make versatile OD tapes like the 416-04-024-P. The back side of the tape measures diameter up to 24″ in 100ths of an inch or 610 mm. The case is plastic, and has a key ring attached to it.

  4. The UT-56675 is made in the USA. It is capable of
    diameter-tapes-com UT-56675

    measuring pipes up to 45 inches in diameter. This is a belt tape, not a pocket tape. The calibrations are in tenths of an inch diameter.