Dec. 21, 2001

ASTM changes name
to ASTM International

Possibly to reflect its multinational membership, which boasts 30,000 technical workers from more than 100 countries, voluntary standards development organization ASTM, West Conshohocken, Pa., has changed its name to ASTM International. Along with the name change, the organization has changed its logo and added the tag line “Standards Worldwide."

“ASTM standards play a vital role in international trade,” said Charles Ludolph, former deputy assistant secretary for Europe in the U.S. Department of Commerce. “As a result, ASTM facilitates the development of standards that can be used on a worldwide basis and play a vital role in aiding global trade.”



Dec. 21, 2001

BICSI names new executive director

The BICSI Board of Directors recently appointed Albert (Al) Feaster, RCDD, to the position of Executive Director of BICSI, the international telecommunications association based in Tampa, Fla.

On February 1, Feaster will replace Jay Warmke, BICSI's Executive Director since 1992, who submitted his resignation in November and plans to relocate to Europe with his family.

"Jay has served BICSI and the industry well with his clear vision of harmonizing standards and practices," said BICSI Board President Richard Powell, RCDD. "Al Feaster has that same strong vision and is uniquely qualified to lead BICSI in the years ahead. When we reviewed his project management and leadership skills, plus his knowledge of industry trends, regulations, and standards, it was a perfect fit."

In his more than 20 years in the telecommunications industry, Feaster has managed new product developments, written training programs, participated in national and international standards development, and been a guiding force for organizational change. He will apply those skills to manage a not-for-profit professional association experiencing an international membership growth of 20% annually and to the challenges of providing BICSI training, technical manuals, and credential exams to this diverse population.

"I've always enjoyed challenges and new development," said Feaster. "After years of involvement with BICSI, I look forward to expanding our educational programs to the telecommunications industry worldwide, and to segments of the construction industry as well."

Feaster is currently Program Manager, Broadband Infrastructure and Access Group, at ADC Telecommunications, Inc. He has served as Vice President, Standards and Training, for Ortronics, Inc.; Director of Engineering for KRONE, Inc.; Vice President, Design and Planning at CommLink, Inc.; and Manager, Home Office Services, for Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company. His affiliations include the Construction Specifications Institute, TIA/EIA Committees, BICSI Standards Committee, and BICSI Board Director for Region 3, a position that he will resign at the next scheduled board meeting.

Feaster and his wife, Susan, will relocate to Tampa from Minneapolis.



Dec. 19, 2001

Carling Technologies enhances Web site

Carling Technologies, Inc., a manufacturer of switches and circuit protection equipment based in Plainville, Conn., recently launched an interactive Web site at www.carlingtech.com that features a product selector guide and online product configurator.

This major enhancement assists users in selecting the proper switch or breaker for their application needs. Users can start the selection process by selecting from a list of features. Products that fit their needs are further detailed, and can be compared, before selecting a suggested catalog number or going to the Configurit portion of the site, to "build" their own valid catalog number.

Configurit can be reached through the Product Selector, or direct from the home page, and allows the user to configure a valid catalog number. After selecting a suggested catalog number through the product selector, or configuring a catalog number through Configurit, the user can send an RFQ or sample request to Carling, via the Carling on-line request system, on the Web site.



Dec. 19, 2001

NECA and BICSI unveil new telecommunications standard

Recently published by the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), Bethesda, Md., and BICSI, Tampa, Fla., the new ANSI/NECA/BICSI 568-2001, Installing Commercial Building Telecommunications Cabling, is the first standard to address the importance of proper installation of telecommunications premises systems, including cabling and the associated pathways and spaces. The standard covers five major components: support systems, pulling cable, firestopping, cable terminations, and installation verification. Tables and figures include conduit bend radius, separation distances, suspended cable tray, fire seal of drywall, wiring schemes, and more.

In 1998, NECA asked BICSI to jointly undertake the development of a telecommunications installation standard. Developed by members of the BICSI/NECA joint committee, this standard is unique in that it is based on BICSI's “Telecommunications Cabling Installation Manual,” an 800-page guide of specific tasks for cabling installers.

"This document not only covers the installation and safety requirements for telecommunications cabling, it focuses on criteria that aid in delivering performance levels expected by end-users," said Jay Warmke, BICSI executive director. "It will be an extremely valuable tool for the construction industry, including architects and engineers, and especially the installers of the telecommunications cabling."

You can purchase the standard for $25 by calling NECA at (301) 215-4504 or visiting www.necanet.org.



Dec. 17, 2001

RealEnergy keeps tabs on its DG sites with Power Measurement software

RealEnergy, Los Angeles, has installed Power Measurement’s Ion Web-based, real-time energy meters at various industrial facilities throughout Southern California to monitor its distributed generation (DG) assets, with plans to install more across the United States next year.

Through the Internet, Ion meters upload electricity usage and fuel feed data directly from generator meters to the provider. RealEnergy is planning to use Ion at its Los Angeles headquarters for nationwide data collection, cost analysis, reporting, and billing. The first projects in Southern California include solar sites in Fountain Valley, CA, and Carlsbad, CA.

The company expects to build 20 DG sites in the coming months.



Dec. 17, 2001

IEEE approves 10GbE standard

The 10 Gigabit Ethernet Alliance (10GEA) is one step closer to ratification of the standard for the adoption of 10GbE, as the IEEE P802.3ae task force has approved the standard’s current draft and achieved “sponsor ballot” status. With IEEE’s approval, the 10GbE standard effort is on track for ratification in the first half of 2002.

“Essentially, all the technical work related to the formation of the standard is complete,” said Brad Booth, editor-in-chief of the IEEE P802.3ae task force. “I am proud to say we remain on schedule for completion of the standard in the first half of the year.”



Dec. 14, 2001

AEP to conduct first U.S. demonstration of sodium sulfur battery from Japan

American Electric Power (AEP), Columbus, Ohio, along with partners AEP EmTech, LLC (an AEP subsidiary), Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), and NGK Insulators, Ltd. (NGK), will conduct the first U.S. demonstration to test the combined power quality and peak-shaving capabilities of the sodium sulfur (NAS) battery, an advanced electrical energy storage technology that promises improvements over conventional batteries. According to AEP, these advantages include higher efficiency, longer life cycle, higher energy density, reduced space requirements, and reduced maintenance costs. After finalizing the agreement in early December, the partnership expects the project to be in service by mid-2002 at an AEP office in suburban Columbus.

TEPCO and NGK have successfully developed, tested, and demonstrated the NAS battery in Japan for a broad range of applications. As a result, TEPCO will offer commercial NAS battery systems to their commercial and industrial customers, beginning in April 2002. Accordingly, NGK has committed to expand to a commercial-scale NAS battery production facility in Japan, with start-up projected for April 2003. The U.S. market for such applications of NAS battery systems should reach $250 to $300 million per year, based on a market study funded by AEP EmTech.

Officials of AEP EmTech and NGK signed a contract for NGK to supply two NAS battery modules that will provide up to 500kW of power quality protection for up to 5 min plus 100kW of peak-shaving capacity for up to 7 hr per day during peak power demand periods. AEP is also finalizing a separate contract with ABB, Inc., for the power electronics package that will integrate the DC battery installation with the AEP office building’s AC electrical system.

The AEP installation has been optimized to provide a high rating of power quality protection for modern office buildings’ sensitive electronic operations plus supply electrical load during peak load periods.

“With an NAS battery installation cited to serve a local peak load, you get a ‘distributed resource’ to replace some of the peak electricity from a central station generating plant and distribution system. By storing off-peak energy at night, this improves utilization of the utility’s generation and transmission and distribution assets and yields cost-effective premium power to the utility’s customers,” said Tom Shockley, AEP vice chairman and chief operating officer. “Such a distributed resource, we believe, has the potential for broad markets in the U.S. and other countries.”

AEP tested a 12.5kW NAS battery from February through November this year. “We put this battery through its paces at our Dolan Technology Center in Groveport, Ohio,” said John Harper, president of AEP EmTech. “We tested its ability to be discharged and recharged repeatedly, its ability to supply electrical load for over seven hours on peak, and its ability to supply uninterrupted high power during short-term power outages. The battery performed quite well.”



Dec. 14, 2001

2002 marks 140th anniversary
of Greenlee Textron

When Robert and Ralph Greenlee formed Greenlee Brothers and Company in 1862 and later expanded their barrel-making business into other manufacturing venues, the company we know today as Greenlee was born. Beginning Jan. 1, 2002, Greenlee, Rockford, Ill., will celebrate its 140th anniversary with a year-long celebration, including several new initiatives and products for the distributor and end-user that will be introduced in conjunction with the anniversary.

“We are planning a year’s worth of events with monthly activities and a grand celebration in mid-August of 2002,” said Craig Gleason, president of Greenlee Management Advisory Team. “We look forward to a fun and productive 140th anniversary year.”

For more information, visit www.textron.com.



Dec. 12, 2001

Emerson to Sell Chromalox Industrial Heating Division to JP Morgan Partners

by Dale Funk, Chief Editor, Electrical Marketing

As reported in the December 7 edition of Electrical Marketing, Emerson Electric Co. said it would sell its Chromalox industrial heating business to J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.’s private equity group, JPMorgan Partners, for $165 million. St. Louis-based Emerson said it expects the deal to close in December.

“We are continuing our strategy of repositioning Emerson into faster-growth areas to deliver enhanced shareholder value,” said David N. Farr, chief executive officer. “While Chromalox is an outstanding company, it no longer is a strategic fit with Emerson’s overall direction. The business and organization should have greater growth opportunities under new ownership.”

Chromalox, with annual sales of approximately $150 million, designs and manufactures industrial electric heating and control products, and operates multiple manufacturing, engineering, warehousing, and sales locations throughout North America and Europe.

“With its unique competitive position and its exceptional management team, we believe Chromalox is ideally positioned for strong future growth and profitability,” said Christopher Behrens, general partner of JPMorgan Partners. “We are pleased to have the opportunity to purchase one of the world’s leading suppliers of industrial heating solutions and are committed to working with management to increase the value of the company,” Behrens said.

JPMorgan Partners (JPMP), formerly Chase Capital Partners, is a global partnership with more than $25 billion under management. It is a provider of private equity and has closed over 1,800 individual transactions since its inception in 1984. JPMorgan Partners’ primary limited partner is J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., one of the largest financial institutions in the United States.

Emerson’s sales in fiscal 2001 were $15.5 billion.



Dec. 12, 2001

NEMA releases standard on grounding rod electrodes

In an attempt to establish a national standard to improve product quality as well as dimensional and physical characteristics for users of galvanized ground rods, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), Rosslyn, Va., recently released ANSI/NEMA GR 1-2001, Grounding Rod Electrodes and Ground Rod Electrode Couplings.

The ANSI-approved standard, which replaces NEMA GR 1-1997, provides information concerning the construction, testing, performance, and manufacture of ground rod electrodes and ground rod electrode couplings. It includes information about materials, construction, and performance of copper bonded, hot-dip galvanized ground rod electrodes.

The standard may be purchased at www.global.ihs.com.



Dec. 10, 2001

CES attendees to receive crash-course on home networking

Attendees of the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), to be held Jan. 8 - Jan. 11, 2002, in Las Vegas, will have the option to take part in a half-day workshop presented by the Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA) and Parks Associates addressing real-world data and analysis on home networking, the residential gateway and bundled services, and home and building controls.

The workshop will provide an assessment of toady’s residential network technologies. Parks Associates president Tricia Parks and vice president of research Kurt Scherf will discuss market forecasts for home networking, consumer research on service bundling, and an analysis of the light commercial space for controls and services, among other topics. CABA president Ronald Zimmer will provide closing remarks.

CABA and Parks Associates are co-hosts of Connections 2002, an international showcase for home networks and gateways, to be held May 14 – May 16, 2002, in Dallas.

For more information on CES, visit www.cesweb.org.



Dec. 10, 2001

CERA to provide real-time distributed generation data online

Utilities and manufacturers interested in pursuing distributed generation technology now have the option to monitor three test-phase microturbine generators through the Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) Web site using a program developed by Connected Energy Corp. that sends generation data to a secure Internet address in real time.

Using Connected Energy’s Central Operating Management System (COMSYS), which enables remote control over equipment in the field and asset management and maintenance capabilities, CERA clients can create custom reports on the three generators that:

  • Analyze electricity production, efficiency, heat production, and fuel quality.

  • Compare operating results to manufacturers’ specifications.

  • Track the effects of temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure on performance.

  • Evaluate power quality delivered from the individual generators.

The program is available through CERA’s Web site at www.cera.com.



Dec. 7, 2001

ASA and Constructware form
educational partnership

Hoping to raise awareness for the benefits of technology for the specialty and trade contractor community, Constructware, Alpharetta, Ga., and the American Subcontractors Association, Inc. (ASA), Alexandria, Va., recently signed an agreement to co-produce educational seminars for ASA members at the chapter and national levels.

“This agreement is in keeping with our mission to provide strategic services to our membership,” says Colette Nelson, executive vice president of ASA. “Information technology in general, and project management and risk management software tools specifically, are becoming such key factors in the industry that we felt it was time to do something like this.”

Scott Unger, president and CEO of Constructware, says his company is excited to work with ASA to help explain technology choices to specialty contractors. “While there are many tech savvy subcontractors, the majority of firms have not had an opportunity to understand what’s in it for them," says Unger. “We’re going to make ourselves available to the chapters and national ASA so that interested firms can learn more about technology — within the context of their ASA membership.”

The changed economic situation and insurance climate, especially since Sept. 11, make technology education particularly timely for subcontractors, says Nelson. A sharp contraction in the availability of insurance and bonding is spreading across the industry, she says, and subcontractors will need to take proactive steps to maintain their bonding and insurance lines.

Most insurers look favorably on firms that implement project management and related software because there is growing evidence that these tools improve productivity and significantly reduce project risk.

“We believe that 2002 will be an important transition point in terms of technology adoption for subcontractors,” says Jeff Burmeister, subcontractor product manager for Constructware. “Markets will be tighter and general contractors will be more selective. Subcontractors that raise the bar and tap the benefits of technology will be in a much better position to control their own destiny.”

Constructware’s flagship product, Constructware, is a scalable, secure, Web-based project management solution that facilitates communication and collaboration among construction companies, owners, designers, and subcontractors. The firm’s clients include 21% of the top contractors in the United States as well as private sector owners, government entities, architects, engineers, subcontractors, construction management firms, and program management firms. Today, Constructware is used by almost 20,000 building professionals and has logged nearly two million user sessions.

For more information, visit www.constructware.com.



Dec. 7, 2001

Harley lovers rejoice:
Fluke to give away 2002 Hog

If you’re an electrician with a tendency toward Hell’s Angels behavior, Fluke, Everett, Wash., has a deal for you. Now through March 31, 2002, the company is offering a chance to win a Harley-Davidson 2002 Softtail Deuce to anyone who “test drives” one of its six test instruments at a local distributor.

Eligible Fluke products include the 110 and 170 Series digital multimeters, 330 Series clamp meters, 190 Series ScopeMeter, 725 multifunction process calibrator, and the i410/i1010 clamp accessory.

Virtual demonstrations are available at www.fluke.com/freeharley.



Dec. 5, 2001

Appleton makes additions to
technical resources on the Web

Appleton Electric, Skokie, Ill., has expanded the technical resources section of its Web site (www.appletonelec.com) to supplement the company’s CalcMaster program and information on epoxy powder coats and UL-classified products.

The following links have been added to the site:

  • Hazardous Location Basics - an article designed to brief customers on the fine points of hazardous location classifications and requirements.

  • IEC/NEC Classification Comparisons – an explanation of the international “zone” classification.

  • Group B Products – a primer on products specified for Group B atmospheres.

  • Fighting Corrosion in Electrical Products – a discussion of common types of corrosion, corrosive environments, and ways to prevent them.

  • UL Marks: What Do They Mean? – definitions of UL’s most common marks.





Dec. 5, 2001

IBEW Local outfits new headquarters
with solar power

IBEW Local 332 recently installed a photovoltaic (PV) solar power system as part of its new headquarters in San Jose, Calif., allowing it to generate 70% to 80% of the building’s total electrical needs.

Capable of generating 55kW, the PV array has cut the facility’s utility bill in half since its installation. In addition, the system allows the local to send power back to the utility grid on the weekends when the building is vacant, which is credited to the IBEW’s account.

Jay James, project coordinator and IBEW Local 332 executive board member, believes IBEW is positioning itself to cope with energy generation requirements in the future with the installation of the PV system.

“The solar power industry is growing 40% per year annually worldwide,” says James. “Many buildings in the 21st Century will be constructed to produce at least some, and eventually all, of their own energy. The IBEW in Silicon Valley will be fully prepared to assume a leadership role in solar technology.”

The installation, which is the largest solar-powered facility west of the Mississippi River, has been designated an official Green Building model by the City of San Jose.

IBEW Local 332 spent $400,000 on the installation of the system, 40% of which will be rebated by the State of California. The state rebates $4.50 per watt up to 50% of the total cost of an installation.



Dec. 5, 2001

Cooper Bussmann announces
free online NEC training

Cooper Bussmann, St. Louis, recently announced it will offer new free educational and training presentations for electrical inspectors, contractors, engineers, electricians, trainers, and other interested parties.

Available at www.bussmann.com/services/training/, the first two presentations cover new 2002 NEC requirements for Secs. 110.16 and 240.85. The new Sec. 110.16 is intended to reduce the occurrence of serious injury or death due to arcing faults involving people who work on electrical equipment. This regulation includes switchboards, panelboards, industrial control panels, and motor control centers in other than dwelling units, which are likely to require examination, adjustment, servicing, or maintenance while energized. Sec. 240.85 has two new additions relating to overcurrent device applications. These changes relate to slash voltage ratings and single-pole interrupting capabilities.

You can view narrated presentations 24 hours a day as well as download non-narrated text or PowerPoint versions. Cooper Bussmann plans to add more presentations to the site in the future, so stay tuned.

For more information, visit www.bussmann.com/services/training/ or call (636) 527-1270.



Dec. 3, 2001

Housing sales improve in Sept., but sagging fourth quarter expected

Despite fears the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks would further weaken the housing market, October new home sales improved 0.2% to 880,000 over September’s number of 878,000.

Bruce Smith, president of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) says the drastic drop in 30-year mortgage interest rates to 6.5% has been a catalyst in the improvement.

“Consumers responded to these very favorable mortgage rates, despite the overall weakness in the economy and the continued economic fallout generated by the events of Sept. 11,” Smith says.

However, Smith also warns that other factors, such as waning consumer confidence and an increasing unemployment rate, could spell a slight overall downturn in the housing market for the fourth quarter.

“We expect to see a modest housing slowdown going into the beginning of next year, but when you compare this to past economic cycles, this is quite mild,” he says.



Dec. 3, 2001

EPA study shows occupancy sensors reduce energy waste, demand

Occupancy sensors can reduce energy waste by as much as 68% and increasing energy savings by as much as 60%, according to a new study conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The study, entitled “Demand Reduction and Energy Savings Using Occupancy Sensors,” monitored 158 rooms at 60 buildings for occupancy and lighting status over a 14-day period. Researchers evaluated occupancy patterns, calculated energy savings, and estimated the demand reduction potential using simulated occupancy sensor time delays of 5, 10, 15, and 20 min. The 5-min. time delay showed the best results with a reduction in energy waste of 68% and an increase of energy savings of 60% when used in a bathroom. Numbers for classrooms (63% energy waste reduction and 58% energy savings increase) and conference rooms (57% energy waste reduction and 50% energy savings increase) were similarly promising.

The study is available through the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) at www.nema.org/energy/demandreduction.pdf.