June 28, 2002

Excellence Alliance acquires National Telecom Alliance

Excellence Alliance, Inc., Cincinnati, a membership organization that provides independent contractors with comprehensive business management tools and a network of industry resources, recently acquired the National Telecom Alliance (NTA)—the country’s first alliance of privately held telecommunications and electrical contractors.

With more than 250 member locations in its nationwide network of residential and commercial/mechanical contractors, Excellence Alliance announced late last year that it would establish new alliance territories for plumbing, electrical, and refrigeration contractors and created the Contractors Advisory Board to service these areas. The integration of NTA and its members into EAI will serve as the foundation for the new EAI electrical and telecom alliance.



June 28, 2002

GE Energy Rentals, Hertz Equipment Rental join forces

Forming one of the largest alliances of its type in the rental industry in recent years, GE Energy Rentals and Hertz Equipment Rental Corp. are teaming up to provide North American customers with a single source for renting equipment.

Under a new nonexclusive agreement, GE Energy Rentals’ power and climate control equipment is now available at several Hertz facilities that specialize in construction and industrial equipment and vehicle rentals. Customers also will be able to place orders at any Hertz location in the United States to rent GE equipment, including generators, heating and cooling system, and light towers.



June 26, 2002

Department of Energy invests in the future of wind power

The Department of Energy (DOE) has made its most recent investment in reusable power supplies to the tune of $100,000, this time awarding a grant to Salt Lake City-based Pyramatrix to develop lightweight, low-cost wind turbines. The DOE is interested in the company’s structural technology that will make it possible to build towers more than 600 ft tall with a material 91% lighter than steel.

The larger units can reduce total tower costs by 53% as compared to a steel tower of the same size and capacity, according to a company press release.

The company plans to use the grant to begin work now on turbines with a 1.5MW capacity, with the possibility of 5MW capacity units in the future.



June 26, 2002

Home Shopping Network rings up Krone cabling system

The Home Shopping Network has chosen the Krone TrueNet Structured Cabling System for part of a 3-yr upgrade to its campus computer network in St. Petersburg, Fla. The network is moving from Cat. 3 cabling to both Cat. 5e and Cat. 6 systems.

In addition to the TrueNet 5e and 6T structured cabling systems, the company is slated to provide fiber optic cabling and connectivity components, as well as building entrance protection between buildings to support the campus’ network, which includes 11 buildings that house 1.4 million sq ft of office, production studio, and warehouse space.



June 24, 2002

Trade Service sues Material Express.com and Vision Infosoft

Trade Service Corporation has accused Material Express.com and Vision Infosoft of misappropriating the layout and arrangement of the company’s Electrical Price File Maintenance Service (PFMS) and copying various data elements from the PFMS and TRA-SER products, all of which are protected under U.S. copyright laws. Trade Service filed suit against the companies on June 14.

The San Diego-based company alleges that Material Express.com and Vision Infosoft have used the protected elements from service programs and incorporated them into the ApeX electronic price updating service offered by Material Express.com and the EPIC electronic pricing and catalog information service offered by Vision Infosoft.

Tony Dubreville, Trade Service senior vice president and general manager, says his company will “continue to take all of the steps necessary to protect [its] assets.”



June 24, 2002

EPRI PEAC opens DG test facility in Knoxville

In an effort to provide a controlled environment for unbiased assessments of new technologies, EPRI PEAC, a division of the Electric Power Research Institute, recently opened the doors of its new Power Quality and Distributed Resources Test Center in Knoxville, Tenn. Dedication of the center was held on June 17 in conjunction with the dedication of two nearby energy technology facilities at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The design of the new facility with facilitate the testing of complete distributed generation, energy storage, and end-use systems, according to an EPRI press release.

“The evolution of a deregulated energy market has brought a surge of interest in distributed resources for use in power generation, energy storage, and power quality applications,” says Hank Courtright, vice president of EPRI. “Before these technologies enter into service, they must be evaluated for the utility industry and for the electricity consumers who will be using this equipment in their homes and businesses.”



June 21, 2002

T&B hands out 2002 Signature Awards


Thomas & Betts Corp., Memphis, Tenn., has announced the winners of the 2001 Signature Award, which it presents to electrical apprentices/students, electricians, and electrical companies for outstanding performance in the electrical field. This year’s winners are:

  • Mark Gensamer, Veno Electric Inc., North Conway, N.H., Student/Apprentice of the Year

  • Dan Talbot, Fischbach & Moore, New Providence, N.J., Electrical Professional of the Year

  • Electrical Design & Motor Control, Electrical Company of the Year

Gensamer, who is a second-year apprentice, won student/apprentice honors for exhibiting exceptional dedication to the electrical field at an early age. Talbot took T&B’s Signature Electrician of the Year award for organizing and managing a system that tracks standardized material pricing for all Fischbach & Moore locations, and eliminates much of the time the company had to spend on cost estimates. Electrical Design & Motor Control won the Company of the Year Award for treating its employees as its biggest assets and creating a company culture that maintains a spirit of creativity and cooperation.

The winners were presented with their Signature Awards at the T&B Distributor Appreciation Dinner at the recent National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) Conference in Chicago.



June 21, 2002

GE Industrial Systems acquires Euro-Diesel

GE Industrial Systems, Plainville, Conn., recently expanded its European presence when it signed a definitive agreement with the Seghers Group to purchase UPS manufacturer Euro-Diesel. Expected to close in the third quarter of 2002 and subject to regulatory approval, the business will become part of GE Digital Energy. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Included in the deal are the rights to Euro-Diesel’s No-Break KS rotary UPS product family, which includes units ranging from 100kVA to 2,000kVA.

The Liege, Belgium-based company engineers, manufactures, and installs rotary UPS systems and other power quality equipment for applications like computer networks, financial institutions, radar installations, and hospitals.



June 19, 2002

Graybar to distribute Corning fiber optic cable

Seizing on an opportunity to expand its reach in the growing market for the installation of fiber optics for Internet and data communications in commercial buildings and industrial facilities, Graybar, St. Louis, has signed an agreement to distribute Corning Cable Systems’ LANscape fiber optic cabling packages. Communications Industry Researchers Inc. predicts the number of fiber-connected buildings in the United States alone will more than double from 21,000 in 2001 to more than 43,000 in 2005.

Graybar is banking on the continued success of these systems, which include vertical or backbone connections from floor to floor, campus connections from building to building, and horizontal connections to desktop devices. Such fiber can also be used to create virtual private networks or to converge voice and data onto one network using voice over Internet protocol technology.

The distributor has begun to stock the fiber optic cable in its regional zone warehouses throughout the United States.



June 19, 2002

More contractors are going online, survey says

The Internet is becoming a common business tool for contractors in the United States, according to a new survey conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America. Almost half of the 15,000 contractors polled use the Internet, and 63% use online plan distribution.

Proving that the Web is for more than just the distribution and dissemination of information, the survey also revealed that 52% of respondents collaborate on projects with other contractors via the Internet.

The full results of the survey are available at www.agc.org/technology.



June 17, 2002

NECA releases guide to codes, enforcement, and licensing

NECA recently made available its Guide to State Electrical Codes, Enforcement and Licensing (2002), a reference for contractors, manufacturers, and others who operate in multiple jurisdictions around the country. As its name implies, the guide summarizes information about electrical codes, enforcement and inspection, and contractor and electrician licensing in every state plus the District of Columbia.

Among the information included is whether a state adopts the NEC for regulatory use, whether inspections and Code enforcement are handled on a statewide basis, and applicable fees for licensing.

The guide is free for download in .pdf form from www.neca-neis.org.



June 17, 2002

GELcore, GE develop alternative technology for white LEDs

The search for the Holy Grail of the LED industry has taken another step forward. GELcore, Valley View, Ohio, and GE Global Research, Niskayuna, N.Y., recently announced they have developed a phosphor that can be combined with visible LED chips to produce white light LEDs. The patent-pending phosphor will serve as an alternative to YAG-based materials.

According to a GELcore press release, the phosphor can be combined with LED chips with emission between 430 nm and 490 nm to create the white light. The company plans on using the technology for end use applications like backlights for LCDs in cell phones and PDAs and automotive interior lighting.

The company plans to make the technology available for functional use later this year.



June 14, 2002

Fluke announces winner of “Take a Test Drive” Sweepstakes

Palmer Thornton, vice president of Sawdy Electric, Palmetto, Fla., has a new Harley Davidson, thanks to Fluke Corp.’s “Take a Test Drive” Sweepstakes.

One of more than 170,000 customers that entered the contest, which ran from September through March, Thornton won the bike in a drawing after “test driving” eligible Fluke products through his local distributor, Rexel Consolidated, Bradenton, Fla.

“I’ve owned a Fluke DMM in the past, and my wife bought me a Fluke clamp meter for Christmas, so I decided to fill out the contest entry form at Rexel,” said Thornton. “I never expected to win. I send in for things all the time, but I’ve never won anything. I just went kind of numb when I heard.”



June 14, 2002

FCI redesigns Web site

FCI, Manchester, N.H., recently enhanced its Web site, www.fciconnect.com, integrating the company’s electrical and electronics divisions online. By uniting these divisions into one combined search function, users can now search the site by product name, part number, industry standard, or application. In addition to the online catalog, the redesigned site features corporate information, the latest product launches and news, as well as career opportunities.



June 12, 2002

Lighting Education Institute to offer several course delivery methods

With a stated mission to “provide direct-to-the professional/industry lighting education programs on a national basis,” former Penn St. professor Dr. Craig A. Bernecker recently founded the Lighting Education Institute (LEI) in Philadelphia. The institution is intended for design professionals, manufacturers, and building owners.

LEI’s programs will include both courses for individuals and tailored programs for companies available in a variety of delivery modes including workshops and seminars at company locations, interactive video conferencing, geographically based seminars and Internet learning activities. The courses will cover topics like emergency lighting, lighting field measurements, and lighting maintenance.

Most of the courses will last one day and focus on one topic, and students will be awarded CEUs and certificates for successful completion.

Bernecker says he’s excited about the creation of LEI. “We are committed to filling the significant gap that exists in the lighting industry between academic programs and on-the-job training, addressing both fundamental and cutting-edge lighting topics,” he says.

For more information, email LEI at gbernecker@lightingeducation.com.



June 12, 2002

Gooooaaaaaalllllllll!
Echelon powers World Cup in Korea


Tens of thousands of rabid soccer fans will visit the new Pusan Asiad Main Stadium in Pusan, Korea for the 2002 World Cup and cheer on every goal, oblivious to the new interoperable building automation system powering and controlling the stadium. Echelon’s LonWorks power and lighting system has been installed to control the stadium’s network for power and lighting management.

The power and lighting system consists of one or more of the company’s LonPoint DIO-10 input/output modules, which monitor current flow and control the voltage inputs; a LonPoint SCH-10 scheduler, which works like a timer; a LonPoint DL-10 data logger that provides a history of on/off cycles and power usage; Echelon SLTA serial adapter for dialup connectivity; and an i.Lon 1000 for Internet-based management functions.

Samsung Heavy Industries, which won the contract for construction of the stadium, chose the system after first trying a gateway-based system blueprint for the controls of the building. The decision to go with Echelon’s platform will allow the stadium’s 665 nodes to be controlled and monitored via the Internet. In addition, the interoperability of the system will allow users to make future upgrades with products and services from any vendor.



June 10, 2002

Juno Lighting launches new Web site

Juno Lighting Inc., Des Plaines, Ill., responded to increased informational demand from designers, engineers, and contractors by unveiling its new Web site (www.junolighting.com) at Lightfair International last week. The new site provides access to the company’s entire catalog, including photos, text descriptions, projects, IES files, photometric data, and specification sheets. Web site visitors can now access information about the company’s products using a graphic icon- and photo-based architecture that makes it possible to search for information by product or application need. “We found that our constituents want fast, easy, intuitive access to our catalog and various key information items,” says Scott Roos, vice president, product management and development for Juno. “We learned that they search for this information in different ways, and tailored our Web site’s architecture to accommodate these approaches.”



June 10, 2002

Advance Transformer expands online course selection

Advance Transformer Co., Rosemont, Ill., has added four new courses to its Advance University interactive ballast training site. The new courses complete Level 1 of the program, which represents “Ballast Basics.”

Upon successful completion of the 15 courses and quizzes, students will have the ability to print out a personalized certificate documenting their completion of Level 1 courses.

According to a company press release, new courses are currently in development and will be added to the site on an ongoing basis in the coming months. Advance University can be accessed via www.advancetransformer.com.



June 7, 2002

Siemens to give away a truck in Rewards promotion

Need a truck? Siemens, Alpharetta, Ga., is presenting a 2002 Dodge Durango as the grand prize in its Drive to Rewards promotion aimed at increasing distributors’ stocked-products business.

Customers receive a game card with every qualifying product order they purchase, and counter personnel can earn Siemens Rewards points for every card handed out. The points are redeemable online for prizes, including electronics, sporting goods, and travel vouchers. They will also be entered into a monthly drawing.

The promotion runs through Sept. 15. For more information, visit www.sea.siemens.com.



June 5, 2002

NECA publishes new panelboard standard

The National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), Bethesda, Md., recently added another publication to its growing series of National Electrical Installation Standards (NEIS). Approved as an American National Standard by ANSI, NECA 407-2002, Recommended Practice for Installing and Maintaining Panelboards, describes the installation procedures for panelboards rated 600VAC or less.

The new standard applies to single panelboards or multi-section panelboards and load centers used for distributing power for commercial, institutional, and industrial loads in non-hazardous locations both indoors and outdoors. It also covers periodic routine maintenance and troubleshooting procedures for panelboards and special procedures used after adverse operating conditions such as a short circuit, ground-fault or immersion in water.

Available for $25 (with NECA-member and quantity discounts), you can purchase the standard by calling 301-215-4504, faxing 301-215-4500, or e-mailing orderdesk@necanet.org. NEIS area also available in PDF format at www.neca-neis.org/catalog.



June 5, 2002

MPS announces new scheduling membership on ProjectTalk.com

Demonstrated this week at the A/E/C Systems show in Anaheim, Calif., Meridian Project Systems (MPS), Folsom, Calif., has released a new scheduling membership for ProjectTalk users. This added feature enables distributed project teams to easily collaborate on project schedules/tasks and efficiently manage resources, budgets and other project data in real time online.

Introduced two years ago as a comprehensive project management application service provider (ASP) that allows users to access project information via the Internet without installed software, ProjectTalk’s new scheduling membership now allows users to manage multiple project schedules in one location.

For more information, visit www.ProjectTalk.com, e-mail info@mps.com, or call (916) 294-2000.



June 3, 2002

Leviton joins D-Tools to make product specification easier

Leviton recently announced it has joined the D-Tools Manufacturer Partner Program in an effort to streamline the process of specifying its products for residential applications. The Little Neck, N.Y.-based manufacturer is the first member company of the program. Systems designers can use the D-Tools System Integrator program to design and lay out wiring and communications schemes via graphic icons and drag-and-drop menus. It also makes it easier for installers to sell upgrade packages in new construction and retrofit situations. For more information, visit www.d-tools.com.