June 30, 2003
ASA-Constructware Relationship will continue through 2004
The American Subcontractors Association (ASA) recently announced that Alpharetta, Ga.-based Constructware has extended its national sponsorship of the association through June 2004. Constructware is a comprehensive software application designed for the workflows and business processes of specialty contractors.
“The relationship helps ASA educate members about new technology solutions available to subcontractors,” says ASA Executive Vice President E. Colette Nelson. “Through its educational programs and project promotions, Constructware continues to show subcontractors contemporary solutions to problems, such as how to effectively manage project documentation.”
June 30, 2003
Electrical students go for the gold in SkillsUSA Championships
The nation's best and brightest electrical students showed off their wiring skills June 26 at the 39th annual SkillsUSA championships in Kansas City, Mo. Students competed against the clock and each other as they participated in Industrial Motor Controls, Residential Wiring, Telecommunications Cabling, and TeamWorks contests.
To see a list of the medalists, descriptions of the contests, and photos of the students, visit EC&M's online special section on the SkillsUSA Championships.
June 24, 2003
Contractors’ guide to surviving
The National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) has recently issued the Contractor Action Plan for OSHA Inspections. The publication is a practical guide for helping electrical contractors deal with OSHA inspections on their job sites.
“Electrical contractors should be prepared, not surprised, by an OSHA inspection, and so should their employees,” says Dave Potts, NECA’s director of safety and insurance. “Companies can best handle OSHA inspections on their jobs by following pre-set company procedures that protect their rights under the law.”
Contractor Action Plan for OSHA inspections provides the essential information needed to avoid unexpected violations, explains how to actually manage the actual inspection, and describes ways to eliminated or reduce citations and fines.
June 23, 2003
GE acquires Monitoring Automation Systems
GE Industrial Systems, Plainville, Conn., recently announced it has acquired Monitoring Automation Systems, Irvine, Calif., which designs products to support fire, medical, intrusion, and other central station monitoring activities. These products include wireless and GPS communications tools, such as asset tracking, video and control integration products for false alarm reduction, and Web-based services for premise management.
June 23, 2003
BICSI announces 2004 conference schedule
BICSI, Tampa, Fla., has planned three U.S. conferences in 2004 that will feature technologies, trends, products, and services for designers and installers of cabling infrastructure for communications systems.
BICSI 2004 Winter Conference, Jan. 12-15, 2004, Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center, Orlando, Fla.
BICSI 2004 Spring Conference, May 3-6, 2004, Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore.
BICSI 2004 Fall Conference, Aug. 30-Sept. 2, 2004, Washington State Convention and Trade Center, Seattle.
Pre-conference activities include BICSI training, educational seminars, and exams for the Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD) designation and the LAN and OSP Specialties. Additional BICSI design and installation training also takes place after each conference.
For more information, visit www.bicsi.org.
June 20, 2003
FCI-Burndy announces partnership with Predictive Power
FCI-Burndy, Manchester, N.H., recently announced a sales partnership with Predictive Power Services, Somerville, Mass. FCI-Burndy will represent Predictive Power, a provider of automated expert predictive maintenance and monitoring solutions, in the U.S. market.
June 20, 2003
Home builders report optimism, but nonresidential markets stay soft
Builder expectations for future home sales are optimistic as shown in the NAHB’s latest Housing Market Index. The index, based on a monthly survey of home builders, rose 62 in June from 57 in May. Any reading over 50 indicates that more builders rate sales conditions as good than poor.
The latest survey conducted by the 12 Federal Reserve Banks indicates that business conditions remain generally soft. Although reports indicate some signs of increased economic activity in April and May, conditions remained sluggish in most districts.
Economic activity increased or showed signs of improving in the Dallas, Kansas City, New York, and Minneapolis districts. The Philadelphia and Cleveland reports characterized activity as mixed, while other districts generally saw slow, subpar, or subdued economic growth.
June 19, 2003
MGE’s Facility Solutions Alliance adds Power Cabling
MGE UPS Systems’ Facility Solutions Alliance (FSA), Costa Mesa, Calif., recently announced that Power Cabling Corp., Westfield, Pa., has joined the FSA. Power Cabling manufactures UL-Listed power distribution cable assemblies and specializes in custom liquid-tight power cables.
Since its formation in 2001, the FSA continues to receive market acceptance and has posted millions of dollars in partnership product shipments during the fiscal year of 2002.
June 19, 2003
Encorp provides power technology
Encorp, Windsor, Colo., recently signed an agreement with businessmen from Mexico City to provide power technology software and equipment for an $80 million entertainment complex in the capital city. When completed in early 2005, the complex will be among the largest in Latin America to be supported by a combined-heat-and-power plant.
Encorp will provide its Energy Management Center switchgear and controls, valued at $870,000, to the 1.7-million-sq-ft Foro del Azteca complex, which will operate its own 9.2-MW on-site combined-heat-and-power plant completely independent from the local utility.
June 18, 2003
Leviton offers interactive marketing CD
Leviton Manufacturing Company, Little Neck, N.Y., recently introduced the Contractor Connection CD-ROM, an interactive training tool that provides step-by-step instruction on how contractors can best market their businesses. The CD consists of the company’s Contractor Marketing Handbook and the Contractor Marketing Tool Kit, a practical guide with examples, templates, and cost estimates for implementing various strategies and programs.
June 18, 2003
Cooper Power Systems teams up with Waukesha Electric Systems
Waukesha Electric Systems, Waukesha, Wis., and Cooper Power Systems recently announced an exclusive agreement in which the nationwide WES Service organization will provide field retrofill services using Cooper Power Systems’ new Envirotemp FR3 coolant for transformers and substation equipment.
“FR3 can provide significant cost savings and technical benefits when compared with the petroleum-based coolants traditionally used in substation equipment,” says Nancy M. Dickman, president of Waukesha Electric Systems. “Additional benefits include improved fire and environmental safety as well as extending the performance life of transformers.”
June 17, 2003
Fluke announces new power quality brand
Fluke Corp., Everett, Wash., recently announced its intention to combine the product lines, engineering, support, and sales teams of its power quality tools business with that of Reliable Power Meters, the 3-phase power quality company it acquired last year. The new organization will be known as Fluke Power Quality.
The company will continue to market high-end analyzers through manufacturer’s representatives signed on through the RPM acquisition and troubleshooting tools through its industrial and electrical distribution channel.
June 17, 2003
U.S. Military drafts S&C Vista UDS into service
The U.S. Air Force and Army have jointly developed a lightweight electrical power system that can be transported by air to serve provisional bases. The engineering contractor for the new Deployable Power Generation and Distribution System chose S&C Vista Underground Distribution Switchgear, Chicago, for primary switching and secondary distribution. The SF-6 insulated Vista UDS is small and lightweight, making it suitable for airlifting.
All of the units have a 600A continuous current rating and 16kA short-circuit and fault-interrupting capabilities. Each unit includes two load-interrupter switch ways and four fault-interrupter ways. Optional voltage indicators are also included.
June 16, 2003
Home of Electronic Lifestyles makes permanent home in Indianapolis
The Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA), San Diego, recently announced that its Home of Electronic Lifestyles will become a permanent part of the CEDIA Training Center in Indianapolis.
Unveiled at CEDIA Expo ’98, the Home of Electronic Lifestyles has traveled around the country for nearly five years demonstrating the benefits of a fully automated home. The home has been to 20 shows and has been a cross-training tool for professionals in industries like architecture, construction, and home remodeling.
June 16, 2003
Dewalt launches 2003 Million Dollar Challenge
Dewalt, Baltimore, is offering construction workers a chance to win $1 million and a new Chevy Silverado pick-up truck in its Million Dollar Challenge cordless screwdriving contest. From March through August the company is staging more than 500 local qualifying contests across 100 cities throughout the U.S. and Canada.
The challenge is to sink five drywall screws flush into a wooden board as fast as you can using a Dewalt cordless drill. The fastest local winners earn prizes and move on to one of 14 regional events. The top 14 contestants advance to the final tournament in November at the Phoenix International Raceway.
For more information, visit www.dewalt.com.
June 13, 2003
National Fire Alarm Code Handbook provides guidance
The recently released National Fire Alarm Handbook is designed to assist those having difficulty understanding the 2002 National Fire Alarm Code and NFPA 72 requirements. The handbook includes the complete and unabridged 2002 NFPA 72 text, in-depth commentary from industry leaders, graphics and photographs, examples of how to apply provisions, insights into how revisions affect designs and installations, and supplements to enhance knowledge.
For more information, visit www.nfpacatalog.org.
June 13, 2003
ASTM Symposium calls for papers
Papers are invited for a Symposium on recent developments in fire properties and other properties of electrical and optical fiber cables, sponsored by ASTM Committee D09 on electrical and electrical insulating materials. The symposium will be held Oct. 4, 2004 in Washington, D.C. in conjunction with the Oct. 3-8, 2004 standards development meetings of Committee D09.
The objective of the symposium is to address recent technical and scientific advances in the measurement or testing of fire, mechanical, electrical, data transmission, and other properties of electrical and optical fiber cables, which have electrical and electronic insulating materials. It will provide a forum for the exchange of ideas on current research, nationally and internationally.
June 12, 2003
MGE UPS Systems selected as distributor for Ballard Power Systems
MGE UPS Systems, Costa Mesa, Calif., recently announced that Ballard Power Systems has appointed the company as an authorized worldwide distributor and service provider for Ballard Power’s AirGen fuel cell generator. As the authorized distributor, MGE will bring Ballard’s generator to commercial consumer markets requiring backup power solutions and will support the AirGen solution with its network of 900 service specialists in 170 centers worldwide.
June 12, 2003
Massachusetts agency starts $30 million campaign for green power projects
The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, a state agency promoting ‘green power’ electric generation, recently launched a $30 million program aimed at stimulating construction of solar, wind, and other renewable energy projects.
The effort involves creating a market for green power certificates earned by renewable energy generators that sell power into the New England grid. Under state rules, utilities are required to buy 1% of their customers’ power from renewable sources that have been built since 1997. The green power quota is to rise to 4% by 2009 and then 1% annually after that.
June 11, 2003
First Edition Products' DrillSpotter is the 2003 EC&M Product of the Year award
EC&M readers select the First Edition Products DrillSpotter as the 2003 Product of the Year. For more information, visit http://ecmweb.com/microsites/index.asp?srid=11227&magazineid=31&SiteID=13.
June 11, 2003
Harley-Davidson Softail Classic grand prize in Siemens promotion
Siemens 2003 Drive to Rewards incentive program is giving away prizes at distributors around the country. For every $100 of qualifying Siemens stocked electrical distribution products purchased by August 31, 2003, electrical contractors and installers increase their chance of winning the grand prize: a 100th Anniversary Harley-Davidson Softail Classic motorcycle. Other prizes include a trip for two to the February 2004 Daytona 500 race, vacations, Harley-Davidson apparel, and $5 instant cash prizes.
For more information, visit www.sea.siemens.com/reselec.
June 11, 2003
BICSI publishes training schedule through June 2004
BICSI, Tampa, Fla., recently announced its training and examination schedule through June 2004, published in the Educational Resource Catalog (ERC) Update. The schedule consists of nearly 300 courses for designers and installers of communications infrastructures held at more than 50 locations across the county.
A complete copy of the ERC Update is available online as a .pdf file under Training at www.bicsi.org.
June 10, 2003
Drill-spotting tool helps electricians take the guesswork out of drilling
Electricians can easily rupture water pipes, destroy conduit, or damage cabling when drilling blindly through a wall or ceiling.
Now, rather than wasting valuable time and materials making unnecessary repairs, an electrician can use First Edition Products’ DrillSpotter to locate the exact drill exit point, measure the wall thickness, and identify the presence of conduit and pipes with a built-in metal detector.
Because of its practical applications for the electrical industry, EC&M readers named the DrillSpotter the 2003 Product of the Year. “I believe this will save countless hours,” says EC&M reader Michael Urbine of Penta Career Center. “The DrillSpotter has many applications for one of the most time consuming and problematic jobs in our industry.”
A team of German engineers designed and manufactured the product in the late ’90s, and First Edition Products introduced it to the U.S. market in 2000. Contractors in both Europe and the United States are now using the tool to minimize drilling errors and improve efficiency on jobsites.
“If a contractor needs to drill a hole, and it needs to come out in one exact spot on the opposite side of the wall or flooring, this allows them to avoid hitting any type of electrical conduit or rebar,” says Liza Feicht of First Edition Products.
Electricians can quickly identify hidden metal in walls and ceilings by placing the tool’s transmitter directly over the area to be drilled. A continuous tone will indicate the presence of iron beams, metal cables, or pipes. The metal detector has a depth range of 6 in. with steal beams and large metal surfaces; 3 in. with individual steel reinforcing bar, cables, and metal pipe and conduit; and 2 in. with small reinforcing bar or rebar grids spaced a minimum of 4.8 in. apart.
The DrillSpotter is made up of a receiver and a transmitter. The receiver uses a magnetic field and optical and acoustic signals to align precisely with the transmitter. To operate the instrument, the installer must first mark the drill exit point, adhere the transmitter to the wall or ceiling, and turn the transmitter on. The installer then needs to switch on the receiver and place it on the other side of the wall or ceiling. Upon activation, the transmitter sends a magnetic field to the receiver. When the receiver picks up the position signal, the direction arrows light up and the instrument beeps continuously until it’s placed in the correct position. The installer can then mark the drilling spot, read the thickness of the wall or ceiling, and select the proper length of the drill-bit.
Electrical contractors can use the DrillSpotter to locate the exact drill exit point when installing a junction box in a pre-existing wall. The product can save time and money and ensure accuracy in many applications involving drilling, Feicht says.
“Workers used to have to go back and forth between different sides of the walls or ceilings to take measurements,” Feicht says. “Now they can work around cabling as opposed to drilling blindly through walls.”
For more information, visit www.firsteditionproducts.com
June 10, 2003
Crescent Electric and GE Lighting provide energy-efficient lighting program
Sixth grade students in Dubuque, Iowa, recently used a GE energy auditor online tool called GELA to learn that their school could save more than $2,600 per year in energy costs if they replaced existing T12 fluorescent lamps and ballasts with GE F28T8 fluorescent lamps with UltraMax Ballasts.
The program allows students to use their computers to survey the existing lighting in their school. The audit tool then reports three results: how much lighting energy the school is using, are more efficient lamps available, and how much energy the school could save with more efficient lighting.
Crescent Electric Supply, which donated 1,000 of the new GE lamps to complete the project, sponsored the science program, and GE Lighting supplied the UltraMax ballasts. The GELA audit program is available free, online, to teachers and schools across the country.
June 10, 2003
NECA publishes first NEIS covering line construction
NECA, Bethesda, Md., recently published the 21st volume in its series of National Electrical Installation Standards (NEIS). NECA/MACSCB 600-2003, Recommended Practice for Installing and Maintaining Medium-Voltage Cable (ANSI) covers shielded and non-shielded, solid-dielectric, medium-voltage cables rated from 600V to 69,000VAC.
It describes installation procedures for single- and multi-conductor cables installed in conduits, ducts, or direct-buried, in both indoor and outdoor applications. The publication also defines periodic routine maintenance and troubleshooting procedures for medium-voltage cable, and special procedures used after adverse operating conditions such as a short-circuit or ground-fault.
June 10, 2003
Indigo Systems offers IR camera rentals
Indigo Systems, Goleta, Calif., is offering a rental program for several infrared (IR) camera product lines. All cameras, systems, and software offered on a rental basis are available for a one-week minimum rental period or longer. Various camera packages have optional filters, lenses, digital data acquisition, and analysis software available for rent.
For more information on the rental program, please call (805) 964-9797 or visit www.indigosystems.com.
June 10, 2003
Construction employment climbs as overall total stagnates
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that construction employment increased for the third month in a row, with a gain of 26,000 jobs in May. Job losses in the industry totaled 160,000 from March 2001 to February 2003. Since February, construction has gained 83,000 jobs, as strength in residential housing caused growth in specialty trade contractors and construction of buildings.
The three BLS construction subcategories showed a mixture of improvement and decline. Building construction employed 1,622,000, up 42,000 (2.6%), and specialty trade contractors employed 4,259,000, up 53,000 (1.3%), while heavy and civil engineering construction employed 901,000, down 27,000 (2.9%) since May 2002.
The Census report on value of construction put in place also showed mixed results. The traditional classification showed a decline of .3% seasonally adjusted, from March to April, even though April’s level was .7% ahead of April 2002. But a newer classification that uses different seasonal factors showed a .7% increase from March to April and a 1.1% gain from a year ago. Actual year-to-date totals, which are identical for the two systems because they don’t incorporate adjustments, were up .9%. Year-to-date residential construction was up 10%, private nonresidential building and nonbuilding construction was down 13%, and public construction was virtually flat.
June 9, 2003
Texas city adopts NFPA Building Construction and Safety Code
The city of Pasadena, Texas voted to adopt NFPA 5000, Building Construction and Safety Code. NFPA 5000 is the first building code to be developed through a process accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and is a key element of the Comprehensive Consensus Codes, the first full, integrated set of codes and standards developed through ANSI-accredited processes. It meets ISO criteria for its Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule, making Pasadena and all jurisdictions that adopt it eligible for the maximum points available.
ISO evaluates building code and enforcement efforts locally for insurers to assist them in their underwriting and rating of individual properties.
June 9, 2003
Basler Electric and E Squared Power Systems announce alliance
Basler Electric, Highland, Ill., and E Squared Power Systems, Inc., Littleton, Colo., recently announced their strategic alliance to provide complete turnkey power plan excitation retrofits. The two companies have collaborated on more than 200 projects and have designed direct standard retrofit packages for SCT-PPT and Alterrex Voltage Regulator Systems.
June 6, 2003
EPA names Westinghouse Lighting Corp. 2003 Energy Star award winner
The Environmental Protection Agency awarded Westinghouse Lighting Corp., Philadelphia, a 2003 Energy Star Award for informing Americans about reducing greenhouse gas emissions through energy-efficient lighting. The company’s focus is to create awareness nationally, as well as to educate consumers on the benefits of Energy Star lighting products by using in-store promotions, supporting compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) sale events, and providing informative point-of-purchase materials.
The Energy Star award is given to various types of organizations in recognition of their efforts to increase understanding and broad-based demand for energy efficiency in order to reduce pollution, which results in significant cost savings for American families and businesses. These award winners are selected from thousands of organizations that participate in the Energy Star program.
June 6, 2003
Revisions to design standards gain approval
The project to revise Recommended Practice for the Design of Reliable Industrial and Commercial Power Systems (IEEE P493) will update the equipment reliability data in the Gold Book using the Power Reliability Enhancement Program database for industrial and commercial power systems. The revision will reflect current practices for computer environments and such areas as voltage sag analysis based on equipment characteristics. This standard presents the fundamentals of reliability analysis used in planning, designing, and operating reliable industrial and commercial power systems.
June 5, 2003
Study expands commercial U.S. wind power potential
According to a study by Stanford University researchers, about a fourth of the United States experiences winds powerful enough to generate electricity as cheaply as natural gas or coal-fired plants. However, the study, which measured wind speeds at turbines mounted 262 ft above ground, also says “the unexploited electric power potential from winds in the U.S., especially the Southeast and Gulf coasts, appears enormous.”
“There are practical issues to overcome like placing transmission capacity in the right locations and determining what is involved in developing offshore resources from a technical standpoint and at what coast,” says Tom Gray, deputy executive director of the American Wind Energy Association trade group.
The researchers collected and worked with data from the year 2000 at 1,327 surface wind stations and 87 soundings, or profiles of wind speeds at different heights. Wind speeds were fast enough at 24% of the measurement stations to generate electricity at a direct cost equal to a power plant fueled by coal or natural gas.
The study also discovered that North Carolina, Louisiana, and Texas had fast winds at coastal and offshore sites, and overall, 37% of U.S. shoreline and offshore locations packed strong winds. The states of Oklahoma, South Dakota, North Dakota, Kansas, and Nebraska topped the list of states with the most powerful winds.
Wind power accounts for less than 1% of the nation’s energy supply, while coal and natural gas together generate about two thirds of the electricity.
June 5, 2003
Equity Annual Conference announces award winners
Equity Electrical Associates, Inc., East Walpole, Mass., presented various awards at their annual conference, which took place Apr. 10-13 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare Hotel in Chicago.
Vendor awards, which measure overall supplier performance and distributor satisfaction, were divided into five categories and given as follows:
Merchandise Award – Ideal Industries, Milwaukee Tool, NSI, RAB
Product Award – Arlington Industries, Hubbell Electrical Products, Intermatic, RAB
Administration Award – NSI, EGS Electrical, Osram/Sylvania, NSI, Sea Gull Lighting
Delivery Award – Allied Tube, Cooper Wiring Devices, Panduit, Senator Wire
Marketing Award – Arlington Industries, FCI Burndy, Ideal Industries, Intermatic
The recipient of Equity’s Lifetime Achievement Award was Vincent A. Rego, Chairman of the Board, Encore Wire & Cable, McKinney, Texas. The Equity Sales Champion Award went to Tom Gilmore of Gulf States Electrical Sales, Baton Rough, La.
June 4, 2003
Congress passes tax cut beneficial to electrical industry
The House and Senate recently passed President Bush’s Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003, which includes depreciation relief, small business expensing, and other provisions that will relieve tax burdens for construction firms, owners, and employees.
The depreciation relief provision helps members of the electrical industry by allowing all firms buying new equipment before Jan. 1, 2005 to immediately deduct 50% of the cost, an increase from the 30% bonus depreciation enacted last year. The first-year limit for business automobiles has also increased from $4,600 to $7,650.
Small businesses that buy less than $400,000 worth of equipment in 2003 can expense $100,000 of it before using the bonus depreciation amounts. These limits increase from $200,000 and $25,000, respectively, in previous years and will be indexed for inflation in 2004 and 2005.
Another provision that will aide the electrical industry is the change in tax rates for dividends and capital gains. Corporate stockholders can benefit from the reduction in the top rate on both dividends and capital gains to 15% beginning in 2003.
According to industry economists, the legislation will stimulate a demand for construction by returning $210 billion to individuals, businesses, and states over the next 16 months.
Bush’s latest tax cut is now the third largest in U.S. history.
Leviton joins Crestron Electronics coalition
Leviton Manufacturing, Little Neck, N.Y., recently entered into a technology alliance with Crestron Electronics and joined its group of I2P Coalition of Industry Partners. The partnership will focus on joint marketing of the companies’ complementary audio/video and lighting control solutions, beginning with the development of a system interface that allows Crestron’s line of home automation systems to interoperate with Leviton’s Dimensions D3200 series architectural lighting control system.
June 3, 2003
The IESNA 22nd Annual Street and Area Lighting Conference
The Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) will host the 22nd Annual Street and Area Lighting Conference Sept. 29-Oct. 1 in Baltimore, Md. The conference will include the continuing education of street and area lighting personnel from utilities, municipalities, public works, transportation departments, manufacturers, distributors, and consultants with outdoor lighting responsibilities.
For more information about the IESNA conference, visit www.iesna.org.
June 3, 2003
Cooper B-Line offers technical assistance
Technical assistance and other information on cable tray systems is now available via Ask The Experts, a new customer hotline from Cooper B-Line. By calling (800) 851-7415, ext. 366, customers can receive assistance with any technical issues with cable tray projects, including technical advice, product information, project take-offs, and software support.
June 2, 2003
ACEC Institute for Business Management moves ahead
The ACEC recently established the Institute for Business Management, an education program designed to enhance business opportunities for ACEC member firms. The curriculum-based program will offer multiple courses in several business management tracks, including marketing, human resources, information technology, leadership, general management, and project management.
Instruction options will include face-to-face seminars, real-time interactive sessions over the Internet, and self-paced courses available online or via CD-ROM. The Institute is scheduled to become available to members beginning July 1.
June 2, 2003
California to hold the Power Quality Exhibition & Conference
Primedia Business Magazines & Media recently announced that it will present the 14th annual Power Quality Exhibition & Conference Nov. 4-6, 2003 at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, Calif. The exhibition and conference provides engineers, engineering management, executive, and non-engineering management a place to learn about power quality issues, equipment, and technology. It will feature professional advancement courses, technical papers, one-hour seminars, poster sessions, and a free keynote address.
Information on the Power Quality Exhibition & Conference can be found at www.powersystems.com.