Sept. 28, 2001

Toro and Orion Partner on Lighting Project that Saves $80,000

When the Toro Co. decided to retrofit its 300,000-sq-ft Tomah, Wis. facility, energy-efficient lighting topped its list of desired improvements. After extensive testing, the company, which produces commercial golf course equipment such as rotary, greens, and fairway mowers; aeration equipment; and workman vehicles, chose the Illuminator lighting fixtures produced by Orion Lighting and Energy Services. Orion guarantees this move will save Toro approximately $80,000 per year.

“This energy-efficient Orion lighting project fits in well with other environmentally responsible efforts adopted by Toro such as the one-of-a-kind Waste Water Treatment Facility we use to remove zinc and phosphates from our water,” says Scott Vollmer, the environmental/project engineer in Toro’s Commercial Division.

According to Orion, the Illuminator has been specifically designed for use in manufacturing, warehousing, distribution centers, and other commercial buildings. Using a patented reflector system, the Illuminator uses 50% less electricity than the traditional industrial 400W fixtures, while producing more than 50% more light. In this retrofit, the electrical contractor will replace approximately 840 HID light fixtures with the Illuminator.

“The fact that Orion’s lighting will save Toro over $80,000 per year and still have such a positive environmental impact by cutting our electricity consumption by 1.7 million kilowatts was also an important part of our decision,” says Don Yahnke, Toro’s director of operations for Tomah. “Equally important to us were the intangible benefits from Orion’s lighting such as more than 50% better lighting, better worker safety, 50% less on-going maintenance, full spectrum lighting to complete our final quality inspections, and finally, creating more available electricity for the Tomah community.”

For more information, visit orionlighting.com.



Sept. 28, 2001

ABC Applauds Decision To Make Oklahoma a Right-to-Work State

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), Washington, D.C., recently applauded Oklahoma voters for approving a right-to-work referendum Sept. 25. In a reversal of a similar vote 37 years ago, the special referendum this week passed 447,072 (54%) to 378,465 (46%). The vote ensures that workers in Oklahoma will have the right to choose whether or not to join a union, making it the 22nd state to adopt right-to-work legislation.

"This is a true victory for free enterprise. We congratulate our Oklahoma Chapter and its members for waging an outstanding effort to ensure that Oklahoma workers will have the fundamental right to choose whether or not to join a union," said ABC National Chairman Henry Kelly. "This sets a national precedent that will allow and give states the fortitude to proceed with other initiatives to protect free enterprise and open competition."

ABC directed an aggressive campaign to educate ABC members and their employees about the right-to-work initiative, sending out paycheck stuffers, toolbox talks, posters, and emails that employers could distribute to employees. ABC members from across the country also donated more than $235,000, including an in-kind donation from ABC's Free Enterprise Alliance for the production and mailing of three postcards to every builder and contractor in Oklahoma. ABC's Oklahoma Chapter organized several speaking and public opportunities for right-to-work leaders to address the membership, and ABC's national headquarters sent five staff members to the Oklahoma Chapter to meet with ABC member firms and distribute information to senior management and restricted class employees.



Sept. 26, 2001

EPRI Develops New Technology for Monitoring Hydroelectric Generators

Developed as a collaborative effort between EPRI, the New York Power Authority (NYPA), and Iris Power Engineering, HydroTrac, an on-line partial discharge (PD) monitoring system for detecting the onset of equipment failure problems in hydrogenerators, was recently recognized as one of the 100 most technologically significant new products of the year by R&D Magazine. According to EPRI, HydroTrac provides critical data to plant operators performing scheduled preventive maintenance based on equipment conditions and offers a less expensive and labor-intensive approach to PD testing than traditional portable instrumentation by constantly tracing PD activity and identifying areas where typical machine failures can occur.

Most hydrogenerator outages stem from stator winding insulation failure due to age, mechanical malfunction, or stress. The traditional approach to checking hydrogenerator equipment condition is to use portable PDA instrumentation. PDA instruments connect to sensors embedded in the stator winding, and then operators collect data to help assess machine insulation. However, to get accurate PD trend data, you must take many measurements at various times under similar operating conditions—a labor-intensive and expensive process. HydroTrac provides continuous, real-time information on the condition of the generator to help avoid costly in-service machine failures and allow plant personnel to plan corrective action.

"As a major hydroelectric producer, the New York Power Authority is pleased to be at the forefront in developing and demonstrating this innovative technology for plant monitoring," said Shalom Zelingher, NYPA's director of research and technology development. "Our plans are to deploy the HydroTrac at our major hydro facilities, including the St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt and Niagara Power Projects. This technology will help facilitate the planning and implementation of our maintenance activities."

EPRI is seeking members to help demonstrate HydroTrac and share their experiences. This project is open to domestic and international organizations interested in the development of a cost-effective machine-condition monitoring system for hydroelectric units. For information, contact Jan Stein at (650) 855-2390, e-mail jstein@epri.com, or visit www.epri.com/destinations/.

Sept. 26, 2001

GE Lighting Enhances E-Catalog on GELighting.com

GE Lighting, Cleveland, recently introduced several new features to the e-Catalog portion of its Web site, GELighting.com—allowing customers faster and easier access to industry and applications information.

Among many changes, the main highlight of the upgrade is the addition of thousands of Lighting Specification Bulletins (LSBs), containing general descriptions as well as physical classifications. New features of this area include high-resolution images, fixture types, maximum bulb temperature, lamp mortality, and spectral power distribution graphs. Visitors can also view suggested energy-saving and alternative lighting options by accessing the “Right Light Options” tab.

For those interested in comparison shopping, a recently upgraded “Compare” function icon enables users to review several SKUs simultaneously. The function also allows browsers to sort through various GE Lighting products by categories including watts, base, bulb, and volts.

For more information, visit www.GELighting.com.



Sept. 24, 2001

NFPA Fall Education Conference Set for November

Featuring more than 40 fire and life safety seminars, the 2001 National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Fall Education Conference will be held Nov. 10-14 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Dallas.

Code-related seminars will outline more than 300 significant changes to the 2002 Edition of the National Electrical Code and provide an update on the proposed NFPA 5000, Building Code. Other seminars will address challenges faced by emergency responders as well as fire safety considerations for people with disabilities and college students.

Journalist Morton Kondracke, executive editor of the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call, will deliver the keynote address. Social humorist Jimmy Tingle, of 60 Minutes II, will be the featured guest at Tuesday's luncheon.

In addition, NFPA is offering three pre-conference seminars, focusing on the fire department occupational health and safety program, life safety for health care facilities, and a primer for the Certified Fire Protection Specialist exam. The conference will also host the Third Annual International Fire Marshals Conference and a technical committee report session, during which more than 30 NFPA codes and standards will be considered for voting by the membership.

The deadline for advance registration is Oct. 26. For more information or to register online, visit www.nfpa.org.



Sept. 24, 2001

GE Fanuc Acquires VMIC

A division of GE Industrial Systems, GE Fanuc Automation North America, Inc., Charlottesville, Va., recently finalized the acquisition of Huntsville, Ala.-based VMIC, a manufacturer of single board PC computers (CPUs), communication, and network products such as reflective memory networks, Fibre Channel and SCSI host adapters, gigabit Ethernet, and data acquisition and control products.

VMIC, which specializes in providing embedded computer products for open-architecture buses including CompactPCI (CPCI), VMEbus, PCIbus, PMC, PC-MIP, and PC 104 plus, serves the industrial automation, telecom, defense, medical, and test and measurement segments. VMIC will continue its focus on serving the embedded computer industry.

"As a wholly owned subsidiary of GE Fanuc, VMIC gains access to GE Fanuc's and GE's full range of global services, products and distribution channels. We are excited about the opportunities to support GE Fanuc's current products and to grow our existing sales both through our current channel and through the GE Fanuc channel,” says Carroll E. Williams, president, CEO, and chairman of VMIC. “We are also excited about our new ability to add integration and turnkey options to support our current and future product offerings in the industrial automation segment."

For more information, visit www.gefanuc.com or www.VMIC.com.



Sept. 24, 2001

Schneider Electric Previews Asset Management Strategy for Puerto Rican Pharmaceutical Customers

More than 67 of Puerto Rico's pharmaceutical manufacturing leaders gathered in San Juan recently to preview Schneider Electric's "Electrical Asset Management" offering. The four-day event focused on maximizing return on investment (ROI) of capital equipment by minimizing equipment lifecycle costs.

Representatives from Fluor Daniel, Eli Lilly, Pharmacia, Pfizer, Wyeth, Merck, Bristol Myers Squibb, Abbott, Searle, and Astra Zeneca attended seminars, spoke with product managers, and learned about the company's first wave of products and services.

According to Mark Liston, global sales director, pharmaceutical accounts, the company's Electrical Asset Management system focuses on the five stages in an equipment lifecycle: acquisition, deployment, operation, maintenance, and disposal.

"The response we received in Puerto Rico was exceptional and validated our view of Electrical Asset Management that customers need more than databasing software and leasing options on their purchases to manage the lifetime costs of their equipment,” said Liston



Sept. 20, 2001

Computers for Construction Conference Comes to Philly

Bringing together manufacturers and users of new construction technology, the Computers for Construction 2001 conference will descend on the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia, from November 13-15.

More than 200 exhibitors will be showing off the latest in products and services geared toward project and document management, estimating and bidding, financial management, fleet and asset management, and site preparation, among others. In addition to the exhibition floor, attendees will have more than 70 conference seminars to choose from, focusing on everything from successfully managing remote sites to tool tracking and equipment control.

Keynote speaking duties fall upon Peter F. Coyle, project executive for Driscoll/Hunt and Richard West, vice president and project executive with Turner Construction Co. The pair will discuss the planning, design and construction of the Philadelphia Eagles’ new football stadium (to open in 2003) and the Philadelphia Phillies new ballpark (opening in 2004), projects that cost $1.1 billion. Coyle and West will address attendees on Tuesday, November 13, at 8:30 a.m.

For more information on the conference or to register online, visit www.computersforconstruction.com. Early registrants will receive conference discounts and a free exhibit hall pass.



Sept. 19, 2001

EGSA Fall Conference Canceled

In light of the tragic events in New York and Washington D.C., as well as concerns about flight schedule reliability and safety, EGSA recently canceled its fall conference, scheduled for Sept. 23-25 in Puerto Rico.

According to EGSA, Boca Raton, Fla., although commercial air traffic in the United States in no longer grounded, it is not yet at 100% capacity. At this time, the association does not know whether air travel will be fully restored by the end of the week when attendees and staff would depart for Puerto Rico. Many flights associated with the fall conference were scheduled to originate or go through Miami International Airport, which was designated this week as one of eight high-risk airports in the United States. Given the high level of tension currently associated with air travel, EGSA officials are concerned flights may be grounded again, possibly leaving attendees stranded in Puerto Rico or in transit.

“This is a trying time for our nation. As a gesture of respect for those who so tragically lost their lives, coupled with the need to judiciously weigh the risks facing us at this time, the EGSA Board of Directors and staff have elected to cancel the Fall Conference,” reports EGSA. “We offer our thoughts and prayers to the families and friends of those who perished on September 11.“

All registration and activity fees paid for the conference will be fully refunded. Some companies may prefer to transfer these payments to the Spring Convention, to be held at the Mansion Del Rio Hotel in San Antonio on March 17-19, 2002. For more information on conference refunds, contact Christine Mally at (561) 750-5575 or visit www.egsa.org.

Note: Although the hotel in Puerto Rico is aware of the cancellation, EGSA advises attendees to call the hotel directly at (787) 888-6000 to make sure their reservation is canceled and ensure their credit cards are credited with any security deposits.



Sept. 19, 2001

Invensys Powerware and Active Power Enter Global Distribution Agreement

Invensys Powerware Division, a leader in power system technology headquartered in Raleigh, N.C., and Active Power Inc., a leader in flywheel-based energy storage systems based in Austin, Texas, recently announced a new agreement that will expand their relationship. Invensys Powerware will distribute Active Power's new next-generation flywheel, CleanSource2, through its global sales force.

The only UPS company in the United States to have access to this new flywheel product, Powerware will offer the CleanSource battery-free technology with its 3-phase uninterruptible power systems (UPS). Under the terms of the agreement, Powerware has committed to actively promote the CleanSource product line through defined sales and marketing programs. Powerware Global Services will provide service for the integrated systems, including a 7x24 call center, product training, a worldwide spare parts logistics network, and more than 2000 available service professionals.

For more information, visit www.powerware.com.



Sept. 19, 2001

Robotic Dog Promotes Post Glover’s “Digital Ground Hound”

Spike, a next-generation Sony AIBO robotic dog, is the star of Post Glover Resistors, Inc.’s newest product launch: PulserPlus, the industry’s first all-digital high-resistance grounding system.

When Post Glover executives prepared to launch their new product, they began searching for a unique way to grab attention at trade shows. Lohre & Associates, a Cincinnati-based advertising firm, introduced the concept of Spike, a futuristic barker. The agency fitted a flashy new Sony AIBO robotic dog with a wireless LAN card and a tiny microphone hidden under its red bandana. Then, it programmed Spike to deliver an entertaining series of professionally voiced monologues with choreographed robotic movements.

“These trade shows can be mundane, but we figured this would draw attention to our new product, and it did. It worked,” said Mark Meister, vice president of sales and marketing for Post Glover in a recent Cincinnati Enquirer article. “This is a conservative industry, and different is not always better. But if different is done right and done professionally, it can work.”

Designed to protect industrial plants from electrical ground faults, Spike serves as the mascot for the company’s "Digital Ground Hound," a 24-hour watchdog to protect plants from electrical failure. For more information, please visit www.postglover.com/spike.htm.



Sept. 14, 2001

Rockwell Automation Awarded Asset Management Service Agreements

Rockwell Automation, Milwaukee, recently signed agreements with six major manufacturers for the management of maintenance repair and operations (MRO) assets at eight facilities in the United States. Representing more than $5 million in annual revenue for Rockwell, these service agreements with industry leaders in transportation, tire and rubber, agricultural equipment, automotive, and consumer products cover approximately $450 million in automation assets.

Under the terms of the agreements, Rockwell Automation's Global Manufacturing Solutions business will assume inventory and MRO asset management responsibilities at each of the facilities. Rockwell Automation's Asset Management Portfolio (RAAMP) program will be the framework for managing each company’s MRO processes, including tracking repairable assets and product warranties as well as optimizing inventory levels and maintenance resources. Available to Rockwell customers since 1996, the RAAMP solution improves inventory accuracy and helps accelerate part repairs, enabling the companies to reduce MRO expenses, maximize investments, and achieve greater overall profitability.



Sept. 12, 2001

EASA Unveils Fall Seminars

The Electrical Apparatus Service Association (EASA), St. Louis, recently released its fall seminar schedule. Recommended for newly appointed and veteran shop supervisors, “Training for Shop Supervisors,” to be held in Dallas Oct. 26-27, will cover how to schedule jobs and work flow, assign jobs, contain costs, maintain records, and maintain quality in finished products.

“Mechanical Repair Fundamentals of Electric Motors,” scheduled for Nov. 9-10 in New Orleans, will address the basic mechanical aspects of motor repair. It will cover basic materials and their characteristics, the loading and stresses involved, the most common failure modes and patterns along with recommended repair practices as they relate to applications.

Both seminars are open to EASA members and non-members. For more information or to enroll in the seminars, call (314) 993-2220, fax (314) 993-1269, or visit www.easa.com



Sept. 12, 2001

Intermatic Offers Free Transient Voltage CD-ROM

Intermatic Inc., Spring Grove, Ill., recently announced it will offer a free limited edition CD-ROM to help facility managers automatically assess their surge suppression needs. The CD-ROM features an interactive map to help customers determine their facility’s susceptibility to lightning strikes. It also provides a full list of Intermatic surge suppressors and model specifications.

“The CD-ROM provides all the tools facility managers need to make informed buying decisions,” says Mike Boyd, marketing manager for Intermatic. “Selecting the proper surge suppressor is vital given the lost productivity and massive equipment damage caused by lightning strikes and transient surges. Facilities have to invest in the right surge suppressors or face awful consequences. The CD-ROM makes this process incredibly easy.”

To get your free copy of the CD-ROM, send an e-mail to mboyd@intermatic.com or call (800) 391-4555.



Sept. 12, 2001

Light Emitting Diodes 2001 Conference Scheduled for October

Light Emitting Diodes 2001: the Strategic Summit for LEDs in Illumination will be held Oct. 17-19 at the Hyatt Islandia Hotel in San Diego. This three-day event will educate attendees on how key players from traditional lighting and semiconductor industries are working with designers and end-users to revolutionize the way the world thinks about lighting.

Featuring presentations by leading manufacturers and end-users of LEDs for incandescent bulb replacement, architectural lighting, signage, aviation, automotive, and display applications, the conference will cover compound semiconductors in solid-state lighting; new developments in white, blue, green, red, and yellow LEDs; LEDs for incandescent bulb and neon replacement; testing standards measurement, quality and reliability; OLEDs as a future light source; accelerating market adoption of LEDs; high brightness LEDs and high power LED illumination; overcoming manufacturing, cost, and performance challenges; and an outlook for LEDs in architectural, automotive, aviation, display, roadway, traffic signal and other applications.

For more information on the conference, call (207) 781-9623 or visit www.intertechusa.com/LEDs.html.



Sept. 11, 2001

RWE hopes to launch fuel cell CHP systems by 2004

LONDON, Sept 11 (Reuters) - German utility RWE has plans to launch small-scale Combined Heat and Power (CHP) systems for residential and commercial use by the end of 2004, using the newly developing clean fuel cell technology.

The new systems would enable groups of homes and commercial premises to become more energy efficient and reduce greenhouse gases emissions by running their own clean power and heat generating units.

"We're planning to have a commercially available product by the end of 2004," said Heinz Bergmann, project manager for fuel cells at RWE Plus AG, at a fuel cell symposium in London on Tuesday.

The fuel cell technology, which can transform gas into electricity through an electrochemical reaction without combustion, is seen as one of the clean alternatives to produce power because of its very low emissions.

"In Germany alone, we believe fuel cell CHP technology could save up to 70 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per annum," said Bergmann.

RWE estimates that power production based on fuel cell could represents 10 percent of the wholesale market in Germany by 2015.

RWE is developing the fuel cell CHP system for residential use in cooperation with Italian-American fuel cell technology company Nuvera.

The technology is expected to generate between 70 and 80 percent of electricity and between 25 and 30 percent of heat.

"It would cover most needs for electricity, but conventional heating would be needed as well," said Bergmann.

The cost to the customer is estimated at between 2,500 marks and 3,000 marks per kilowatt of electricity (kWe), the measure used for CHP production, in addition to the cost of conventional systems.

The fuel cell CHP system for commercial use is being developed together with MTU, a subsidiary of car manufacturer DaimlerChrysler AG.

It is expected to generate around 55 percent of electricity and 45 percent of heat, said Bergmann.

Bergmann added that the technology, which still had to prove itself on the end-consumer market, needed financial support and government funding during the initial stage.

"Subsidies are necessary until 2007 to compensate for the costs," he told the conference.

He added that the German government had made 90 million euros available for research and development and initial production of the fuel cell technology, of which 15 million would go to CHP projects.

The fuel cell technology is also being developed in car manufacturing to replace the combustion engine and lower emissions.



Sept. 6, 2001

EPRI Study Finds Acceptance of Hybrid Electric Vehicles on the Rise

A new study released from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), Palo Alto, Calif., indicates consumers believe plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) offer the advantages of both electric and gasoline vehicles—fuel and maintenance savings, use of an existing 120V infrastructure, long range, and popular features. Conducted by a cooperative effort of utilities, automakers, regulatory agencies, and others, the study revealed:

  • 30% to 50% of those surveyed said they would choose a plug-in HEV or a no-plug HEV mid-size sedan, even if priced 25% higher than a $19,000 conventionally powered vehicle.

  • 63% of respondents preferred plugging in a vehicle at home to going to the gas station, and

  • 86% said they had relatively easy access to a 120V outlet, which is the infrastructure needed for plug-in HEVs.

According to EPRI, the plug-in HEV (with a 60-mile all-electric range) could potentially be the first advanced vehicle to attain the equivalent of 80 miles per gallon—without using a diesel engine, expensive lightweight construction, new infrastructure, or extreme body aerodynamics.

Although the organization admits several hurdles still exist in the HEV commercialization process, including battery cost, battery lifespan, and drive system design, the study results show that plug-in and non-plug HEVs provide major fuel economy improvements and significant reductions in smog-forming and greenhouse gas emissions. For more information on the study, visit www.epri.com.



Sept. 6, 2001

Southwire Acquires General Cable Corp.’s Building Wire Assets

Carrollton, Ga.-based Southwire Co. recently signed an agreement to acquire the building wire assets of General Cable Corp., Highland Heights, Ky. Under the agreement, Southwire will acquire manufacturing facilities in Kingman, Ariz. and Watkinsville, Ga. Southwire will also acquire manufacturing assets from General Cable’s building wire plant in Plano, Texas. The agreement is contingent upon applicable regulatory approval.

“Southwire believes in the future of its core wire and cable markets and continues to invest whatever is necessary to lead those markets,” Southwire President Stuart Thorn said about the deal.

The acquisition is expected to close by the end of this year.



Sept. 4, 2001

New Integrated Lighting Fixtures Help Slash Energy Costs

With millions of square feet being unnecessarily illuminated in hallways, bathrooms, corridors, and stairwells all over the world, thousands of watts are wasted by fully lighting these seldom-used spaces. That’s why Lamar Lighting, Farmingdale, N.Y., recently developed Occu-Smart, a new line of motion sensor-controlled fixtures that offer standby lighting levels in unoccupied spaces. Full output is achieved only when the space is occupied. Lighting levels are kept low during standby to address safety and security concerns.

Developed in conjunction with The Watt Stopper, a leader in sensor technology, and NYSERDA, and the New York State Energy Research Authority, Occu-Smart consolidates state-of-the-art motion sensor technology with multi-level ballast capabilities, allowing users to save money on their energy bills without sacrificing light levels, safety, or lamp life. In standby mode, energy consumption may be as little as 8W.

You install the fully integrated components just like any ordinary fluorescent fixtures. After mounting, the user can manually adjust the sensitivity and dwell time to suit each application. Additionally, the 100-hr burn-in switch ensures proper lamp conditioning for longer lamp life, eliminating flickering.

For more information, visit www.occusmart.com



Sept. 4, 2001

IEC to Support National Fire Prevention Week

The Independent Electrical Contractors Inc. (IEC), Alexandria, Va., will participate in the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) public safety week Oct. 7-13 by providing its 77 chapters with educational materials that teach children and their families simple steps to reduce the risk of home fires.

According to NFPA, cooking, heating, and electrical fires are among the leading causes of residential fires, accounting for an annual average of nearly 50% of home fires and almost one third of associated fire deaths. Focusing on a baseball theme, this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign teaches families about these common fire hazards and how to eliminate them from their homes.

The “Cover the Bases and Strike Out Fire” lesson promotes kitchen safety at first base, heating safety at second base, and electrical safety at third. Home plate serves as a reminder to kids to conduct smoke alarm testing and home fire escape planning with parents and caregivers. Parents and kids are encouraged to put the campaign’s messages into practice by completing a home fire safety inspection together. Free home fire safety checklists are available at www,firepreventionweek.org.