ANAHEIM, Calif. — Contractors from California and other Western states strolled the aisles at Electric West 2001 Feb. 27 to March 1 to search for time and money-saving products.

Oz Paltrinieri, owner of Oz Electric in North Hollywood Calif., said he has attended Electric West for the past four years to learn about the new products out on the market.

“We are very interested in cabling and telecom and the new products in the electrical field,” Paltrinieri said. “This show is very informative because you can go to one place for all the information you are looking for.”

The following are some of the new products and technologies launched at the show, along with some new features for existing product lines.

The Power Quality logger

AEMC Instruments, Boston, became a CEE News Product of the Year finalist with its power quality logger. Daniel Matejsek, western regional manager, said AEMC Instruments launched the product a few weeks before the show.

“It's a power quality logger in the sense that it will handle and record up to 100 disturbances,” Matejsek said. “It's going to be a hot product because it fits into a niche where nobody has anything like it. It's almost unbelievable about the capabilities it has for the cost. It hits the industry where it's needed.”

Multimeter accessories

Fluke Corp., Everett, Wash., displayed its leather cases. “We've got an industrial tool bag and a leather pouch and holsters for new meters,” said Michael Hurter, accessories channel manager for Pomona Electronics, which Fluke acquired in 1998. “We've also enhanced our products, ruggedized them and improved their accuracies. Our brand new product concept would be our megometer, a ground resistance tester.”

Greenlee Textron Inc.

Attendees could learn about Greenlee's new products by watching the nine product demonstrations within the booth. “We're having everyone play a game,” said Craig Gleason, engineering manager for Greenlee Textron, Rockford, Ill. “There's nine new products and if they see a demo or a description on each one and answer a question, they get a free knife.”

The demo of the BenderMate System, a new bending system that includes levels to eliminate doglegs, was popular with the attendees. “What he's been demoing there has been attracting a large crowd all morning,” Gleason said.

The BenderMate System is both inexpensive and simple, Gleason said.

“For the average worker to make offsets and simple bends, it costs $375,” Gleason said. “It's going to be very popular because it is a dramatically lower cost way to do something that everyone is spending $1,000 to do now. It also has accessories that make the job easy.”

SpecOne line

Cooper Crouse-Hinds, Syracuse, N.Y., introduced a SpecOne line of fluorescents, HID fixtures, cable and conduit terminators, plugs, receptacles, control stations, power distribution panels and intrinsically safe systems. Michael Augustine, Westlake Village, Calif.-sales representative, said the SpecOne products are triple approved with UL, C-UL and CSA listings to cover the U.S., Canada and Europe. “By having the three ratings, you can put the product in any one type of OEM product and ship it anywhere,” he said.

Generac

A panel of judges also selected Generac's substation as one of CEE News' 20 Product of the Year finalists. Fred Horner, regional sales manager for the West Coast, said the substation has low sound levels. “The sound level is down to 58dBA,” he said. “It's quieter than the background sound in this room right now. We're at 70dBA. You'd have to touch it to know it was running.”

Generac, Waukesha, Wis., plans to introduce other models, he said. “We'll actually be introducing a whole line, a family grouping of this in 100 and 200kW configurations,” he said. “The response has been great. The only negative thing we've heard is the cost of gas prices have gone up significantly. I think once the gas prices return to normal, this will really take off.”

HIS Business Manufacturing Co.

John Ireton Jr. said HIS, an El Cajon, Calif.-based cable-tilling manufacturer, has been in business for 26 years. “Some of our new products are a running line tensionometer, which monitors the cable pulling tension so you don't overstress the allowable tension on the cable. We also have cable tray rollers, cable pulling machines and reel handling equipment.”

Ireton said his booth got a positive response at the show. “There's a lot of people looking for what's new and exciting in the market,” Ireton said. “They want products that can reduce manpower and increase productivity.”

Stainless steel fishtape

Klein Tools Inc., Chicago, introduced a stainless steel fishtape to go along with their standard steel fishtape, extra flexible fishtape and nonmetallic fishtape.

The four different fishtapes also offer longer lengths. “On our steel and stainless steel fishtapes, we've increased the length by 20% so our 100 foot fishtape is actually 120 feet long and our 200 foot fishtape is 240 feet long,” said Darrell Brown, the district manager. “We didn't change the price, so our customers really benefit from that. They end up getting 20% more steel on their fishtapes.”

Along with the extra length, Klein Tools also made the handles larger and stronger on the fishtapes. “A lot of people wear gloves on the job and a large hand wouldn't really fit in the old fishtape handle,” he said. “The old fishtape handle was the weak point of the fishtape. Now that they've come out with a larger handle, we've made them very strong.”

He said he often demonstrates the strength of the fishtape handle with a 2×4 and some nails.

“I've taken a box of nails and a 2×4 and actually taken a handle and pounded these nails in,” he said. “It chewed it up a bit but didn't break it.”

Graybar

Electric West attendees could win a free stopwatch by getting their card stamped by all the manufacturers' booths inside the Graybar pavilion. The keynote speaker, Patrick Rummerfield, also signed autographs next to his Graybar-sponsored car. “We've had him at a number of big shows and it's a real drawing card,” said William Kerfoot, sales manager for Graybar, St. Louis. “He's a very personable and inspirational guy.”

Gus Fowlie, crew chief for the Dempsey World Records Associates, said the car holds the national record at 251 mph and the world record at 245 mph. “It's a good thing for Graybar because it's electric powered,” Fowlie said. “We'll be going back out again in August in Bonneville at the Salt Flats in Utah.”

Netclerk

Netclerk, a San Francisco, Calif.-based online permit service for contractors, recently closed its final round of funding at $6.5 million, said Jeremy Brannon, regional account manager. “We're at 1,400 cities now and have about 600 contractors as customers,” Brannon said. “It's going well.”

Netclerk can now do city tax licenses and express permits. “Usually a contractor has to get a license to get a permit if they haven't worked in that city before,” Brannon said. “We're doing express permits. If someone needs 24/48 hour guaranteed turnaround, we can do that.”

The company also launched a new feature called GovCentral. “It's in about 20 cities,” Brannon said. “It links our system to their system, so the whole process is electronic.”

Product of the Year Finalists

Along with visiting all the manufacturers' booths, Electric West 2001 attendees could also find some of the best new products in the CEE News Product of the Year pavilion. All the entries, along with the 20 finalists, were showcased. See page 18 to learn more about the panel of judges and pages 20 and 21 for the Product of the Year finalists. Remember to cast your vote for the CEE News' Product of the Year. The winner will be announced in June at Electric 2001 in Orlando.