August 29, 2003

IPC Resistors release educational guides

IPC Resistors, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, recently released two educational guides for electrical consultants and service contractors. Both the “Conversion Guide for Ungrounded Systems to High Resistance Grounding” and the “Consultant Specifications Guide to High Resistance Grounding” offer detailed technical information about ground fault protection.

The “Conversion Guide for Ungrounded Systems to High Resistance Grounding” is designed to help consultants and service companies who are upgrading electrical systems from ungrounded to high resistance grounding. The guide covers the benefits of high resistance ground systems and provides step-by-step instructions for calculating grounding resistor size requirements to installation.

The “Consultant Specifications Guide to High Resistance Grounding” is designed to make specifications of grounding products easier for consultants. The guide contains template specifications for each of IPC’s grounding products.

For more information, visit www.ipc-resistors.com.



August 28, 2003

Maxis Corp. acquires Innovative Tool Co.

Maxis Corporation, Gilbert, Ariz., recently announced the acquisition of Innovative Tool Co., located in Albuquerque, N.M. Maxis will provide a distribution network for Innovative Tool’s product line beginning in October 2003. Maxis works directly with electricians and contractors and their products are available nationwide at electrical supply stores and tool houses.

For more information, visit www.maxistools.com.



August 27, 2003

Hubbell Premise Wiring webinars eligible for BICSI credits

Hubbell Premise Wiring training webinars are now eligible for BICSI credits. Presented by Hubbell product managers, the Webinar series consists of live, on-line interactive audio/Web conferencing seminars that explore topics of interest to end-users, consultants, and contractors who write project specifications. Each webinar explores industry issues and solutions to challenging applications. Discussion is encouraged before and after each presentation. The webinars are held twice a month and are an hour long. Each topic is presented twice a week to accommodate schedules and time zones.

For more information, visit www.hubbell-premise.com/Webinars.asp.



August 26, 2003

Caterpillar and Eaton announce joint venture

Caterpillar, Inc., and Eaton Corp. recently announced a joint venture to provide an integrated electric power distribution system. The partnership will operate under the name Intelligent Switchgear Organization LLC and be based in Alpharetta, Ga. The companies will manufacture product lines that will include paralleling switchgear and automatic transfer switches used for emergency or prime power applications.



August 25, 2003

NEMA releases revised standard on motors and generators

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association has released MG 1-2003, “Motors and Generators”, a revised version of MG 1-1998. The standard provides more than 500 pages of manufacturing and performance data related to electric motors and generators and assists in this selection and application.

Included in this new version is a section of NEMA Premium Efficiency Motors with expanded information on short-time rated machines. Part 5, “Classification of Degrees of Protection Provided by Enclosures for Rotating Machines,” has also been updated to align MG 1 with the IEC 60034-5 standard.



August 22, 2003

Genesis offers guide on residential structured cabling systems

Genesis Cable Systems, Pleasant Prairie, Wis., has announced it's offering a free guidebook about residential structured cabling titled “Future Proofing Your Home,” which is intended for homeowners, contractors, and homebuilders. This brochure explains how a structured cabling system works, what it can do to enhance the value of a home, and how affordable it can be to install.

Some of the options of structured cabling include a built-in fire and burglar alarm system, video for child monitoring from any room, complete audio and home theater capabilities, high-speed Internet, control zoned heating and air-conditioning, and smart appliances.

For more information, visit www.genesiscable.com.



August 21, 2003

General Cable and Molex Premise Networks announce partnership

General Cable, Highland Heights, Ky., has teamed up with Molex Premise Networks, an electronic components provider located in Lisle, Ill., to produce cabling products that meet ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-B specifications and ISO/IEC 11801 standards. The partnership will also support a 25-year link and channel warranty.



August 20, 2003

Northeast blackout has now been traced to failure in Ohio

Investigators from the North American Electric Reliability Council have now traced the events that led to the blackout that left a majority of New York and Ohio in the dark to the failure of several high-voltage transmission lines near Cleveland, but it remains unclear how the problem spread from the Midwest to the East coast and parts of eastern Canada. The first breakdown occurred at 3:06 p.m. EST, when a 345-KV-transmission line west of Cleveland shut down for reasons still unknown. Not too long after the first line failed, a second 345-KV line in the same area, probably one helping to carry the load from the first failed line, sagged into a tree, causing the line to shut down. Over the next hour, systems throughout the throughout the eastern United States and Canada began to see huge swings in voltage and direction of power flow, more lines went down, and power plants shut themselves off. Shortly before 4:11 p.m. EST, the blackouts began. The council’s investigation is ongoing.

“Instability in the voltage is something you really have to worry about,” says Karl Stahlkopf, senior vice president of Hawaiian Electric and a former vice president of the Electric Research Institute in Palo Alto, Calif. “In the ’96 outages in California, we had very large voltage swings, which caused relays to trip, which caused plants to go offline, which caused blackouts.”



August 20, 2003

Canada blames New York fire for power outage

The office of Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien recently said that a fire at a power plant near Niagara Falls, N.Y., appeared to be the cause of the massive power blackout that hit large areas of the Northeast on August 14. Before this announcement there were conflicting reports on the cause. Security agents on both sides of the United States/Canada border said that lighting had hit a power plant in New York and started a cascading blackout over an area of 3,600 sq mi in the U.S. Northeast and Ontario. However, it now appears that the outage was caused by a fire within the power plant.

The prime minister’s spokeswoman also said the main Ontario power utility, Hydro One, was doing all it could to decouple itself from the U.S. power grid, to which it’s interconnected.



August 19, 2003

Myers acquires Ryco Electrical Products

Myers Power Products, Inc., Santa Fe Springs, Calif., recently acquired all assets of Ryco Electrical Products, an electrical switching gear manufacturer located in Pomona, Calif. The transaction adds to Myers’ expansion and development of emergency lighting inverters, frequency converters, electrical service pedestals, and other power-related products manufactured in California and in its corporate headquarters located in Bethlehem, Pa. Ryco manufactures a range of commercial metering switchboards, including main circuit and distribution sections, CT meter mains, and lever-bypass or K-Base style multi-metering.



August 18, 2003

Thomas & Betts recognizes leaders in the electrical industry

Recognizing innovation and resourcefulness among electrical workers, companies, and apprentices, Thomas & Betts, Memphis, Tenn., recently presented the 2002 Signature Awards to the latest round of recipients. Winners in the following three categories were selected by a committee of editors from EC&M and Electrical Wholesaling magazines, which co-sponsor the awards program, and announced at the National Association of Electrical Distributors annual meeting in Atlanta.

Electrical Professional of the Year – Walt Czyrnik, executive director of the Mid-South Independent Electrical Contractors, Bartlett, Tenn.

Electrical Company of the Year – Guarantee Electrical Co., St. Louis.

Student/Apprentice of the Year – Kelly Myers, Aladdin Ward Electric, Sarasota, Fla.



August 14, 2003

Ridgid launches line of professional power tools

An 80-year-old manufacturer transformed a steel mill into a construction site to introduce a new line of professional power tools for contractors, builders, and woodworkers to a group of magazine editors.

Ridgid, Inc., a subsidiary of Emerson Electric, announced the launch of 35 new products at a press event Aug. 8 at the Finkl Steel Mill in Chicago. Emerson partnered with One World Technologies, Inc., to analyze the market, conduct field research, and test competitive models before developing cordless, corded, benchtop and stationary power tools. During the two-year product development process, the companies interviewed more than 500 people in eight cities, collected data from online surveys, and organized focus groups.

Jay Gatz, Ridgid brand manager, discusses the features and capabilities of the new product line, which took two years to launch.

“We wanted to learn everything there was to learn about the contractor and get into the mind of the pro,” says Bob Gautsch, director of business development for Ridgid, Inc. “We knew that to launch a line of power tools in a crowded marketplace, these tools had to be the best in class.”

To develop the performance criteria for the new line of tools, Ridgid benchmarked the competition within each of the product categories and invested a quarter of a million dollars in their competitors’ products. The Ridgid team members then performed drop tests on the tools and cycled motors until they burnt up or burst into flames.

Ridgid built enhanced capabilities, ergonomic designs, and durable components into many of its tools to increase safety and improve efficiency on the job site. Some of the corded tools feature extended life motors that are engineered to withstand extreme conditions and refract dust, which can wear down the motor prematurely.

“When we talked with professionals, we understood that tool life and usability on the job site was critical,” says Jay Gatz, Ridgid brand manager. “The result of all this design and engineering is that we have a motor that will last up to five times longer than the competition.”

Ridgid announced the launch of 35 handheld, cordless, corded, benchtop, and stationary power tools.

The corded tools also feature a 12-ft rubber cord that will not crack or deteriorate in cold weather and a Velcro cord wrap. Contractors can identify which tool is plugged in a power strip by checking the backlit icon of the tool on the plug.

Ridgid also offers a line of cordless power tools that feature single-sleeve locking chucks, a 24-position clutch, and a dual-port charger. Contractors can improve job-site efficiency and boost productivity by charging two batteries simultaneously. A built-in fan cools the batteries down to room temperature and then charges two batteries in 30 min. or one battery in 20 min. The batteries are self-ejecting so they are easier for professionals to slip in and slip out, and the battery pack is located at the bottom of the tools for better weight distribution and balance.

A dual-port battery charger and an extra battery come standard with all the cordless drills and the combo kits. The three-piece combo kit features a canvas carrying bag, flashlight, circular saw and hammer drill. In its four-piece kit, Ridgid added a reciprocating saw, which Gatz says has become the demolition tool of choice for electricians.

“The combo kits are the fastest growing segment of the industry because of the perceived value of getting a variety of tools,” he says. “The price points are set up so that for a few hundred bucks more, you’re getting multiple tools and more functionality.”

To tie together the entire line and make the tools stand out on a job site, Ridgid made all of its “Best in Class” tools a specific shade of orange rather than its traditional gray or red. The company is also offering a lifetime service warranty to anyone who buys a Ridgid power tool from September through December of this year. After that time, customers will get a 90-day satisfaction guarantee and a three-year warranty against defects and workmanship. The tools, which include an angle grinder, scroll saw, hammer drill, and reciprocating saw, will be available by Oct. 1 through a nationwide distribution network and at Home Depot, which will be the exclusive retailer in the home center channel.



August 13, 2003

OSHA partners with New Jersey construction group to improve worker safety

In an effort to recognize contractors in New Jersey who demonstrate successful and well-thought-out safety and health programs, OSHA will enter into the Construction Industry Safety Partnership Program with the Building Contractors Association of New Jersey (BCANJ) on Friday.

Contractors that meet the qualifications for the program, including three years without a willful or repeat OSHA violation or fatal accidents, are eligible for the incentive program, which includes a voluntary evaluation by OSHA to assess general safety procedures and related statistical data.

OSHA and the BCANJ hope to achieve several things through the partnership, including the formal training of at least 10% of all workers each year for the next ten years and the reduction of workplace accidents and fatalities by 5% each year.

“Serious injuries and deaths from falls while working in construction significantly contribute to the nation’s workplace statistics,” says Patricia Clark, OSHA regional administrator. “The use of partnerships as an effective tool to broaden OSHA’s impact by allowing us to devote more attention to other employers who are not as safety-conscious has become an important part of our long-term strategy.”

More than 180 companies employing more than 10,000 construction workers belong to the BCANJ.



August 11, 2003

Instances of contractor misconduct strengthen case for Contractors Accountability Act

The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) has found 70 new instances of misconduct and alleged misconduct by federal contractors who do business with the government. According to POGO’s online Contractor Misconduct Database, from 1990 through 2001 federal contractors had a total of 280 instances of misconduct and alleged misconduct and have paid more than $1.97 billion in fines, penalties, restitution, settlements, and cleanup costs, yet none of these contractors have been suspended or debarred from doing business with the federal government since 1990.

The Contractors Accountability Act of 2003 would establish a centralized database on actions taken against federal contractors and require a description of each action. This would provide debarring officials with the information necessary to protect the business interests of the United States. It would also place the burden of proving responsibility and subsequent eligibility for contracts on the person seeking the contract if they’ve been previously convicted of two violations.



August 8, 2003

Fluke launches online membership program

Fluke Corp., Everett, Wash., recently unveiled FlukePlus, a free online program designed to offer assistance and rewards to its customers. The program offers exclusive online technical information, product tips, how-to instruction, and access to a member’s library of the company archives. FlukePlus also provides product discounts and members-only pricing on company merchandise.

For more information on the FlukePlus program, products, and accessories, visit www.fluke.com/flukeplus.



August 7, 2003

Eaton Corp. committed to growing Innovative Technology TVSS business

Eaton Corp., Pittsburgh, has relocated product manufacturing for the recently acquired Innovative Technology transient voltage surge suppression (TVSS) business to Eaton’s Industrial and Commercial Controls Division facility in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The company believes the move will allow it to get the most out of existing corporate infrastructure.

Innovative Technology products will continue to be available only from its existing network of distributors. Eaton will continue promote the business through marketing programs, educational seminars, and other growth activities.



August 6, 2003

Leviton, Indigo Systems, and Phoenix Contact launch redesigned Web sites

Leviton NSI, Little Neck, N.Y., has recently enhanced its Web site for faster access. The new design makes it easier to navigate from section to section, access product and application information, and learn about new product introductions. Located at www.nsicorp.com, the home page features a product catalog, downloads, product bulletins, and customer service and technical support sections.

Indigo Systems, Goleta, Calif., recently launched its new Web site, which segments the product and service offerings into research and development, military R&D, security and surveillance, and industrial/preventative maintenance. The site, located at www.indigosystems.com, offers expanded content and added site options and accessory pages for each product and application.

Phoenix Contact, Harrisburg, Pa., has redesigned its homepage to include detailed technical information, including part numbers, data sheets, and downloadable CAD drawings. The design has three main sections: In Focus is a rotating list of highlighted products, campaigns, and other activities; Products is a list of product groups and descriptions; and What’s New is a rotating list of new products and news releases. The site is located at www.phoenixcon.com.



August 5, 2003

Emerson offers performance curves on standard stock motors

Emerson Motor Technologies, St. Louis, is offering performance curves for its standard motor products. The three performance curves available through MotorBoss 3.0, the company’s online motor ordering and tracking system, are performance vs. horsepower; performance vs. torque; and torque, current, and power factor vs. rpm.

The curves can be obtained through MotorBoss’ submittal request program on the US Motors Web site at www.emersonmotors.com. Notification of curves will be emailed to the customer within one hour of request. The actual curves are then sent to the customer in standard PDF format.



August 4, 2003

Ideal recalls selected voltage and voltage/continuity testers

Ideal Industries, Inc., Sycamore, Ill., has announced that it’s conducting a recall of certain manufacturing lots of its voltage and voltage/continuity testers sold primarily in North America. The units recalled are tester models 61-065, 61-066, 61-067, 61-076, 61-079, and 61-080 manufactured in Sycamore, Ill. and Ajax, Ontario, Canada from mid-November 1999 through mid-May 2002.

Ideal has received reports of the solenoid shorting out of higher voltages without warning and blowing the faceplate off the unit. There have been two reports of users burned when using these units. Ideal has notified its distributors, representatives, and customers of the recall.



August 1, 2003

California adopts NFPA 5000 and NFPA 1

The state of California recently adopted model building and fire codes of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to protect public safety. The California Building Standards Commission voted to adopt NFPA 5000, Building Construction and Safety Code, and NFPA 1, Uniform Fire Code. The codes will provide the basis for the 2004 California Building Code and the 2004 California Fire Code.