November 26, 2003

ABB automation businesses merge

As of Jan. 1, 2004, six of ABB’s automation business areas will merge into three globally focused businesses. The merger continues a process that began in 2002 when the Zurich, Switzerland-based business merged two automation-related divisions and combined eleven business areas into six.

ABB veterans will head the three new businesses. Martinus Brandal will lead the Process Automation business, which is a combination of ABB’s control products, petroleum chemicals and life sciences, plus paper, minerals, marine, and turbocharging units. Tom SjokVist will lead the Automation Products business, a combination of the current low voltage products and instruments, drives, motors, and power electronics units. And Bo Elisson will head Manufacturing Automation, which is currently known as the robotics, automotive and manufacturing business.

Dinesh Paliwal, ABB group executive and head of the Automation Technologies division, says the merger was conducted with ABB customers in mind. "To appreciate the logic of these new businesses, consider the needs of a major automation technologies user. Just one year ago, our customers had to deal with 11 different ABB group organizations to finalize a new strategic relationship," Paliwal says.

November 25, 2003

Bush signs military construction bill

On November 22, President Bush signed a $9.3 billion military construction bill. The bill provides money for projects throughout the country and improvements at U.S. bases overseas.

This amount is $1.4 billion below last year’s level, but $200 million more than Bush requested. Lawmakers added more than 100 projects for military facilities in their home districts, money Bush had not sought.

Earlier this month, congressional bargainers agreed to split money directed to specific home-district projects, 53% for the Senate and 47% for the House. The issue had delayed the passing of the bill.

November 21, 2003

Research group outlines Indiana’s electrical future

In September, the Utility Forecasting Group (UFG), a panel of researchers based at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., released a report titled, “Indiana Electricity Projections: The 2003 Forecast, that projects the state may face a significant need for additional power-generating facilities in the next five years due to increasing electricity demands.

Among the report’s predictions is by 2009, the state will need to provide an additional 2,400MW of electricity, which represents a 10% increase over the existing level.

The report looked at three categories of electricity: baseload power, which is produced by plants that generate electricity throughout the day; peaking power, which is electricity produced by plants only during the heaviest demand, like the hottest part of the summer; and cycling power, which is produced by plants that provide power for uses between peaking and baseload demand.

Douglas Gotham, UFG associate director, says the majority of the increase consists of baseload power, which accounts for 1,000MW of the 2,400MW increase. "This is the first forecast that identifies a substantial need for additional baseload capacity," Gotham says.

Gotham says one of the options to cope with the increase in demand will be to build new power plants, a move that would highlight the significance of the distinction between baseload power and the other two forms of generation. Baseload plants are not only expensive to build, but they can take at least five years to construct.

A copy of the report is available at, http:// www.engineering.purdue.edu/iies/sufg.com.

November 20, 2003

ConstructionJobs.com announces partnership with AGC

On November 19, ConstructionJobs.com announced a new partnership with the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and the launch of their online recruiting service, which is integrated into AGC’s Web site.

Under the new partnership, AGC members will receive 15% off the Web site’s online recruiting and human resource services, such as job postings and resume searches in their candidate database. In addition, ConstructionJobs.com integrated their search technology into a new recruiting tool on AGC’s Web site to assist association members in seeking new employees.

The partnership is the result of both companies desires to ease the recruitment process for companies as well as candidates. "In times of high demand for workers and in times where worker shortages are approaching a quarter of a million workers per year, AGC was looking to provide employment opportunities to construction workers at all levels of skill and education," AGC CEO Stephen E. Sandherr says.

For more information, visit http://www.constructionjobs.com or http://www.agc.org.

November 19, 2003

New Jersey Labor Management Council receives grant

The New Jersey State Building and Construction Trades Labor Management Council (LMC) recently received a $20,000 grant from the New Jersey Department of Labor to continue its work in the labor community.

Frank Wade, executive director of the self-funded LMC, says the funds will help the council further realize its goals of communication and support among labor and management. ”These funds will also assist us in developing innovative programs for the benefit of our members and residents of New Jersey,” Wade says.

The LMC was established in 1998 with a $100,000 grant from the Federal Meditation Conciliation Service. The council represents more than 135,000 individuals in the building trade unions and major construction employer associations. Its more recent projects include a direct mail campaign to promote the benefits of project labor agreements for private and public building projects, and participation in the New Jersey School Boards Association 2003 workshop.

For more information, visit at http://www.njlmc.com.

November 18, 2003

Republicans announce draft energy bill

On November 15, House and State republicans announced a draft energy bill that would slow the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) goal of setting nationwide transmission grid rules. The bill would stop FERC’s efforts to require utilities to join regional transmission organization (RTOs). It doesn’t aim to stop utilities from moving forward voluntarily with regional grid combinations, but it does hinder FERC’s plans.

FERC contends the independently-run RTOs could help cut down on grid bottlenecks and attract needed investments, and Southern lawmakers protest the proposal, saying it infringes upon state authority and threatens to boost electric bills.

Merchant power producers criticize the measure. Lynne Church, president of the Electric Power Supply Association, which represents independent plant owners who often vie with utilities for grid access, says the measure could “facilitate discrimination in terms of grid access” and keep low-cost power from reaching consumers.

Still, some support the bill. A spokesperson for The Edison Electric Institute, which represents most U.S utilities, says the draft bill strikes a balance between vertically-integrated utilities and merchant power generators. The bill “could help resolve some pretty thorny issues and provide some market certainty,” the spokesperson says.

A bipartisan House-Senate energy conference committee will debate the Republican-written draft bill on November 24. It’s expected to win easy approval in the full House later in the week, but could face opposition from Senate Democrats.

November 17, 2003

Siemens opens Chemical-Pharmaceutical Center of Competence

On November 5, Siemens Energy & Automation announced the opening of a new Chemical-Pharmaceutical Center of Competence (CoC) based in Spring House, Pa. The center will focus on working closely with international and national chemical and pharmaceutical companies based in the United States.

Aubert Martin, president of Siemens Energy & Automation, says the CoC’s focus is based off previous experience. "Our success in using this approach in food and beverage and automotive shows that focusing on an industry segment, and developing technical concepts and solutions specific to it, results in greater understanding of customer requirements and excellent value propositions for those customer," he says.

The CoC will work closely with Siemens sales and product groups to provide industry segment support strategies. "We want to be the leading supplier of energy and automation solutions in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries," Martin says. For more information, visit at http://www.usa.siemens.com .

November 14, 2003

Appleton offers online Classification Comparator Guide

On November 12, Appleton announced the availability of its online International Electrical Code/National Electrical Code (IEC/NEC) Classification Comparator, an in-depth guidebook to understanding world standards for the classification of hazardous areas.

"Our guide underscores that a distinction must be made between the U.S. Zone system and the IEC/CENELEC Zone system," says Chris Walsh, director of marketing for EGS Electrical Group. "They are not the same. Similar yes, the same, no."

Separately, The IEC/CENELEC Zone system is used internationally as the standard for wiring and protection techniques and the NEC’s Article 505 is basically its Americanized version. With the United States as a notable exception, most of the world uses the IEC, thus the creation of the comparator guide. The guide aims to point out differences in an attempt to further harmonize world standards.

The 18-page guide is available for download in Adobe PDF format at www.appletonelec.com.



November 13, 2003

Philips Lighting announces online tool, continuation of seminar

End-users may soon have a new tool to help reduce environmental impacts on their buildings. On Nov. 11, Philips Lighting Co. announced the development of its Sustainable Lighting Index, an online calculator that helps end-users determine the mercury content/lumen hour ratio of lamp operations.

The company’s calculator works by measuring lamp mercury in picograms per lumen hour. This measurement uses a ratio of mercury content over lamp life multiplied by mean lumen output. This equation rates mercury content against the performance of the lamp, which is one of the considerations for sustainable design.

The calculator rates lamp performance based on the standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Existing Buildings (LEED-EB) program. Pending LEED-EB specification approval, the calculator will be available for free on the Philips Lighting Web site www. lighting.philips.com in early 2004.

Steve Goldmacher, director of corporate communications, says Philips is leading the lighting industry toward a model of sustainability. “With our Sustainable Lighting Index, we are extending that model to our end-users, encouraging them to consider the environmental impact of their lighting operations,” he says.

Philips also announced it will continue its Innovations Roadshow program, a seminar series on sustainable lighting and design accredited by the American Institute of Architects. The seminar includes information on sustainable lighting, the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program and the environmental and marketing benefits of sustainable design. For seminar dates, locations or to register, visit www.innovationsroadshow.com.



November 12, 2003

UL agrees to stop retesting CSA-certified low-voltage products

Since 1994, CSA International has accepted UL-Listed products without retesting, and now Underwriters Laboratory (UL) is ready to reciprocate. With the signing of the Agreement on Acceptance of Components this week at NEMA’s Annual Meeting and Leadership Conference, UL agreed to no longer retest specified CSA-certified electrical components used in low-voltage distribution and control equipment.

Despite CSA’s nearly decade-long practice of accepting UL-Listed electrical components, UL had insisted on retesting CSA-certified products, ostensibly delaying certification and increasing component manufacturers’ testing and certification expenses. CSA will continue to accept all UL-Listed electrical products, while UL’s new policy will only extend to the low-voltage products specified in the agreement.

Grant Carter, CSA’s vice president of marketing and communication called the agreement the "first tangible result" of the North American Electrical Component Forum held in December 2002 and hosted by CSA. "CSA will continue to pursue component acceptance in other product categories on behalf of lighting manufacturers, appliance manufacturers, and others," Carter said.

A complete list of the products included in the agreement can be found on CSA’s Web site.



November 11, 2003

LEDtronics opens virtual store for the Internet-inclined lighting specifier

LEDtronics recently announced the launch of www.surplusled.com, its online store that specializes in light emitting diode products. The inventory includes LED lamps and bulbs for PC boards and displays.

Visitors to the site can make payments through PayPal, and Visa, American Express, Discover, and MasterCard are accepted.

For more information, visit www.ledtronics.com.



November 10, 2003

Revisions to ASHRAE standards up for review

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASRAE) has made draft addenda pertaining to lighting and electrical power in ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA standard 90.1-2001 available for review and comment on its Web site. The 30-day and 45-day review periods for the Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings document range began on Oct. 24 and will last through Nov. 23, 2003, and Dec. 8, 2003, respectively.

To view the complete list of changes and to make a comment, visit www.ashrae.org/template/TechnologyLinkLanding/category/1634.



November 7, 2003

Lightfair 2004 announces conference topics and speakers

Lightfair International 2004 will take place March 31 through April 2 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas. The Lightfair and Daylighting Institute Courses begin on March 29 and offer a thorough lighting applications conference series. They also provide AIA, ASID, IIDA, IESNA, and IFMA accreditation. The Lightfair Institute will comprise five immersion courses, four Masters courses, and ten workshops. The conference seminars will consist of 27 broad based architectural lighting seminars, and will take place simultaneously with the trade show.

For more information, visit www.lightfair.com.



November 6, 2003

Bridgeport’s appeal is rejected by court

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed a unanimous jury verdict of patent infringement that Arlington Industries, Inc., Scranton, Pa., obtained last summer against Bridgeport Fittings of Connecticut. The verdict held that Bridgeport had infringed upon one of Arlington’s plastic box extender patents. The jury rejected all of Bridgeport’s defenses.

Del Auray, president of Bridgeport Fittings, Bridgeport, Conn., said, "The case refers to an older model Bridgeport product which is no longer sold, and the case resulted in an award to Arlington of less than $13,000...Bridgeport is confident that its current box extender products are the best on the market."



November 5, 2003

Siemon offers white paper on IP-based video surveillance

The Siemon Co., Watertown, Conn., recently announced the availability of its white paper on IP-based closed circuit television (CCTV) and video surveillance systems. The paper covers the principles and evolutions of these technologies, focusing on the latest digital IP video technologies, along with information regarding infrastructure needs and demands for implementation.

To see the full paper, visit www.siemon.com/us/white_papers/03-10-29-cctv.asp.



November 4, 2003

Blackout cost New York City $1 billion and shows emergency system flaws

The Aug. 14th blackout, which was the worst in North American history, cost New York City’s economy as much as $1 billion, according to a recently released report by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The power outage, which left thousands of New Yorkers stranded in the heat, put a spotlight on serious problems with New York City’s emergency preparedness and showed the flaws of the 9-1-1 emergency call system, the report says.

The report faults Verizon Communications, Inc. for its role in problems with the 9-1-1 telephone system that New York City’s 8.4 million residents rely on to report fires, crimes, accidents, and other emergencies.

Many private companies and city agencies also lacked back-up generators, which led to problems evacuating workers. Tenants in high-rise apartment buildings had no drinkable water.

The city’s hospitals also suffered during the blackout, with a handful losing power in “certain functional areas,” the report says. Some hospitals were overwhelmed by people needing non-emergency prescriptions because drugstores were closed.



November 3, 2003

NECA marks fifth year as ANSI-accredited standards developer

The National Electrical Contractor’s Association (NECA) celebrates its fifth year of publishing ANSI-approved standards for electrical construction quality with the release of NECA 111-2003, Standard for Installing Nonmetallic Raceways. The standard is the 22nd volume of the National Electrical Installation Standard (NEIS) series, and the twentieth NECA standard to be approved by the American National Standard Institute (ANSI).