November 30, 2004

Square D/Schneider Electric pledges up to $1 million to NAED foundation

The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) recently announced that Square D/Schneider Electric will pledge up to $1 million to the NAED Education and Research Foundation based on matching 50% of any contributions from their distributors, which to date bring the total to $550,000.

The company’s donation will become part of an endowment fund for the foundation and the principal amount of the endowment will remain untouched, while the interest will be used to commission future projects and studies. Due to its level of contribution, Square D/Schneider Electric will have a permanent position on the Channel Advantage Partnership Council, which will help select future educational programs and research projects.

November 29, 2004

ETL Semko launches industry awareness campaign

The ETL Semko division of Intertek recently launched a campaign to make manufacturers aware of the use of the ETL Mark as an alternative to the UL Mark. With a series of ads and a new Web site, www.ETL.com, ETL is using the campaign to counter what it considers are outdated perceptions.

Gregg Tiemann, president of Intertek ETL SEMKO, Americas, says the campaign is about industry awareness. “There are a number of certification mark alternatives,” Tiemann says. “In the case of the ETL Listed Mark, it’s preferred by manufacturers seeking fast testing turnaround throughout 30 labs worldwide.”

November 23, 2004

General Cable and Panduit form alliance

General Cable and Panduit recently announced a new alliance and introduced PanGen structured cabling products, which are designed for a variety of infrastructure requirements. The structured cabling is available in two copper categories that have a Cat. 5e and Cat. 6 rating. The PanGen Plus is designed for the open-architecture enterprise market, and the PanGen Pro is designed for the smaller-sized business market. The companies are planning to premiere the products at the 2005 BICSI Winter Conference in Orlando at the end of January.

November 22, 2004

Twenty-fifth volume of NIES Standard series now available

The 25th volume of The National Electrical Installation Standards series, NECA 102-2004, Standard for Installing Aluminum Rigid Metal Conduit (ANSI) is now available. Developed in collaboration with Indalex Aluminum solutions, a manufacturer of rigid aluminum conduit, the standard describes installation procedures for aluminum rigid metal conduit, grounding considerations, and special procedures used with PVC-coated aluminum conduits. It’s available by calling the NECA Order Desk at 301-215-4504, or online in a downloadable PDF format at www.neca-neis.org.

November 19, 2004

EC&M to offer business advice for service contractors

Calling all service contractors: If you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. Beginning in January 2005, EC&M will launch a new monthly business-themed Q&A column for the owners of electrical service companies. Each month in the print magazine, Patrick Kennedy, president of Mister Sparky Electric and CEO of Electricians’ Success International, will answer real questions submitted by real readers with real problems. Need advice on how to turn a negative service call into a positive referral? Having trouble drumming up new business? With nearly 20 years in the electrical service industry, Kennedy has almost seen it all, and he’s ready to use that experience to help you.

Send your service contracting questions to Matt Halverson.

November 18, 2004

Caterpillar and Fuel Cell Energy feed power to Ohio distribution system

Caterpillar, Fuel Cell Energy, and the city of Westerville, Ohio, recently brought one of the first utility-scale fuel cell power plants in North America online. Funded through a $103 million program, the 250kW DFC plant will feed power to consumers from a substation. Located at Westerville’s electric substation 2, the plant creates the hydrogen it needs from natural gas. When fully operational, it will produce enough energy to power about 180 homes in the city.

November 17, 2004

Denver approves tax increase for $4.7 billion rail project

Denver-area voters recently approved a sales tax increase of a penny per dollar for the Regional Transportation District to pay for a 12-year $4.7 billion project named FasTracks, which will build 119 miles of rail corridors throughout the Denver metro area as well as pay for suburb-to-suburb bus service and parking spaces along the bus and rail lines.

Cal Marsella, Regional Transportation District (RTD) general manager, says that RTD won’t manage design and engineering efforts by itself. “It’s not our intent to do all of the work in-house,” Marsella says. “Rather than build a huge overhead, we’ll hire those skills.” The contract is creating a lot of buzz from small, local companies to some of the largest engineering and design firms in the country.

November 16, 2004

Princeton Power Systems receives $250,000 grant from NJ EDA

Princeton Power Systems, developer of AC-link technology for advanced electrical power conversion and conditioning, recently received a $250,000 grant from the NJ Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Springboard II Fund. The grant will help the manufacturer adapt its existing prototype AC-link clean power variable speed drive (VSD) into a production prototype for industrial and commercial use.

The AC-link VSD preserves motor insulation and bearing lifetimes by producing low voltage distortion. The grant will be used to pay for parts, testing equipment, tools, and the personnel necessary to reduce the physical size of the SVD by 30%, decrease manufacturing costs by 30%, develop industrial communications capabilities, and incorporate advanced control features. To supplement the infusion of grant funds, Princeton Power Systems is contributing $295,000 in personnel, materials, and outside engineering services.

The manufacturer will build two prototypes and perform three months of field-testing at a local industrial facility in the second quarter of 2005.

November 15, 2004

Premax launches Web site

Premax, a supplier of embossed aluminum tags and pole markers, recently launched a new Web site at www.premaxlp.com. The site features a viewable and printable catalog, information on how to select a marking system, the latest company products, and technical specifications.

November 12, 2004

Electrical Wholesaling magazine and Channel Marketing Group enter partnership

Electrical Wholesaling magazine, EC&M’s sister publication, recently announced that it has entered into a partnership with Channel Marketing Group. As a result, Channel Marketing Group’s Neil Gillespie and David Gordon will now be contributing writers for Electrical Wholesaling, covering topics like marketing, strategic planning, and promotional strategies for manufacturers’ and distributors’ businesses.

In addition, Electrical Wholesaling will be the publication sponsor for Channel Marketing Group’s 2005 Electrical Industry Marketing Conference, which is scheduled for August 7-9, 2005 in Chicago.

November 11, 2004

Advance Transformer launches Web site for solid-state lighting discussion

Advance Transformer recently launched www.LEDCentral.com, an online community for sharing information about solid-state lighting technology and the marketplace. The site features Webinars, event postings, discussion forums, case studies and white papers, a solution requestor where users can contact the company, and a product selector that matches the company’s products to user-defined specifications.

November 10, 2004

Arizona Public Service tests new solar cells

Arizona Public Service (APS) recently started testing what it hopes to be the world’s most efficient solar cells at its Solar Technology and Research Center in Tempe, Ariz. The cells, which convert sunlight directly into electricity, have the potential to make solar energy more cost-competitive with conventional energy sources.

The Spectrolab division of the Boeing Co. developed the new photovoltaic technology, and similar systems have been used to power spacecraft, like the Mars Rovers. The new device uses concentrating triple junction solar cells, which are composed of three layers of semiconducting material, each of which extracts energy from a different part of the solar light spectrum. The efficiency is further enhanced by a system of mirrors that concentrates the sunlight by 500 times onto each cell. As a result, the new system is expected to be about 50% more efficient at converting sunlight into electricity than other technology APS has tested to date.

November 9, 2004

Siemens to produce a combined heat and power plant for Oregon school

Siemens Building Technologies recently announced that it will design, build, operate, and maintain a combined heat and power plant (CHP) to serve Oregon Health and Science University’s (OHSU) new River Campus in Portland, Ore. Scheduled to open in 2006, the CHP will provide OHSU with a clean, flexible, reliable, and efficient source of heat and electric power.

The plant will serve Building One, a 400,000 square-foot facility that will house medical offices, outpatient surgery, research laboratories, a wellness center, an imaging center, conference center, retail outlets, and parking. It will feature five natural gas-fired microturbines, which will produce all of the heat required by the facility, as well as 34% of its electric power.

The company is also designing a chilled water production plant to serve the cooling needs of the building. Both the CHP and chilled-water plants will be integrated and controlled as a coordinated central utility plant. Other features of the new OHSU facility include using rainwater to flush public fixtures and an internal bioremediator to treat waste.

November 8, 2004

Xcel Energy to be powered by new wind ranch this spring

Xcel Energy recently announced that La Jolla, Calif.-based Padoma Wind Power will build a wind ranch near Elida, N.M., that will supply the company with energy to sell to the residents and companies in the surrounding area in Spring 2005. The San Juan Mesa Wind Project is expected to take six months to complete and will have between 60 and 120 turbine towers depending on the technology. Padoma has requested proposals from several wind turbine manufactures to determine which is best suited for the site.

November 5, 2004

President Bush signs American Jobs Creation Act

President Bush recently signed the American Jobs Creation Act, which will gradually lower the tax rate on domestic manufacturing, including most construction, architectural, and engineering services. The law also repeals an export tax break that the World Trade Organization ruled was an illegal subsidy.

The European Union (EU) had recently imposed steadily rising tariffs, which are currently at a 12% rate, on a broad range of manufactured goods, in order to pressure the United States to repeal the tax break. On Oct. 18 the EU announced that it would suspend the tariff on January 1, 2005, when the repeal takes effect.

Also on Oct. 18, the value of the dollar hit a 12-year low against the Canadian dollar and multi-month lows against numerous other currencies, which should make U.S. exports more price-competitive.

November 4, 2004

ABB announces plans to open a corporate research center in Ohio

ABB recently announced plans to open a Corporate Research Center (CRC) at its industrial computer control system facility in Wickliffe, Ohio, early this month. The CRC will concentrate on advanced computer process control and robotics to improve the efficiency and capability of industrial plants and electric utilities.

The Zurich, Switzerland-based company has invested about $25 million in CRC operations across the United States in other places like Raleigh, N.C., and Windsor, Conn., which perform research and development projects with different universities. The Wickliffe location was selected in part because of its proximity to major American universities that are pursuing projects that relate to the company’s product line, which include robots, process control systems, industrial process measurement devices, and advanced software programs to monitor and control plant and mill operations.

November 3, 2004

ICA and ASTD join forces

The Independent Consultants Association (ICA) recently announced a collaboration with the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) that will allow the two associations to offer joint membership opportunities and share resources like content for their publications and co-location of their annual conferences.

ICA will also co-locate its 2005 Annual Conference with the ASTD 2005 International Conference and Expo in June at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. The conference will include a certification program on “Coaching for Consultants.”

November 2, 2004

UL warns of potentially dangerous self-ballasted lamp

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) recently sent out a notice that Globe Mini-Spiral, 13W, 120V, 60 Hz, 225mA self-ballasted lamps have an unauthorized UL mark and may pose a potential fire and electric shock hazard. The bulbs, manufactured by Fujian Joinluck Electronic Enterprise, were produced between January 2002 and April 2003 and made with parts that UL didn’t investigate. As a result, the parts can fail and melt a hole in the enclosure, which poses a fire hazard and exposes the user to dangerous voltage. UL recommends that consumers stop using the lamp and return it to the place of purchase.

November 1, 2004

IEEE revises nuclear power standard for class 1E cables

The IEEE recently approved the revision of IEEE 690, “Standard for the Design and Installation of Cable Systems for Class 1E Circuits in Nuclear Power Generating Stations.” The standard applies to the design and installation of safety-related electrical cable systems and associated circuits, as well as to non-safety-related cable systems that affect safety systems. IEEE updated references and requirements for fire protection, raceways, separation, cable performance requirements, and installation acceptance testing and documentation.

IEEE also began revisions on IEEE P765, “Preferred Power Supply (PPS) for Nuclear Power Generating Stations,” which will add guidelines for transmission system studies to verify the voltage adequacy of preferred power supplies in order to help ensure the design basis for PPS remains valid under all system conditions.