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February 2005 news archive

February 28, 2005

Ideal gives away a customized Orange County Chopper at Electric West

Daniel Mesa, an electrician from Las Vegas, recently won Ideal’s “Born to Be Wired” sweepstakes and took home a customized Orange County Chopper motorcycle. The company brought the five sweepstakes finalists to the Electric West show in Anaheim, Calif., for the grand prize event.

Each finalist was given a key and a chance to start the motorcycle. Mesa was the first one to try his key and started the chopper. The motorcycle features a RevTech 100 cu. in. engine, a one-of-a-kind paintjob, and plenty of chrome.

February 25, 2005

Siemens Building Technologies and Cimetrics form alliance

Siemens Building Technologies and Cimetrics recently formed an alliance to provide customers with a comprehensive facility data analysis and optimization service that uses “next generation” building performance technology.

Users will receive facility performance data for electrical and mechanical systems that’s extracted, analyzed, and benchmarked using a multi-step, continuous commissioning process. The data will provide prioritized management recommendations and detailed action plans for reducing operating costs and energy consumption.

February 24, 2005

Digital Lifestyles and Home Planners join to provide home automation

Digital Lifestyles, LLC, and Home Planners, LLC, recently partnered to provide consumers and home builders with a home automation upgrade package for single-family and multifamily dwellings. Digital Lifestyle’s HA-Ready universal plug-and-play wiring topology design is the cornerstone of the package.

HA-Ready offers 10 subsystems including lighting, climate control, home theater, video surveillance, and motorized window treatments. Designs for wiring a gaming substructure are currently in development for use with Sony, GameCube, Nintendo, Xbox, and other gaming platforms.

The universal topology will support any currently available electronics system. Installation and materials are priced for the 2,500-square-foot market at approximately $4 to $7 per square foot.

February 23, 2005

Schneider Electric donates supplies to Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

Schneider Electric, in cooperation with Beazer Homes, recently donated all the electrical distribution equipment for the Feb. 20 episode of the ABC television show, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” The company donated Square D brand electrical distribution products like a combination service entrance device, QO load centers, and various circuit breakers.

Located in Atlanta, the home belonged to the Harvey family and was seriously damaged by a septic tank malfunction. A team of designers, contractors, and several hundred workers totally rebuilt the home in one week, and after the makeover, the home proved to be the largest project ever built on the show, totaling 5,300 sq. ft.

February 21, 2005

Howard Industries launches new lighting products division

Howard Industries recently unveiled their new lighting products division at the NEMRA conference in New York. The new division will produce HID luminaries for the utility and I/A markets and will be promoted through the network of representative agencies across the United States to electrical distributors, lighting distributors, investor-owned utilities, electrical cooperatives, and municipalities.

Initial product offerings will include wall packs, floods, vandal canopy, garage lighters, sports lighters, high bays, low bays, dusk-to-dawn, temporary construction lights, and portable work lights.

February 18, 2005

Advance Transformer celebrates 60th anniversary in 2005

Throughout 2005, Advance Transformer will celebrate its 60th anniversary with a variety of activities like internal celebrations, customer events, and special communications. What started with 10 employees, one salesman, and four manufacturers’ representatives has grown into a company with more then 5,000 employees and more than 1 million square feet of facility space throughout North America and Asia.

The company has also launched a new corporate Web site at, which features a photo book detailing its history.

February 17, 2005

NERC adopts new reliability standards

The Board of Trustees of the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) recently adopted a comprehensive set of reliability standards for the bulk electric system. The new standards will incorporate the existing NERC operating policies, planning standards, and compliance requirements into an integrated and comprehensive set of measurable reliability standards.

The new standards will apply to all entities that play a role in maintaining the reliability of the bulk electric system in the United States and Canada, and will take effect on April 1, 2005.

To view the new reliability standards, visit

February 16, 2005

Two electrical businesses in Massachusetts complete acquisitions

The electrical community in Massachusetts recently got a little tighter as two companies acquire new businesses. Needham Electric Supply Corp. (NESCO), a full-line supplier of electrical and datacom products, recently acquired Service Electrical & Industrial Supply, and Standard Electric, an independent electrical contractor, recently acquired Connecticut Electric Equipment.

NESCO, headquartered in Canton, Mass., will now have a branch in Leominster, Mass., which makes a total of seven locations nationwide. The company’s past acquisitions include Benjamin Electric, Lasden Electric, Erik Lighting, and Maine Electric.

Standard Electric is headquartered in Wilmington, Mass., and will now have 19 locations throughout New England. As part of the acquisition, the company will add three Connecticut locations in Meriden, Guilford, and Waterbury.

February 15, 2005

Techstreet offers free standards tracking on its Web site

Techstreet, a business of the Thomson Corp., recently announced that it will offer free, unlimited standards tracking at The service is designed for engineers, corporate librarians, and technical professionals who need to keep up with the rules for product design, testing, safety, compliance, and quality control.

The online service tracks more than 150,000 individual standards from standards developing organizations like, ASTM, ASME, API, BSI, ISO, IEC, NFPA, IEEE, UL, and CSA. Users can create a custom list of industry standards and arrange for e-mail updates when any of those standards are revised or amended.

February 14, 2005

Total construction in 2004 increases 10% over 2003 totals

McGraw-Hill Construction, a division of the McGraw-Hill Companies, recently reported that total construction in 2004 climbed 10% to $582.9 billion, which follows a 5% gain in 2003. McGraw-Hill said the 2004 total marks the largest annual increase since 1999, when construction starts advanced 10%.

In 2004, nonresidential construction increased 3% to $160 billion, a significant increase compared to total nonresidential construction in 2003, which was flat, and the 2001-2002 period, when nonresidential building fell a combined 11%. Total store construction in 2004 increased 5%, while hotel construction advanced 7% and warehouse construction jumped 10%. Office construction increased in 2004 as well, climbing 15%, compared to a 43% decline recorded between 2001 and 2003.

In December 2004, new construction starts were down 2%, which decreased from the November 2004 total of $585.2 billion to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $575.2 billion. Nonresidential building slipped in December as well, falling to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $143 billion, which is 2% behind the November rate of $146.6 billion.

Construction starts for the major commercial categories were primarily down in December: store construction dropped 8%, office construction fell 29%, hotel construction fell 55%, and school construction was down 8%. However, warehouse construction rebounded in December, increasing 92% after falling 30% in November. Additionally, construction starts for transportation terminals, health-care facilities, churches, and public buildings were up 10%, 19%, 45%, and 119%, respectively.

February 11, 2005

Klein Tools launches online catalogs

Klein Tools recently launched a series of online catalogs for professional hand tools and occupational protective equipment on its Web site at These Web-based catalogs offer more photographs and drawings, as well as more listings of features/benefits, specifications, dimensions, and other information.

Other highlights of the online catalogs include a product search feature that lets users locate the products they need by tool name, part number or key word; a new products section highlighting recent introductions; and a material safety data sheets section with downloadable MSDS information. Users can also print and/or download information on company products

February 10, 2005

GE launches new Web site

General Electric (GE) recently re-launched its Web site at The site now features improved navigation based on customer feedback, a commercial area for lighting designers, engineers, specifiers, distributors, and other lighting professionals, and a consumer-focused area to help users who are looking for home lighting information.

Other new features include downloadable copies of GE brochures and catalogs, environmental data, a comprehensive lighting glossary, and online registration for conferences at the company’s lighting institute.

February 9, 2005

Department of Energy to fund solid-state lighting product development

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory recently awarded Advance Transformer, a division of Philips Electronics North America, funding for future solid-state lighting product development activities. The award will fund almost two-thirds of the cost of Advance’s activities toward the development of an “Efficient LED System-in-Module for General Lighting Applications” over the next three years.

According to the DOE, breakthroughs in light emitting diode technology are key to accelerating the replacement of conventional technologies in applications like traffic lights, exit signs, and airplane taxiway edge-lights.

The DOE based its decision on factors like the product’s energy savings potential, likelihood of success, and ability to help secure the nation’s energy future and technological leadership.

February 8, 2005

Electrical products division of Robroy Industries celebrates 100th anniversary

The electrical products division of Robroy Industries will celebrate its 100-year anniversary in 2005. The celebration began on Jan. 3 as the employees of the electrical products division gathered for a general meeting and catered lunch.

February 7, 2005

Mikron Infrared offers free DVD outlining safe practices for thermographic inspections

Mikron Infrared is offering a free DVD with a program by nationally recognized thermography expert Lowry Eads describing safe practices for high-voltage panel inspection. In the DVD, Eads explains why the greatest risk for arc flash is from stored energy on the low-voltage (480V) side, suggests several different strategies for safely working with exposed 480V panels, and gives detailed descriptions of required personal protective equipment for thermographers.

To request a free copy, call (888) 506-3900 or visit

February 4, 2005

Harvatek opens new offices in America and Europe

Harvatek, a manufacturer of surface-mount LEDs, recently announced the opening of sales, marketing, and product development offices in America and Europe. The new offices will be operated as Harvatek Int. and will use OEM sales as well as electronic component distribution networks to service customers in the ultra-portable/cellular, appliance, industrial, automotive, and computing markets.

PC Yong will serve as president and Peter Perniciaro as will serve vice president of sales. Both men were previsouly key members of the Optoelectronics Group of Fairchild Semiconductor and QT Optoelectronics.

February 3, 2005

Pentadyne Power and Emerson Network Power conduct high-power parallel operation

Pentadyne Power and Emerson Network Power recently successfully demonstrated the Liebert FS flywheel power system with a 750kVA Liebert series 6110 UPS system. The FS system is the result of a partnership between the two companies to use Pentadyne’s Voltage Support system for Liebert UPS systems.

The demonstration was conducted by both companies at Liebert’s facility in Delaware, Ohio, and involved eight of the company’s FS power systems, each capable of providing 120kW of power to the DC bus of the UPS, connected in parallel to the Liebert 610 system.

The demonstration included a series of multiple, short-duration input outages and a sustained input outage. N+2 operation of the flywheel system was also demonstrated by sustaining the load while sequentially dropping one and then a second FS unit. In each case, the flywheel system provided the required power to operate the UPS at rated conditions.

February 2, 2005

Advance Transformer launches new Web site

Advance Transformer recently launched its new Web site at The re-tooled site features more content for end-users, distributors, specifiers, ESCOs, OEMs, and contractors; custom-designed role pages for various channel partners and customers; and enhanced navigation by product, application, or industry.

Additional improvements include site search and product finder capabilities, wiring diagrams to download, FAQ and cross reference sections, and the ability to register for e-mail updates from the company.

February 1, 2005

Thielsch Engineering acquires Gaskell Associates

Thielsch Engineering recently acquired Warwick, R.I.-based Gaskell Associates, a consulting engineering firm that specializes in the design of electrical systems for buildings. John Gaskell will continue to lead Gaskell’s Associates division for at least the next three years, and the entire company will be moving to the Thielsch Engineering corporate headquarters in Cranston, R.I., at the end of January.

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