September 2004 news archive

September 30, 2004

NECA/IBEW training facility gets it third solar array

NECA/IBEW Local 48 in Portland, Ore., recently celebrated the addition of two solar arrays to the existing system on top of its training center building, bringing its total of functioning systems to three. A $12,000 grant from the Energy Trust of Oregon helped the training center purchase the equipment, which also includes a non-functioning array that’s built on a mock-up of a house’s rooftop to show students how to install an array on an angled roof as opposed to a flat roof.

As special incentives from the government and utilities are encouraging homeowners and businesses to install solar electric systems, Ken Fry, director of the training center, emphasizes the need for the facility. “Solar energy has grown rapidly over the last several years in both residential and commercial construction,” Fry says. “As solar power enters the mainstream, a need for local licensed electricians trained to make solar installation will continue to grow.” Since the solar installation training began in January 2002, 200 apprentices have finished the program.

September 29, 2004

Accubid acquires ConstructJob

Accubid recently acquired ConstructJob, a Meade, Colo.-based company that provides Web-based document and bid solicitation software. ConstructJob founder Natalie Abshier has joined Accubid as the manager of its new Project Management Products division and will continue to direct the development of the ConstructJob product line. Existing users will continue to deal with Abshier and her team on issues like support, training, and implementation. An enhanced version of the flagship ConstructJob product will be released later this year under the Accubid name.

September 28, 2004

MidAmerica Energy to build $323 million wind energy project in northwest Iowa

MidAmerican Energy recently chose two locations in northwest Iowa for its $323 million windmill project. Southwest of Storm Lake, 107 windmills will straddle U.S. Highway 20 and near Blairsburg, 100 others will be visible from Interstate 35. The sites were chosen for the quality of their wind and their proximity to the utility’s transmission lines, and the 310MW this project will generate will bring Iowa to about 780MW of wind power.

The Iowa utility has already begun work on the project and hopes to have the windmills near Storm Lake in operation by the end of the year. The other half should be online by the end of 2005. The project was made possible by a vote Thursday in Congress to reauthorize a tax credit for wind power, which had expired in December 2003 and caused wind projects across the country to be put on hold.

September 23, 2004

Osram Sylvania awards grant to University of Colorado at Boulder

Osram Sylvania recently awarded the University of Colorado at Boulder its Lighting Education Grant, which will give the school $50,000 per year to create more extensive coursework and to incorporate lighting engineering and technology with design and architecture. The university has the largest undergraduate educational program in lighting and illumination in the country.

With the grant, the university plans to develop a new capstone course that’s tailored to seniors who have completed the previous lighting courses and have participated in a summer internship in lighting or manufacturing. Once the course is established, the school hopes to also use the money to bring in additional instructional resources like adjunct professors or a full-time lighting design instructor to the program.

September 22, 2004

Interstates Engineering celebrates its five-year anniversary

This year, Sioux City, Iowa-based Interstates Engineering is celebrating its five-year anniversary. In 1999 the company separated from Interstates Electric and Engineering and became an independent business partner. The company performs design/build work with other companies in the corporation as well as stand-alone work for contractors, owners, general contractors, and other engineering firms.

September 21, 2004

Brook Electrical Distribution plans to open new branch in Illinois

Brook Electrical Distribution recently announced that it will open a new branch in Elgin, Ill. in October. The new location will have a full-service counter sales operation as well as a stocking warehouse.

September 20, 2004

Engenuity Systems announces online interoperability demo

Engenuity Systems recently announced the availability of its online interoperability demonstration at, which allows viewers to see the live status of a variety of systems in the facility. This demonstration uses multiple devices from more than 15 manufacturers to highlight the capabilities of LonWorks and open system products for use in building automation systems and energy management.

Once on the site, visitors can view a variety of automation systems like access control, lighting, temperature control, indoor air quality, security, and IP connectivity. Additional features of the demo include full product information, links to other live demos, and links to third-party monitoring companies that are logging and trending the data from the facility.

September 17, 2004

Vermeer enters agreement with Ring-O-Matic

Vermeer Manufacturing recently entered an alliance with Ring-O-Matic, a producer of vacuum excavation equipment, to distribute the company’s products through its worldwide dealership network. Ring-O-Matic will handle the manufacturing, invoicing, sales support, service, and warranty functions, while Vermeer will provide distribution and marketing. The co-branded units will be available soon through the Vermeer dealer network.

September 16, 2004

Clare Instruments publishes electrical safety guide

Clare Instruments U.S. recently published an eight-page electrical safety-testing guide for individuals who operate power tools and electrical equipment. The booklet provides guidance and best practice advice for the safe operation of Class I and Class II equipment and highlights the dangers caused by electric shock. It also outlines the recommended procedures and precautions that need to be applied to comply with the various rules and regulations that apply to electrical equipment.

The guide is available for free by calling 1-813-886-2775 or e-mailing [email protected].

Leviton partners with Zensys on wireless products

September 15, 2004

Leviton recently entered into a strategic alliance with Zensys, a provider of wireless networking technology for residential applications, to develop, manufacturer, and market a line of products based on Zensys’ Z-wave radio frequency technology. The line will include wireless switches, dimmers, and receptacles that will be fully interoperable with other Z-wave enabled devices like USB dongles, blinds/drapes, thermostats, and garage door openers.

September 14, 2004

Belden CDT to close U.S. plants

Belden CDT recently announced that it will close some operations to cut costs as a result of the merger of Belden and CDT earlier this year. The company plans to close its Montrose cable operation in Auburn, Mass., which employs about 100 people, by early 2005. It will also close Barcel, a Irvine, Calif.-based subsidiary that supplies cable to the aerospace industry.

In addition, the company is in talks to close its plant in Skelmersdale, Lancashire, England, which employs about 220 people, and halt product of some products in the Netherlands. The company said the cash costs of the moves would total about $22 million, but would be “significantly offset” by selling factory equipment and liquidating working capital.

September 13, 2004

TÜV America and Global Testing Labs enter agreement

TÜV America, a testing/certification organization, recently entered into a cooperative agreement with Global Testing Labs (GTL) to use the company for its electromagnetic compatibility testing-related services. In return, GTL will employ TÜV for its product safety and international certifications services.

September 10, 2004

SJE-Rhombus Controls redesigns Web site

SJE-Rhombus Controls recently redesigned its Web site at Users will now find categorized product listings, a literature section with specifications and installation instructions, and more information about the company.

September 9, 2004

Vermont American Power Tool Accessories donates money to military families

Vermont American Power Tool Accessories and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) recently announced that they will team up through the VFW Foundation to help with the Unmet Needs Program, which gives financial support to the families of servicemen and women across the United States. Through the purchase of Vermont American products, the company will donate $1.25 million to the program over a five-year period.

To donate to the program, visit

September 8, 2004

Yale/Chase forms a new division in Southern California

Yale/Chase Material Handling recently formed a new energy efficiency division that provides energy efficient lighting systems to the industrial and commercial sector in Southern California, where it currently has four locations. The company also announced that it has partnered with Plymouth, Wis.-based Orion Energy Systems and has become a distributor for Orion’s energy efficiency lighting systems.

September 7, 2004

Techtronic signs agreement to acquire power tool manufacturers

Techtronic Industries recently announced that it has entered into a stock purchase agreement to acquire Atlas Copco AB’s electric power tool and accessory business, which is currently conducted through Milwaukee Electric Tool, AEG, Drebo. The transaction, which is subject to regulatory clearances and customary closing conditions, is expected to close before the end of 2004 with an estimated worth of $626.6 million on a debt-free basis.

September 3, 2004

STI releases new version of “Guidelines for Installing Steel Conduit/Tubing”

The Conduit Committee of the Steel Tube Institute of North America recently released a new edition of its “Guidelines for Installing Steel Conduit/Tubing,” which is intended to help users design and install wiring systems according to the National Electrical Code.

The updated version covers the installation of rigid metal conduit, intermediate metal conduit, and electrical metallic tubing, as well as PVC-coated conduit and fittings. In addition, the manual includes information on fire-stopping and fire-blocking, corrosion protection, equipment grounding and bonding, raceway support, and other design and installation data.

A downloadable version of the manual is available for free at, or a printed copy is available by emailing [email protected]

September 2, 2004

Graybar opens new location in Punta Gorda, Fla.

Graybar recently opened a new location in Punta Gorda, Fla., to serve its industrial, power utility, interconnect, electrical contractor, and data contractor customers who are cleaning up after Hurricane Charley. The new store will supply material that will help restore power and telecommunications service to the community.

Bob Lyons, the Tampa district vice president, said the company wants to get the community up and running as soon as possible. “If a customer places an order by 5 p.m., they will have their materials at the start of the next business day,” Lyons says.

September 1, 2004

Ardee Lighting updates its Web site

Ardee Lighting recently launched a new Web site at, which displays the company’s new logo and colors. The home page of the site will feature the company’s newest product and links to other product listings, news announcements, and a representative locator. Users will also find downloadable product brochures, spec sheets, photometric data, and company contact information.

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