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2018 Platinum Award Winner: A Whole New Angle

Aug. 17, 2018
This year’s top prize goes to a product that offers an innovative slant on an industry staple.

Viewing things from a different perspective can prove challenging for many people — especially when it comes to products that have been around the electrical industry for a while. This wasn’t a problem, however, for the product development team at Minneapolis-based nVent Hoffman. The manufacturer’s one-of-a-kind Angled Trough, which comes from the enclosures category, took home EC&M’s 2018 Platinum Award. Developed to help end-users hit tight project deadlines, the trough cuts total installation time by up to 80%. This significant time reduction is achieved by allowing conduit runs through six sides of the enclosure, which eliminates the need for costly 90° conduit bends.

“The main product feature is the enclosure angle that allows for conduit runs through the front,” says Matt Behrns, director of product management for nVent Hoffman. “A team of 50-plus contractors and electricians were fundamental in providing feedback to help us define product specifications.”

According to Behrns, nVent Hoffman engineers fine-tuned the product design to make it easier to mount via holes on the back of the enclosure. In addition, the product features a fast-install cover that takes half the number of fasteners than conventional troughs.

Suitable for applications above, below, or to the side of electrical panels in electrical rooms, above modular ceilings, and as a more flexible alternative to the traditional trough, the product was launched in October 2017 after spending less than a year in development. Although the period from inception to completion was quick, several design considerations first had to be resolved.

“We had to find the right combination of dimensions for the conduit entry faces that would allow for the most common size of conduits while maximizing the cover opening space for wire pulls,” says Bruna Oliveira, the company’s global product manager.

Because the cover is at an angle, Oliveira says customer safety and the effort needed to hold it in place while fastening the screws also had to be taken into account.

“We came up with a lance and bridge solution that actually accelerates cover installation,” she says. “We also studied the NEC to understand the product’s unique fill ratios and how the trough meets requirements to be used as a pull box and for splices, for example.”

Available in 16-gauge or 14-gauge steel with an ANSI 61 gray polyester powder-coat finish inside and out, the enclosure ships completely assembled with no endcaps to install. Product benefits include the ability to be placed against the ceiling to free up valuable real estate on walls.

“It also eliminates the ergonomic and safety concerns associated with bending pipes,” adds Oliveira.

Thus far, end-users have been most impressed by how much faster they can finish their installations by not having to bend conduits in electrical rooms of commercial and institutional construction projects, says Oliveira.

“Customers are also finding other applications for the trough below panels and above modular ceilings for lighting,” she says. “In fact, we’ve already received several requests from end-users to expand the line to enable joints at the end and include other type ratings, materials, and dimensions.”

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The EC&M Tradition Endures

Established in 2000, the EC&M Product of the Year competition recognizes excellence in new product development for the electrical industry. Honoring inventiveness in product design, as well as improvements in safety and efficiency, the competition’s two-fold judging and voting process determines the most ground-breaking products of the past year that allow electrical design professionals, installers, and maintenance personnel to perform their jobs more efficiently and effectively.

Products eligible for this year’s competition were those introduced to the market between Jan. 1, 2017, and Dec. 31, 2017. A hand-picked panel of judges ranked the 154 products entered into this year’s contest based on a uniform list of scoring criteria, ultimately selecting 36 category winners for the first phase of the competition. These category winners were then narrowed down to just three through an online poll available to our readers on the EC&M website. By casting their votes, EC&M subscribers determined the platinum, gold, and silver award-winning products of the year.


Step Ladder

This year’s first place runner-up comes from the tools (equipment) category. The LEANSAFE step ladder from Werner Co. is designed to be safely leaned against walls, corners, studs, or a pole. Features include a Type 1A Duty Rating and a load capacity of up to 300 lb. Constructed of 7-layer fiberglass, the OSHA- and ANSI-compliant product is safe to use when working around electricity and comes in a variety of sizes ranging from 4 ft to 12 ft in height. 


Compact Crawler Boom

From the construction equipment category, this year’s second place runner-up is JLG Industries’ X430AJ compact crawler boom, which offers a horizontal reach of 21 ft - 7 in. and a 500-lb unrestricted platform capacity. With a stowed width of 2 ft - 5 in., the boom easily moves through doorways, gates, and yards. Additionally, the machine can be transported by forklift or crane, thanks to its forklift pockets and lifting eyes. Other features include an Li-ion 2.0 power system for eco-friendly operation indoors or outdoors, a tracked wheel carriage that climbs ramps, non-marking tracks for use on sensitive flooring and landscape applications, and auto-leveling outriggers for added stability when working on slopes or uneven ground.


EC&M would like to congratulate the following three readers who each won $100 for voting in this year’s competition:

       • John Anagnostou, a foreman with Morrow Meadows in Downey, Calif.

       • Alonzo Turner, a senior electrical engineer for CBI Services, Inc., in Aiken, S.C.

       • Frederic Dettwyler, an electrician for the Molalla River School District, Silverton, Ore.

The EC&M editorial team randomly drew these names from the list of qualified voters who cast their vote in the online poll.

About the Author

Stefanie Kure | Content Producer - EC&M

Stefanie Kure is the senior associate editor of EC&M magazine. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Kansas and has more than 20 years of experience in the B2B magazine industry. In addition to EC&M, Stefanie has worked on Transmission & Distribution World magazine, Broadcast Engineering magazine, and Power Electronics Technology magazine.

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