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uickwire

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VOLUME 40 NO. 03 • MARCH 2020

SPECIAL FEATURE: TEST EQUIPMENT

56

ELECTRICALCONTRACTINGNEWS.COM

28 COMPETITION

SPECIAL FEATURE: SOFTWARE & APPS

Win a Rekor IP CCTV Kit, courtesy of ESP

50

OVIA — MAKING LIGHT WORK OF IT OVIA promises electrical contractors a broad range of high-quality, competitively priced lighting products that offer ease and speed of installation as standard. ECN gets the latest on the development of the OVIA lighting brand.

D

uring 2019, Scolmore Group made a significant investment in its successful OVIA brand of lighting to create a dedicated, independent lighting company – OVIA. The aim was to bring to the professional electrical contract market a vastly extended range of high-quality lighting products that are very competitively priced, and are available through the reliable wholesale channel. The OVIA product offer now covers a much wider range of sectors alongside the mainly residential one previously serviced. These include commercial, industrial, utility, amenity and floodlighting. OVIA was first introduced by Scolmore in 2011 as the umbrella brand for the company’s growing lighting collection. Scolmore recognised the huge market potential that the transformation of the lighting sector has brought in recent years, with the emphasis on energy efficiency and connected systems. The new OVIA lighting range has been developed with this in mind.

Turn to page 10 for the full story.

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CONTENTS VOLUME 40 NO. 03 • MARCH 2020

CONTENTS… Regulars 4 Editorial

Features 16 Key Issue

The show must go on.

6 Industry News An 18th Edition amendment, news of the Road to Zero initiative, a tool protection warning, and more.

10 Cover Story Lighting brand, OVIA, is offering electrical contractors a broad range of high-quality, competitively priced lighting products.

12 Contract News New LEDs for Co-op stores, smart solutions for Scottish Housing, cabling for a new bakery, and more.

14 Training

Tim NcNeilly of I.C. Electrical explains why outdated variable frequency drives are proving problematic.

18 Project Focus Scolmore recently provided a healthy solution for a televised Grand Designs project.

24 Ask the Expert Mike Lawrence of Hager discusses the benefits of the company’s new integrated commercial surge protection boards.

28 Competition A chance to win a Rekor IP CCTV kit, courtesy of ESP.

64 Company Showcase

Concerns about apprenticeship funding, details of free fire safety sessions, and more.

Sponsored content from around the sector.

20 Sponsored Feature An in-depth look at how home automation training from Legrand can help you to develop new business opportunities.

22 Show Preview EI Live! 2020

26 Enclosures Rittal has unveiled new AX and KX enclosure ranges that are helping to open up fresh opportunities for value creation with Industry 4.0.

29 ECN’s 40th Anniversary A special series of articles looking back on how the electrical contracting industry has changed over the past four decades.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

Wholesalers & Distributors

Software & Apps

Test Equipment

by electricians frustrated by the poor 44 Founded service provided by their existing suppliers,

The smart home market is full of potential for 50 electrical contractors, and it all starts with a solid

Ian Park, Divisional Manager of ACS, explains 56 exactly why calibration is critical in ensuring

AT&T(GB) has gone from strength to strength since it was founded in 1999. ECN takes a closer look.

47

Jon Roberts, from business software provider, OrderWise, looks at how digital systems are shaping the electrical wholesale sector.

Trading Director, Matt Compton, 48 Screwfix’s discusses ways in which electrical contractors can boost their productivity this year.

control and automation system. Brett Stokke of RTI explains further.

52 54

Nico van der Merwe looks at how apps are enabling homeowners to control their heating remotely, while offering convenience and control in the process.

Stuart Phillips explains how contractors can help their clients achieve higher energy efficiency targets via innovations designed to improve building energy performance.

accurate, reliable results from your test equipment. Duncan, UK distributor for Klein Tools, 58 Malcolm talks about the importance of choosing good quality test equipment and introduces some of the newest innovations. Metrel explains why EV supply equipment needs to 60 be taken seriously, and provides details of its unique multi-tester. David Sweetman of electrical test equipment 62 manufacturer, Di-Log Group, makes the case for believing in British.

electricalcontractingnews.com

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EDITORIAL

NEXT TIME…

Exterior Lighting

The Coronavirus has turned out the lights on the upcoming Light + Building show, but the event will now take place in September

THE SHOW MUST GO ON

W

elcome to the March issue of ECN, and you’re joining us amidst our highly-anticipated 40th anniversary celebrations – more on that later. With Brexit finally starting to dissipate from the headlines, it didn’t take long for the next big news story to make an impact – and in this instance, it comes to us in the form of the Coronavirus. No sooner had the ink dried on the Brexit withdrawal agreement than word of the outbreak had started to spread, and as we went to press, nearly 2,800 deaths have been recorded. Although the loss of human life will always be the most significant element of any story, the ripples have also been making their way over to the electrical contracting sector, which is far from immune. Although many headline exhibitors had been pulling out of various industry shows – with giants such as Sony and Amazon pulling out of Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona – the first major casualty to impact ECN readers was likely the postponement of this year’s Light + Building exhibition. Originally planned for Frankfurt later this month, the organisers undoubtedly made the sensible decision and erred on the side of caution, and fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly for the rearranged dates in September.

But with manufacturing sites closing down in China, and the supply chain being severely disrupted, the knock-on effect to the UK could be immense, and the potential for shortages is a genuine concern. We’ll be keeping a close eye on events, so stay tuned to our magazine and website for further updates as the story progresses. In brighter news, this month’s edition is a very special landmark for the team here at ECN, as we’ve officially reached our 40th anniversary! To celebrate the occasion, we have a section dedicated to articles from many of the companies that have supported us during this time. Everything gets started on page 29, and I hope you enjoy the commentaries looking back on how the industry has progressed in the last four decades. This month’s issue also features our latest Smart Buildings supplement. Loaded with news and products from the sector’s key players, there’s some fascinating insight contained within – and even predictions that smart pets, directional heating and interactive fridges could be on the horizon. We’re also just over a month away from this year’s EI Live! event – the UK’s only dedicated AV and automation trade show. With more and more opportunities opening up in the smart sector for electrical contractors, now’s the perfect time to take the plunge. We have a full two-page preview kicking off on page 22. Enjoy the issue, and – Coronavirus notwithstanding – I will look forward to seeing many of you out and about during the coming weeks. 

EDITOR: SIMON ROWLEY T: 01634 673163 E: simon@allthingsmedialtd.com

Published monthly by All Things Media Ltd., Suite 14, 6-8 Revenge Road, Lordswood, Kent ME5 8UD. Tel: 01634 673163 Fax: 01634 673173

GROUP ADVERTISEMENT MANAGER: KELLY BYNE T: 01634 673163 E: kelly@allthingsmedialtd.com STUDIO MANAGER: BEN BRISTOW T: 01634 673163 E: ben@allthingsmedialtd.com

Fire, Safety & Security

Simon Rowley, Editor

Cable & Cable Management

April Issue Advertising deadline: March 24 Editorial deadline: March 20

BUSINESS SUPPORT ADMINISTRATOR: CAROL GYLBY T: 01634 673163 E: carol@allthingsmedialtd.com MANAGING DIRECTOR: DAVID KITCHENER T: 01634 673163 E: david@allthingsmedialtd.com ACCOUNTS T: 01634 673163 E: susan@allthingsmedialtd.com

ECN charity of choice

The editor and publishers do not necessarily agree with the views expressed by contributors nor do they accept responsibility for any errors in the transmission of the subject matter in this publication. In all matters the editor’s decision is final. Editorial contributions to ECN are welcomed, and the editor reserves the right to alter or abridge text prior to the publication. Overseas Subscription Rates: Europe £60.00; Rest of World £70.00. Copyright © 2020, All rights reserved. Printed by Micropress, Reydon Business Park Fountain Way, Reydon, Southwold, IP18 6SZ.

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ALWAYS A WINNING HAND WITH OUR FULL RANGE OF CLICK WIRING ACCESSORIES

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INDUSTRY NEWS KNIGHTSBRIDGE CONTINUES CHARITY DRIVE Knightsbridge has kickstarted the new decade with a £7,714 donation to Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity, making a contribution from the sales of LED outdoor lighting products in December. Shelter’s vision is to give people the help they need and to campaign relentlessly to achieve a safe, secure and affordable home for everyone. Knightsbridge CEO, Catherine Connolly, has expressed the company’s ambitions to continue to support homeless charities in 2020. She comments, “In addition to delivering exceptional lighting and wiring accessory products to our electrical community, we also choose a charity to work with each year. In 2020, our focus remains on homeless charities and our goal this year is to raise an additional £4,677 for Shelter. This represents £1 for each person registered as street homeless on a single night in November 2018. The amount of money raised by Knightsbridge could help pay for legal advice for almost 100 families; advice that could help them keep their homes. Knightsbridge, mlaccessories.co.uk

CENTURION TO ROLL-OUT ADVANCED FIRE SYSTEMS

REGIONAL APPRENTICE OF THE YEAR CHOSEN

Centurion Fire & Security, a commercial security and fire system provider, has been selected as one of the first companies to test and roll-out C-Tec’s most advanced fire system technology to date. The major deal is announced as the firm approaches a milestone year, in which revenues are expected to grow by 25%. Just six UK organisations have been handpicked to help bring the C-Tec CAST fire system to market. Designed to pre-empt changes in industry-standards, the addressable ‘distributed intelligence’ alarm system has been developed as part of a multimillion-pound investment by Lancashire-based C-Tec. Centurion will begin to roll-out the technology across its UK-wide fire projects, providing valuable user feedback to the manufacturer. The company has also signed a deal with another Lancashirebased manufacturer, Texecom alarm systems. David Armstrong, founder of Centurion, comments, “We have worked with C-Tec for many years, and their technology is second-to-none. So, we are delighted to have been chosen as a partner for the world-leading CAST technology, which we feel will revolutionise the way that our fire services can respond to incidents.

JTL has named Halifax-based William Forsyth as its Electrical Apprentice of the Year for the Yorkshire and North East region. Following a successful apprenticeship with local firm J&R Electrical (Halifax) through Kirklees College, Forsyth’s victory was announced at a celebratory event at the Royal Armouries Leeds, on February 13, where he was presented with a £100 cheque and glass trophy. Forsyth, who was recognised by his training officer for his progress both academically and practically, has now been shortlisted to represent Yorkshire and the North East against seven other regional electrical winners at JTL’s National Awards, which will take place in London on June 2. Meanwhile, Blackpool-based Elliot Lake has been named as Electrical Apprentice of the Year for the North West region, and also moves forward to the National Awards. The award scheme – which is now in its fifth year – sees each candidate assessed against four key elements which make up the apprenticeship framework – their practical work onsite, theoretical knowledge, key skills and industrial test scores.

Centurion, centurion.net

UNITRUNK OPENS NEW DEPOT Cable management manufacturer, Unitrunk, has added to its extensive distribution network with the opening of its newest depot in Yorkshire. Claiming to be the UK and Ireland’s largest distribution network, servicing the electrical contractor and wholesale industry with its range of standard and bespoke cable management solutions, the latest depot will bring the Unitrunk Group to a total of 10 locations throughout the UK and Ireland. This includes two manufacturing sites, located in Warrington, UK, and Lisburn, the company’s headquarters in Northern Ireland. Unitrunk has spent over nine months locating and fitting out the 13,000 square foot premises, which is predominantly warehousing space. The storage capacity means many products are immediately available to customers facing tight deadlines. The Yorkshire facility also boasts newly renovated office space and dedicated conference facilities, which will be used to train customers on how to get the most from the current Unitrunk product range, as well as to introduce the various new ranges which the company will be releasing later this year. Unitrunk currently supplies to customers globally, working on a range of impressive projects from the London Underground, to prominent TV production facilities, to the Kumasi Airport in Ghana.

JTL, jtltraining.com William Forsyth (left) with Richard Smith (right), Assistant Manager for the Yorks & North-East region

Unitrunk, unitrunk.co.uk

6 | March 2020

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INDUSTRY NEWS INDUSTRY REACTS TO ROAD TO ZERO 2035 DEADLINE Boris Johnson has brought forward his plans to ban the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid car sales in the UK to 2035. Electrical training company, Redford Charles (based in Kent), has responded with optimism given that people will only be able to buy electric or hydrogen cars and vans once the ban comes into effect. There are an estimated 30,000 public charging points at 11,000 locations in the UK, with more added every day. Scottish Power has forecast that to reach the 2050 target of the UK going carbon neutral, 25.3 million charging points would be needed, which equates to around 4,000 charging points every day. Graham Wretham, Managing Director at Redford Charles, comments, “The 2035 target is ambitious, but we believe our industry is up for the challenge. Boris Johnson’s announcement represents another electrical training opportunity for our industry. With increased demand for electrical charging points comes increased need for qualified, reliable and knowledgeable electricians. “We offer a range of training opportunities, and this includes 2919 Electric Vehicle (a two-day City & Guilds course). The industry is going to have to stay one step ahead of the dramatic changes over the coming 10 to 15 years to ensure that the Government’s Road to Zero commitments are met.” Redford Charles, redfordcharles.com

ELMHURST WELCOMES ENERGY EFFICIENCY CONSULTATION Elmhurst Energy has welcomed the Scottish consultation, Improving Energy Efficiency in Owner Occupied Homes, which proposes that all homes sold in Scotland from 2024 be C rated. The proposals in the consultation would bring the owner-occupied housing sector into line with the standards set for private and social landlords. Currently, 62% of homes in Scotland are owneroccupied, but of those homes, only 38% have an Energy Performance Certificate rating of C or above. Improving energy efficiency in owneroccupier dwellings will therefore play a significant role in reducing emissions in the residential sector. The consultation includes 32 questions covering the mandatory standard being proposed, how it will be applied and seeking views on how homeowners can be supported in bringing their homes up to the standard. Elmhurst Energy will now spend time fully analysing the document and will inform its members of the implications. “We welcome this statement of intent from Scotland and we will, as always, thoroughly analyse the consultation and listen to our members before responding,” says Stuart Fairlie (pictured above), Technical and Operations Director at Elmhurst. “This is a massive sign of policy intent, and it really sets Scotland’s vision apart. There will be some challenges to deliver this, but it is definitely in the right direction if Scottish homes are to be warmer and cheaper to run. We look forward to working with Scottish Government and our members to make this happen.” Elmhurst Energy, elmhurstenergy.co.uk

MANUFACTURING EXPANSION FOR SCHNEIDER Schneider Electric has announced the expansion of its UK manufacturing facilities in Scarborough and Leeds, driven by rising demand in renewable and green technologies. The business is set to invest in a multi-million pound upgrade and expansion of the two sites, and intends to boost the capacity and productivity of its manufacturing operations and facilitate production of new technologies for the renewables industry. It also plans to create an innovation hub at its Leeds site showcasing sustainable energy management technologies. Mike Hughes, Zone President, Schneider Electric UK & Ireland, says, “We believe there is huge potential to enhance the skills, capabilities and production facilities in our Leeds and Scarborough sites to support the UK’s transition to renewable energy with high quality products and technology manufactured here in the UK. Whilst the UK economy may be showing signs of slowing down, we believe there has never been a better time to invest in renewables technology production.” The two sites currently specialise in the manufacture of switchgear for high-voltage, medium voltage and low-voltage environments. Schneider Electric, se.com/uk

ECS CHECKS AVAILABLE IN NORTHERN IRELAND The Electrotechnical Certification Scheme’s ECS Check system is now operational and approved as a pilot that meets the Licence to Practise (LtP) requirements on government public sector construction contracts in Northern Ireland. ECS Check is recognised by the Northern Ireland Government as meeting procurement guidance note 01-16, and electrical contractors can now meet their LtP requirements free of charge. The ECS Check system also offers value-added benefits to help improve visibility and productivity. ECS Check will quickly display details of qualified electricians, other electrical workers and apprentices employed on multiple projects. Employees who don’t hold an ECS card can easily apply online, or employers can use the ECS Employer Portal system to manage the ECS cards of employees. To use ECS Check, all the user needs to do is simply make a request (to the main contractor or project originator) that ECS Check is used to comply with the LtP requirement under PNG 01-16. If the user is already using the Employer Portal, this function will be added to their account.

ECIC ISSUES TOOL PROTECTION WARNING ECIC, the specialist insurer for the building services sector, has issued a new warning to contractors to protect their tools from theft, following claims from the Criminal Bar Association that theft is being decriminalised due to the police failing to pursue prosecutions. ECIC claims data shows that insurance claims for theft from vans increased by 55% in 2019 compared to 2018, with the average claim for theft of tools reaching £2,685. Recently published crime figures show that the chances of a theft resulting in a prosecution has dropped from 10.8% in 2015 to 5.4% in 2019, with the former Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Lord Stevens, saying that the figures exposed the ‘perfect storm’ of rising offences and falling prosecutions overall. In response, ECIC is urging subcontractors to strengthen their security measures to reduce the risk of tool theft from vans, highlighting basic actions that can be taken to deter thieves: • Use tints on windows so thieves can’t see into the vehicle or install internal metal grilles to make it more difficult to break in. • Ensure that all tools have identification marks using the latest smart technology. • Remove tools from vehicles and store securely elsewhere over night or between jobs – a secure box fixed inside the vehicle is also a secure way of storing your kit. • Park vehicles in a well-lit area with CCTV with the sliding or rear doors close to a wall where possible. ECIC, ecic.co.uk

ECS, ecscard.org.uk

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INDUSTRY NEWS IET AND BSI PUBLISH 18TH EDITION AMENDMENT The IET and BSI have released Amendment 1 to BS 7671:2018 (18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations), which enables a more practical solution for electric vehicle (EV) charging installations. This will help support the rollout of EV charging infrastructure across the country. Containing the updated Section 722 (Electric Vehicle Charging Installations), Amendment 1 comes into effect immediately, instead of after the usual six-month delay, and will form part of a consolidated version of BS 7671 following the next major amendment, expected in 2022. Dan Palmer, Associate Director of Committees at BSI, says, “BS 7671 Requirements for Electrical Installations has been updated in Section 722 to make the installation of electric charging points quicker, easier and less costly. It will help to make electric charging a common sight on UK streets and fuel the growth of electric car usage. “The UK is leading the electric revolution, with ambitious plans to deliver cleaner air and a better environment by committing to 50% of new car sales to be ultra-low emission by 2030. The built environment and electrical infrastructure is the first step on the journey to making these green plans possible.” Mark Coles, Head of Technical Regulations at the IET, adds, “Technical committees have been able to address a new opportunity for EV charging installations that provides a practical solution benefiting industry, consumers and government alike, to help the UK lead the way in the roll-out of infrastructure to support the electric vehicle revolution. Amendment 1 is now available as a free-to-view PDF at theiet.org/updates. The IET, theiet.org

ECA CALLS FOR RAIL ELECTRIFICATION PROGRAMME A number of industry bodies, including the ECA, have published a joint letter urging the Government to kick start a rolling programme of rail electrification in order to decarbonise the rail network by 2040. The letter, coordinated by the Rail Industry Association, was supported by other bodies representing thousands of businesses and organisations from across transport, business and construction. The signatories urged the Government to end the ‘stop-start’ nature of past electrification schemes and to introduce a ring-fenced “rolling programme” fund that allows the rail industry to extend electrified track over several years. ECA Energy Advisor, Luke Osborne, says, “The UK’s railway system, particularly in the North, is in desperate need of investment and decarbonisation to bring it into the 21st Century. Electrification of the railways is fundamental to getting zero carbon done.” Darren Shirley, Chief Executive of Campaign for Better Transport, adds: “The scale and pace of rail electrification must increase if legally binding carbon emission targets are to be met and air quality improved in towns and cities. Rail is currently the greenest major form of transport, but will cede that leading position undoing wider efforts to reduce carbon emissions unless the Government commits to a rolling programme of electrification.” Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), concludes, “Kick-starting a programme of electrification on intensively-used rail is essential if the Government is serious about delivering on its goal to decarbonise UK rail by 2040. Not only are electrified trains key to decarbonisation, electrified tracks are more reliable, reduce costs in the long term and shorten journey times too.” ECA, eca.co.uk

MOVERS & SHAKERS…

A SMART ACQUISITION FOR VIMPEX Effective immediately, Vimpex has acquired the legal rights and ownership of Sigma Fire and Security and its brands, Smart+Guard and Smart+Cage, from Evac+Chair International. “This important acquisition marks a pivotal moment for Vimpex, and an exciting point in our growth as a UK manufacturer,” says Vimpex Managing Director, James Jones. “Evac+Chair International has been a highly-trusted and valued partner of Vimpex for some time, and we believe that through our specialist sector expertise, wide reach and established brand presence in the marketplace, Vimpex is in a strong position to drive forward the future growth of Sigma Fire and Security.” Vimpex will now be distributing all products previously distributed by Sigma including GFS security products and Resettable Call Points. Any existing contracts will not be affected and will be transferred to Vimpex, with Vimpex continuing to sell and develop Sigma Fire and Security’s product portfolio. Vimpex, vimpex.co.uk

£100 UP FOR GRABS WITH NEW SCOLMORE APP Scolmore has updated its app to incorporate all the businesses within the Scolmore Group. This will extend the access for users from Click Scolmore to the full range of products and services for ESP fire and security, OVIA lighting and Unicrimp cable accessories – with just one click. To celebrate the launch of the new app, Scolmore is launching a special promotion that will see a multistore voucher worth £100 up for grabs each month. To be in with a chance of winning, contractors just need to download the new Scolmore Group app and click the ‘Win’ tab, where all the details required will be visible. One winner will be drawn at random each month for the rest of 2020. The app brings contractors the most comprehensive range of features that will help them in their everyday tasks on site. Included is a ‘Tool Kit’ feature, which includes a selection of valuable calculators designed to make it quick and easy for electricians to make essential calculations on the job. The app also offers two new additional calculators within the Ovia Lighting section – one to calculate the recommended amount of lighting products required to achieve the optimum lighting level, as well as a lighting cost saving calculator.

Building services provider, J S Wright, has appointed Ashley Batty as Mechanical Project Manager. He will manage all the mechanical aspects of mechanical and electrical services projects, from preconstruction to completion, across a range of sectors. The Scottish arm of leading construction body, SEC Group, has made two appointments. Gordon Matheson has been appointed the new chair of the Specialist Engineering Contractors’ (SEC) Group Scotland, while Ken Lewandowski has been appointed Executive Chair. Recolight, the WEEE compliance scheme for lighting, has announced the appointments of Andrew Clark of Feilo Sylvania and David Nauth of Tungsram to the Recolight Board.

Scolmore, scolmore.com

8 | March 2020

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COVER STORY

OVIA — MAKING LIGHT WORK OF IT OVIA promises electrical contractors a broad range of high-quality, competitively priced lighting products that offer ease and speed of installation as standard. ECN gets the latest on the development of the OVIA lighting brand.

Building on success The OVIA lighting collection provides contractors with opportunities to take on bigger, more complex projects

10 | March 2020

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OVIA is not another new LED lighting company – the name is a familiar one in the industry. It was first introduced by Scolmore in 2011 as the umbrella brand for the company’s growing lighting collection.

Having enjoyed considerable success with it during the last eight years, Scolmore recognised the huge market potential that the transformation of the lighting sector has brought in recent years, with the emphasis on energy efficiency and connected systems. The new OVIA lighting range has been developed with this in mind and includes a full range of lighting control solutions that will optimise energy saving credentials. A lot of work has gone on over many months to ensure that the OVIA lighting range meets all the requirements of today’s contractors. Their needs – identified through constant engagement with them – have been instrumental in getting the right product mix together. Contractors will also have the reassurance of ongoing support from OVIA by way of constant price checking, providing technical support through the dedicated customer service team, plus access to free training to ensure they are totally up to speed with the latest products and technologies.

Lighting expert at the helm “Contractor’s needs – identified through constant engagement with them – have been instrumental in getting the right product mix together.”

OVIA was officially launched in November 2019, with leading industry expert, Mike Collins, heading up the business and a highly experienced sales team on board taking the new OVIA offering out to customers across the UK. He comments, “Our aim is to provide contractors with a broad range of lighting products that are quick and easy to install and will save them time and money on any given project. We believe that we have a winning formula with this new OVIA range. “We already have a reputation for quality and reliability, and we believe we are hitting the market at the right time to fill a gap for a broad spectrum of entry level lighting products that are highly competitively priced, offer a range of unique features and benefits, and are unmatched by competitors. “We’ve got some fantastic products in the collection and had a great opportunity to get some feedback from the industry when we took them to ELEX at Alexandra Palace in January. The most common

electricalcontractingnews.com

28/02/2020 16:16


COVER STORY reaction was that contractors felt they were being listened to, and we were bringing out products that cater directly for them.” The OVIA team will continue to engage with contractors throughout 2020 via attendance at some of the industry’s leading events, including ELEX and NICEIC Live, as well as through its dedicated YouTube channel, SGTV. This is where valuable insight and feedback is gained to help shape the product development programme, and will ensure that the wholesaler has access to those products that their customers want.

Lighting design service As part of a commitment to deliver a firstclass service, a dedicated OVIA lighting design service is available, allowing customers to access free lighting design schemes for their commercial projects. This can all be handled through the local ASMs who are all qualified to carry out site surveys. With all the relevant information and measurements acquired and a site survey completed, a suitable lighting scheme will then be designed, and the proposal and quotation supplied.

Product spotlight Some 400 individual products made up the first phase launch in November. The premium products within the OVIA lighting range come under the Inceptor brand. Inceptor is already a well-established and highly-regarded brand among contractors – think Nano, Omni, Pico and EVO. Now, a raft of innovative new products have been added to the Inceptor range, with special features and benefits that set particular products apart, such as the ability to use the Flow connector for speed and ease of installation, as well as the offer of additional warranties. Here are some of the products to look out for: • Inceptor Slate – OVIA is the first company to introduce a commercial LED panel with pre-wired Fast Fit Flow Connector as standard • Inceptor Iona – the only commercial downlight on the market that has an integrated Flow connector

• Inceptor Apto – an unusual, adaptable commercial downlight that can be retrofitted into a range of cut-out sizes Complementing the lighting products offer is a range of sensors to control devices – microwave and PIR control options. The benefits are numerous – they can add convenience, help save costs, improve safety and reduce environmental impact.

Emergency lighting collection In February, just three months after OVIA was officially launched, the company was ready to introduce the OVIA Emergency Lighting collection, which joins the domestic, commercial, industrial, utility, amenity and floodlighting products already available. This brings to the professional contractor market one of the most extensive ranges of lighting products from under one roof. A total of 60 individual products make up this new Emergency Lighting collection, providing an unparalleled variety of products for the end user, and they fall broadly under the following categories – bulkheads, exit boxes, downlights, twin spots, surface/suspended exit signs and self-test and non-self-test emergency lighting. There is also a range of accessories which includes battery replacements, wall brackets, adhesive legends and flush mounting kits. As well as being highly competitive, the range has been designed to offer speedy and low-cost installation, as well as low cost maintenance. The complete range of OVIA emergency lighting products and batteries are supplied with a four-year warranty.

A legacy of innovation Scolmore has a reputation for innovation – the result of a commitment to invest in new and improved products and the latest technologies. A history of industry firsts within lighting helped shape the company’s reputation. They were first to market in 2005 with fire-rated downlights, with the award-wining FlameGuard fire protected and acoustic rated products.

They were also the first to introduce an integrated downlight that overcame the issue of shallow ceiling voids, with their Inceptor integrated downlight with patented pre-wired Flexi driver. Inceptor remains a trusted brand among electricians and the key features and benefits of this sophisticated product range have helped shape the new OVIA product offer. The extensive OVIA lighting collection means that contractors now have access to a huge increase in lighting products and solutions that provides them with opportunities to take on bigger, more complex projects that can help boost their earnings. A dedicated OVIA website – www. oviauk.com – and a comprehensive 196page downloadable product catalogue are available. For further information, contact OVIA by calling 01827 300640 or emailing sales@ oviauk.com. 

The aim was to provide contractors with a broad range of lighting products that are quick and easy to install

OVIA, oviauk.com A vast array of individual products – 400, in total – made up the first phase launch in November

electricalcontractingnews.com

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CONTRACT NEWS CABLE SOLUTIONS FOR STATE-OF-THE-ART BAKERY Siemon has announced that its structured cabling technology has been installed at Rich Products’ new 15-acre UK production facility in Andover, Hampshire. In order to support the company’s ambitious growth plans, Siemon’s 10 Gigabit Ethernet copper and fibre cabling solutions are future proofing Rich Products’ state-of-the-art bakery, while enabling a fully automated production process and intelligent building services. Rich Products Corporation is one of the leading manufacturers of sweet bakery products and non-dairy toppings and fillings for the foodservice, in-store bakery and retail markets. It is the largest privately owned frozen food company in the US and employs more than 10,000 people worldwide. “Fully automated manufacturing and cutting-edge production technologies require state-of-the-art IT infrastructure,” says Nigel Dalmut-Rudd, IT Manager at Rich Products. “The majority of our production equipment, which includes conveyors, scales, mixers, dosing systems, as well as the sorting, boxing and palletisation, is now managed through the network. All processes are data driven and require the support of a very robust IT network – one that can serve us well into the future and that maximises return on investment (ROI).” Rich Products specified a 10 Gigabit Ethernet infrastructure, and after careful consideration and advice from its cabling partner, easyNetworks, found the right solution offering in Siemon. The company’s products best matched the high standards of the manufacturing centre, while Siemon’s 20-year product warranty and extensive infrastructure planning and design expertise affirmed Rich Products’ decision.

Rich Products’ new 15-acre UK production facility in Andover

“The biggest challenge for us was time,” recalls Paddy Reed, Head of Projects at easyNetworks. “Some production lines had to be kept operational during the various project phases, as testing and development tasks could not be delayed. However, we managed to work around their schedule and completed the work ahead of the project timeframes. Siemon’s products certainly helped us here as connectors and cables are fast and easy to terminate, readily available and fit for purpose with minimal maintenance from day one.” Siemon, siemon.com

AHU REFURBISHMENT AT DEVONSHIRE SQUARE

THE FUTURE LOOKS BRIGHT FOR THE CO-OP Zumtobel Group, lighting brands Thorn and Zumtobel, have created a versatile energy efficient LED lighting system for new and refurbished Co-op stores throughout the UK. Working closely with everyone involved in the project, from the Co-op through to the contractor, Zumtobel Group came up with a solution that would meet all the requirements of the scheme. This included achieving the required illuminances and a light distribution that enhances the products and attracts the customer, whilst maintaining the business’s green credentials. Thorn’s Primata, a complete, plug and play trunking system for rapid installation, illuminates the critical sales floor areas, to reduce glare and show the merchandise in the best possible light. Primata is an ‘all-in-one’ solution that combines track, batten, optic and LED to produce continuous and seamless light lines. Zumtobel track mounted VIVO spotlights have been utilised to highlight the fresh produce, in-store bakery and beers, wines and spirits section. The VIVO LED spotlight uses cutting edge IR and UV-free technology that makes it possible to provide high power accent lighting for sensitive products. Recessed Thorn Omega Pro, a striking LED edge lit flat panel, illuminates the office areas as its outstanding glare control is perfect for computer use. PopPack, with an increased efficiency (>110lm/W) that exceeds the current building regulations and provides up to 67% reduction in energy consumption, has been chosen for back of house in the stores, WCs and stairs. Zumtobel, zumtobel.co.uk

London’s Devonshire Square, situated in the historic area between Liverpool Street Station and Spitalfields, comprises 630,000 square feet of prime office and leisure space, spread over a five-acre campus including numerous refurbished and re-configured 18th century buildings. When five large and ageing supply and extract air handling units needed replacing, the site’s technical manager contacted air handling unit (AHU) specialists, ECEX. One of ECEX’s expert surveyors undertook a detailed survey of the existing AHUs, and it became evident that refurbishment and upgrade of the toilet supply and general extract units would be a more appropriate option than replacement due to site logistics, downtime considerations and cost. A full scope of works was agreed for the replacement of three units and the comprehensive refurbishment and upgrade of the others, including corrosion treatment, replacement of dampers and actuators, the replacement of the existing belt driven fans with new EC plug fans and a full deep clean. The works were completed to the agreed programme by ECEX’s skilled site team without disruption to site activities. Devonshire Square Management, part of BNP Paribas Real Estate (BNPRE) are the Managing Agents for the Devonshire Square Estate. ECEX, ecex.co.uk

Before and after shots of the general extract units

A SMART SOLUTION FOR SCOTTISH HOUSING The Scottish government is leading the way when it comes to fire safety, with wide ranging proposals calling for consistent, high levels of smoke, heat and CO alarm provision to be applied to all types of housing. With minimum safety standards now extended to all Scottish homes, and compliance required within two years, work is underway to plan the necessary upgrades and source the right products at the right price to meet this new legislation. Responsible for over 5,000 properties across Edinburgh, the Lothians and Fife, and also responsible for managing a further 600 rental properties through Lowther Homes, its sister organisation, Dunedin Canmore Housing Association has a five-year investment plan in place to improve, repair and upgrade its tenants’ homes. As part of this upgrade, it will be installing over 300 kitchens, and 200 bathrooms per year and undertaking LD2 smoke detection upgrades to 100% of its properties over a 12-month period. Scolmore was appointed following a competitive tendering exercise to provide a range of products including the new Click Smart Switch Supply to Permanent Conversion Pack, as well as USB sockets, light switches and pendants from the Click Mode wiring accessories range. The rolling programme to upgrade the properties will see the installation of Click Smart conversion kits where required to save major intrusive works. This will allow speedy and damage-free installation of smoke detectors to the new LD2 standard within dwellings. The conversion kits provide a retrofit smart solution to allow independent control of the lighting circuit, whilst still supplying a smoke detector with constant power. Scolmore, scolmore.com

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CONTRACT NEWS SWEET SUCCESS FOR CHOCOLATE ATTRACTION Chocolate Nation, a visitor attraction based in Belgium, has chosen to partner with Panasonic for its technology and equipment needs. Having already attracted over 100,000 visitors in the first nine months of opening, the Antwerp museum says its technology partnership with Panasonic has underpinned its rapid rise as a visitor attraction. Chocolate Nation has deployed Panasonic equipment throughout the museum, shop, restaurant, event and meeting rooms. The technology provides a truly immersive experience for visitors, and the range of solutions includes 20 professional display screens, 10 laser projectors, security cameras and the latest telephony solution.

From initial concept, the museum set-out to be an immersive experience for visitors. Through 14 thematic areas, visitors are taken on a journey from the jungle where cocoa beans are grown, through their transportation across the ocean to Antwerp (the world’s largest port for cocoa bean storage), to the making of chocolate delights and, of course, lots of tasting. “The immersive experience is where Panasonic plays an important role,” explains Catherine Stuyck, Head of Marketing and Communications at Chocolate Nation.

“Thanks to the large projections on the ceiling, walls, and floor, visitors can really have the feeling they’re standing on a floating container ship. Using light and sound effects, visitors can pass in front of a large imaginary machine in true Willy Wonka fashion to understand how chocolate is made. Afterwards, visitors virtually meet the great Antwerp chocolate makers and are seated in an experimental restaurant where surprising images are projected onto their plates.” Panasonic, panasonic.com/uk

STIRLING COUNCIL TURNS TO ESP FOR ACCESS CONTROL PROVISION

UNIVERSITY OF LONDON CONTRACT FOR SALISBURY GROUP

Stirling Council is in the process of installing security measures for its housing developments and has selected products from ESP’s Aperta access control range for a number of domestic properties. Liam Wilkie, Electrical Specialist for Stirling Council, has been utilising products from across the Scolmore Group of companies for a variety of recent projects and chose ESP’s Aperta video door entry systems for this particular scheme due to the ease of installation and operation. Two products from the Aperta range are being installed – the colour video door entry system and the colour video door entry system with record facility. Wilkie comments, “I selected these particular kits due to the easiness of installation. They use simple two core cabling which makes the installation quick and they always work first time. They look stylish and a choice of a black or white colour for the monitors means we are able to select one to best suit the tenants’ décor.” As well as the general installation in domestic properties, the door access kits have been utilised as part of the council’s care crime scheme. This is where there is an urgent need to provide security for a particular tenant who may need the reassurance of checking who is at the door before they open it. This is where the speed with which these kits can be installed makes all the difference.

Salisbury Group, the facilities management (FM) company, has won a major contract with the University of London. It will see the company provide hard FM services to academic and residential buildings across the estate, which currently includes 27 buildings and ancillary facilities with a footprint of around 130,000m2. Through the contract, Salisbury Group will deliver planned preventative maintenance, reactive maintenance and project and lifecycle engineering infrastructure projects. It will also provide helpdesk services and specialist supply chain monitoring for a diverse range of buildings, plant, equipment and systems. The level of technical expertise and specialism is expected to improve asset performance and increase overall efficiency and value for money. Salisbury Group is committed to fair working conditions and practices, including paying (as a minimum) the London Living Wage and not utilising zero hours contracts. Furthermore, to support the University of London’s low carbon emission and sustainability objectives – including its ambitious goals of becoming a net zero carbon institution by 2036 – the company will also produce a sustainable programme that aims to invest in the most environmentally efficient ways to deliver FM services. This will include a fleet of eco-friendly vehicles to transport its specialist engineers around the various sites.

ESP, espuk.com

LEDS FOR NEW RETAIL DISTRIBUTION CENTRE EcolightingUK was specified for the LED lighting at a new build 495,000 square foot clothing and home distribution centre in Hatfield as part of a five-year transformation plan for a large UK retailer. The existing site, which opened recently, was formerly used by another retailer and has been converted into a mechanised clothing distribution centre and serves 150 stores in the South East, employing more than 500 people. Ecolighting was chosen for the project to provide the lighting installation within a number of services for the tender, which also included ancillary electrical works, PA systems and fire and smoke detection. Following a competitive tender process, a main contract of more than £16m was awarded for the works. Ecolighting was selected for its reduced costs against competitor prices and the efficacy of its fittings. The specification was to install LED luminaires inside the distribution centre alongside a RAPID emergency monitoring system. The site was also fitted with external lighting. Split into two warehouses, Boxed (boxed items) and Hanging (hanging garments), both buildings have been installed with automation so that products are able to be transported between floors. The Boxed warehouse and The Hanging Garment warehouse combined have been fitted with more than 13,600 of Ecolighting’s Sapphire luminaires with 3,600 programmable dimmable sensors providing background lighting after non-occupancy and 10,000 switching sensors. Both warehouses also benefit from over 2,600 Altos emergency lighting LED luminaires and each have the RAPID Emergency system installed.

Salisbury Group, salisburygroup.com

Ecolighting, ecolightinguk.com

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28/02/2020 09:19


TRAINING ECA ISSUES FUNDS WARNING The ECA has warned that proposed increases in funding for non-levy paying employers to invest in apprenticeships may not be enough to address the sector’s current and future needs. The comments follow a call from Jennifer Coupland, the new Chief Executive of the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, for an additional £750 million for SME apprentices. Coupland made the remarks during an interview with the Financial Times shortly after her appointment. Meanwhile, the Treasury has indicated that the March budget will have a strong focus on skills, notably on apprenticeships and the upskilling of existing workers.

Andrew Eldred, ECA Director of Employment and Skills, comments, “We cannot afford to ignore the worsening shortfall in funding available to small firms outside the scope of the apprenticeship levy. The cat is now out of the bag, with the Institute for Apprenticeship’s own Chief Executive calling for an extra £750 million for non-levy employers. In fact, according to the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, we need double this amount. “The electrotechnical sector currently creates over 6,000 apprenticeships annually, with the vast majority recruited and trained by small employers. If the Government is to have any chance of meeting its policy objectives on public

infrastructure, housing, green energy, digitalisation and building safety, then this number needs to be even bigger. Prolonged

uncertainty about non-levy funding is putting all this at risk.” ECA, eca.co.uk

FREE APOLLO COURSES THIS MAY Visitors to the Apollo Fire Detectors stand (E60) at ELEX Exeter will be able to sign up to free, regional CPD-accredited training courses, which will take place in May. These training courses will focus on detection principles, device selection and BS 5839 – Part 1 and 6, which give an overview of: standards and legislation; detector categories and grades; audio visual devices and overview on EN54-23; installation, consideration and documentation. The courses provide a foundation of understanding for electricians and electrical contractors, supporting professional development and improving the confidence needed to apply these standards on the job. Apollo Fire Detectors specialises in the design and manufacture of high-quality fire detection solutions for commercial and industrial applications including the long-established XP95 range and the wireless XPander system. Jessica Mann, Events Executive at Apollo Fire Detectors, says, “Our experts will be on hand at ELEX to answer any questions, and visitors can sign up to our free regional CPDaccredited training courses – the first of which will take place on the May 14 at Hampton by Hilton at Exeter Airport. There will be three two-hour sessions throughout the day with 24 spaces available on each. The courses are designed to help electricians advance their careers, increase their understanding and add value to their business.” ELEX Exeter takes place on April 23-24. Apollo Fire Detectors, apollo-fire.co.uk

CPD TRAINING PART OF NEW QUELFIRE PACKAGE

PUPILS STILL BEING STEERED TOWARDS UNIVERSITY According to a recent YouGov survey, only 11% of 15-18-year olds are likely to be encouraged towards apprenticeships. The survey, commissioned by training provider JTL ahead of National Apprenticeship Week, reveals that there has only been a 3% increase since its last survey in 2017, where just 8% of 15-18-year olds had been encouraged towards apprenticeships, compared to 11% in 2019. Two years on from the introduction of the Baker Clause, results suggest there is still a belief amongst school children that the most likely recommendation from their school or college will be to follow a university route (73%). Results also indicate that only 10% of 15-18-year olds are very content with the amount of technical job support or practical skills such as engineering or plumbing they receive in lessons. Even more telling is only 5% of females surveyed felt they had been encouraged to become a skilled tradesperson, compared to 14% of males. Jon Graham, Chief Executive of JTL, says, “These results are disappointing and show there is still much more work to be done in ensuring school leavers are fully aware of the benefits of undertaking an apprenticeship and in helping their parents or guardians feel confident and empowered in choosing this route. This is even more pertinent following the introduction of the Baker Clause in 2018, which was established to ensure schools give their pupils access to and information about technical education and apprenticeship opportunities.

Quelfire, a manufacturer and supplier of specialist passive fire protection products, has introduced an enhanced package that is designed to support architects and designers from the very beginning of their projects. As part of Quelfire’s mission to educate the construction industry on the importance of passive fire protection, its CPD training course, entitled Effective Passive Fire Protection for Gaps and Penetrations in Buildings, which has recently gained CPD accreditation, aims to enable more effective design and specification of complete passive fire protection systems. The training session raises awareness of the importance of early engagement, thus ensuring compliant installations, and illustrates the solutions available. Organisations that are involved in the design or management of the installation of passive fire protection solutions can request a face-to-face training session normally held at their premises and collect CPD points. Meanwhile, a 45-minute presentation titled Effective Passive Fire Protection for Gaps and Penetrations in Buildings is now available to view online. Providing flexibility and convenience, working professionals with limited time can plan their learning around other work priorities, instead of the other way around. In addition, individuals and companies with less than 10 delegates (and therefore not eligible for a face-to-face CPD) can benefit from the online resource. Those who attended a face-to-face CPD can also use this as a recap tool. Quelfire, quelfire.co.uk

JTL, jtltraining.com

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Deta Electrical Head Office and Distribution Centre Unit 2 Panattoni Park, Luton Road Chalton, Bedfordshire LU4 9TT

01582 544 544 deta.co.uk sales@deta.co.uk

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28/02/2020 09:40


KEY ISSUE

DRIVES FOR A NEW DECADE Variable frequency drives play a key role in minimising wasted electricity, but those installed over a decade ago may be failing to reach sustainability targets. Tim McNeilly, Managing Director of I.C. Electrical, explains why it might be time for an update.

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unning motors and drives accounts for almost two-thirds of the electricity used by UK industry. Drive modernisation projects can prove an effective method of improving energy efficiency across plants, but how can plant operators decide whether this is the right approach for them, and how can they ensure the project runs smoothly? Variable speed drives, also known as variable frequency drives, are pieces of equipment used to control the speed of industrial machinery, helping to minimise wasted electricity. Where this technology is up to date, it can play a valuable role in improving a plant’s energy efficiency levels, whilst keeping running costs down. However, a fit-and-forget approach is not enough, and failing to address outdated drives could lead to plant operators falling short of their commercial and sustainability targets.

Drastic developments It’s important to bear in mind that over the last decade, technological developments in drives have led to significant leaps forward being made in terms of their energy usage. As such, plant operators with drives installed 10 years ago (or more) may need to consider embarking on a modernisation project; upgrading to the latest generation of drives could provide a payback within two to three years on the capital investment cost. For plant operators considering undertaking a such a project, it’s important to start by seeking an electrical contractor with a strong track record of working with businesses in the industrial sector. As well as ensuring that the work is undertaken to the highest possible standard, maximising its commercial and environmental benefits, securing the help of an experienced contractor is key to getting the plant back into service once the project has been completed, minimising any impact on production schedules.

Weighing up the potential savings The first stage of a modernisation project generally involves plant operators working with drive manufacturers to discuss the energy savings offered by different drives. This can be calculated by carefully assessing energy expenditure and start-up times for existing drives and comparing them with the statistics of newer models. Once an

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When updating to a newer drive, operators need to consider factors that may have altered during the plant lifecycle

“It’s important to start by seeking an electrical contractor with a strong track record of working with businesses in the industrial sector.”

Technological developments in drives have led to significant leaps forward being made in terms of their energy usage

assessment has been made and presented to the plant operator, it’s also important to consider compliance with BS7671 (the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations). For example, when updating to a newer drive, operators may need to consider factors such as cable dimensioning and harmonic effects that may have altered during the plant lifecycle. Consideration should also be given to ambient temperature of the environment, to guarantee the safety of the organisation’s workforce and the effectiveness of the equipment.

Less is more When embarking on an efficiency push, there may sometimes be a temptation to overhaul all areas of a plant at once. However, it’s vital to bear in mind the potential impact this may have on production processes and often, phasing in upgrades little-by-little may prove a wiser approach.

Breaking down a modernisation project into manageable chunks and building in sufficient time for vital electrical processes such as testing, commissioning and set-up is key to minimising any impact on day-today production processes, whilst still benefitting from enhanced energy efficiency across the plant. An electrical contractor will be able to advise on how to strike a balance between the need to upgrade plants quickly, whilst keeping processes running as normal. As environmental regulations become ever-more stringent in the coming years, the need to improve energy efficiency across plants will only increase. By seeking the right expert advice and timing drive modernisation projects carefully, operators can future-proof their electrical systems whilst keeping production processes firing on all cylinders.  I.C. Electrical, icelectrical.co.uk

electricalcontractingnews.com

28/02/2020 09:20


uickwire

Revolutionary prewired junction box

Designed to dramatically speed up lighting installation time

o f n i e r o m r o f r e l a s e l o k h u . w o r c . u e o r y i w k c Ask i u q . w w w t i s i or v Prewired - clearly labelled cable entry points for error free wiring.

Maintenance Free

Dramatic time saving on site.

Compact - fits through a 32mm diameter hole in ceiling.

Revolutionary push fit design - no screws, clips or clamps.

Designed and manufactured in Britain.

01183 840025 Untitled-2 1

info@quickwire.co.uk

www.quickwire.co.uk

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connectors

Tracking = 277

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PROJECT FOCUS

A GRAND AND HEALTHY DESIGN Mode – a stylish, contemporary and flexible range of smooth profile wiring accessories from Scolmore – recently provided a healthy solution for a televised Grand Designs project. Here’s a look at why it was perfect for these special circumstances.

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All of Scolmore’s white moulded and Mode Part M wiring accessories are manufactured using urea formaldehyde, which has similar inherent properties to antimicrobial additives that inhibit the growth of infectious diseases. All products independently tested achieved a 99.9% kill off rate across all four types of the strains of bacteria – MRSA, E-Coli, salmonella and klebsiella pneumonia. Scolmore has continued to invest in this range since it was originally launched, introducing products in visually contrasting versions to meet with Part M regulations. In 2016, the company added the Mode locating plug socket to the range. It was designed to assist people with impaired vision or poor hand to eye coordination to more easily insert a plug into a socket. Other innovations for the range include the addition of USB sockets – now available in one- and two-gang, and single and twin USB options. In 2018, a three-pin safety shutter socket, which exceeds the required safety standards, was launched.

iving with a suppressed immune system following a bone marrow transplant and treatment for leukaemia, Toby Leeming, who recently appeared on Channel 4 programme Grand Designs, was determined to fulfil his long-held ambition to build his dream family home. This would require some careful consideration, particularly when it came to choosing materials and fittings that wouldn’t compromise his health, and Scolmore’s Mode antimicrobial wiring accessories provided a fitting solution for the electrical installation for his ambitious build.

A rural retreat In 2012, Leeming became critically ill and was diagnosed with leukaemia. With more than a year of life-saving treatment to follow, during which time he was confined to hospital, he had a lot of time to think and dream about the ideal home he would like to build. Six years later and free of leukaemia thanks to a bone marrow transplant, he and his wife and young daughter moved from London to a cottage in rural Suffolk – a much healthier environment for Toby, who has a suppressed immune system and is therefore prone to infections. The dream to build a home for his young family continued to drive him, and following the purchase of 4.5 acres of land just 200 yards from their cottage, it started to become a reality. The house was designed to incorporate features beneficial to Toby’s ongoing wellbeing and health. With some 370 square metres of accommodation to contend with, a huge quantity of wiring accessories was needed for the electrical installation. After much research, Scolmore’s Mode wiring accessories were personally chosen by Toby specifically for their antimicrobial benefits, and switches and sockets have been installed throughout the six-bedroom, single-storey courtyard house. Toby comments, “I had been considering other options to work with the interior décor,

Stylish products from the Mode range have been implemented across the property

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such as copper accessories. However, as well as being very expensive, they didn’t provide the much-needed protection healthwise that Scolmore’s Mode accessories offered. As well as meeting those vital health requirements, they are very smooth, stylish looking products that look really good everywhere we have had them installed.”

The TV show chronicled how Toby Leeming was able to build his dream family home in Suffolk

A healthy range of solutions More than 80 13A sockets, 22 5A sockets, plus a quantity of one, two, three and four gang switches, dimmers, new media sockets, shaving sockets, oven switches and extractor fan overrides from the Mode range have been installed. For a couple of feature walls, Leeming opted for black switches from the Definity range to provide a striking contrast. The Mode range of contemporary, white wiring accessories was conceived and developed as a flexible and modern solution for virtually any domestic wiring requirement. The modular design allows installers unprecedented flexibility in creating dedicated wiring solutions.

The switches and sockets selected provide muchneeded protection, health-wise

Architectural considerations For Toby’s ambitious build project, sourcing the right electrical accessories was a minor hurdle when considering the main challenge that the couple faced with the project. At the heart of the plot of land was a huge, ancient oak tree, and the idea was to design a building that would wrap around the tree, which would provide much needed shade and protection for Leeming, whose condition has also left him susceptible to skin cancer. The challenge was to balance high architecture and health with a comfortable family home. An architect worked up Toby’s sketches for a nature healing home into a full scheme. Covering some 370 square metres, it spreads across four separate, steelframed buildings placed in a horseshoe around the oak tree. To build around and near it with traditional foundations would compact the soil, damage the roots and threaten its survival. So, the couple employed a main contractor who developed a lightweight construction method. It used small concrete pad stones to support the steel buildings which effectively float above the ground, thus leaving the roots of the oak tree uncompromised. The end result is a stunning and unique six-bedroom home which, with a little help from Scolmore’s Mode accessories, is providing peace of mind to Toby and his family, being specially adapted to his needs following his recovery.  Scolmore, scolmore.com

electricalcontractingnews.com

28/02/2020 09:22


18th Edition Solutions CIRCUIT PROTECTION TEL: 01563 533 554 SALES@CPELECTRIC.CO.UK

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www.cpelectric.co.uk

21/02/2020 15:41


SPONSORED FEATURE

OPENING THE DOOR TO HOME AUTOMATION An in-depth look at how home automation training from Legrand can help you to develop new business opportunities.

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K homes are getting smarter. Recent research from Legrand, which interviewed over 1,000 UK residents, revealed a surging market where two-thirds of people own at least one smart device. Just under half of those polled are also planning to buy more technology in the next year. Home automation represents the next logical step. Via an app or mobile device, home automation systems give the end user the ability to create scenes and easily control simple on/off devices such as lighting circuits and heating valves. Each component of these systems is hardwired into the fabric of the house, meaning functionality is never lost, as opposed to a series of devices connected via the home’s Wi-Fi network. In a market that only looks set to embrace more smart technology, the ability for contractors to offer home automation represents a lucrative new business opportunity. The perception, however, is that it’s difficult to install and requires a vast amount of programming knowledge. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Legrand’s Training Academy provides contractors with all the knowledge and expertise necessary to install a MyHOME_Up home automation system. This article explains all you need to know and what you can expect when arriving at Legrand’s training centre.

What do you need? Training takes place at Legrand’s offices in Birmingham. MyHOME_Up runs off a hardwired proprietary protocol, so having standard electrical qualifications (level 3 NVQ or equivalent), familiarity with home wiring, and on-site experience is assumed, though some familiarity with smart technology is desirable. If you use a smartphone, or know your way around one, then you will have no difficulty getting to grips with Legrand’s home automation system.

MyHOME_Up is Legrand’s flagship home automation system

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The course is based on concepts that will be familiar to every electrical contractor and it does not require any separate study or specialist expertise. However, our experts are there to challenge and ensure you are capable of installing a system to a high specification. Importantly, contractors will only need the basic tools found in every electricians’ toolkit. No expensive equipment needs purchasing, and the entire course is free of charge. Training lasts just one working day to minimise time away from your projects.

Training takes place at Legrand’s offices in Birmingham

What is involved? Legrand will walk contactors through everything needed to install and commission a home automation system. The course content is designed to be accessible and includes plenty of practical examples. We believe it’s better to show the process in person and get attendees in front of Legrand’s products so they leave with the confidence to upsell to customers. You will be asked to apply your knowledge throughout the day and demonstrate an understanding of the basic principles of home automation. Contractors then have the opportunity to be listed on the Legrand website once training is complete and ongoing technical support is available if necessary.

How do I benefit? Buyers are becoming more aware of the smart technology available in the market and, particularly those joining the property ladder, now expect a certain level of tech capability in their homes. Developers are picking up on this preference and beginning to build houses with home automation capabilities as standard. Acquiring the technical knowledge to install home automation systems will give contractors a foot in the door to large developments. Having this experience will also enable them to upsell their service to new and existing customers. Those who attend Legrand’s course will gain a new skillset without the expense that often comes with other industry training and qualifications. In just one day, contractors can add a new string to their bow and develop a new revenue stream for their business. This kind of knowledge will become essential as more people incorporate smart technology into their daily life. In short, it makes good business sense to find out more.

“In just one day, contractors can add a new string to their bow and develop a new revenue stream for their business.”

How does it work? MyHOME_Up is Legrand’s flagship home automation system that’s more than 20 years in the making. It runs off proprietary two-wire BUS technology, connecting control devices with an innovative app. MyHOME_Up simplifies home automation for both installers and end users, integrating all essential services – such as temperature control, lighting, shading, audio and door entry – into a single point of control. Unlike standalone smart devices that connect via Wi-Fi, Legrand’s automation technology works off dedicated wiring that is hardwired into the fabric of a home. This means the entire system runs independently of a wireless internet connection. MyHOME_ Up, in other words, will continue to work where other Wi-Fi dependent solutions fail. MyHOME_Up is an interoperable solution. Not only does it act as a sole dashboard for every device, but there’s the potential to integrate the latest innovations as they are introduced to the market, meaning the system can remain relevant for years to come.

Business benefits Home automation may sound complex, but it needn’t be. MyHOME_Up is designed with simplicity in mind and explaining the benefits to customers couldn’t be easier. Training will not only equip you with technical expertise but also develop your ability to market a new, lucrative service. Legrand trained installers also benefit from international support and expertise, meaning no project is left to chance. Consumers are increasingly more aware of the potential smart technology can bring to their home, and so to keep up with your customers’ requirements and demand, home automation is a great addition to your repertoire. Future-proof your business by learning how to specify and install Legrand’s system. Visit www.legrand.co.uk/training to book your place on the MyHOME_Up automation course.  Legrand, legrand.co.uk

electricalcontractingnews.com

28/02/2020 09:21


Compatible with NUVO and ÂŽ

MyHOME_Up

products

Welcome Simplicity Home automation simplified. A single app allows the installer to configure the system and the homeowner to customise scenes.

Lighting

Heating

Blinds

Audio

Door entry

The home automation (r)evolution www.legrand.co.uk

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SHOW PREVIEW

EI LIVE! 2020

EI LIVE! 2020: THE INSIDE GUIDE Celebrating its tenth anniversary, EI Live! 2020 – run by our sister publication, Essential Install – is back, and bigger and better than ever before. Read on for full details of why the show has become a ‘must visit’ for all ECN readers.

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arking its tenth year in the market, EI Live! 2020 – sponsored by OneAV – is returning with an expanded format covering three related and inter-connected sectors giving brands and visitors a unique opportunity to explore existing relationships fully, but also create brand new ones. EI Live! 2020 will cover home automation, entertainment, and AV systems, but also encompass commercial building automation and AV, as well as smart products from the world of electrical contracting. By pushing boundaries that have yet to be explored by any UK trade show in the automation and AV market, the event has been constructed to deliver a unique nexus of industries, products, exhibitors, and attendees, that will drive business and create new opportunities. ECN looks at several of the stands that will be worth a visit.

22 | March 2020

EI Live! Preview.indd 22

AWE AWE is a leading UK distributor of home technology products and is a one-stop shop that provides electrical contractors with the building blocks to create the perfect smart home. This includes training, access to a great range of products, technical services and support and a demonstration facility. At the AWE Village at EI Live!, the team will be showcasing the latest products and solutions from the internationally renowned manufacturers that AWE represents and will be on-hand to discuss new technologies and provide live product demonstrations. AWE is also looking forward to talking with electrical contractors about the training opportunities available to them. Education is vital for anyone who is interested in moving into this industry, and the AWE education courses cover all aspects of a smart home project: foundation training, automated blinds, video distribution, home cinema, and automation and control.

Head to the AWE Village on stand 156 to see: • Latest screens innovations from LG, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, and Videotree • Control updates from HDAnywhere, QMotion, Philips Hue and Dynalite, Silent Gliss, and URC • Audio solutions from Definitive Technology, Denon, HEOS, KEF, Kinetik, and Marantz • Home Cinema product developments from Draper, Epson, Euroscreen, FrontRow, and Sony AWE, awe-europe.com Stand 156

CEDIA CEDIA will be returning to EI Live! and is looking forward to discussing the benefits of becoming a CEDIA member to those electrical contractors visiting the show. CEDIA membership delivers exclusive access to the education, resources, insights, and gatherings of the industry’s association. When you join CEDIA, you step into a community of industry peers and

electricalcontractingnews.com

28/02/2020 16:17


EI LIVE! 2020

TOP 10 REASONS TO VISIT • Exclusive product launches and demonstrations that you’ll only find at EI Live!

SHOW PREVIEW

Hugo Fitzjohn, Lead Education Officer for the Technical Theatre this year

• The return of The Smart Building Awards, being held the evening of April 21 • Special trade show deals and offers throughout the twoday show • Over 150 brands showcasing a vast array of products and services • A jam-packed schedule of first-class speakers in the Technical Theatre • Purpose-built sound booths to help visitors gain an authentic feel of the products • A bigger than ever focus on smart products from the electrical contracting world • An excellent opportunity to make new contacts and cement existing ones • Free entry to the show, which returns to the lavish Farnborough Exhibition Centre • The chance to network over a pint or two at The Essential Inn

change-makers with the skills and tools to help your business thrive. Members get access to many benefits, from networking to training, marketing to advocacy, discounts to developments – membership powers success. CEDIA education is a key tool for electrical contractors. Its carefully curated training courses are perfect for those who want to extend their smart home knowledge, and the City and Guilds accredited ‘Smart Home Technician Track’ is the best place to start. This programme aims to give delegates a unique overview of the smart home installation process and improve specific skills, comprising 12 diverse training courses from the CEDIA Boot Camp, ESC Technical and Networking Schools, and two examinations. If you are interested in Joining CEDIA and finding out more about its training programme, visit stand 8 to meet with the membership team. The first 10 members to join CEDIA on each day of the show will receive a goodie bag worth £100! CEDIA, cedia.net/join Stand 8

FS Cables

Tru is a range of high-performance cables brought to you by CEDIA trade supplier, FS Cables

As the Internet of Things (IoT) increasingly dominates the way we live our lives, the already vast number of ‘things’ that are connected to the internet is growing exponentially. Real-world IoT examples include smart homes that automatically adjust heating, lighting, security systems, AV, kitchen appliances and more. Reliable cabling plays an important part in ensuring all of the ‘things’ work effectively and efficiently.

electricalcontractingnews.com

EI Live! Preview.indd 23

EDUCATION AWAITS IN THE TECHNICAL THEATRE EI Live! recently announced that Hugo Fitzjohn, Education Manager at Meridian Audio, has been appointed as the Lead Education Officer for the show’s renowned Technical Theatre. A highly knowledgeable industry figure and long-term friend of, and contributor to Essential Install magazine, Hugo will be a huge asset to the show as the organisers look to increase the effectiveness and relevance of the learning experiences EI Live! provides. In easy to digest sessions with genuinely unique takeaways from the event, the Technical Theatre is set to have its most accessible and informative outing yet. It will provide a point of focus and inspiration for attendees to the show, and content will speak to the wide-ranging level of experience of visitors to the event – including both those new to the sector, and those with more experience. The Technical Theatre will be looking at key areas, such as: SDVoE (Software Defined video over Ethernet), KNX integration, selling audio systems, 4K HDMI video distribution, selling techniques, Wi-Fi 6, 5G and IOT future tech, and working with architects and specifiers. As with last year’s event, there will also be panel discussions led by industry experts looking at key

Tru is a range of high-performance cables brought to you by CEDIA trade supplier, FS Cables. The Tru range covers cables for the most popular applications for integrating electronic systems into the home, from AV, entertainment and building control to lighting and security. With many years’ experience supplying cables into the home automation, professional audio and security sector, Tru brand products from FS Cables are recognised as the first-choice cables for the home automation and building management systems markets. The Tru brand builds on this expertise, bringing together professional grade products for high-end installations under a name you can trust. Whether it’s fast, accurate data transmission for a whole home or building network or 4K UHD to a home cinema, Tru cables use only the best materials and manufacturing processes to create high performance professional grade products to ensure you get the most out of your equipment. Cables include the TruLAN series of data cables, including HDBaseT recommended,

challenges and opportunities the sector is likely to encounter, both now and in the future. Stay tuned to eiliveshow.com for the full programme of events.

ALSO ON TAP If you need to quench your thirst during your visit to this year’s show, EI Live! is offering visitors the chance to have a pint, on the house, at ‘The Essential Inn’! A new addition for this year’s show, the pop-up pub will have special guest industry bar tenders and is the perfect way to catch-up with industry colleagues over a pint or two.

TruVision CAI approved coaxial cables for digital TV, and TruLighting cables for systems such as Crestron, Simmtronic, KNX, Loxone, Dali and Control 4. TruSecurity includes security alarm, CCTV and access control cables and the professional TruSound series covers a wide range of speaker cables. The popular range of TruHome composite cables combine multiple elements within one jacket in various configurations – ideal for streaming digital media around a building. Stop by the FS Cables stand to discuss your requirements or pick up a copy of the company’s new catalogue.  FS Cables, fscables.com Stand 118

EI Live! 2020 takes place at the Farnborough Exhibition Centre on April 21-22. For more information, and to register for this year’s event, please visit eiliveshow.com

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH

March 2020 | 23

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ASK THE EXPERT

INTEGRATED SOLUTION TO DRIVE BEST PRACTICE Mike Lawrence, Marketing Manager – commercial buildings at Hager, discusses the benefits of the company’s new integrated commercial surge protection boards.

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here is now an increased focus on equipment protection against surge transient voltages. In commercial installations, regulations are much clearer about why and where a surge protection device (SPD) should be fitted, and state that it is the responsibility of the electrical designer to ensure the installation is compliant. To support the market, Hager has developed a ‘ready-to-go’ solution to drive best practice installations thanks to the company’s new integrated commercial surge protection boards. It guarantees the best surge protection performance and helps to speed up installation on site.

“There is now an increased focus on equipment protection against surge transient voltages.”

What are the benefits of integrating surge protection device kits within the distribution panel board? The new Hager commercial surge protection boards have been enhanced so

that all surge protection kits can now fit within the distribution board – as opposed to being in a separate enclosure. This innovative solution provides the shortest connections to the surge protection device from the incoming supply. The solution is guaranteed to provide optimum surge protection performance and will help electrical contractors reduce installation times, satisfy compliance responsibilities, and remove the need to buy and install separate protection devices. Are the Hager surge protection kits CT2 type arrangements? Yes, Hager surge protection kits included in commercial SPD boards are CT2 type arrangements. This means Hager protection devices are applicable for all common UK earthing arrangements such as TN-C-S (PME), TN-S and TT earthing systems and remove the risk of incorrect selection. Hager has also introduced solid copper earth links in all commercial surge boards, achieving a best in class Up

effective performance measured at the main busbars of the distribution board. Do I need a secondary upstream protection device? No. In the past, surge protection devices required an MCB/MCCB or fuses in the distribution board to provide backup protection using one of the outgoing ways in the distribution board. The new Hager commercial board removes this requirement. What about surge protection kits for TPN boards? Hager’s Type 1 SPDs have been extensively tested to ensure they work in conjunction with a Type 2 SPD in a downstream TPN board. With the IET Wiring Regulations advising that where multiple SPDs are installed, they should be coordinated to guarantee they work together, Hager has gone further with verified testing to ensure unrivalled performance.  Hager, hager.co.uk

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SPONSORED FEATURE

ENCLOSURES FOR A NEW ERA Rittal has unveiled new AX and KX enclosure ranges that are helping to open up fresh opportunities for value creation with Industry 4.0. Ahead of their appearance at the Drives & Controls show in April, ECN details the many advantages offered by the new ranges.

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illions of customers worldwide currently rely on Rittal’s market-leading AE compact and small enclosures. The company, however, has now raised the bar further by launching its new AX and KX compact enclosure range, details of which will be on show at Drives & Controls 2020. The AX and KX enclosures are both embedded with digital processes, delivering simpler, faster assembly and component installation, greater flexibility and enhanced safety. Rittal will be providing a support package and assistance to customers wanting benefit from consistent data, by making the switch to the new system. The launch of AX and KX marks a step-up for Rittal’s top-of-the range AE enclosures. 35 million AE enclosures have so far been made and sold to customers around the globe over the past 50 years. But even this significant success doesn’t stop Rittal wanting to make improvements in-line with market developments. The company’s focus on continued innovation, aligned with a determination to improve on even best-in-class products, has led to this latest redesign.

Rittal AX and KX open up new opportunities for value creation with Industry 4.0

Simple

◾ Digital configuration ◾ Consistent data quality ◾ Intelligent engineering

Sponsored Feature – Rittal.indd 26

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SPONSORED FEATURE The changes come in response to the opportunities and challenges being presented by digitalisation and automation in the era of Industry 4.0. “We understand the principles behind digitalised industry and we have developed a new generation of compact and small enclosures in response. In conjunction with the introduction of our Blue e+ range and the VX25 large enclosure system, this means all our core products have been entirely redesigned, and are fit for Industry 4.0,” explains Uwe Scharf, Managing Director at Rittal, with responsibility for the IT and industry business units and marketing. The digital age is increasingly making its presence felt in switchgear workshops with a growing need for automation, greater flexibility and product availability.

Digital chain ‘from customer to customer’ Rittal provides effective support for the entire value chain surrounding the production of panels and switchgear – from engineering to ordering to automation. Its digital product twin delivers high-quality data for the entire design, configuration and manufacturing process. QR codes allow all parts to be precisely identified and assigned. The launch of the AX and KX, brings compact and small enclosures in line with this approach. For example, the Rittal Configuration System (RiCS) provides customers with a fast and simple system for configuring enclosures, accessories and modifications and an automatic plausibility check helps prevent erroneous choices. The results can be transferred directly to Rittal’s online shop, and this then gives the customer immediate access to both price and delivery date. The data can also be uploaded to EPLAN engineering software and used for downstream tasks, complete with any modifications. This substantially cuts the time and effort needed for the engineering process.

Simple, fast, flexible and safe

“The AX and KX enclosures are both embedded with digital processes, delivering simpler, faster assembly and component installation, greater flexibility and enhanced safety.”

The two latest additions to the Rittal enclosure portfolio contain improved features, along with new opportunities for value creation. The time-savings start at the point of delivery to the customer: panels can be removed individually because there is no need for the usual disassembly work. Doors and cam locks are easier to install, typically without the need for tools. The wall mounting bracket can be quickly screwed into place from the outside of the enclosure, without impacting the enclosure’s protection rating. This substantially reduces the risk of damage during transit as the brackets, which protrude beyond the sides of the enclosure, can be attached on-site at the final destination. The rising number of sensors and actuators being deployed in the switchgear industry is, in turn, raising the quantity of cables to be housed. The new enclosure’s modular design – along with improved cut-outs and larger gland plates – creates (on average) a third more space for cables. In addition, integrated locators in the side panels enable the simple, precise and time-saving incorporation of interior installation rails. As the rails have a 25mm spacing (pitch pattern), the AX and KX can use accessories from the VX25 portfolio, such as lights or terminal blocks. This keeps the inventory of the smaller parts to a minimum, and there is no need for machining, such as drilling, etc. Safety is a high priority for all Rittal enclosures. Installing components into the AX and KX leaves their protection category unaltered, and the same is also true of their UL certification, which is essential for deployment on the North American market. Overall, the new design features make the compact enclosures more robust, and ensure greater resistance, in particular to dynamic loads.

Suitable for many requirements The new product lines provide answers to many varied needs. KX small enclosures (from 150mm x 150mm x 80mm) are ideal if only a few components are to be housed in terminal boxes and bus enclosures. AX compact enclosures are between 120mm and 400mm deep, with a maximum size of 1,000mm x 1,400mm. For all models, there is a choice of spray-finished sheet steel or stainless steel. Despite the greater number of potential use cases, the total number of components and accessories, and as a result complexity, has been markedly reduced. To find out more about the AX and KX range of compact and small enclosures, visit Rittal’s stand at Drives & Controls Show, Stand D610, (Birmingham NEC, April 21– 23).  Rittal, rittal.co.uk

The new one: the AX/the KX. Opens up perspectives. The new generation of compact and small enclosures.

www.rittal.co.uk Sponsored Feature – Rittal.indd 27

28/02/2020 09:23


COMPETITION

WIN A REKOR IP CCTV KIT ESP’s IP (Internet Protocol) CCTV range was launched to satisfy the growing demand from customers and contractors and to meet the needs of a changing marketplace which is moving from analogue to IP.

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he IP POE CCTV range offers superior, reliable and straightforward installation solutions for a range of applications from domestic through to larger and more complex commercial projects. The range features POE (Power Over Ethernet), which enables the camera and power feed to be wired in Cat5e cable up to 100 metres without the need for additional power, which makes installation much more convenient.

A single Ethernet cable provides both the power and the HD digital feed, with just one cable per camera required. For flexibility, independently powered cameras can also be installed anywhere on the same network as the NVR. Processing power, an abundance of features, versatility and high-resolution cameras all combine to make this the superior choice over traditional analogue systems. There are two distinct IP ranges available – the REKOR IP 2 Megapixel range, which has been tailored for the

domestic market, and the HDView IP 5 Megapixel range, which is aimed at larger applications with a wide choice of NVR and camera selection. All NVRs are packed with features, such as remote monitoring via the ESP IPView app, H265 compression, motion record activation, and they are supplied with quality surveillance hard drives for peace of mind. For further information on the new IP CCTV range from ESP, visit espuk.com, call 01527 515150 or email sales@espuk.com.

For your chance to win a Rekor 2MP 4 Channel POE CCTV Kit, simply answer the following questions correctly: 1. What does POE stand for? a) Power of Energy b) Portable over Ethernet c) Power over Ethernet

2. W  hat resolution does the Rekor IP range offer?

3. W  hat is the name of ESP’s 5MP IP CCTV range? a) High Definition IP b) HDView IP c) HD Protocol IP

a) 5MP b) 2MP c) 4MP

Courtesy of

January Competition The winner of the January competition, hosted by Salus Controls, was Roberto Pareccini from Northampton.

Closing date All entries must be returned by March 31, 2020. The editor’s decision is final. For the full terms and conditions, visit electricalcontractingnews.com/ competition-terms. The name of the winner will be published in the May issue of ECN. *Prize not exchangeable.

To enter, please complete the form below and fax to 01634 673173, or post to: ECN Competition, All Things Media Ltd, Suite 14, 6-8 Revenge Road, Lordswood, Kent, ME5 8UD. Alternatively, you can email your answers and contact details to: carol@allthingsmedialtd.com.

The answers to March’s competition are:

Contact Preferences YES, I would like to receive the ECN newsletter YES, I would like to subscribe to ECN magazine

1.............................................................................

YES, I would like to share my data with ESP

Personal Details Name....................................................................................................................................... Company Name...................................................................................................................... Address...................................................................................................................................

2. . .........................................................................

Signature.......................................................................

................................................................................ Postcode................................................. Tel................................................................ Mobile ................................................................

3. . .........................................................................

Date.............................................................................. E-mail.....................................................................................................................................

To register to receive your copy of ECN each month, visit electricalcontractingnews.com/subscribe Competition.indd 28

28/02/2020 09:23


40 YEARS OF ECN

CELEBRATING 40 YEARS OF ECN As ECN celebrates its ruby anniversary, we take a trip down memory lane with a series of articles looking back on how different areas of the electrical and electrical contracting industry have changed since we first went to press.

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his month’s issue marks a significant milestone for ECN, as we’ve officially reached 40 years since our very first edition was published, all the way back in 1980. Some 480 issues and literally thousands upon thousands of pages later, we couldn’t let the occasion slide. To help us celebrate this ruby anniversary, we’ve collated a series of articles from many of the companies who have been on their own unique journeys during the same time frame – and we’ve asked them to assess how both they, and the industry in general, have evolved during these past four decades. The articles across the following pages make for an interesting trip down memory lane, but it’s plain to see that eyes are firmly fixed on the future too – and nobody’s resting on their laurels! ECN originally started life as a broadsheet style, news-based publication for electrical contractors across the UK, and for the best part of 20 years, the printed magazine was the best way to keep tabs on the latest developments across the sector. But the dawn of the millennium paved the way for the digital presence we offer today, and ECN’s news and features are also now accessed via our website, our newsletters, and even through our wide range of social media feeds too. In 1980, smartphones and

CONTENTS: Chaz Andrews, Technical 30 Manager of Doepke UK, looks

tablets may have been more synonymous with Back to the Future than the real world, but in 2020, many of our readers now access our digital issues ‘on the go’ via these types of devices – and I’m sure this trend will continue as we move into our fifth decade of business. There’s never a dull moment in the electrical contracting sector, and in my time as editor alone, I’ve covered critically important issues that range from the implementation of the 18th Edition, the fallout of the Grenfell tragedy, Brexit, and now – seemingly – the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak too. Each of these subjects have presented unique challenges and considerations, and sparked widespread debate; but collectively, the industry has rallied and continues to strive for safer and more efficient practices. Whilst we can never be sure what the future may hold, there are two specific Government-led targets – Road to Zero 2035 and Net Zero 2050 – which look set to dominate the headlines in future issues; and by the time the latter target comes to fruition, ECN will be celebrating its 70th anniversary! Whether you’ve been with us since the very start, or you have just discovered the magazine for the first time today, the entire ECN team would like to say a big thank you to all of our readers and advertisers who have supported us on our journey. And the good news is, we’re just getting started. Let’s raise a glass to the next 40 years! 

at how electrical safety has evolved and assesses what’s required to ensure safety for generations to come. As the UK electrical market 32 continues to evolve, Deta Electrical looks back at just how far the electrical industry has come in the last 40 years. has happened in the world 34 ofA lotelectrical test equipment since 1980, as Ash Mohammed of Di-Log Group, explains. ECN looks at how Centaur has 35 evolved since it was founded back in 1974. Having celebrated its centenary 36 last year, MK Electric has been at the forefront of many innovations in the past four decades. Emma Segelov looks back at this progress and looks to the future. Peter Hunt, Chief Policy 38 Officer of The Lighting Industry

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VOLUME 38 NO. 12 • DECEMBER 2018

SPECIAL FEATURE: TEST & MEASUREMENT

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SPECIAL FEATURE: UPS & POWER DISTRIBUTION

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SPECIAL FEATURE: TOOLS & WORKWEAR

46

VOLUME 38 NO. 03 • MARCH 2018

SPECIAL FEATURE: CABLING & CABLE MANAGEMENT

39

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20 COMPETITION

SPECIAL FEATURE: UPS & POWER DISTRIBUTION

Win a 32GB Apple iPad, courtesy of Dimplex

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VOLUME 39 NO. 03 • MARCH 2019

SPECIAL FEATURE: CABLE, CABLE MANAGEMENT & LABELLING

SHAPING UP LED LIGHTING

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38 COMPETITION Win tickets for the ultimate adrenaline rush, courtesy of Niglion

SPECIAL FEATURE: UPS & POWER DISTRIBUTION

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VOLUME 38 NO. 05 • MAY 2018

SPECIAL FEATURE: TOOLS & WORKWEAR

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COMPETITION

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SPECIAL FEATURE: HVAC

Win a Virgin Supercar Experience Day, courtesy of NICEIC.

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With streaming now one of the 40 most popular options in the

A SPECIAL ANNIVERSARY FOR PEMSA Cable management specialist, Pemsa, is celebrating 50 years of manufacturing.

Find the right lighting with The LED Specialist.

The headlines might be all about wireless technology, but even the most advanced devices rely on an infrastructure of cable to function – and that isn’t going to change any time soon, says Simon Hopkins, a member of the Future Thinking Team at Prysmian UK.

Read the full article on page 12.

It’s this type of cable knitting that really gets under the skin of technology users and generates a huge sigh of relief when a phone company introduces a wireless charging unit, or Bluetooth technology allows us to connect devices without wires. The technology already exists to dispense with all of this commodity cable and, on

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As I write this article, I am sitting at a desk covered with cables. My computer, screen and keyboard are all connected by a cable while my phone and headphones are also still tethered through the use of cable. Under the desk, well, that’s simply a cable spaghetti of power leads and phone lines.

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my part, it’s only inertia and a reluctance to invest in replacing a perfectly functional system that prevents me from sorting it out. However, all of this is pretty superficial and the devices I’m using simply provide access to the communication networks that actually run the modern world. Those networks continue to rely on cable.

B LE

RATING

Visit www.nationallighting.co.uk/25years

electricalcontractingnews.com

40 Years – Intro.indd 29

27/11/2018 15:44

FCP.indd 1

GEWISS LAUNCHES NEWLY IMPROVED ROTARY ISOLATOR SWITCHES A new, even wider range from GEWISS designed to offer both high performance and easy installation. Turn to page 12 for our latest article.

E, VENU NEW ES… NEW DAT

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Turn to page 12 for full story.

This year, Pemsa, the market leading manufacturer of cable trays, is celebrating 50 years of experience, knowledge and success within the cable management systems marketplace. Founded in 1969, the company responded to a real need to organise and, above all, facilitate the future maintenance of electrical installations by designing, manufacturing and supplying quality solutions for the installers. The company has been active in the UK for more than 16 years, applying the company’s 50 years of experience in studying, analysing and then offering adapted solutions to suit its customers and the UK market.

SINCE 199

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH

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THE PATH TO A SMARTER FUTURE

27/02/2018 10:29

FCP – Pemsa.indd 1

NEW POSSIBILITIES!

GEWISS has launched a new and improved range of its popular rotary isolators, offering a wider range of codes and special features that are already creating a buzz in the industry.

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN!

Farnborough International Exhibition & Conference Centre April 30 | May 1, 2019

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B LE

RATING

Visit www.nationallighting.co.uk/25years

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FCP – Gewiss.indd 1

GEWISS’ IEC 309 high performance range of plugs and sockets.

audio industry, there are new opportunities for electrical contractors – as Hamilton Litestat explains.

Turn to page 12 for full story.

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70 RT HP (high performance) is a new range of surface-mounted rotary isolators designed for use as main switches for applications that need to be isolated from the network. This range complements

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CABLES ARE HERE TO STAY, SAYS PRYSMIAN

Lighting has evolved. It is becoming increasingly relevant to create the right ambiance and atmosphere in your client’s spaces by selecting the correct level of lighting to suit their needs. We outline the many myths and misconceptions surrounding LED lighting, and recommend the best lighting for the job.

Association, reflects on 40 years in the lighting industry.

SINCE 199

3

30/04/2018 14:09

March 2020 | 29

28/02/2020 15:16


40 YEARS OF ECN

RCD SAFETY — NOW AND THEN Chaz Andrews, Technical Manager of Doepke UK, looks at how electrical safety has evolved and assesses what’s required to ensure safety for generations to come.

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f you are approaching the end of your career, similar to myself, you may not be interested in this. However, if you are planning on working in the electrical industry for some years to come, you have the opportunity to improve standards and regulations and save additional lives. I took my first C&G electrical qualification in 1973, aged 16. I do not remember the content, apart from the lecturer telling us the story about “Old Bert”, who used his calloused pipe tamping thumb to check lighting pendants for voltage! We have all heard similar stories from the bad old days. We know that fires resulting from electrical faults now kill more people than electric shocks, but focusing on the latter will always tend to improve the former. Unfortunately, there will always be people who take risks with their own lives and others where electricity is concerned. Protection in the form of improved regulation, enforcement and faster adoption of modern standards will be required to support the electrical industry to deliver safe installations. The demands placed on a modern electrical installation, by the complexity of the loads and the generation sources, will require a step change in the traditional habits of the electrical industry.

Right things – things right

Doepke produced its first ED RCDs back in 1956

30 | March 2020

40 Years – Doepke.indd 30

A recent article in ECN, ‘Electrical safety after Grenfell’, focuses on the issue of competence and skill levels of individuals working in the industry – but the UK problem is not just about ‘skills levels’ of individuals. For example, issues with flammable cladding were clearly flagged years ago (after a fire in 2009). Improving competence in the electrical industry has to be supported by a clearer approach to regulation, responsibilities and accountability e.g. even where the situation appears to be covered by Regulations 2 and 3 of the HASAWA 1974, prosecutions may take years to get to court. Codes of practice and standards that lack specific technical objectives around high risk issues, supported by a low probability of enforcement, help promote a race to the bottom. Codes of Practice and best advice documents such as BS7671 have to give clear and unambiguous guidance, to support safe designs and to reduce the risk. For example, where an RCD is providing additional protection, if the installation is not covered by additional requirements in section 7, a decision based on cost alone may result in an unsafe installation.

F&G, Moeller and Siemens, leading to the early adoption of RCDs within the VDE Regulations. In 1986, the VDE specified the use of ‘Type A’ RCDs for general applications. 34 years later, the UK is still discussing the merits of using Type AC RCDs for general applications. In the UK, the risks associated with the guidance given for the selection of RCDs for EV charging, were raised in 2012 and addressed in 2019 (18th Edition). High frequency leakage currents are mentioned in Amendment 1 of the 18th (2020). RCD protection is used as an example only of where we are consistently behind the curve in the adoption of the current and correct technology to improve safety. If we want to improve our performance, we need to be on curve or in front.

Will Brexit result in improved electrical standards?

Fires resulting from electrical faults now kill more people than electric shocks

“RCD protection is used as an example only of where we are consistently behind the curve in the adoption of the current and correct technology to improve safety.”

That is, the person responsible for reviewing the quotes and appointing the electrical contractor may not understand the implications of the detailed technical specification supporting the tender. This joined up approach with clear responsibilities between the client, the contractor and the joint duty of care to the final users (those at physical risk) is a central principle of improving building safety and electrical safety. Enforcement of regulations and codes of practice (Government) drive behaviour to do the ‘right things’, supported by standards (BSI Technical Committees), correct training and experience (companies) enabling individuals to do ‘things right’.

Behind the curve We lag behind our international competitors in productivity and the average for European Countries in the adoption of new technology. For example, the safety advantages of RCD technology over VOELCBs e.g. electric shock protection due to direct contact and the ability to achieve selectivity in domestic installations, was accepted many years before the updates associated with the 15th and 16th Editions of the Wiring Regulations. Doepke produced its first ED RCDs back in 1956. The 1960s and 1970s saw an increasing number of respected German companies manufacturing RCDs, including Doepke,

In theory, leaving the EU could simplify the standards process, speed up the adoption of better practice and appropriate technology. The IET and BSI state that we will continue to work with CENELEC during the transition period. At the end of the transition period based on the Government’s current approach, the UK will only be involved in IET standards – which will form the basis for our UK standards. Steve Devine of the IET makes the point that the IEC60364 content (BS7671 content), has to be set at a lower technical level – and that it’s “essential that requirements aren’t too restrictive” – to gain acceptance by all of the countries concerned. Based on this statement, the UK will not be able to rely on IEC standards alone; there will be more work required at a local level to produce effective and safe standards to match and support the legal requirements of the associated regulations. At the end of the day, the UK’s technical committees are responsible for the content of the UK standards and codes of practice that support the ‘safety objectives’ of the regulations. Does the current advice and guidance in the electrical industry encourage the adoption of the safest solution based on the level of risk, or the cheapest based on initial cost and working around the wording in the guidance?

Conclusion Weak regulation and unclear or unspecific standards cost us all more money in the long term. We need to increase competency and ensure the electrical industry continues to attract quality people.  Doepke UK, doepke.co.uk

electricalcontractingnews.com

28/02/2020 09:26


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28/02/2020 16:19


40 YEARS OF ECN

40 YEARS OF THE ELECTRICAL INDUSTRY As the UK electrical market continues to evolve, from continuous advances in wiring accessories to the rapid rise in LED technology, leading manufacturer and distributor, Deta Electrical, looks back at just how far the electrical industry has come in the last 40 years.

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A step ahead of specification

ith new and emerging technologies, as well as regulations, Deta never stands still in its efforts to stay at the forefront of the industry. Since its inception in 1958, it has developed a reputation for an evolving range of wiring and electrical accessories as well as acquiring complementary brands, in the lighting and cable management sectors. Product development has been paramount to Deta and it has continually kept its finger on the pulse.

With Deta’s reputation as the number one choice for specification products within the new build sector, the company certainly knows a thing or two about how the sector has changed. In 1998, Deta secured its first contract with new build developer Taylor Wimpey. A previously untouched market for Deta, within 12 years, it had become the leading supplier within this sector. The launch of the Slimline range in 2004 was a game changer for both Deta and the specification industry. The sleek, contemporary design was a step ahead of the market, and Deta’s specification success accelerated off the back of this. Deta now shares 50% of the specification market, providing not only wiring accessories, but acting as a one-stop shop for the broader range of electrical accessories.

Wiring accessories Gone are the days where the demand for wiring accessories was limited to a light switch and a couple of sockets per room; it is now a great deal more. As the need for wiring devices increases, the functionality and aesthetics have become equally as important. For years, consumers accepted the compromise of the traditional square edged white plastic switch and socket, but we’ve come a long way since then. Deta has developed its wiring accessories brand ‘Vimark’ enormously since its launch in 1993, and now offers a broad range of high-quality wiring accessories focused on stylish, contemporary choices. Designs such as the Vimark Curve, a modern slim profile, and the Ultra Flatplate and Ultra Screwless ranges, offer a premium alternative to the outdated traditional design. The increased dependence on portable electronic devices has created a demand for flexible and easy to install charging solutions, resulting in the introduction of integrated power and USB charging sockets. Deta now offers the most powerful USB charger available within a two-gang switched socket.

The revolution of LEDs “Deta revisited its plastic use on its lighting range, subsequently saving seven tonnes of plastic and reducing its environmental footprint.”

The lighting industry was, for a long time, a traditional and stable market, but the introduction of LED revolutionised the market for years to come. The first LEDs entered the market around 1968, but the technology had a long way to go before it was up to standard with LED technology today. It wasn’t until the late ‘noughties’ that LEDs really started to flourish, creating a whole new generation of technology. This created a huge opportunity for the lighting industry and for Deta, following the acquisition of lighting brands Brackenheath and Briticent in 2008. Deta was, in fact, an early adopter of LED and was one of the first manufacturers to use LED technology within a floodlight. With the substantial efficiency gains, it wasn’t long before LED began to replace the traditional halogen bulb in not just commercial and industrial settings, but households too. With demand on the rise and the market now saturated, manufacturers are regularly looking to develop the next generation of LED products and provide added value to the customer. In the ever-developing market, the lifetime of LED products has extended, as have the manufacturer’s guarantees. Nowadays, suppliers are more confident in their product quality as they keep up with the ever-changing legislations.

Quality assurance Continual cost pressures, tight deadlines and a growing competitive marketplace are now pushing the boundaries on product specification. More than ever, contractors are seeking products that are quick, reliable and cost effective to install whilst adhering to the latest safety regulations.

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Product safety is paramount to Deta, and it is proud to hold the latest quality management certification to ISO 9001:2015, committing to continuous improvement as a responsible supplier. With regulations continuously changing, being ahead of the curve is paramount to its success with product development.

Environmental impact In recent years, environmental impact has been a universally rising concern, and this has become a key focus for the electrical industry and how it can positively contribute. An ongoing review of product packaging is paramount to Deta, in the attempt to eliminate and reduce plastic waste and ensure packaging materials are recyclable. A key project is currently in progress within the Deta business to replace whitebox packaging with a fully recyclable brown-box alternative. Likewise in recent years, Deta revisited its plastic use on its lighting range, subsequently saving seven tonnes of plastic and supporting a key business objective to continually reduce its environmental footprint.

Deta’s next 40 years In January 2020, Deta undertook a fundamental restructuring of its business, fully integrating the previously acquired Brackenheath, Briticent and SMJ Electrical brands under the Deta umbrella. Having outgrown its current long-standing premises in Luton, Deta will be relocating to a brand-new, cutting-edge facility just three miles from the existing site. Covering 69,000 square foot with an excess of 11,000 pallet locations, this stateof-the-art facility will leave Deta very well positioned to continue to support the needs of its customer base. It’s been an exciting past 40 years for Deta, and the company does not intend to rest on its laurels as it maintains a relentless focus on staying at the forefront of the industry – bringing to market new and innovative products that meet the needs of the ever-changing modern electrical market.  Deta, detaelectrical.co.uk

electricalcontractingnews.com

28/02/2020 09:27


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04/02/2020 16:35:11


40 YEARS OF ECN

FOUR DECADES OF TESTING INNOVATION 40 years ago, the 15th Edition of the Wiring Regulations were issued. A lot has happened since then in the world of electrical test equipment, as Ash Mohammed, Managing Director of Di-Log Group, explains.

A

hand wound insulation tester would be the most common form of test instrument that would be carried by the 1980s electrician, which would appear to be something from a bygone age to the apprentice of today. To test in line with the current 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations, four main tests are required: continuity, insulation, loop impedance and RCD testing. One of the most important developments to affect all types of electrical test equipment has been the introduction of safety category ratings in line with IEC1010. Usually known as CAT rating, this relates to an instrument’s ability to withstand transients (spikes) on the supply. This is important because if, while the instrument is being used, it experiences a transient that is beyond its capacity to handle, it is likely to be seriously damaged and may even injure the user. Other important developments applicable to all test instruments include increasingly robust construction and, in some cases, weatherproofing. Older instruments were much more susceptible to damage than the latest models. The latest models are also much more robust electrically, and unlike predecessors, will not be damaged if connected to a live circuit when carrying out a dead circuit test such as an insulation or continuity test. The best MFTs, like the Di-Log DL9118, will in fact resist damage even when connected to a three-phase supply after a dead circuit test has been selected and locked down. Finally, many instruments of all types are now able to store test results for later downloading to a computer, a tablet or even a smartphone.

“RCD testers first started to become more common around 40 years ago, and there have been substantial improvements in functionality over the years.”

Continuity Now let’s look at the individual tests. Continuity testing has been around in one form or another since the earliest days of electricity, with the simplest form being no more than a bulb and a battery. Today, rather than using a separate continuity tester, most contractors use the continuity test function built into a multi-function tester or an insulation tester.

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Loop impedance

Testing has come a long way in the past four decades

Di-Log’s DL9118 tester

Even with something as simple as a continuity test, significant progress has been made over the past 40 years. The best continuity tester now offers auto start, which saves a lot of time, especially when working at heights and keeping one hand firmly on the ladder. Some models allow the test current to be selected with a low current of 10mA for general work, to preserve battery life, and high current 200mA for certification work conforming to BSEN61557.

Insulation Insulation is a vital part of any electrical installation. Therefore, it is no surprise that insulation testers have been around since the early 1900s. Today’s modern instruments are very different to the earlier models with analogue needle movements and their hand cranked handle generators. The most advanced models have dual digital bar graph and digital displays which are particularly useful as the stability of the insulation resistance tells an experienced user a lot about any potential issues. In some cases, issues can be easily identified with the segmented bar graph display, as opposed to the exact value of the insulation resistance. Where a value symbolised in Meg Ohms is required for completing the test report, it is much easier to read on a digital display. Other useful features offered by the latest insulation testers include test-lock function and remote switched probes that allow convenient two-handed testing. More advanced instruments incorporate a sounder to provide an audible indication that the insulation has passed alerting the user of any potential issues.

Earth loop impedance testing is carried out to ensure that, should a fault occur in an electrical installation, enough current will flow to operate the fuse or circuit breaker. The objective is to make sure the circuit is disconnected fast enough to prevent overheating and possibly a fire. The loop testers that have generally been available for around 40 years use a high current test, typically 10 amps. The benefit of a high current is that the test can be carried out quickly and the test results are unlikely to be influenced by electrical noise on the circuit. High current loop test does have one big drawback – if the circuit is protected by and RCD or RCBO, which most installations have these days, the protective device will trip. To overcome this problem, modern loop testers have been developed that will use much lower test currents, typically milliamps, which will not trip the RCD or RCBO. Other recent developments in loop testing include dual displays that simultaneously show loop impedance and prospective fault current. The latest loop testing technology fitted to the Di-LOG DL911x Series MFTs eradicates RCD uplift and reduced noise interference, enhances noise monitoring systems that alert the user to noisy supplies and has built in lead resistance compensation that makes it unnecessary to check the lead resistance before carrying out every test.

RCD testing RCD testers first started to become more common around 40 years ago, and once again there have been substantial improvements in functionality over the years. Automatic testing has proved to be a big time saver. Without this, the user would have to walk between the tester and the RCD to reset it on each occasion for four of the six tests that have to be performed on each RCD. With auto test, the user simply initiates the whole sequence once, then walks to the RCD and resets it each time. The user does not need to return to the instrument until the whole sequence of six tests are completed – which saves a lot of time. Modern instruments provide the user with safety and performance features that make their job safer, easier and quicker. At Di-Log, we are constantly working to develop instruments that remain at the forefront of technology.  Di-Log, dilog.co.uk

electricalcontractingnews.com

28/02/2020 09:27


40 YEARS OF ECN

CENTAUR’S LEGACY CONTINUES TO EVOLVE Established in 1974, Centaur has been manufacturing quality PVC cable management products for over 40 years. ECN looks at how the company has developed over this highly successful four-decade period.

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rom its manufacturing base in the West Midlands, it is ideally based to supply nearly 400 distributors nationwide and beyond to a number of export markets. Having a continuous family ownership throughout the period, without fear of takeover or merger, has enabled Centaur to strategically and steadily invest in the latest innovative designs and equipment to become a leading supplier in today’s cable management market. From a humble start with a small number of round and oval conduit profiles, the company then invested in its own designs

of mini trunking and related accessories. As the UK installation market became more sophisticated with telephone and data wiring being needed alongside power cabling, Centaur became one of the few companies to develop three compartment trunking to provide the necessary required segregation and increased wiring space. The hugely successful President Range incorporates skirting and dado profiles, and later, power posts and poles were launched. They quickly became widely specified, particularly in the healthcare and educational sectors. More recent times have seen the launch of the Meridian dado range, which has design features to assist installation including hinged lids, adjustable bends and

“Having comprehensive stocks for immediate despatch, Centaur recognises the demands made upon the electrical contractor of today.”

clip-on covers. Profiles are now available with antimicrobial additives, clear lids for security applications or special colours to match corporate colours. Additionally, with its own fabrication department, Centaur goes the extra mile and provides ‘specials’ that all projects seem to need, which will save customers valuable time and money whilst on-site. Having comprehensive stocks for immediate despatch, Centaur recognises the demands made upon the electrical contractor of today. The customer focus is to supply quality products, when and where required at value for money cost. For now, and the future, you can be sure of Centaur.  Centaur, centaurmfg.com

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28/02/2020 09:28


40 YEARS OF ECN

BACK TO THE FUTURE Having celebrated its centenary last year, MK Electric has been at the forefront of electric innovation for well over the past four decades. Emma Segelov, EMEA Marketing Operations Manager, looks back at this progress.

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Contractors should look for wiring device ranges with a range of finishes to meet the demands of customers, Emma states

nventions don’t generally happen by accident or in a random order: science and technology progress in a very logical way, with each new discovery leading on from the last. In the last 40 years, in particular, there has been considerable innovation, with ongoing efforts to improve electrical safety, catalysed by the introduction of the Plugs and Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations in 1987. In response to this, MK Electric evolved its shuttered socket design to create the three-pin shutter system; technology that was first seen in Logic Plus in 1996, and which customers still rely on today to protect the occupiers of their homes and buildings from making contact with electrical components within the sockets. Yet just 40 years ago, nobody could have anticipated the impact that the technological revolution would have had on the electrical industry. The widespread adoption of the internet has resulted in an influx of mobile devices, all with different plugs and charging requirements. According to research, the majority of British people who own a mobile device check it every 12 minutes, showing that this is clearly a nation addicted to technology. And despite improvements in battery life, these mobile devices need to be charged regularly, especially with so many people now demanding access to power on the go. Therefore, we predict that USB integrated socket outlets will eventually be specified on nearly every new build or retrofit, as they offer convenient access to power and, unlike conventional switchsockets, do not require the use of an adapter to charge different devices. However, the crucial point to remember is not all USB integrated sockets are created equal. Products can vary greatly in terms of quality and performance, so there are certain key features that contractors should look out for.

Consumers now have access to an array of interior design inspiration, which is ideal when seeking switches that will fit in

“We predict that USB integrated socket outlets will eventually be specified on nearly every new build or retrofit.”

USB socket considerations

Ease of updates

The first thing to consider is if the socket has Dynamic Device Recognition (DDR). This detects nuances in charging configurations from a range of manufacturers and reacts accordingly, to ensure that each device recognises the USB socket outlet as it would its own charger, and therefore draws current to the level for which it is designed for optimal and efficient charging. Any USB integrated socket should also be electrically protected against an overload in the case of a short circuit, preventing damage to both the socket itself and any danger to the user. Don’t forget to look for a unit which has a three-pin ‘child resistant’ shutter system on the conventional switch-socket outlet too, as this feature is designed to inhibit access to the electricity supply unless all three pins are in position, to prevent electrocution.

A further consideration is ease of update. For buildings where staying on trend is a priority, wiring devices which can easily be replaced to reflect the latest trends are a real plus. Our MK Dimensions range offers twopart installation – functional module and clip-on frontplate – with the two individual components available as separate parts, with individual order numbers. This not only means part loss and damage is avoided during first fix, but that the frontplate can be interchanged easily for a new design as and when required. From the customer’s perspective, this means keeping up with the latest trends is simple and affordable, whilst the minimised risk of part waste and speed of fit is ideal for the contractor. The trend for highly personalised products would not be achievable without modern, computer-aided manufacturing systems that enable mass customisation. Mass customisation is the ability to provide a customised customer experience whilst benefitting from economies of scale. An example of this is MK Electric’s Design Service, which offers customers the opportunity to put the accent very much on style and creativity when it comes to switches, sockets and other wiring accessories. Through the service, customers are able to conjure up new shapes, find the perfect finish or colour, provide additional functionality, and even add in extra detailing such as logos, symbols or text. Technological advancements have transformed the industry over the past 40 years and this evolution will continue. Manufacturers must leverage technology and a highly skilled workforce to meet both customer trends and industry demands in the future. 

A touch of individuality Looking to the future, it is also likely that decorative wiring devices will come to the fore. With the proliferation of Instagram, Pinterest and other social media channels and social influencers, consumers now have unbridled access to an array of interior design inspiration and upcoming trends. Whilst many are content with white moulded sockets and switches, the more style-conscious individual wants options that will enhance their surroundings and deliver a touch of individuality. With this in mind, contractors should look for wiring device ranges with a range of finishes, from metallics, to bold coloured, to the ever-popular popular matt black, to meet the demands of customers – domestic and commercial – who want something a bit different.

36 | March 2020

40 Years – MK.indd 36

MK Electric, mkelectric.co.uk

electricalcontractingnews.com

28/02/2020 16:18


+ FUNCTIONAL MODULE WITH PROTECTIVE COVER

= CLIP-ON FRONTPLATE

COMPLETE PRODUCT

MK Dimensions

HASSLE-FREE INSTALLATION STARTS HERE Easy to install. Easy to use. Hard to ignore.

• Screwless wiring devices in a choice of ten finishes • Two-piece product solution • Order and install the module and frontplate spearately to suit the build schedule • Module supplied with a robust and recyclable protective cover plate to prevent damage • Total safety: 3-pin operated ‘child resistant shutter system’ • Quick and easy to install • Upward facing, in line terminals • Backed out captive screws

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28/02/2020 11:52


40 YEARS OF ECN

FROM DARKNESS COMES LIGHT Peter Hunt, Chief Policy Officer of The Lighting Industry Association, reflects on 40 years in the lighting industry.

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n 1980, I had been with the family lighting firm for just a few months and I had no idea that I would still be in the lighting business 40 years later. Low voltage halogen lamps were the new thing in 1980, and as a lighting product designer, they offered an exciting new compact light source and miniaturisation for luminaires spawning new slimline track designs – downlights that were not the size of dinner plates and those wires draped across ceilings with tiny luminaires hanging from them. Catalogues were invariably only in black and white and the British penchant for Scandinavian design was giving way to the Italian influences of Guzzini, Flos and Artemide. For industrial and office lighting, louvres were the order of the day to reduce glare and a whole industry emerged on the back of these contraptions.

A look back at the UK scene The UK lighting manufacturing industry was alive and reasonably well, and I still have exhibition catalogues going back to the period. The 1980 Lightshow at Olympia boasted nearly 120 exhibitors. A quick check shows only four or five of those are still in existence. Over the ensuing years, many of those companies were consolidated into larger ones, and gradually, UK manufacturing gave way to imported lighting, initially from Spain and Germany and then China. Lighting technology moved relatively slowly in the 80s and 90s, with incremental improvements in fluorescent output and efficiency and the introduction of new compact fluorescent lamps. Younger readers will not remember the groundbreaking Philips SL lamp which was the size of a large jam jar (from where it earned its nickname) and weighed about 1kg. Then came the 2D lamp from GE which had a major impact when it arrived, again spawning new design possibilities. By 2000, there was a bewildering choice of compact fluorescent lamps of every shape and size, and as the UK Government began to concentrate on energy saving measures, the market responded.

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40 Years – LIA.indd 38

“Lighting technology moved relatively slowly in the 80s and 90s, with incremental improvements in fluorescent output and efficiency.”

Government programmes which obligated energy companies to collect money from every consumer account subsidised around 300 million low energy lamps, before the plug was pulled following widespread press stories that many of these were languishing in kitchen cupboards. Many will not mourn the passing of the compact fluorescent lamp owing to the early problems with slow start-up and poor colour rendering. In fact, many of these problems had been resolved and the mercury content dramatically reduced by the end of the noughties.

The dawn of LEDs Enter LED and the lighting world changed forever. Initially, this new technology promised the earth in terms of energy saving, but under-performed in output. Early LEDs were dim and largely blue in colour and they were expensive – really expensive. Early GU10 LED lamps to replace the energy hungry halogens could cost up to £30 each and were only just able to replace the 25W versions. As more companies invested in LED chip making, so efficiency improved while prices tumbled and output grew, so we now have LED replacements for almost all lamp types. But it is not simply the efficiency of LEDs that is changing the lighting industry or the fact that they run cooler than filament lamps, it is the fact that they are a digital light source. This means LEDs can be controlled in ways that could never happen before.

Lighting can now truly be part of a smart building and can interact with daylight sensors, presence detectors, building management systems, phone apps and can even transmit and receive data using Li-Fi. Awareness is also growing about the health benefits of the intensity and colour of light and its impact on our circadian rhythms which can be controlled through the use of humancentric lighting.

A world of change With this revolution has come a dramatic change in the required skills for the industry. Whereas 40 years ago we needed press operators and manual assembly workers, now we need electronic engineers and software experts. It’s an exciting and challenging time for the lighting industry as it adapts to the do or die challenges brought on by this rapid change and here at the LIA, it’s our mission to help member companies make the transition. One thing is certain – there’s no turning back now. Happy 40th ECN!  The Lighting Industry Association, thelia.org.uk

electricalcontractingnews.com

28/02/2020 11:03


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28/02/2020 11:52


40 YEARS OF ECN

MUSIC TO YOUR EARS The audio industry has experienced significant developments in the past 40 years, and with streaming now one of the most popular options, there are new opportunities for electrical contractors – as Hamilton Litestat explains.

I The Appio active wireless speaker

40 | March 2020

40 Years – Hamilton.indd 40

n the 40 years that ECN has been in circulation, the audio industry has seen considerable change. In 1980, listening to audio in the home was an event. The Hi-Fi was an imposing, bulky piece of equipment that could be configured to play vinyl and cassettes. Having music on the move was in its early stages in the form of the boombox, a cumbersome portable radio-cassette player with in-built loudspeakers, which also doubled as a home audio solution. Soon dawned the age of digital music with the introduction of the compact disc in 1982 – with Billy Joel’s album, 52nd Street, the first commercially available CD. It was a real turning point for the industry, providing a better quality of music than cassette, too. As the music format reduced in size, so did the equipment to play it. Along came the home CD player and, not long after, the Sony Walkman CD player. In the 1990s, the online revolution brought about Napster and other music sharing services in MP3 format, and with that came the Apple iPod in 2001, which held 1,170 minutes of music. Music storage has now moved to the Cloud, courtesy of streaming platforms like Spotify, made accessible by smart devices. The wireless speaker market has boomed as a result, and the streaming of audio to multi-room speakers is where we find ourselves today.

With the right equipment in place, homeowners can create audio zones in a chosen room

“As technology simplifies and people become accustomed to more connected lives, streaming music has become the norm.”

Wireless audio solutions – without strings

Wi-Fi vs. Bluetooth

Installing home audio solutions has traditionally been the domain of experienced custom installers, but that’s no longer the case. Technology has developed in such a way that the wiring, installation and set-up of such systems has been simplified, creating new project opportunities and an attractive revenue stream for professional electricians wishing to expand their business. Hamilton Litestat has launched a new range of wireless home audio products that are simple to install and configure. The new WSA50 wireless streaming amplifier and six-inch 80W stereo ceiling speakers deliver quality audio at a cost-effective price. These are supported by the Appio wireless active speaker that can be moved from room to room for a flexible audio solution. Completing the new range is the Oyster wireless audio receiver that connects to a home Hi-Fi amplifier and enables the streaming of music. All are controlled through the Hamilton Player app for easy audio streaming from anywhere in the home at a touch of a button. Increasing demand for such technology and the simplicity of installment and set-up is creating a huge business opportunity for electrical installers.

App control from smart devices

Hamilton’s audio solutions use Wi-Fi, so it’s possible to stream to virtually every room in a property, utilising the robust network to stream to several speakers. This enables the same song to be played across all speakers simultaneously; or, different songs can be played in each room, and speakers can be grouped, which isn’t possible with Bluetooth technology. Moreover, Wi-Fi offers increased audio fidelity compared to Bluetooth, preserving more of what the artist intended to suit the keenest ear.

Smartphones and devices mean that audio can be controlled from anywhere in the home through an app. As well as playing music stored on the device, the apps integrate with a range of audio platforms, allowing the user to play music through their preferred streaming service at the swipe of a finger. The intuitive Hamilton Player app allows for easy set-up and control of the wireless audio solutions across a range of devices via iOS or Android. Once the system is installed, download the app and connect to

electricalcontractingnews.com

28/02/2020 11:04


40 YEARS OF ECN

Smart Lighting Control & Audio Solutions Wiring Accessories • Circuit Protection

the speakers through the Wi-Fi network – playing audio is as simple as that. The app allows the system to be configured so speakers can be grouped or played singularly throughout the home for the utmost flexibility. The app also offers an easy-to-use EQ function.

Hamilton’s wireless audio range Four products make up Hamilton’s new wireless audio range: • The WSA50 wireless streaming amplifier, which allows the Wi-Fi streaming of music throughout the home via the Hamilton Player app. • The Hamilton H600-80W8 Ceiling Speakers, which are an ideal companion to the WSA50 amplifier. • The Appio wireless active Wi-Fi speaker, which has a built-in amplifier and delivers 20 watts of power and offers an EQ function. • The Oyster wireless audio Wi-Fi receiver, which turns an existing home Hi-Fi into a wireless music receiver.

Installation options Hamilton’s wireless audio range offers several installation options to suit any project and space, whether it be a newbuild property or being retrofitted into a home or commercial property. Pairing Hamilton’s WSA50 wireless streaming amplifier and its passive H600-80W8 ceiling speakers results in a high quality and reliable fixed audio option. Alternatively, the Hamilton Appio wireless speaker provides a flexible and portable location audio option. Furthermore, the Hamilton Oyster wireless audio receiver allows users to connect and stream music through an existing Hi-Fi system. Installation is simple. The Hamilton WSA50 amplifier can be installed in a ceiling or mounted on a wall or flat surface. It’s recommended that all installation steps are completed before permanently mounting. A power adaptor is included, and ideally the amp should be placed in an easily accessible place so local storage devices can be connected. However, if it is being installed within a ceiling, connect it using a switched fused spur and incorporate a USB2 panel mounted socket type A with a USB extension cable, ensuring the extension cable is fitted to the USB outlet plate and kept as short as possible. Connect a pair of mono speakers to the amplifier, taking note to match the positive and negative terminals on the speaker. It is also possible to use the amp with other third-party speakers. For a stereo speaker, connect both right and left channels to a single speaker. Professional installers are required to fit a fire hood to enclose ceiling speakers, which maintains the integrity of the ceiling and provides soundproofing for the rooms above. Although this isn’t a legal requirement if a homeowner is fitting the system themselves, it’s highly recommended.

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The Oyster wireless audio Wi-Fi receiver turns an existing home Hi-Fi into a wireless music receiver

Easy Listening...

Speaker positions

FROM THE CEILING ON THE BOOKSHELF THROUGH THE HI-FI

Positioning of speakers to create the best possible audio is not as difficult as it might first seem. Keep them around 60cm away from corners and other hard surfaces, such as tall cabinets as these may reflect or hinder the sound. For rectangular rooms of less than 30m2, two speakers placed in near opposite corners to create good sound coverage are ideal. For rooms larger than 30m2 or L-shaped rooms, consider creating separate stereo audio zones using pairs of mono speakers in line with the room usage, with the addition of a single stereo input speaker within any enclosed space. For long narrow rooms, consider using two stereo input speakers at either end, at least 60cm in from the room ends.

NEW

Kitchen diner and entertainment spaces Ceiling speakers are an excellent solution for open plan kitchen diners and entertainment spaces, providing stereo sound throughout the space. The Appio wireless speakers can supplement the set-up, creating a very pleasant and pervasive sound field that enhances the ambience in a dining room. Placed just above seated ear level, multiple Appio speakers should be positioned in opposite corners of the room, equidistant from the central listening space to work together. However, be aware of ceiling speaker placement above any surfaces that could disrupt the audio. For example, it’s inadvisable to position a ceiling speaker directly over a dining table because the sound will reflect off the table and could interfere with conversation.

Smaller spaces For a small space, such as a kitchenette or utility room, single stereo ceiling speakers are an excellent solution. A single stereo input speaker plays both channels through one woofer and two tweeters. Depending on the size of the room, installing more than one speaker might be preferable: place one above the sink and one in the opposite corner to ensure good audio coverage. These speakers also work in large awkwardly shaped rooms to supplement the main stereo speaker pairing.  Hamilton Litestat, hamilton-litestat.com

Hamilton’s NEW Wi-Fi Audio Range player

CONNECT STREAM PLAY

Installing audio shouldn’t be difficult. With Hamilton’s new wireless audio range it couldn’t be easier! Just connect power to your chosen device, download the Hamilton Player App, go to Wi-Fi settings, select your device and stream away…you’re done! Designed to a very high spec, the range comprises: • Wireless streaming 2x 50W amplifier plus 80W ceiling speakers • Wireless 20W multi-room active speaker • Wireless audio receiver for existing hi-fi system A perfectly pitched solution for the home, restaurants/bars and shops.

Ask for more information at your local wholesaler. SEE US AT ELEX Exeter 2020 23-24th April, STAND G90.

www.hamilton-litestat.com +44 (0)1747 860088 info@hamilton-litestat.com

BRITISH MANUFACTURER

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@eiliveshow #eiliveshow2020

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FARNBOROUGH INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION CENTRE

APRIL 21-22

EI Live! 2020, the UK’s national show for the AV and install market, will boast a greater focus on smart products from the world of electrical contracting; delivering a unique platform on which a smarter, brighter future can be established. www.eiliveshow.com

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SPECIAL FEATURE

WHOLESALERS & DISTRIBUTORS

INVESTING FOR A BRIGHT FUTURE Founded by electricians frustrated by the poor service provided by their existing suppliers, AT&T(GB) has gone from strength to strength since it was founded in 1999. ECN looks at the company’s ethos and details how its recent risks have paid off.

A

s every business leader knows too well, making the right decisions relating to investments in your business is hard at the best of times. With the economic uncertainty created by Brexit adding to the downturn in government spending on housing and infrastructure over the past 10 years, this has certainly made those decisions even

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Adrian Storr, the company’s Managing Director

more challenging for the construction industry as a whole – particularly for those organisations involved with product supplies, such as electrical wholesalers. However, there is one electrical wholesale business with a Managing Director who has always believed that you have to be brave and follow your instincts if you want to be successful. Adrian Storr, MD of AT&T(GB), one of the UK’s largest independents, took the decision in the spring of 2018 to implement a three-year programme of investment in his business. Storr was following his instinct that Brexit would happen sooner rather than later and that this would be the springboard for a more positive outlook, with the government increasing investment in UK infrastructure and successful large, medium and small businesses starting to increase the level of their investments in capital projects. “Since we commenced trading in 1999, it’s never been easy, but by following my instincts and those of my fellow investors, we have managed to grow sales and profit year on year for more than 20 years”, says Adrian. “Now is no exception, and even though our decision to implement a threeyear investment plan hit our profitability in 2018/19, I am convinced that it was the

right decision for our business, our people and most importantly, our customers. “Amongst other things, since 2018 we have invested in warehousing, increased stock levels, transport, technology, and training and development programmes for our staff. We haven’t yet completed the investment programme, so it will continue into 2020 and beyond, as will our desire to seek out further acquisitions, should profitable opportunities arise.”

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WHOLESALERS & DISTRIBUTORS

Developing skills for the future Vastly experienced in the industry himself, Pates is passionate about investing in people and doing everything possible to ensure that all employees get the opportunity to improve their skills and develop for the future. “We want to give our people every chance to develop”, says Simon. “Our training programme uses the EDA product modules with a City & Guilds diploma being presented to those who complete their course successfully. But it’s not just about courses and diplomas. Key to developing your people is the positive attitude of senior management and in our case, this could not be better, with every member of the senior management team being involved through the mentoring of those undertaking the course.” He adds, “We have committed to an investment of £2.5 million in our Brentford office and warehouse over the next five years, and will shortly begin taking delivery of 14 new delivery vans, all of which meet the ULEZ standard. Cumulatively, this is a massive investment in our business, but one which would be wasted if we didn’t do everything possible to ensure that our people are capable of maximising the use of these assets to the best of their ability. This investment in our people will continue throughout 2020 and beyond.”

AT&T(GB) is a large, independently owned supplier of electrical products and services based in Brentford, Middlesex

As Commercial Director, Steve Habgood is always on the lookout for new technology that can make an impact

Investments past and present So, where have these investments been made since 2018 and what further investments are planned? Steve Habgood, Commercial Director, has responsibility for purchasing and IT. He comments, “While many competitors were reducing average stock holding, we took the decision in 2018 to do the opposite. Due to supply chain uncertainty created by Brexit, we decided to increase the average value of stock held to a figure in excess of £3.5 million. The majority of these stocked items are quality products manufactured by the major brands, therefore allowing us to quote for large projects in the knowledge that we have the stock to deliver. “Having recently increased our warehousing space by 15,000 square feet, we now have the capacity to increase stock holding further in order to cope with any future supply chain issues, such as the possible supply interruptions from China due to the Coronavirus outbreak.” Habgood continues, “We are continuously on the lookout for new technology that will either help us to reduce costs or deliver a better experience for our customers. Since 2018, this has included the roll out of the CHALPOD electronic POD system and PALLETTE, a new software package that speeds up the approval process for supplier invoices, thus reducing the time it takes for invoices to be paid.” One of the biggest structural changes to the business took place in 2018 with the appointment of Simon Pates and John Williams to join Adrian and Steve in the senior management team. Simon Pates, Operations Director, has responsibility for logistics and employee training and development.

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Simon Pates believes that improving the employees’ skills and developing for the future is essential for success

“While many competitors were reducing average stock holding, we took the decision in 2018 to do the opposite.”

A risk worth taking John Williams, Sales Director, has responsibility for business development. “The decision taken by Adrian in 2018 to invest in a new senior management structure was a brave one”, says John. “He clearly saw the opportunity that existed to enhance our reputation as a great service provider and with sales continuing to grow year after year, his instincts have proved to be right yet again. He continues, “During the last 12 months, we have continued to invest in activities that will allow us to enhance our level of service to customers. For example, our sales team are trained to ask them how we can help add value to the projects

SPECIAL FEATURE

AT&T(GB) recently invested in another 15,000 square foot of warehouse space

they are working on. This has led to the introduction of ‘kits’, which we put together for housing development projects, thus making it easier for the project team to ensure that individual electricians have the right products at hand for each job they are working on. “Additionally, our recent investment in another 15,000 square foot of warehouse space, means we can offer customers the use of this as a secure holding area for calling off stock for large projects. Providing services such as these does cost us, but we believe they are good investments, as they give us the opportunity to add value to our customers’ projects.” Whether it’s too early or not to say that Adrian’s instincts relating to investment have paid off, one thing is certain, by investing early he has set up his business for success in the post-Brexit era and given his team a great base from which they can deliver what their customers want in a timely manner. If his instincts are correct, the investments they have made will most certainly lead to a bright future for AT&T(GB).  AT&T(GB), attgb.co.uk

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WHOLESALERS & DISTRIBUTORS

SPECIAL FEATURE

SPARKING CHANGE IN THE ELECTRICAL WHOLESALE SECTOR Jon Roberts, from business software provider, OrderWise, looks at how digital systems are shaping the electrical wholesale sector.

T

he digital transformation of the supply chain has shaped our expectations around ordering and fulfilment almost beyond recognition. Whether you are a business customer or end-consumer, we now want the buying process to be as quick and convenient as possible. Even if the days of placing orders by fax or on the phone may (largely) be a thing of the past, not every electrical wholesaler is equipped to meet the demands of its current and future buyers. Some are finding that software they invested in years ago cannot handle the influx of new orders, or that it doesn’t have capabilities such as click-and-collect and SMS alerts. Another common problem is that many firms implement different applications on an as-needed basis – but these applications do not ‘talk’ to each other. This makes it extremely difficult to integrate key business functions like orders, fulfilment, invoicing and marketing to deliver a seamless customer experience, not to mention spot new opportunities to secure new contracts.

Planning for the future Solving this challenge was precisely what LEW Electrical Distributors (LEW) wanted to overcome when it approached us. The company currently operates 13 branches and a head office in Lincoln – but, with ambitions to scale up to 25 by 2025, the team knew it was quickly reaching the limits of what its existing systems could achieve. In an industry like electrical wholesale – where margins are tight and the market competitive – companies looking to expand must first make sure they can deliver before embarking on a growth strategy. Small-scale, sometimes familyrun, businesses will soon lose customers and see their well-earned reputation tarnished if they scale up without the right IT infrastructure in place to support their operations. However, get it right and expansion means that SMEs can benefit from economies of scale and compete with their bigger counterparts in the industry. As firms open more branches, they will take on additional staff, bolster their capabilities and hopefully win new business.

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The value of automation

Yet simply increasing headcount in order to fill a skills and resource gap is not always an option for small players with tight budgets. This is why LEW decided to share and automate key back office functions, such as purchasing and finance, across all its sites in the North of England.

Electrical wholesalers must make sure they can deliver before embarking on a growth strategy, Jon Roberts believes

Software with efficiency in mind Behind its decision to implement our ERP (enterprise resource planning) software and WMS (warehouse management system) was a determination to improve efficiency, maximise margins and scale up in a sustainable way. LEW was well-aware of the untapped potential of e-commerce to target new buyers in more locations. While it already had a platform in place, its reach was fairly limited within its existing customer base. The new software, on the other hand, allows the company to deliver the kind of seamless experience between online and offline channels that has become the norm in the consumer world. Staff can manage the entire sales process through the integrated ERP and WMS, including sales and marketing, stock and warehouse management, accounting and business analytics. Once fully deployed, the system will allow LEW customers to buy products from the online store, view order details and arrange click-and-collect deliveries via a central hub. They also receive automated email and SMS updates, just as they would if they were end-consumers.

As previously mentioned, LEW had recognised the value of automation – in terms of speed, accuracy, optimising its resources and improving performance. Automated credit control and group picking, for instance, allows staff to streamline the customer experience, while automated segmentation and customer grading means they can drive up revenue by targeting the most valuable buyers. It is important to note that, as well as integrating with each other, the ERP and WMS also work with critical industry systems, such as Luckins Live, as well as Creditsafe, Mailchimp and courier services. As part of the migration, we’ll also be integrating three retail websites and managing the pick, pack and ship operation that fulfils orders from these. We are proud to work with a host of ambitious and innovative electrical wholesalers and merchants, and LEW is just one example. Having been in operation for almost 30 years, LEW has seen the landscape shift from manual orders, payment and fulfilment to semi-automation and services that few could have imagined back in 1993 when it was established. With the right tech in place, the company is well-placed to deliver the compelling omnichannel experiences required to become a chosen supplier in a competitive sector.

A bright future ahead “Migrating your operations to a new system can seem like a daunting prospect, although plans to scale up are the perfect catalyst to spark change.”

I have every confidence that it will meet its 2025 growth target, while further enhancing the quality of its service. Future plans to centralise distribution for branch replenishment and online fulfilment, and introduce warehouse robotics, can be accommodated within the current WMS. Migrating your operations to a new system can seem like a daunting prospect, although plans to scale up are the perfect catalyst to spark change. As long as the process is carefully managed at each stage, you will not expose the business to undue risk or disruption. Finally, I would urge businesses to work closely with their technology partner to ensure they fully understand the requirements of the job. No system can provide exactly what is needed straight out of the box; there will always be further development to get the right fit for every company, both now and in the future. The ideal partnership is one where you develop and innovate together, taking on board feedback and continually improving the software.  OrderWise, orderwise.co.uk

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SPECIAL FEATURE

WHOLESALERS & DISTRIBUTORS

PRODUCTIVITY: THE KEY TO SUCCESS Screwfix’s Trading Director, Matt Compton, discusses ways in which electrical contractors can boost their productivity this year.

W

e are living in a world where everyday tasks are becoming quicker, more efficient and even automated, and with this comes the opportunity for electrical contractors to boost their productivity in 2020. This is why, at Screwfix, we are always looking for ways in which we can help our customers boost their productivity, whether this is through the introduction of new product lines, or via streamlined purchasing processes – the key thing is making electricians’ lives easier, meaning they can spend more time on the job. One of the biggest impacts on productivity is undoubtedly the impact of tool theft. After conducting research amongst our customers, 46% of respondents stated they have had their tools stolen, and 39% said they’ve had them stolen at least twice, meaning they have had to pay out up to £5,000 in replacement tool costs and lost valuable time on the job. More than half (56%) also stated they feel more should be done to help protect their tools and vans. It is with this in mind that we have been showing our support through tool marking. We have been working with local authorities to host events across our network of more than 650 stores to help prevent tool theft, driving awareness and providing tips to prevent future thefts.

A platform to locate missing tools Milwaukee One-Key enables users to easily pinpoint missing tools

To provide further support to electrical contractors, we work with our suppliers to help introduce new lines that prevent theft and offer our customers increased protection, with the latest addition being Milwaukee One-Key.

Screwfix is a proud distributor for Milwaukee’s range of power tools and accessories

One-Key is a digital platform integrated into several premium products and enables users to easily pinpoint missing tools quickly. The tool can be remotely locked whilst in range of the One-Key app, making it unusable, even if taken out of range. Screwfix’s survey showed that 60% of tradespeople would be interested in buying power tools with this type of functionality installed. In addition to addressing industry specific issues, electrical contractors can take advantage of certain services, offers and market opportunities to help boost their productivity and grow their business.

The rise of the smart home One such market opportunity is the significant interest in and adoption of smart home technology. With £10.8 billion estimated to have been spent on this market in 2019, there is business there for those who are up-to-speed with the latest trends and technology. Furthermore, according to the Future Homes report, more than one third of the public feel that new homes built today will not be fit for purpose in 30 years. This presents an opportunity for those electrical contractors who can advise their customers on what products they should be fitting to ensure their homes are future proof.

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Another way the trade can reduce downtime is by taking advantage of the services on offer at Screwfix allowing them to order, and collect, their supplies in a more efficient manner. We have been working closely with the trade since 1979, so have developed a deep understanding of what tradespeople need to help them get the job done quickly, affordably and right first time, and waiting around for an order is one thing sure to cause frustration. To eliminate this, we launched our industryleading click and collect service, which is now used more than 10 million times each year and allows tradespeople to order over the phone or online and pick-up goods in store in as little as one minute. We are also able to offer next day delivery every day, on the vast majority of items, thanks to an enhanced infrastructure allowing us to move stock quickly and efficiently. A big part of this is down to our distribution centre in Stafford, allowing us to reach many more customers in less than 24 hours. Finally, through Electricfix, we offer bulk savings, exclusive deals and trade rated products for electrical contractors. In addition, there is a dedicated trade counter in all of our stores, which allows our customers to build relationships with their team and get the industry-leading products they need, as quickly as possible.  Screwfix, screwfix.com

electricalcontractingnews.com


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SPECIAL FEATURE

SOFTWARE & APPS

IT’S TIME TO TAKE CONTROL The smart home market is full of potential for electrical contractors, and it all starts with a solid control and automation system. Brett Stokke, Director of Marketing at RTI, a global leader in control and automation systems, explains further.

T

he demand for smart home technologies is on the rise. From HVAC to lighting, security, and multi-room audio, homeowners are getting wise to the benefits provided by these systems and home builders are including them to attract buyers. For electrical contractors, this burgeoning market presents an opportunity to expand your service offering and your business. Before you can start reaping the benefits, however, there is one main thing that you need to know: a smart home by itself isn’t actually all that smart, and having an app on a phone or tablet doesn’t make a device smart either.

Focusing on the user experience

User control has a come a long way since the days of remote controls cluttering up coffee tables

A smart home’s real intelligence comes from having multiple systems integrate and talk to each other. Unfortunately, many don’t do that very well, and the user experience suffers. To put this in perspective, think back to the days of coffee tables cluttered with remotes – one for the TV, another for the cable box, a third for the sound system, and so on. It was unsightly, inconvenient, and cumbersome. Well, smartphones are often the modern-day equivalents, choked with apps that control individual systems or devices. It’s just as inconvenient; just ask anyone who’s needed to answer their phone and use an app to turn down the TV volume at the same time. To solve the cluttered coffee table dilemma, companies like RTI introduced powerful remotes that could control all of those components with a single button press. Fast forward to today, and they’re

APEX programming software, which allows them to completely customise the look and feel of the interface to match their clients’ tastes. The software offers features to speed up the installation process, including automatic generation of the graphical user interface and programming, multi-room programming, advanced graphic resizing, and more. Completely flexible, APEX allows electrical contractors to modify auto-generated templates, take advantage of third-party templates, or create their own pages.

Control for all budgets Through RTI’s touchscreen and app devices, homeowners have more control than ever before

“A smart home by itself isn’t actually all that smart, and having an app on a phone or tablet doesn’t make a device smart either.”

doing the same thing with smart devices. Modern automation technologies take all of a home’s devices and integrate them into one unified control system. And while that may sound like a daunting task, the RTI control and automation platform makes it possible for electrical contractors to enter the smart home market. RTI’s XP control processors integrate AV, security, environmental systems, and more, providing two-way control and feedback – such as song data and current temperature – on the user’s interface of choice. Interface options include the company’s offering of handheld devices, such as touchscreen remotes with sleek, sophisticated designs, and weatherproof controllers for harsh environments like pools, decks, and bathtubs. Touchpanels are available in a variety of configurations to meet the needs of any installation – tabletop/wall-mountable, in-wall, and countertop/undercabinet – and range in size from a whopping 11.6 inches to an inconspicuous 2.8 inches.

An app for intuitive control And while RTI doesn’t encourage relying solely on mobile devices for control, the company does offer its RTiPanel app. The app provides the same intuitive control experience offered by its handheld and touchpanel interfaces, while offering the convenience of remote access to a home’s systems from anywhere in the world. To complement the RTiPanel app with tactile control, RTI also offers a companion remote that allows users to utilise the app as the main graphic interface, while adding the convenience of hard buttons. For electrical contractors, RTI’s entire control system family is programmed using the company’s Integration Designer

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For smaller projects or installations on a tighter budget, RTI also offers the Pro Control line. Built around the ProLink processors, Pro Control systems also offer a completely customised control experience, but at a lower price point. As with RTI’s XP processors, the ProLink.z utilises two-way drivers to integrate with a home’s electronic systems, providing two-way control and feedback via the slick Pro24.z touchscreen remote or any iOS device running the ProPanel app. The ProLink.r processor, paired with the Pro24.r remote, delivers reliable oneway control for the family room or home theatre at a price that can’t be beat. All Pro Control solutions are programmed with Pro Control Studio software. While the software allows for complete customisation, a library of two-way drivers auto-populates professionally designed templates. This allows electrical contractors to complete installation quickly and provide cost savings for their clients. It is this unification provided by both RTI and Pro Control automation systems that really delivers on the promise of the smart home and provides the value users expect. For example, the systems allow for the creation of pre-set scenes. One might be a “Welcome Home” scene that turns on the lights, disarms the security system, starts playing music, and sets the temperature to a certain level – all with the press of a button or simple voice command. Devices can also trigger actions by other systems. For example, to scare off intruders and alert homeowners and neighbours, a tripped door sensor can trigger all of a home’s lights to flash on and off and an alarm to sound. The possibilities are virtually unlimited, but they require a solid control and automation system, which makes that the cornerstone of your offering.  RTI, rticorp.com

electricalcontractingnews.com

28/02/2020 11:06


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SPECIAL FEATURE

SOFTWARE & APPS

‘ALEXA: WHAT’S NEXT IN SMART HOMES?’ Nico van der Merwe, VP of Home and Distribution at Schneider Electric, looks at how apps are enabling homeowners to control their heating remotely, while offering convenience and control in the process.

O

ur smart home assistants do more than play our favourite playlists and tell us the weather. In many ways, they are our life assistants, planning our days, telling us the news and controlling our home appliances. For years now, electrical contractors have been aware of smart technology that will change the temperatures of homes. As homes become smarter, bringing greater benefits, so too are heating systems. By adopting smarter features, heat will be generated only when and where it’s required to the exact temperature that is optimal for every square foot. New features will have a huge impact on comfort, convenience and energy bills, and homes will provide more control and improved thermal comfort of occupants by enabling the personalisation of each room.

The smarter choice

Today’s pioneering smart heating systems come as a single solution, linking radiators and thermostats through IoT technology

Many smart heating systems are designed so users can easily control their thermostat directly from an app on their phone – whether you’re out, on the sofa, or having a lie-in. This is an obvious and altogether better and smarter choice for people to keep out of the cold during winter months. With homes and heating systems becoming increasingly connected, the benefits continue to grow. The Internet of Things (IoT) allows homeowners to control their heating wherever and whenever they wish, and schedule heating for when you wake up or arrive back. This saves not only money and time, but improves comfort levels also. To reduce energy consumption and heating bills, connectivity, reliability and overall performance are all crucial. However, there are a number of new functions that are fast becoming a necessity.

Smart rooms Today’s homeowners demand personalisation from electrical contractors. The next stage for heating is control and scheduling in each room independently. From a comfort point of view, each room should be at different temperatures – the bedroom cooler and the bathroom warmer. We control our lights switch-to-switch and we control our water tap-to-tap – so why don’t we control our heat room-to-room? Traditional thermostats and radiator controls simply aren’t efficient or measurable. A smart room thermostat, multi-room system measures and controls the temperature of each room and has a huge impact on comfort, convenience and energy bills. Smart heating systems now enable users to personalise their home environment according to their needs by allowing them to control the temperature and schedule in their home completely independently.

Smart usability With the explosion of apps, it’s now possible to take control of at-home appliances including heating, lighting and entertainment systems. Not only does this make it easier for individuals to control their appliances, for heating in particular it allows individuals to take control of their energy on the go to reduce their long-term energy consumption. Now, however, heating is joining the smart home assistant (Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, etc.) revolution. Controlling heating with voice commands makes it

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Heating is joining the smart home assistant revolution, Nico says

easier than ever. You can now ask them to set your heating at a certain temperature, increase/decrease the heating and check what temperature your home is at.

Smart analysis

“We control our lights switch-toswitch and we control our water tap-to-tap – so why don’t we control our heat room-toroom?”

Next generation heating solutions aren’t simply customisable; they provide complete insight into usage and self-improve. How does room temperature naturally change during the day, how does occupancy cause levels to fluctuate, and what is optimal? Today’s systems enable the kind of insight that is crucial in a data driven world. Today’s pioneering smart heating systems come as a single solution, linking radiators and thermostats through IoT technology, while a phone app provides convenience and control and analytics continuation optimises cost and comfort. These solutions allow users to monitor the temperatures of individual rooms and change them remotely via their smartphone, wherever they are. Electrical contractors, more than ever, have to be striving to provide smarter, more connected homes, that require minimal maintenance. Smart heating systems fit the bill as they are wireless and better for the environment. Adopting technology like this is necessary if people want to reduce their energy consumption in the future. The most modern heating solutions will be key in facilitating smarter, more energy efficient homes for the benefit of our wallets and our planet.  Schneider Electric, se.com/uk

electricalcontractingnews.com

28/02/2020 11:07


NEXT ISSUE

Exterior Lighting

Fire, Safety & Security

Cable & Cable Management

NEXT TIME… In addition to its regular range of news and viewpoints, the February issue of ECN will contain special features relating to exterior lighting, fire, safety and security and cable and cable management. The features will include articles and information from major companies, providing a range of information about the latest issues and technological developments affecting the sectors. For electrical contractors, the features will prove to be a valuable reference point for all that is happening within this area.

To make sure that you don’t miss this major opportunity to advertise your products to ECN’s 40,000 readers, call Kelly Byne on 01634 673163 / kelly@allthingsmedialtd.com

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www.emelux.co.uk 28/02/2020 15:19


SPECIAL FEATURE

A building management system is just the start of the journey, Stuart Phillips believes

SOFTWARE & APPS

VISIBILITY IS KEY Stuart Phillips of Synapsys Solutions explains how electrical contractors can help their clients achieve higher energy efficiency targets by becoming familiar with the latest innovations designed to improve building energy performance.

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tep inside a modern building and you will see, at the bare minimum, lightbulbs, power sockets and light switches, heating controls, air vents and radiators. Most of these things will be conveniently positioned so that the light and temperature levels can be adjusted with the flick of a switch. We can all see them and can usually tell with a naked eye whether they are all working. If you flick a light switch and the light doesn’t come on, it probably means the bulb has expired. If there is no heat coming from the radiator when you think there should be, there could be a fault with it. A problem here, however, is that if you are relying only on looking at the individual component itself to tell if it is working, then that could become quite complicated and time consuming if you are in a large commercial building with hundreds of lights, switches, power sources, heaters or even cameras. Not only that, in a large building full of occupants, it is inevitable that a combination of forgetfulness, laziness and system faults will result in things

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being left on when they don’t need to be, and in an age when the energy efficiency of a building is critical to the future health of our planet, this just isn’t good enough. With no way of knowing where and how often these incidents occur, it is very difficult for a building manager to maintain and manage the building to its full potential – after all, it is difficult to monitor something you cannot see. Now, businesses find themselves under increasing pressure to reduce their energy consumption and provide environments which maximise efficiency. In addition to the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES), introduced in April 2018, the UK government has now committed to meet a net zero carbon emissions target by 2050, meaning many building managers are looking at ways to improve the energy performance of their building. The role of the electrical contractor is therefore evolving quicker than ever before. By broadening their skills and knowledge to encompass awareness of the latest software solutions, contractors will have the opportunity to become expert advisors as well as installers in order to help ensure the buildings we live and work in achieve optimum performance.

Building performance

“A property that is poorly managed in the long term also runs a high risk of being inefficient when it comes to saving energy.”

When we refer to ‘building performance’, it could mean different things to different people. For some, it could relate to the building’s energy efficiency, while for others, it could be running costs, functionality or comfort levels (for the people who regularly occupy the building or just occasional visitors). Achieving peak results in all these fields might be considered difficult, but finding an ideal balance is made a lot easier when a building manager has access to the right information and, more importantly, they know how to use it effectively. Buildings produce a lot of information – or data – and while it is true that a professionally installed Building Management System (BMS) will provide excellent 24/7 control of a building, it can only really offer real time control of the building’s plant, such as HVAC, lighting, power systems and fire and security systems. They are not built for dealing with historical data or for reporting that data, which means there is a lot of valuable data going to waste that could be used to great effect in optimising the building’s performance. A BMS is therefore just the start of the journey.

electricalcontractingnews.com

28/02/2020 11:09


SOFTWARE & APPS A building’s data can be accrued from metering systems and BMSs, but analysing data from two independently run systems can be complicated and ineffective. It would be made a lot simpler if these two sets of data could be brought together as a single source of comprehensive data to be viewed and analysed properly. An Energy Management System (EMS), for example, collects data from the building using an energy monitoring system, and EMS functionality has been added to many BMSs, which allows the collected data to be displayed on charts of the user’s preference so that consumption trends can be spotted easily and acted upon. By identifying how, when and where a building uses the most energy, the manager can develop an effective control strategy that can be implemented and tracked to improve performance and maximise savings.

The next step So, what comes after an EMS? Imagine a building manager being able to look at just one screen that gives up-to-date, accurate feedback about how well their building is performing, enabling the manager to make the necessary changes that will improve the building’s performance in both the short and the long term. To effectively and sustainably manage a building to achieve its optimum performance, and for truly effective energy management and performance, visibility is key.

The

Energy Building Information Software (EBIS), such as SIPInsight EBIS from Synapsys Solutions, goes beyond what you would expect from a traditional EMS. Not only can EBIS provide users with all the basic information you would expect from an EMS, it displays BMS points and maps these points against associated energy data points collected from meters. This extra functionality enables users to display meter values and consumption with the option to display related BMS values and status at the same time or overlay on an energy graph. Efficiency issues can be highlighted by identifying energy consumption and occupancy trends and mapping them against the status and run time hours of the building’s plant. The system can also be quickly and easily scaled up or down as required. This flexibility allows users to monitor one part of a building, a whole building, an entire campus or multiple sites across a country, for example, without being tied to one building or specific location. Multisite management is becoming another key asset in the 21st century, as any delay in solving a problem with a managed property is likely to lead to tenant dissatisfaction. A property that is poorly managed in the long term also runs a high risk of being inefficient when it comes to saving energy, and therefore, more money is being wasted.

A multisite property management system enables a building’s services to be managed remotely through sensors that can show the building manager live data relating to energy consumption, so areas of the property network that require attention can be spotted quickly and acted upon, without necessarily having to visit the building itself. With an abundance of technology now available aimed at improving building energy performance, savvy contractors will make sure they are up to speed on a range of cost effective add-on systems which will make their clients’ lives simpler, help meet energy targets and boost their bottom line. 

SPECIAL FEATURE

The SIPInsight EBIS software from Synapsys provides a vast array of critical information about a building’s performance

Synapsys Solutions, synapsys-solutions.com

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Software & Apps – Synapsys.indd 55

28/02/2020 11:09


SPECIAL FEATURE

TEST EQUIPMENT

THE CASE FOR CALIBRATION Here, Ian Park, Divisional Manager of ACS, explains exactly why calibration is critical in ensuring accurate, reliable results from your test equipment.

Calibration – an overview Put simply, calibration is the vital process of configuring an instrument to ensure that it provides an accurate measurement. It is a critically important routine that is essential to maintain equipment, ensure trustworthy results, and save time and money. Whilst there are many factors that could influence a measurement device – such as the operating environment or user error – ruling out a misaligned calibration is a great first step when it comes to problem solving. Manufacturers will typically dictate the frequency at which calibration is required, but in the majority of instances, it’s needed at least once a year.

Why calibration is so important No matter how expensive or innovative a measuring instrument is, the reality is, the accuracy of any device will start to degrade over time. However, with regular calibration, you can minimise the impact of this problem and ensure that you maintain the accuracy of your equipment. Incorrect readings can lead to a plethora of unwanted problems – including downtime – so the more accurate a reading is to begin with, the more time and money you ultimately save. Thus, it’s essential to regularly calibrate your equipment to ensure consistently strong results.

Where ACS comes in ACS, a company dedicated to providing state-of-the-art calibration services to the electrical industry, provides one of the most reliable calibration and repair services in the UK today. The company’s nationwide service proudly offers traceable results to national standards, detailed certification (including results), and full guarantees on all work.

Equipment is tested using state-of-theart testing and calibration equipment, and minor repairs can be carried out as part of the service too. ACS offers a same-day service to add an even greater degree of flexibility. By dropping in testers to a local CEF store, or by attending one of the ACS calibration days that are held throughout the year, engineers and contractors can have their equipment calibrated in next to no time, minimising downtime and enabling them to get back to the job at hand. With the risk of parcels going missing, or damaged in transit, this same-day service is an extremely popular option. Should you be in the region and wish for calibration directly from the source, ACS even welcomes visitors to its facility in Avonmouth (which also houses a purposebuilt laboratory). In addition to calibrating your equipment, the team will even make you a cup of tea while you wait!

Assistance for a range of projects No two projects are ever the same, with ACS’s customers each having unique requirements and deadlines for their calibration needs. In a project carried out in 2019, ACS worked with a company which had previously required its engineers to be responsible for their own equipment: there was no fixed system in place for the calibration procedure. With engineers quite literally left to their own devices, the ad-hoc calibrations often proved a time-consuming process, with some collection services taking up to five days from start to finish.

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“No matter how expensive or innovative a measuring instrument is, the accuracy of any device will start to degrade over time.”

This also led to an inconsistency across the readings, and the organisation involved decided to streamline the process so that accurate readings were achieved – offering confidence and peace of mind to both the company and its engineers. However, it was critically important to find a service that provided freedom, and the ease to have equipment calibrated at the right time, at the right place. In response to the requirements, ACS developed a brand new voucher system that is designed to simplify the calibration process for each of its engineers. By providing the engineers with access to a 12-month diary – which shows exactly where and when they can have their equipment calibrated, all within a ten-mile radius – they are free to choose a time and location entirely at their convenience. Not only is the new system highly flexible, but the invoices are paid up-front by the company involved, so the engineers’ cost concerns are also allayed. At present, there are four different ways for the engineers to take advantage of this highly convenient service: by calling into their local CEF branch, which can arrange for delivery to ACS’s site in Avonmouth; by attending an ACS calibration day; by visiting the ACS site directly; or by sending to the ACS site via a carrier. Since the implementation of the new voucher system, life has proven far simpler for the engineers, and they can now test their equipment without any fear of disruptive downtime or fear of added expenses. In many cases, the equipment is being calibrated on the same day, within a matter of hours.

Fast response to urgent requirements In another recent project, ACS saved the day for a customer whose usual calibration provider cancelled at short notice – leaving them in a very difficult situation. Once again, ACS responded rapidly with a variety of different solutions, and the customer decided that – with the assistance of CEF – the testers would be brought to CEF stores, where an ACS engineer would calibrate them on site. Less than 48 hours later, each of the 138 devices had been successfully calibrated, and the project was completed. The efficiency of ACS means that they can work remotely, and thus can react more quickly than other companies. With more and more customers requesting on-site calibration in this day and age, this flexibility is a huge advantage, and guarantees convenience for the customer that other companies cannot offer.  ACS, acs-calibration.co.uk

electricalcontractingnews.com

28/02/2020 12:17


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NC Series advert 244x340mm V1.indd 1 Untitled-11 1

16/12/2019 10:01:17 21/02/2020 15:42


SPECIAL FEATURE

TEST EQUIPMENT

DOES YOUR EQUIPMENT PASS THE TEST? Here, Malcolm Duncan, UK distributor for Klein Tools, talks about the importance of choosing good quality test equipment and introduces some of the newest innovations being brought to market.

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est meters are a toolbox essential for electrical contractors working on the installation, repair and maintenance of electrical equipment. As well as helping to ensure installations are safe and compliant, these gadgets help to troubleshoot problems and can warn contractors of any possible dangers, before they – or someone else – finds out the hard way. With such an important role to play in keeping people and buildings safe, choosing your test equipment carefully is a must. So before investing in a new test meter, there are a number of things that should be considered – starting with functionality and features.

Single use or multimeters? In recent years, digital multimeters have become very popular. These all-singing, all-dancing multipurpose devices can perform various readings on electrical circuits including voltage, current, resistance, temperature and TRMS, so there’s no need to take a handful of single-purpose testers to site as one will do the job. However, multimeters are more expensive to buy and if you don’t actually need all the extra features, you might be better off with a couple of testers that perform single functions instead. Take, for example, Klein Tools’ new ET600 insulation resistance tester which has just launched in the UK. It’s designed to test insulation resistance up to 4000MΩ at 125V, 250V, 500V, and 1000V DC and can measure up to 1000V AC/DC, low resistance and continuity. While this single-purpose tester may not appeal to some electricians if they also need to regularly test and measure other indicators such as RCD and Earth Fault Loop Impedance, it’s ideal for electrical contractors or engineers in roles where insulation resistance is the primary metric tested.

Klein Tools brought the first branded USB tester to the UK market back in 2018

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Problem solvers Manufacturers are developing new test meters all the time to solve some of the more common problems that contractors face. So, if there are particular test situations which cause you headaches, there might be a more suitable tester design out there for you. For example, testing hard to reach cables, such as in a tightly packed panel and control cabinet, can be a time-consuming problem for contractors. In the past, this issue has been solved with the help of a clamp meter, but even then, there are still jobs where it’s not possible to manoeuvre the rigid clamps into position to get a reading. To solve this problem, Klein Tools has developed the CL150 flexible AC current clamp meter. Instead of the hard jaws of a traditional clamp, it features an 18-inch flexible clamp which is simply looped around the cables to be tested.

Easy to use All test equipment should be simple to use and help contractors do their job as quickly and efficiently as possible. To do this, the unit itself should be easy to operate. Ergonomic designs that fit easily in the hand, easy to grip buttons and dials which can be used with or without gloves on and back lit LCD displays that offer readable measurements – even in dimly lit areas – are all essential usability features. Some testers, such as the insulation resistance tester, also come with additional features such as a kickstand and/or magnetic hanger. This allows for ‘hands off’ operation to help reduce hand fatigue.

Built to last Test meters aren’t cheap, and the last thing contractors want is to be replacing theirs just a few months down the line. Test meters should have a robust casing that will protect the expensive components inside and a decent drop protection rating, so you know it will survive the odd fall off a ladder. Remember, like your smartphone, the screen of a test meter is particularly vulnerable, so a casing with a raised edge around the screen will help to prevent the display getting cracked. Depending on the kinds of environments where the test meter will be used, it’s also worth checking out whether it has an IP67 rating. These are sealed units, which prevent water and dust from getting in. While we don’t have too many cold snaps or heatwaves over here in the UK, some test meters are also designed to operate in extremes of temperature. Klein test meters, for example, operate in temperatures from 0 to 50°C.

Klein Tools’ new ET600 insulation resistance tester, which has recently launched in the UK

“Multimeters are more expensive to buy, and if you don’t need all the extra features, you might be better off with a couple of testers that perform single functions instead.”

New equipment, new testers As the electrical industry evolves, so too does the variety of testers available. Thanks to the growing demand to charge our phones and smart devices on the go, electrical sockets with a USB port are now a common sight in homes, hotels, student accommodation and cafes. First introduced in 2013, they weren’t actually included under the BS 1363 standards until 2016, so the quality of products made prior to then can vary and voltage can be inconsistent, making them a fire risk. To alleviate safety concerns, Klein Tools brought the first branded USB tester to the UK market at the end of 2018 to give electrical contractors the tools to effectively monitor and test the performance of USB charging ports. This is a prime example of manufacturers responding to the needs of the electrical industry and the contractors working in it.

In summary The test meters market is evolving all the time to offer more innovative products for contractors, helping them to work more efficiently and safely while offering better value for money. If a test meter is going to be your next tool purchase, it’s worth shopping around and comparing products to make sure you have the best product for the job at your fingertips.  Klein Tools, kleintools.eu

electricalcontractingnews.com

28/02/2020 11:10


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SPECIAL FEATURE

TEST EQUIPMENT

EVSE TESTING IN THE SPOTLIGHT With the 18th Edition seemingly unclear as to whether or not testing of electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) is mandatory, Metrel explains why it needs to be taken seriously – along with details of why its multi-tester is the perfect solution.

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values. These are compared with the test parameters and the regulations, and a pass or fail is shown on the screen and again committed to memory. The next screen tests the breaker disconnection functions, rather like an extended auto RCD test. It operates in both positive and negative phases, and starts with the 6mA DC tests, measuring the time it takes the breaker to trip. Resetting may require the “disconnection of the vehicle” on charge by changing the function buttons on the adapter and or charger, or indeed a trip to the distribution board. Having done the 6mA trip, the test sequence goes on to do the 5I, I and ½ I tests for the 30mA AC breaker. Finally, for completeness, the tester goes on to complete trip tests on both breakers. The instrument confirms the full test has been passed, and at this point, the results can be labelled and comments made using the QWERTY touch keyboard.

ince the publication of the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations, there has been some debate about their application to electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE). While there is a requirement for disconnection devices for a 30mA AC and 6mA DC, there appears no requirement to test them. This places the installer in an invidious position; to do the job properly, one would test the circuit to make sure that the protection devices operated as specified. However, there was no testing regimen specified by the regulations. A conspiracy theorist might have suggested that this was because Metrel, alone amongst the major test manufacturers, offered testers and accessories capable of testing both the 6mA DC breaker and testing the loop through the 6mA breaker.

Facing up to the challenges

The test report produced from a single-phase car charger

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Nineteen months on since the 18th Edition was published, more test instrument makers are joining Metrel to take electric vehicle charge point testing seriously. Other manufacturers have realised that their existing instruments did not test EVSE equipment confirming conformity to the 18th Edition, and so they have released new models and offered upgrade paths – but they still don’t offer the opportunities for efficiency gains and automation. Unlike the Metrel A1352 EVSE adaptor, they are unable to test the charge point functionally to the full; some can test single-phase installations but not both single and three-phase chargers. By simulating an electrical vehicle connecting to the charger, an EVSE adaptor should

Testing a high-speed vehicle charger

be able to confirm that all the contactors’ communications and indicators are operating as expected. That these tests have been performed and passed or failed needs to be recorded at some point, for reporting and comparison with future tests. Metrel’s autosequence EVSE test allows the installer to save this information on the tester. Another key function of the adaptor is to give access to the complete electrical system for testing with a multi-function tester without the need to break seals and invalidate warranties.

Multi-function testing A multi-function tester, like the Metrel M3152, must be capable of testing the complete electrical system, including the disconnection time of a breaker operating at 6mA DC. Equally, it needs to be capable of completing a loop test through both a Type A 30mA AC breaker and the 6mA DC breaker without tripping either of them; which is no mean feat. The Metrel Autosequence will guide the tester through the tests required, and once the functional tests have been recorded, the tester takes you on to measure the voltages between Line, neutral and protective earth and its frequency – which is held in memory while the testing moves on. Loop testing is next, and the meter displays the Line Neutral and Line Protective Earth loop impedance readings and their associated fault current

Unparalleled data storage That is where a multi-function tester, like the Metrel M3152, scores. Because it’s designed like a computer that can carry out electrical testing, it is simple to store the complete results and test parameters on-board in a file. The file can be labelled with the charger’s serial number, which can be added by hand in to memory or by scanning the barcode with an optional reader. The file and folder structure are very much what the user is accustomed to on their PC. The data can either be sent to a mobile phone for onward transmission to the office or downloaded using the USB port to a PC running MESM Pro directly for instant reporting. The report will not just list the measured values of the installation, but list the functional tests’ pass or failed status and the test parameters that were used. This makes it easy to repeat the test using the same conditions. With millions of chargers to be installed (some estimate 25 million), there is plenty of work promised in this area. However, testing and certifying each installation will drown the industry in paperwork, let alone the ongoing task of checking that these installations on the side of the carriageways, in all weathers, are safe and not vandalised. All this automation actually speeds up testing, and the journey from making the joints to invoicing and being paid shorter.  Metrel, metrel.co.uk

electricalcontractingnews.com

28/02/2020 11:10


Are you an EV installer?

The rules on DC fault protection are changing for the 18th Edition*.

Car charging point installation and maintenance are the biggest opportunity for the electrical trade in years. Metrel testers, and others, can test Type B RCDs. Only Metrel can test automatic disconnect with a 6 mA DC fault current. Only Metrel can test all options of charging state output.

Find out how the A 1532 test adaptor and the MI 3152 can dramatically accelerate your business growth. CALL 01924 245000 or mail info@metrel.co.uk for more information TODAY! * ref 18th Edition 722.533.2.101 Metrel UK Ltd. Unit 16, 1st Qtr Business Park Blenheim Road, Epsom Surrey KT19 9QN

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Phone: 01924 245000 Fax: 01924 245007 E-mai: info@metrel.co.uk Web: www.metrel.co.uk

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21/02/2020 15:43


SPECIAL FEATURE

TEST EQUIPMENT

KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON TESTING With the final Brexit deals still being negotiated, David Sweetman, Marketing and Business Development Director of electrical test equipment manufacturer, Di-Log Group, makes the case for believing in British.

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K manufacturing has always been crucial to the UK’s economic growth, and a healthy economy is critical for British manufacturing post Brexit! There are still uncertainties regarding the terms of any deal negotiated by our worldwide trading partners, putting a greater emphasis on buying British. Before I get accused of extreme patriotism, I do also believe that a diverse worldwide supply chain is required to sustain business supplying a commodity product, as well as the more specialist equipment, and this is no different for Di-Log. However, I do believe that when it comes to safety products such as installation testers testing to BS7671 (18th Edition) standards and portable appliance testers testing to the standards set out in the IET Code of Practice, British manufactured test equipment should be the first choice.

Renowned for quality

Britishmanufactured test equipment from Di-Log

The UK has an excellent reputation for producing quality products within its shores, and with British-made products in high demand across the globe, you can be sure that the quality is nothing short of excellent. A recent survey stated that 60% of the most patriotic purchases came from the manufacturing and engineering sectors, which goes to show that there is huge support in the UK manufacturing industry. As the demand for UK manufacturing grows, so does the business, allowing businesses of all sizes to expand. Manufacturing is also a fantastic way for young people to start out in the workplace with more opportunities available for apprenticeships. There are some great benefits which they earn as they learn a career, which will enable them to develop fantastic skills enabling them to work their way up the ladder, or even set up a business of their own.

A shot of Di-Log’s DL9118 multifunction tester in the production stage

”Instruments travelling around the world for maintenance and repair are not helping to save our planet.”

Test equipment born in the UK Di-Log is proud to support British manufacturing by designing and building our specialist safety test equipment in the UK. All of our 18th Edition multifunction testers and PATs have a UK based R&D team dedicated to designing, building and delivering the most up to date technology to meet the continuous needs of our customers. Developments include the patented ‘Xpert loop technology’ RCD-LOC XLT loop system in place on the new DL911x series Installation MFT. Di-Log uses a very clever algorithm designed to detect noise and RCD ‘uplift’. The RCD-LOC XLT algorithm will perform an additional loop test specifically looking for the effects of noise, and it can also detect if RCD uplift is present. The DL911x Series MFT will then return an accurate loop test result, with all the external effects removed in around nine seconds. The ApplianceTest DLPTx series portable appliance tester offers fast and efficient electrical safety testing, with the DLPT2+ model having the ability to connect a label printer and data storage of 999 assets, including free data logger software. Enabling simple, professional and fast PAT testing, this versatile range of testers features all the required tests set out in the current IET 4th Edition Code of Practice.

A look at the UK’s manufacturing future I take great pride in the fantastic range of products the UK has developed over recent times; an achievement which makes me

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feel safe in the knowledge that a thriving manufacturing sector will enable us to secure the future reputation of the UK in the world as an innovative and leading place to manufacture. From time to time, things don’t always go quite to plan and like any electronic device that is designed to work in the most extreme environment, there is always the odd hiccup, so to speak. With UK based manufacturing, research, development and design teams, issues can be quickly found and resolved – without your equipment potentially seeing more of the world than yourself!

Carbon footprint concerns Supporting UK manufacturing where possible is crucial, as you need to consider how you are contributing to a world that is sustainable. We all have a responsibility to look after our planet, and reducing our carbon footprint will help towards protecting the future for the next generations to come. As I covered earlier, instruments travelling around the world for maintenance and repair are not helping to save our planet. In conclusion, whilst there are some fantastic products manufactured overseas and there will always be justification to follow this route, I also conclude that there are lots of good reasons to buy British – reasons which include economic, quality, integrity, pride and most importantly, pride in supporting British manufacturing. And you will also be doing a bit towards reducing climate change.  Di-Log, dilog.co.uk

electricalcontractingnews.com

28/02/2020 11:11


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SPONSORED STORIES FROM THE INDUSTRY

NEW UFO LED FITTINGS FROM MERIDIAN The Meridian LED range boasts a comprehensive industrial lighting offering, including high and low bay fittings designed for corn lamps, plus a dedicated IP54 range pre-fitted with high power LEDs. Anti-corrosives follow and have options for use with LED tubes or dedicated with built-in LEDs. Two ranges of IP65 industrial floodlights – ZFL up to 50W and IFL up to 200W – plus emergency lighting twin spots and exit boxes, complete the current offering. Now, boosting the high bay sector are new LED UFO fittings available in 100W, 150W and 200W sizes. Manufactured with pure aluminium heatsink bodies, these recessed fittings are finished in black with clear glass diffusers and come with SMD LEDs providing a colour temperature of 5700K and delivering an average lifespan of 40,000 hours. Backed by a full five-year warranty, Meridian LED UFO fittings are IP65 rated, CE marked, and RoHS compliant – yet are available at competitive, affordable prices.

THE PRO WHEELED CASE LIGHTENS THE LOAD Set to be a firm favourite with professionals whose work requires them to regularly transport a heavy toolkit, C.K Magma’s new Technician’s Pro Wheeled Case fits the bill perfectly, combining great features and benefits to make every task that much easier. Ideal for all terrain use, this innovative wheeled case offers more storage than ever before and will effortlessly transport a fully laden toolkit which, with test equipment and power tools, can top 20kg. Regular research with professionals has highlighted the demand for wheeled storage instead of having to carry a heavy toolkit, which can carry the risk of injury. With back problems a significant cause of loss of working days for all trades, the C.K Magma Technician’s Pro Wheeled Case has been designed to take the strain, providing quick and easy transportation of a heavy toolkit to any location. Its balanced design includes a rugged and durable chassis, wheels and a telescopic handle. For further information, visit carlkammerling.com

For further information, visit cedelectrical.co.uk

STRETCH TROUSERS WITH DETACHABLE HOLSTER POCKETS Snickers Workwear’s hi-tech fabrics and body-mapping designs give plenty of scope for every professional craftsman and woman to stretch their performance on site comfortably. Designed for a wide variety of jobs on site, these LiteWork four-way stretch work trousers are the ideal choice if you’re working hard in warmer weather. For maximum flexibility in getting work done, these new trousers feature detachable holster pockets; while the trousers themselves are made from full-stretch material for maximum mobility wherever you’re working. Meanwhile, the Cordura-reinforced Kneeguard pockets offer additional comfort and protection. For maximum functionality, there’s also ruler and cargo pockets for easy access to tools and fixings. They’re all Cordura reinforced for durability, so check out these newest designs – the optimal choice for craftsmen and women who need to get the job done quickly efficiently on site. For further information, visit snickersworkwear.co.uk

OVIA ADDS NEW WHITE LED DIMMABLE HIGHBAY Scolmore Group company, Ovia, is now offering its Inceptor Hion LED Dimmable Highbay fitting in a white finish to sit alongside the black version originally launched. This will widen the appeal of the product and provide installers with more options to satisfy a range of applications. There are two versions of the Inceptor Hion fitting – a 0(1)-10V dimmable and a Microwave Sensor version. Both boast an IP65 and IK10 rating. IK10 is one of the highest degrees of mechanical protection defined by BS EN 62262: 2002 standard. They are each available in three wattages – 100W, 150W and 200W options. The Inceptor Hion LED Highbay comes with 3m pre-installed H05RN-F cable for quick and easy installation and it offers a range of features. It is dimmable, delivers a 90-degree beam angle, offers a lifetime of 54,000 hours and comes with a six-year warranty.

NEW ADDITIONS TO ESP’S APERTA DOOR ENTRY RANGE ESP is expanding one of its best-selling products – the Aperta EZTAG door entry system – to offer installers more choice and wholesalers more opportunities for sales. EZTAG3 is a sleek keypad and proximity reader, designed to provide a compact, durable and convenient solution for a wide variety of access control applications. Already available in silver, ESP has now introduced a black version which will broaden its appeal for a range of installations. Offering straightforward installation and commissioning and with simple selfcontained programming, EZTAG3 is an IP65 rated weatherproof combined access control keypad with proximity tag or pin code activation, accommodating up to 1,010 key tag holders or pin numbers. Users approach the keypad and enter a four-digit code or hold a personal proximity tag within a few inches to activate one of the EZTAG3’s two on board relays, which in turn activates an appropriate door release in separate controlled areas. For further information, visit espuk.com

C.K CABLE ROUTING SOLUTIONS TO THE RESCUE C.K’s innovative range of quality cable routing products offer unrivalled features to ensure the needs of professional tradesmen are more than met, including vital safe and efficient working conditions. The C.K MightyRods Pro range is specifically designed to combat the issues of painful splintering and snapping, thanks to an innovative SplinterShield coating – Europe’s first splinter-proof material – that fully protects the rods and allows for longer cable runs. Flexibility is also key to successful cable routing and, with that in mind, C.K introduced its super-flexible Spira-Flex rod, perfect for accessing tight corners, bends and other obstacles. The SpiraFlex draw tapes offer fantastic benefits when it comes to hassle-free cable routing. The super flexible and extremely tough 4mm Ø draw tape offers a major improvement on standard nylon and steel draw tapes. The C.K Gloworm cable router adds another dimension to the range and is perfect for running cables around tight corners, through insulation filled walls, underneath flooring and across ceilings. For further information, visit carlkammerling.com

Ovia, oviauk.com

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SPONSORED STORIES FROM THE INDUSTRY

COMPANY SHOWCASE

A SMALL PRICE TO PAY FOR PEACE OF MIND Prefect Controls is pleased to announce the arrival of a new member to the Hobsafe family – the PRE 9276. The single gang unit is installed between the hob and the cooker isolator switch, at a convenient location for those preparing food, and ensures that hobs cannot be left on should the cook be distracted. This version of Hobsafe has the same features as the popular two-gang versions, but is more compact. The capacity of the unit is 30A with 15, 20, 30, or 45-minute run-times being selectable during installation. There are both a neutral feed terminal and a neutral output. These large (13.3mm) terminals make fixing easy and quick – eliminating the fiddly issue of doubling up two cables into one terminal. There are two modes of operation: fixed, when the timer runs its course; or on/off, where a second press of the button allows the time-run to be stopped at any point. Hobsafe is easy to use with simple button operation and clear LED indicators, which are dimmable. When the current time-run is about to expire, the red ‘hob active’ LED will flash to warn that the hob is about to be turned off, giving the operator the opportunity to reset the timer if necessary. Hobsafe conforms with EN60730 and is moulded in PC/ABS, making the timer extremely durable. PC/ ABS is fully UV stable and is resistant to cleaning products. A gloss finish overlay allows for easy cleaning. Prefect Controls is also able to install Hobsafe – providing a ‘one stop’ peace of mind service for student accommodation managers, safety conscious landlords, and care partners of those living with dementia. For further information, visit prefectcontrols.com

LEWDEN LAUNCHES TYPE B RCCBS Lewden has recently introduced Type B RCCBs to its range of circuit protection devices, in addition to the Type A and Type AC versions. Available in both two-pole and four-pole versions, Type B residual current circuit breakers (RCCBs) provide total protection for all known residual current faults. They are particularly suited to applications such as: electric vehicle charging, where smooth DC fault current >6mA exists, small scale electricity generating systems (such as solar PV and wind generators), inverters for variable speed control, uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), and battery chargers and three phase rectified supplies. The comprehensive range of RCCBs available from Lewden includes two-pole RCCBs in Class AC, Class A, Class B, and four-pole RCCBs in Class B. For further information, visit lewden.com

THORN OFFERS A NEW APPROACH TO LIGHTING CONTROL The new Omega Pro 2 from Thorn Lighting offers a new approach to lighting control. It enables you to afford the functionality required for your project today, or delay the expenditure of the materials until a later date, and easily integrate your lighting control when you are ready. The new solution enables you to personalise your lighting just the way you want it, from the lit effect, to how you wish to control it, to even the colour temperature of the room. If you want to take advantage of the digital services now available to remotely manage the usage of the space, environmental impact or even apply navigation services within your building, the new Omega Pro 2 can connect you to the digital future via a clever new development called Connect Kit (or CKIT for short). Omega Pro 2, combined with Thorn’s O-PEC optical range, provides consistency to any lighting installation. For further information, visit thornlighting.co.uk

electricalcontractingnews.com

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NIGHTSEARCHER INTRODUCES SOLARIS PRO FLOODLIGHT The Solaris Pro is the latest addition to the renowned NightSearcher Solaris floodlight range. This high-powered portable floodlight is extremely compact, lightweight and is designed for all types of emergency or industrial applications. This high-power, 16,000 lumen output provides a long-distance search beam or flood beam to light wider areas of up to 500 metres. It is easy to set up and features a multi-position 1.8 metre extension pole and light head for inspection of manholes, along with fold out stabilising legs that can be used on uneven ground. Supplied with a smart control panel, the run time can be easily programmed for up to 24 hours, and automatically sets the light level to last the time required. The Solaris Pro features the latest lithium rechargeable battery technology, removing the need for any cabling or costly generators. Contact Nightsearcher now to book a demonstration. For further information, visit nightsearcher.co.uk

UNICRIMP ADDS NEW ALL ROUND BANDING RANGE Unicrimp, part of the Scolmore Group of companies, continues to expand its cable accessories portfolio with the addition of a new range of All Round Banding. The new products will sit within the growing Unicrimp Q-Fire firerated range. Suitable across a range of applications and environments, they will provide users with an expanded choice of fixing solutions and will ensure that they are keeping in line with current regulations. The pre-punched steel banding is highly versatile and has multipurpose uses – to secure cables, pipes, ducts and conduits. It is easy to cut and bend and the pre-punched holes allow for easy fixing using nails, screws, or bolts. The All Round Banding range now comprises a choice of a non-coated galvanised steel finish in 12mm and 17mm widths, LSF coated options in black (also 12mm and 17mm widths), plus red and white colour choices (available in 12mm widths). They are all supplied boxed in a 10 metre coil size. For further information, visit unicrimp.com

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BUYERS’ GUIDE FIRE, SAFETY AND SECURITY PRODUCTS Fire, safety and security products that help deter false fire alarms, prevent theft and minimise damage to building equipment.

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e: sales@detaelectrical.co.uk

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PRODUCT AWARENESS TRAINING Attend our Rolec EV Product Awareness Days to find out more about our EV charge points and back office management solutions. To attend, contact Head of Technical and Contractor Relation, Gary Frost: gary.frost@rolecserv.co.uk

For more details contact Rolec’s technical / support / sales team or visit your local electrical wholesaler

t: 01205 724754 e: rolec@rolecserv.co.uk

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@RolecEV / Rolec-Services www.rolecserv.com 28/02/2020 12:51


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0208 542 1471

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