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CONTENTS

PUBLISHER

Danny J. Salchert OFFICE MANAGER

Anita Salchert NATIONAL SALES MANAGER

Jerry DiChiara jerryd@epsmag.net

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CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Derek Gaylard

WHITE PAPER 6 Energy Management Considerations with

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Michael Perlman • Jeff Jowett • Ezra Auerbach CIRCULATION DIRECTOR

Today’s Drive Systems It’s a process, not a product; multiple drive factors contribute to system energy efficiency

Pam Fulmer

By Michael Perlman

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT 12 Generator Interlock Technologies

PRESIDENT

Danny J. Salchert

FEATURES 16 Some Fundamentals of Electrical Safety (During System Testing) By Jeff Jowett

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Entering the PV Business with the Right Credentials By Ezra Auerbach

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Dealing with the Building Code How Passive Fire Protection Affects the Work of Electrical Contractors

DEPARTMENTS 26 Product Focus 36 Industry News 40 Ad Index CORRECTIONS In the Manufacturers’ Listing section of the April 2010 issue of Electrical Products & Solutions the following companies were listed incorrectly:

We regret any inconvenience this may have caused.

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Electrical Products & Solutions™ is published twelve times a year on a monthly basis by ABD Communications, Inc., 3591 Cahaba Beach Road, Birmingham, Alabama, 35242, USA. Electrical Products & Solutions™ is distributed free to qualified subscribers. Non-qualified subscription rates are $57.00 per year in the U.S. and Canada and $84.00 per year for foreign subscribers (surface mail). U.S. Postage paid at Birmingham, Alabama and additional mailing offices. Electrical Products & Solutions™ is distributed to qualified readers in the electrical contracting industry. Publisher is not liable for all content (including editorial and illustrations provided by advertisers) of advertisements published and does not accept responsibility for any claims made against the publisher. It is the advertiser’s or agency’s responsibility to obtain appropriate releases on any item or individuals pictured in an advertisement. Reproduction of this magazine in whole or in part is prohibited without prior written permission from the publisher. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to ABD Communications, Inc., P.O. Box 382885 Birmingham, Alabama 35238-2885

BURNDY® 47 East Industrial Park Drive, Manchester, NH 03109 MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC POWER PRODUCTS UPS Division, 530 Keystone Drive, Warrendale, PA 15086

Executive and Advertising Offices 3591 Cahaba Beach Road Birmingham, AL 35242 toll free: 800.981.4541 phone: 205.981.4541 fax: 205.981.4544 www.epsmag.net • danny@epsmag.net

PRINTED IN THE USA

Cover photography provided by Megger

Electrical Products & Solutions • May 2010


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WHITE PAPER • Siemens Industry, Inc.

Energy Management Considerations with Today’s Drive Systems It’s a process, not a product; multiple drive factors contribute to system energy efficiency By Michael Perlman

Optimum energy monitoring and management are not products, they’re a process, according to Siemens Drive Technologies — Motion Control.

• Energy Monitoring • Equipment Selection and Optimization (Mechatronics / Parameterization) • Hardware: Common DC Bus / Infeed / Regeneration While it is valid to state that energy efficiency is defined as the same level of production being achieved at an overall lower energy cost, it is equally important for today’s machine builders and automation engineers alike to remember than an energy-efficient system can actually translate into higher productivity. This is achievable through a comprehensive approach to energy management. Energy management is a process, rather than a product or series of products installed on a machine, or inline, to achieve a basic energy saving of kW hour consumption. This process must be ongoing and perpetual, meaning that any defined 6

goal should be viewed as a momentary metric of achievement, rather than a final end. While any vendor, including our company, can supply the right products and support services to hit a target mark of energy savings, the mindset of the customer is key in keeping the process recurrent. This ensures a continual increase in the productivity levels achieved, defined as a factor of the energy consumed. In many ways, it can be viewed in the same manner as an ongoing, effective but constantly evolving quality management system at your company. Three essential elements are the basis of such a process. First, energy monitoring systems must be in place to effectively determine the current consumption. These can include, but are certainly not limited to, energy consumption displays, infeed/supply monitoring devices, power Continued on page 8

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WHITE PAPER • Siemens Industry, Inc.

factor meters and more. Next, the proper calculation tools are needed to properly evaluate the life cycle costs of any investment. These tools can be as simple as a motor sizing chart or the software programs used to parameterize drives. However, a more formal mechatronics protocol may be beneficial to your operation. In this scenario, a thorough evaluation of both mechanical and electrical/electronic influences on your system, be it a machine or a process line, is conducted. The results can often open the eyes of machine designers, process engineers and system integrators alike. To realize the benefits this analysis the proper products and system solutions must be implemented. This is where a competent supplier can be an effective partner for your operation. For example, the solution you need might involve a vector drive that utilizes an energy optimization function to enhance the efficiency of the motor during partial load operations. In a system with multiple motors, energy savings might be realized to a substantial degree by the use of a drive unit with a common DC bus. The designer can also select the most appropriate infeed solution for the machine, pump or process operation, given the particulars of performance and required output. This may include an appropriately sized infeed unit with regenerative capability, the abil-

Continued from page 6

ity to put unused or braking energy back on the incoming power line. Some applications may allow the use of high efficiency standard induction motors and, in the process, realize a potential savings of 1-3%. The use of frequency converters (VFD) for speed control might raise this to an 8-10% savings. Optimizing your entire system through mechatronic analysis of the machine or process design, can result in a potential savings of 15-20% by the avoidance of over dimensioning of motors, plus partial load optimization by means of energy-related flow control. This analysis may also point to the ability to use controlled energy infeed and recovery. In order to determine the true efficiency of any drive system, it is necessary to demonstrate the amount of energy required by its power components and a corresponding examination of how the system uses energy. How different drive concepts used on the same system under identical power load must also be considered. This latter exercise might look into partial load efficiencies with various motor and drive combinations, straight comparisons betweens synchronous servo vs. asynchronous induction motors or direct drive vs. motor/gearbox combinations, drives with braking components vs. regenerative drive technology, as well as so-

lutions with single vs. multi-drive, common DC bus solutions. A corollary to this discussion should also include a review of potential hydraulic/pneumatic component change outs in certain applications where replacement with an integrated package of motion control and PLC technology might better resolve closed loop pressure control of axes, for example. Fewer components and their related power consumption can lead to overall system productivity improvements, as well as ongoing enhanced energy efficiencies. Reduced programming, diagnostic and commissioning times can also flow from such an approach, providing even more opportunities for overall machine or process improvements. Tracking the energy efficiency of such a system may seem problematic at first, but here again today’s sophisticated mechatronic and virtual production protocols can be utilized to validate the real-world performance characteristics of such designs, far in advance of their implementation. As the emergence of new technologies has impacted many of the products used in energy-efficient systems, it is equally important to take a more holistic look at operational sequences and the overall integration scheme when designing, retrofitting or rebuilding for improved energy utilization. ❏

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Michael Perlman is the Marketing Programs Manager for the Motion Control business of Siemens Industry, Inc. In this role, he oversees the technical marketing for products including SINAMICS intelligent drives and SIMOTION motion controllers. Michael has over 20 years of experience in plant and corporate automation engineering at a number of Fortune 100 manufacturers including Kraft Foods, General Mills and Masterfoods (Mars). He received a Bachelors of Electrical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and an MBA from SUNY Buffalo. Email: michael.perlman@siemens.com Website: www.usa.siemens.com/motioncontrol Mailing address: Siemens Industry, Inc., 5300 Triangle Parkway, Norcross, GA 30092 For an informative PowerPoint presentation or more information on this subject, please contact: Siemens Industry, Inc. Drive Technologies — Motion Control 390 Kent Avenue, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007 Phone: 847-640-1595 Fax: 847-437-0784 Web: www.usa.siemens.com/motioncontrol Email: SiemensMTBUMarCom.sea@siemens.com Attention: John Meyer, Manager, Marketing Communications

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Electrical Products & Solutions • May 2010


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CASE STUDY • Generator Interlock Technologies

Hatteras Village, NC, September 29, 2003 — A torn American flag flies over the wreckage left by Hurricane Isabel on South Hatteras Island. PHOTO: CYNTHIA HUNTER/FEMA NEWS PHOTO

When Disaster Strikes S You Still Need Power

generator into a dryer outlet in an attempt to back feed their system, but with no precaution to ensure that the main breaker would remain in the off position. Others draped extension cords all over their homes to power the things that they needed to run. That was when the idea came to Douglas Albertson, managing partner of Generator InterLock Technologies in Richmond, Virginia. He felt that there needed to be an easier way for a consumer that didn’t have the budget or the space for an automatic or manual transfer switch to safely connect their portable generator to their existing electrical system. So he set out to develop a product that would meet National Electrical Code requirements and at the same time be cost effective and convenient for the homeowner. Thus the idea for the InterLock kit was born and in 2005, it was officially launched under the Generator InterLock Technologies (GIT) company. The InterLock Kit is a simple safety product that locks out the main breaker in the existing home panel and allows for the portable generator to power the home through a back feed generator breaker. While many electrical Continued on page 14

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hen Hurricane Isabel tore through North Carolina and Virginia in September of 2003, more than 6 million people were left without power in its wake. Many people, especially in rural areas, would be without power for weeks. In central Virginia, generators suddenly became an extremely rare and valuable commodity, with reports coming in of price gouging and theft of generators from homes and commercial sites. With this new influx of people using generators for the first time coupled with the lack of lead time for a professional electrician to come to the house and install a transfer switch, many people hooked their generators up to their homes in incredibly unsafe ways. Some people rigged up double sided cords from the

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The InterLock Kit allows quick and safe connection of portable and standby generators to home panels.

Electrical Products & Solutions • May 2010


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CASE STUDY • Generator Interlock Technologies Continued from page 12

Alexandria, VA 9/21/03 — The residents of Belle View who were flooded from Hurricane Isabel had no power, and neighbors were sharing their generators with each other. PHOTO BY: LIZ ROLL/FEMA NEWS PHOTO

inspectors initially liked the product, they all agreed that the product would have to be listed to UL standards. After thousands of dollars in fees, rigorous tests, a year of changes and modifications, the Interlock Kit was finally approved for production under UL Standard 67. The InterLock Kit attaches to the front of the panel cover between the Main breaker and a 2-pole Generator breaker that is mounted in the 2, 4 position. The kit consists of two independents plates that are precision laser cut from stainless steel with custom mounting hardware. The back plate sits firmly against the panel cover and the front plate sits on top of the back. The top plate slides between the Main and Generator breakers, allowing only one breaker to be on at one time. This safely locks out any chance of power being back fed out to the main line, potentially causing injury to linemen or others. The company started filling orders in early 2005; starting with a few kits that fit the most recent Square-D and Cutler Hammer panel the offerings grew to over 30 different models in less than one year. Generator Interlock Technologies now has kits for panels from 30 years ago to the most current panel iterations and they con14

tinue to add new kits to meet their customer’s needs. Interlock Kits have been sent throughout the United States and parts of Canada. Their biggest customers are contractors and supply warehouses through out the Southeast during hurricane season and all over the Midwest, Northwest, and Northeast during the winter months. Whether the power loss is due to coastal hurricanes or from crippling ice storms, GIT has a kit that will allow customers to keep the power on in their homes. The Interlock Kits are designed to be installed by licensed electricians and are cost effective for both the customer and the installer. Other products on the market such as generator sub-panels and transfer switches require extensive rewiring of the home panel, often taking the electrical contractor 6 to 8 hours to install. With the Interlock Kit, a qualified electrician can install a complete system in 2 hours or less by simply mounting the correct kit to the face of the panel and wiring a generator convenience inlet to a breaker installed in the panel. To use their portable generator, a homeowner plugs an extension cord from their generator to the new generator convenience inlet. He then starts the generator, turns off the main breaker, slides the Interlock Kit, turns on the generator breaker and selects the circuits for use up to the capacity of the generator. In 2005, the individual kits were listed under UL 67 standards allowing easy ac-

Electrical Products & Solutions • May 2010

ceptance of the product by local electrical inspectors. As the number of different kits grew, the practice of UL Listing individual kits was reviewed by Wyle Laboratories and OSHA and in 2009, Interlock Kits were approved for all panels that are listed to UL 67standards. With over 40 standard kits, GIT now offers kits to fit almost every panel that has been sold in the United States in the past 30 years. For special case situations, GIT offers custom designs including kits for 3 Phase panels and load centers. Generator Interlock Technologies’ InterLock Kit is a defining safety product that was recognized as an Innovation Award Winner by Electrical Contracting Products magazine and one of the Top Products of the Year by Electrical Products & Solutions magazine. From selling product by word of mouth in 2005, GIT has become a recognized supplier of an innovative electrical device that is marketed through electrical supply houses and a web based store that offers same day shipping directly to customers For 5 years, Generator Interlock Technologies, LLC, has taken a problem of safety and convenience and developed an easy and cost effective system to keep danger and expenses to a minimum. Starting with an idea of making a simple solution to a complex problem, GIT continues to grow due to its commitment to deliver a quality product. Visit www.interlockkit.com for a complete list of products and details. ❏


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FEATURE • Megger

Some Fundamentals of

Electrical Safety (During System Testing) By Jeff Jowett

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t’s often taken for granted, unfortunately, but electrical safety should be the first order of the day when preparing for the job. Carelessness and inattention, as well as lack of sufficient knowledge, can produce life-threatening consequences. Safety requirements should be considered before the job is started, and assessed thoroughly and systematically. First, keep in mind that safety involves equipment, procedure, and test item. Each should be considered in turn. Beware of focusing entirely on one aspect and letting the others take care of themselves. Equipment, for instance, may have adequate or even superior safeguards while the item being tested presents an overlooked danger. Of paramount importance is the degree of protection against arc flash/arc blast. This combines elements of all three: the test instrument, the test item, and procedure. Arc flash protection is covered by the standard EN61010-1:2001, issued under the aegis of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The rating defines the level of spike or surge transient the instrument has been designed to withstand. Remember, the rating pertains to transient voltage, not line voltage. Spikes can be many multiples of line voltage and can cause test instruments that happen to be connected at the time to arc internally. The arc can produce tremendous heat, violent

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expansion of air in a small space, exploding the instrument and exposing the operator to burns, shock waves and flying particles. The key to safety is to design the instrument so as to preclude internal arcing, but that isn’t enough. The operator must understand the rating system and apply the instrument accordingly. The standard defines clearance and creepage distances between critical parts within the instrument. The degree of protection is interpreted as a Category (“CAT”) rating, plus a voltage limitation. CAT ratings are assigned from I to IV (the higher, the better), although CAT I is of little practical use anymore. The ratings indicate the position of the circuit under test “downstream” of the transformer serving the premise. Energy dissipates with attenuation and therefore so does risk. CAT IV, therefore, is assigned to the utility feed from the transformer to the service entrance, CAT III is from the fuse panel to an outlet, and CAT II is downstream of the outlet. The rating doesn’t stop here, though, but also must include a voltage limit for the rated voltage of any system being tested, because CAT rating is based on multiples of system voltage. Some instruments list a CAT rating but do not specify the voltage. These should be avoided, as it is an indication of short-cutting for economy in design. The operator must use an instrument with a CAT rating matching or exceeding that of the system being worked on. A study by a utility indicated that using an instrument rated one category lower than the system calls for increased chances of an accident by a factor of 30. Translated to man-hours, this means that if 100 operators used instruments of the wrong rating connected to live systems for one hour per day over a 200-day year, a dangerous situation is likely to occur every 18 months. These are not good odds for anyone intending to spend a career in the industry! After CAT rating, numerous other safety features have been designed into quality equipment. A worthy illustration can be

Electrical Products & Solutions • May 2010

found in the common practice of insulation testing. Years ago, poorly designed test equipment would leave the operator unprotected, and extra diligence was required to avoid being shocked, or worse. Remember, while many in the industry take non-lethal “shocks” for granted, they can produce unexpected consequences like falling from a ladder or catwalk or jostling a nearby person who is working close to dangerous machinery. Better to eliminate the issue altogether than to try to live with it. Testers now come with additional safeguards that didn’t exist years ago. A special safety hazard exists with insulation testing because the tester will charge up the capacitance and absorption inherent in the design of the item being tested. This is a prime example of how the test item can be an unrecognized source of danger. Insulation tests are always performed on de-energized equipment. Therefore, given the safety features of the tester itself, it’s easy for the operator to become complacent and think that he or she is working in a completely safe environment. Not necessarily so! The test item can store a lethal static charge in its capacitance and polarization of molecules in the insulating material. At termination of the test, with the field gradient provided by the tester now removed, the charged item will generate a relaxation or reabsorption current. The operator does not want to become part of this discharge circuit! Older testers at best had a discharge switch, if any protection at all. Operator involvement was paramount, as it was easy to forget to engage this switch. Modern testers virtually eliminate the chance of operator error by providing automatic safe discharge. When such a tester senses extraneous voltage (not provided by the tester itself), visual and audible warnings are engaged, and the actual voltage may be automatically displayed, with flashing symbols to ensure the operator’s attention. A discharge circuit will then safely dissipate Continued on page 18 the stored charge and


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FEATURE • Megger Continued from page 16 monitor it on the display, so that the operator will not get across the terminals until there is less than 50 V. This warning circuit will, of course, incept at any time during the course of a test, so that if the operator accidentally connects to a live circuit, or someone closes a breaker or flips a switch while the test is in progress, the operator will be immediately warned. But beware of fuse protection; make sure it’s properly integrated with other functions. In some units, a blown fuse disables the protection circuits; in others, it doesn’t. If a blown fuse has disabled the alarms, the operator may not realize what has happened and not be warned if the tested equipment becomes live. One might also want to consider job protection as a corollary to personal protection. Before such safeguards, it was common for operators to cook not themselves but the tester. Manufacturers of test equipment were flooded with “warranty” returns that had burn tracks across the terminal boards. Sorry, Charley, warranty does not cover connection to a live high voltage circuit. Operators were disregarding voltage indications, if they existed at all, and proceeding to engage the test button. When that happened, the unit was gone. Well-designed modern testers remove this source of anxiety and embarrassment by disabling the test circuit in the presence of extraneous voltage. The operator presses the test button and nothing happens. Phew! Open the circuit and proceed with the test. One factor to be aware of, however, is the possibility of low voltage background noise, such as cross-talk on communications circuits. Testing may have to proceed in the presence of this, so the tester must have an appropriate threshold that will not disable it in such situations. The opportunity for contact with live metal has been reduced to an absolute minimum in well-designed equipment. Recessed terminals and shrouded lead terminations now leave only the tip as exposed metal. Finger guards prevent the hand from slipping onto the live test item when too much pressure is applied. On the other end, locking terminals prevent leads from being accidentally pulled out by passers-by. This is more significant than might be expected, because the reflex tendency is to grab for the lead. As has been shown, test items can store dangerous static charges. Fused leads can also be employed, for redundant safety. Leads should also be in18

spected for their physical condition. This is another area of protection that is easily overlooked. The tendency is to focus attention on the instrument and leave the leads as a given. But small cracks or worn spots from routine use can expose the operator to live metal, so it is a good idea to routinely inspect lead condition. Testers with multiple functions are becoming easier to design and more popular to use. The potential danger here is that not all functions are necessarily designed to the same level of quality. The model may advertise its fine points while some “add-on” functions are not up to the highest specification. Where safety is concerned, this can be a danger because the operator will be aware of the unit’s promoted specifications but not necessarily of functions to which they do not apply. As an example, insulation testers frequently include continuity tests that operate at the opposite end of the resistance spectrum. The high-resistance input protection that safeguards the operator while performing high-voltage tests is switched out of the circuit for the harmless, low voltage continuity check, in order to accommodate more test current while measuring to fractions of an ohm. But what if the low voltage suddenly becomes high voltage, as in a fault occurrence? Similar to arc flash protection, the operator must be protected from dangling leads or connected metalwork while switching from one test to another. A sophisticated design will keep the high-resistance input protection in the circuit until both leads are properly connected to a continuous circuit. Ground testers don’t get a lot of attention in safety discussions because grounds tend to be out of sight, out of mind. But grounding electrodes can come on line and can also carry surprising levels of constant current. Older testers produced higher voltages and currents so as to drive to sufficient depths in widely varying soil. Geophysical models still do, but for electrical grounding, microprocessor sensitivity has permitted test voltages and current to be brought within safe levels. Electrical systems can be tested while on line without interference. But a danger to the operator can occur if the system being tested comes on line, as during a fault. The tester and its leads could become part of the clearance path. The best protection resides with safe working practices, such as the use of insulated boots, gloves and mats, as defined in standards such as those of the IEC. It is also a good

Electrical Products & Solutions • May 2010

idea to check for current before connecting to test. A clamp-on ammeter is a simple and easy way to do this. Modern ground testers sometimes come with built-in current clamps. A built-in clamp feature also enables systems to be tested without having to lift the connection to the utility neutral. Separating the on-site ground in order to test leaves personnel at risk in the event that fault clearance is required while the test is in progress. The inclusion of a clamp-on ammeter enable the tester to measure test current on the on-site ground in order to measure the resistance of the on-site electrode without having to lift the connection to the parallel utility ground. The more the instrument eliminates opportunities for error, the better the safety program will perform. As an example, the greatest safety challenge comes in highvoltage maintenance, where hotline poles and voltage detectors must first be employed to determine that the test item is in fact de-energized. The detectors indicate voltage by visual and audible signals. They should be ready to operate at all times, with no on/off switches that could be forgotten. Industry practice is to first test the tester, so that an inoperative unit won’t be mistaken for a lack of voltage on the circuit under test. A built-in test circuit facilitates this lifesaving check. A green light should then remain on to indicate that the unit has been checked. This protects the operator from picking up the wrong unit after, say, putting the tested one down to put on gloves. The test is performed on the supposedly de-energized circuit, and then the tester is tested again. This prevents a unit that was damaged by the performance of the test from being returned to stores. This is the kind of redundancy that is necessary for assured safety. Safe working distances must also be maintained when approaching energized lines to prevent arcing to the worker, and the indicators may have collapsible poles with markings for safe distances from different voltages across the range that the indicator covers. These poles also must be regularly maintained against cracks, dirt and corrosive materials that could facilitate current flow along the pole. Finally, it is important to note that no matter how good, the instrument’s features are only a second line of defense. A well-trained and alert operator is the most important part of electrical safety, with a well-designed instrument providing the necessary redundancy. ❏


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FEATURE • NABCEP Solar

Entering the PV Business with the Right Credentials M By Ezra Auerbach

any electrical contractors are beginning to investigate the rapidly growing PV (photovoltaic) market place as potential growth direction for their businesses. They are right to do so; the solar electric industry suffered a recession-induced reduction in its growth rate last year and only grew by 37%. More than $300,000,000 of dollars is spent in the US on PV installation contracting annually. If the renewable energy portfolio commitment targets identified by utilities, state

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and federal governments are kept the industry will continue to grow at an unabated pace for the next couple of decades. One of the key requirements for any electrical contractor wanting to enter the PV industry is the right human resources. These requirements will change depending upon the level of involvement in the sales, installation and commissioning process the contractor chooses to pursue in their business model. A common “best practice” for all contractors will be to have

Electrical Products & Solutions • May 2010

at least one NABCEP Certified PV Installer on the crew; in many cases this person is also the crew leader. The vast majority of the “craft skills” required for PV installation are part of an electricians training; it is called solar electricity for a reason. With PV the story doesn’t end with electricity, in addition to those skills the fully qualified PV installer also needs to know a considerable amount about; roof flashing materials and techniques, building construction, metal work, glazing. They will have sufficient training to be capable of assessing the design of the system. They will sometimes be called upon to make complex calculations to determine appropriate ways to address any shortcomings in the equipment or design supplied. To be sure there is nothing about PV installation that is un-learnable and many excellent training opportunities for qualified electricians exist – and there is a lot to learn. The vast majority of electricians and electrical don’t have the complete range of experience and Continued on page 22


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FEATURE • NABCEP Solar Continued from page 20 specialized knowledge that is required of PV Installers and training is a vital way of expanding their knowledge, skills and abilities (KSA). There are three main avenues that electrical contractors can follow to expand into the PV business. Each one varies in level of commitment, investment, and human resource requirements. The simplest, and easiest, way for a

contractor to get started in PV is to work along side a solar contractor whose PV specialist does not meet the electrical trade qualifications of your jurisdiction. You will work side-by-side each learning from the other. This is a very low risk way to explore the PV business, the solar contractor does all the sales and design and you supply labor. To be sure that you choose the “right” solar con-

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Electrical Products & Solutions • May 2010

tractor make sure that they have NABCEP Certified PV Installers on each of their crews. A somewhat riskier way to enter the business is to start a solar contracting business; hire a NABCEP Certified PV installer and begin selling jobs. Your company will need a good Distributor that can provide an extensive amount of engineering support. A start-up solar contractor requires a high level of service for engineering and design support and your full service PV Distributor is your best source for this type of support. This is a riskier way to start out in the business; you are responsible for the sales and installation. As the lead contractor your business also takes on the after sales responsibility. As the sales company your staff take responsibility for accurate prediction and customer satisfaction; opportunity for margin from equipment sales will off set the increased risk and responsibility. You will have to hire sales staff carefully to be sure they providing your potential customers with accurate information and realistic expectations. The last thing you need is someone promised customers “free electricity from the sun” when it’s time to collect on a very large bill. In today’s market it is not difficult to by-pass distribution and purchase most PV components directly from manufacturers. While this approach allows for greater profit potential from the sale of equipment – it also carries the highest risk. In addition to sales people and Certified Installers your company will also have to hire designers and engineers with specialized PV training and experience. NABCEP is working on a Certification for PV Technical Sales people – this will make hiring decisions easier. Most companies start modestly – partnering or contracting before they leap into full fledged project design and management. No matter which pathway your company pursues hiring candidates who have NABCEP credentials will make your job as a contractor easier and lower your risk. One study completed in New York State found that jobs installed by NABCEP Certified Installers had fewer problems at time of start up than those installed by non-certified installers. A well-proven way to contain costs it to reduce call back occurrences. For more information about NABCEP visit their website at www.nabcep.org. ❏


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FEATURE • Tenmat

Dealing with the

Building Code How Passive Fire Protection Affects the Work of Electrical Contractors

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e can avoid costly mistakes and fire safety in buildings, which are building code and fire code. The Internaand delays in job completions Active Fire Protection and Fire Protec- tional Building Code, which is used as a with a proper understanding of tion Education. guide line by several local and state agenthe term Passive Fire Protection and its Passive Fire Protection, contrary to cies, dedicates a whole chapter to passive requirements within the Building Code. Active Fire Protection, does not detect a fire protection. Chapter Seven of the 2006 It is a common misassumption that the fire or suppresses it, but attempts to con- International Building Code deals with all responsibility for proper passive fire pro- tain and slow the spread of flames aspects of Fire-resistance rated constructection only lies with the architect, builder through the use of fire resistant walls, tions, including fire-resistance rating, or general contractor. Most of the time it floors, doors and ceilings. Another dif- proper fire tests, fire-rated walls, ceilings, will also affect Electrical Contractors. ference to Active Fire Protection is that and fire barriers. Section 712.4.1.2 (Page Every time you drill a hole in the wall Passive Fire Protection does not typi- 104) of the International Building Code or ceiling to put in electrical wiring, in- cally require electric or electronic acti- for example explicitly states that recessed stall a junction box or install a recessed vation or a degree of motion. Exceptions lights require additional protection around light you are impairing the the light, when installed in a firestopping capabilities of the fire rated application: system. Each opening in a fire “Penetrations of membranes It is a common misassumption barrier poses a potential hazthat are part of a fire-resisard for the people living above tance-rated horizontal assemor next to the room. bly shall comply with Section that the responsibility for proper This is where most of the 712.4.1.1.1 or 712.4.1.1.2. costly mistakes and job delays Where floor/ceiling assemhappen. You either have not blies are required to have a been made aware of the fire minimum 1-hour fire-resisonly lies with the architect, builder rating requirements in the tance rating, recessed fixtures specification, overseen the reshall be installed such that the or general contractor. Most of quirement or the specification required fire resistance will was not written in compliance not be reduced.” the time it will also affect with the local building code reSince Fire ratings pertain to quirements. If this mistake has complete systems, all componot been already detected durnent of the system have to be Electrical Contractors. ing construction and installatested and approved for a spection, it will certainly be ified fire resistance. In this exdiscovered by your building code official to that particular rule of thumb are fire ample, the fire rated ceiling, is the or electrical inspector. The later the de- dampers (fire-resistive closures within complete system and requires all matertection the more expensive it will be to fix air ducts) and fire door closers, which ial, including the light fixture or the addiit. Additional not budgeted material has must move, open and shut in order to tional protection to comply with the fire to be purchased, additional labor may be work, as well as all intumescent prod- resistance rating of the ceiling. One of the ucts, which swell, and therefore move, most popular ceiling types is the L500 UL required or the project will be delayed. It is essential to fully understand the in order to function. Floor/Ceiling design where the maximum Passive Fire Protection measures are in- joist spacing would be 16 inch centers inCode requirements, the terms and the potended to contain a fire in the fire com- cluding 2 x 10 inch solid or open web tential liability issues. The term Passive Fire Protection is of partment of origin, thus limiting the wood trusses, a minimum layer of 5/8 integral importance as the two other spread of fire and smoke for a certain pe- inch thick type X gypsum and a minimal Continued on page 26 components of structural fire protection riod of time, as required by the local ½ inch thick plywood

[ ] passive fire protection

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FEATURE • Tenmat Continued from page 24 floor. Underwriters Laboratories has tested this structure and found that it will provide one hour of integrity. This specific Fire Resistant Floor/Ceiling structure would be anticipated to resist the fire up to 60 minutes. However any alteration of it, such as openings for recessed lights or wiring, could jeopardize the integrity of the entire assembly and lead to an earlier failure. A standard recessed down light by itself can not possess a fire rating, since the metal will melt under high temperatures. In order to be fire rated, the standard recessed light fixture needs to be used in conjunction with a firestopping labeled cover. A fixture or enclosure neither tested nor approved for use in the specific assembly would reduce the assembly’s overall effectiveness. By adding an enclosure or fixture not approved for firestopping, the integrity of the overall assembly would be compromised. A suitable product would have to be approved and undergone stringent testing.

Chapter Seven of the International Building Code specifies the proper fire testing as standardized by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). The ASTM E 119 refers to the standard test methods for fire tests of Building Construction and Material and requires passive fire protection systems to typically demonstrate in fire tests the ability to maintain the item or the side to be protected at a certain temperature over a period of time. Depending on the application, the time period can vary from one hour up to four hours. Fire testing involves exposing the material to live fire upwards of 2012°F, depending on the fire-resistance rating and duration one is after. More items than just fire exposures are typically required to be tested to ensure the survivability of the system under realistic conditions. State-of-the art testing facilities such as, Underwriter Laboratories (UL), test new products and materials according to these stringent international standards and ensure that the

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products will meet the Building Code Requirements. All approved solutions and materials can be found in the Classification section of the UL website (www.ul.com). Using non UL classified products or self-made solutions is not necessarily a cost-effective alternative since it can result in additional costs and hassles if the inspector will not approve your non-tested solution. In the ceiling assembly example the proper solution would be either a UL Classified Fire Rated Recessed Light or a UL Classified Fire Rated Light Cover. Passive Fire Protection will eventually save the lives of your customers in case of a fire. Researching suitable solutions, confirming their UL classification (www.ul.com) and consulting your inspector beforehand will save you money and give you peace of mind once inspection day comes. Only labeled products will comply with the Building Code, get approved by inspectors, and ultimately avoid costly mistakes. ❏


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Product FOCUS LENTON® THERMO Balcony System: An Innovative Solution for the DAMAGING Effects of Thermal Bridging The LENTON® THERMO Balcony System, part of the LENTON® line of concrete reinforcement products from ERICO, is designed to help eliminate the damaging effects of thermal bridging, such as cold spots, energy loss, condensation and mold growth. It can be used in balcony construction, cantilever beams (both concrete and structural steel) and slab-to-wall connections. These building interfaces create the perfect environment for significant energy loss or building damage. The innovative design of the LENTON THERMO Balcony System offers a high load-carrying capacity while providing considerable energy savings. It has a low thermal conductivity, which helps to reduce or eliminate the negative effects caused by thermal bridging. The LENTON THERMO Balcony System is an ideal insulation solution that maintains full structural integrity and is extremely easy to install and transport. The LENTON THERMO Balcony System also offers tremendous flexibility during installation when unexpected obstacles are encountered, such as crossing of columns or necessary openings. This is due to its modular design and the fact that the connecting reinforcement bars can be installed after the installation of the balcony elements. For more information, visit www.erico.com

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Product FOCUS Greenlee Provides Quick and Safe Solution for Cutting up to Two-Inch Conduit Holes New LS60L Battery Powered Knockout Punch Driver cuts a 2-inch hole in about 10 seconds Greenlee, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company launched its new “L” Series Battery Powered Knockout Punch Drivers are capable of punching a hole for 2-inch conduit (2.416-inch diameter) in 10gauge (3.5 mm) mild steel and 12-gauge (2.5 mm) stainless in about 10 seconds. Like the other “L” Series tools, the LS60L represents the biggest advancement in battery-powered knockout drivers ever for electrical contractor that performs commercial or industrial work. “To my knowledge, no other company offers a self-contained battery-powered tool for driving knockout punches,” said Brian Allison, Senior Product Manager. The LS60L driver tools senses when the hole is completely punched and automatically shuts off to prevent damage to the punch and die. The LS60L driver tools are designed with a forward handle position that improves tool balance while the one trigger controls all tool functions. The overmolded tacky grip makes gripping the tool easier and more ergonomic. There’s an LED work light that illuminates dark work areas and provides the operator with the battery charge and tool maintenance status. The state of the art 18V lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery provides 70-percent more cycles per charge and faster cycle times, and the smart battery chargers control the charging current, charging voltage and battery temperature to maximize battery life. They are available with a 120V, 12V, or 230V battery charger or with a 120V or 230V corded adapter in place of batteries and charger. For more information, visit www.greenlee.com

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Product FOCUS Douglas Electrical Components Portplate Assemblies Add Value and Minimize Potential Downtime Customized multiple feedthrough plates reduce time and costs associated with assembly and repairs Douglas Electrical Components, Inc. (DECo) (www.douglaselectrical.com), a leading manufacturer of standard and custom electrical components for specialized industrial applications, introduces its Portplate systems, which combine fully

assembled, pre-tested multiple feedthroughs on a single plate. The custom-designed and fabricated port plate assemblies minimize the amount of potential downtime due to system leaks, which would usually result in high costs and delays, associated with troubleshooting. The DECo-pioneered port plates can hold multiple sealed feedthroughs, depending on the project needs, and can be replaced as one unit should leakage occur. Customers benefit from the full range of services provided with these assemblies, including design, mounting, testing, installation, mating connectors, troubleshooting and full connectorization on the wire harness. The finished, ready-to-pump feedthrough plates are available to accommodate a variety of mixed configurations of feedthroughs including those from the DECo Ductorseal®, Studseal™, Optiseal™ and Potcon™ product families. The plates can house a variety of connector densities and counts, as well as mating connectors, and ready-to-go, fiber optic bulkheads. “DECo Portplate assemblies add value by eliminating the need for engineers to build and troubleshoot the harness,” says Ed Douglas, president of DECo. “We take care of everything throughout the process, saving costs for customers who may not have the time, tools or knowledge to assemble the systems inhouse.” “The Portplate assemblies also minimize time and costs associated with troubleshooting by minimizing multiple potential leak paths to a single leak point, the plate assembly,” adds Douglas. For more information, visit www.douglaselectrical.com FOR FREE INFO, CIRCLE 34 ON READER SERVICE CARD

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Product FOCUS IDEAL Tuff-Grip PRO™ Boasts Industry’s Widest, Most Ergonomic Handle, ImpactResistant Casing and Easier Winding Raising the performance bar once again in the hand tools product category, IDEAL INDUSTRIES, INC. offers its TuffGrip PRO™ Fish Tape, a significantly improved version of its popular Tuff-Grip tape. “IDEAL is the most customer-focused manufacturer in the electrical industry, so when it came to redesigning our TuffGrip we went out into the field to talk with professional electricians about how best to meet their fish tape needs,” notes Bruce Hartranft, IDEAL INDUSTRIES, Inc. “The end result was a lighter, stronger fish tape that is easier to carry, payout and rewind.” One of the highlights of the new design is a larger, more ergonomic handle that results in better control during winding. Thirty percent wider than the first generation of TuffGrip fish tapes, the handle easily accommodates large, gloved hands while its non-slip fingertip grooves provide a secure grip and added handling comfort. Unlike the original Tuff-Grip, the Tuff-Grip PRO is constructed of polypropaline plastic allowing for thicker, stronger yet lighter walls in the case. Extensive drop testing from up to 20 feet in a wide assortment of environmental conditions, including freezing weather, conclusively demonstrated the casing’s impressive strength. IDEAL is the electrical industry’s leader in fish tape design. Contractors and distributors can download a PDF of the IDEAL Fish Tape Selection Guide at www.idealindustries.com/products/wire_installation/fish_tapes. For more information, visit www.idealindustries.com

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Milwaukee® Introduces New M12™ Cordless Fork Meter Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation expands its LITHIUM-ION system with the new M12™ Cordless Fork Meter. Providing current measurement, voltage measurement, voltage detection and task lighting, the 2207-21 is a four-in-one True-RMS electrical tester for professional residential, commercial and industrial applications. “With a wide 0.63” jaw opening, 200 Amps, and a voltage range to 1000 volts AC/DC, the M12™ Cordless Fork Meter is one of the most versatile tools on the market,” says Jonathan Morrow, Director Marketing Product Management-Test & Measurement for Milwaukee Electric Tool Company. “Whether working in a residential or industrial environment, this added functionality allows the user to utilize the tool in a wider variety of applications.” In addition, the new tool offers Lo-Z measurement to eliminate ghost voltage, a large white on black display for clearer readings, a slide rail system to add proprietary accessories and rugged over-molding for increased durability and grip. Furthermore, the Fork Meter is the only tool in its class with a system of over 20 compatible drilling, fastening, lighting and cutting tools that use the same battery. With the best safety rating available of CAT IV 600V/ CAT III 1000V, theM12™ Cordless Fork Meter is a smart solution for any professional electrician. With the introduction of multiple test and measurement specialty tools over the last year like the Laser Temp-Gun™ M12™ Cordless Thermometer and Clamp-Gun™ M12™ Cordless Clamp Meter, MILWAUKEE® continues to expand its leadership position in the sub-compact category with a focus on the trades. With the addition of the new fork meter, the M12™ platform will continue to offer innovative solutions in power, productivity, and portability. For more information, visit www.milwaukeetool.com

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Industry NEWS

3M and DYMO Industrial Announce Strategic Alliance Targeting Electrical Markets Co-branded industrial handheld labelers to be sold via 3M distribution in North America, and key countries in Latin America and Europe The 3M Electrical Markets Division and DYMO Industrial, the industrial division of DYMO, a Newell Rubbermaid company (NYSE: NWL), announced the formation of a strategic alliance today. Financial details of the agreement were not released. Beginning June 1, 2010, the 3M Electrical Markets Division will offer a line of portable industrial strength labelers through its distribution channels serving electrical markets in North America and

key countries in Latin America and Europe. The products will be co-branded under the 3M and DYMO names. “Teaming up with DYMO to offer the electrical industry high quality DYMO Industrial labelers, along with 3M’s current wire identification products, makes strategic sense,” said Paul Steece, Vice President and General Manager, 3M Electrical Markets Division. “There is a customer need in this space, and we’re pleased to offer a solution. We are also excited about

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the prospect for label maker sales growth in the electrical market. Our relationship with DYMO Industrial will help maximize that opportunity.” “Combining DYMO Industrial’s labeling technology and expertise with 3M’s market leadership, reputation and strong distribution capabilities in the electrical industry is a formula for success,” said Bob Kibbe, President, DYMO Labeling. “We are pleased to have established what we know will be a mutually beneficial relationship with 3M.” The 3M Portable Labelers PL 100, PL 200 and PL 300 will be available only through the 3M Electrical Markets Division and its authorized distributors and agents. DYMO Rhino-branded label makers will continue to be sold through existing DYMO sales channels serving other industries. ❏

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Kaiser Electric Installing Electrical Systems in Historic Franklin County Courthouse Renovation Work is underway to renovate the 87year-old Franklin County Courthouse at 300 East Main Street in Union, MO. Kaiser Electric has been selected to install the electrical systems on the $3.2 million renovation project. The original courthouse in Union was a log structure constructed on 72.5 acres donated by three local farmers to establish the original town. The Missouri State Legislature established the City of Union as the County Seat in 1825 and court met for the first time in Union in 1827. The county’s present-day courthouse under renovation was built in 1923 and completely remodeled in 1970 after being bombed the previous year as a diversion during a bank robbery.

The courthouse’s current renovation includes a complete gut-remodel of the 27,439-square-foot, three story building and partial basement. Kaiser Electric is installing new electric service, lighting and fire alarm, closed-circuit television, courtroom audio, card access and voice/data systems in the courthouse. The building’s existing historic light fixtures will be refurbished as well. Kaiser Project Manager Roger Messmer says the building’s plaster ceilings are posing a unique challenge to the electricians. “They are maintaining the existing plaster ceilings in many areas,” Messmer said. “So, in some areas we are having to core drill up or down to the floor above

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or below to get across, then core drill again. We are having problems getting the anchors to hold in the old plaster walls.” Messmer said his crew is working with St. Louis-based Brennan Tools & Fastening Systems to select the right anchors for the job. The Franklin County Commission has given the project team just five months to complete the project. The recently constructed $7.5 million Franklin County Judicial Center located just northeast of the historic courthouse will be the courthouse’s base during the renovations. St. Louis-based Paric Corp. is the construction manager on the project, with Treanor Architects of St. Louis as the project’s designer. ❏

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Industry NEWS

Siemens Joins HomeSphere® Partnership to Expand Brand in the Residential Construction Industry Siemens Industry, Inc. Building Technologies Division and Lakewood-based HomeSphere announced recently that they have entered into a joint agreement to offer residential electrical products to HomeSphere’s network of builders, using HomeSphere’s technology-leveraged services. Siemens Low-Voltage Business Unit joins more than 70 other manufacturers currently using HomeSphere’s BRI® Program to manage rebates for homebuilders and, in turn, grow their market share through increased homebuilder sales. In return, builders gain access to

cost savings on Siemens’ complete line of residential electrical products, including load centers, metering solutions and AC disconnects, circuit breakers, generators, surge protection and home automation solutions. “The BRI partnership provides a powerful tool to further extend our national manufacturing and distribution network,” said Jack Grant, National Builder Program Manager for Siemens. “This partnership allows builders to leverage their purchases while creating demand that is beneficial to us as a manufacturer.” BRI is a unique Web-based service serv-

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ing the residential construction industry. Manufacturers use the BRI application to open up sales channels that include thousands of homebuilders and remodeling contractors, gaining inroads to new accounts and building recognition for their products and services. Builders, on the other hand, gain product knowledge and manage their cash-producing rebates, helping them to improve their bottom line. Siemens products are geared toward making builders more competitive in an increasingly challenging construction market. The company’s designs save time and money during installation and maintenance, and its products offer home and building owners the highest level of electrical safety. Quality and reliability means fewer callbacks, a major benefit for any homebuilder. Siemens will soon have an additional tool for building brand awareness among remodeling contractors through HomeSphere’s BestContractors platform. “BRI is a powerful marketing tool,” said Chris Toth, HomeSphere’s Vice

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President of Sales. “Particularly during trying times for the residential building industry, our customers and clients build sales and marketing channels that position their brand solidly for the future.” ❏

About HomeSphere Colorado-based HomeSphere offers sales effectiveness tools and supply chain services that combine Web-based technology, market intelligence and relationships to increase profitability for trading partners throughout the construction supply chain. More than 1,300 homebuilders and over 70 brands use HomeSphere’s Web portal to connect, collect and compete, while remodeling and repair professionals gain market share and attract consumers. Please visit HomeSphere at for more information.

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About Siemens Building Technologies A division of Siemens Industry, Inc. (SII), Building Technologies (BT) Division is a leading provider of energy and environmental solutions, building controls, electrical distribution equipment, fire safety and security systems solutions. BT’s solutions enable America’s buildings to be more comfortable, secure and environmentally friendly as well as less costly to operate. With a U.S. headquarters in Buffalo Grove, Ill., BT employs 7,400 people and provides a full range of services and solutions from more than 100 locations coast-to-coast. Worldwide, the company has 28,000 employees and operates from more than 500 locations in 51 countries. The Building Technologies Division posted worldwide revenues of $8.1 billion in fiscal 2009.

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Send your news releases along with a logo or high resolution image to the Publisher (danny@epsmag.net) for consideration.

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Advertiser INDEX This advertisers index is compiled as a courtesy to our readers. While every effort is made to provide a complete and accurate listing of companies, page numbers and reader service numbers, the publisher is not responsible for errors.

Company

PG#

RS#

Company

ACOM TOOLS, LLC ACR SYSTEMS AEE SOLAR AEMC INSTRUMENTS AMERICAN TECHNICAL PUBLISHERS ARPI OF USA BRADY WORLDWIDE BYTE BROTHERS CONDUIT REPAIR SYSTEMS COPPER DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION EVERGREEN SOLAR EXTECH INSTRUMENTS E-Z METER GENERATOR INTERLOCK TECHNOLOGIES HELUKABEL USA, INC. HIOKI USA ICC JAC-RACK

38 36, 38 15 IFC 32 37 29 22 4 27 31 3, 9 39 13 5 11 33 35

41 38, 42 13 1 34 40 20 30 6 19 21 5, 9 43 12 7 11 22 36

KRENZ & COMPANY MEGGER NABCEP PG LIFELINK PHASE-A-MATIC SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC SESSION SOLAR SNAP-N-STRUT SOLAR UNIVERSE SOLARWORLD CALIFORNIA SOLECTRIA RENEWABLES, LLC STEELMAN INDUSTRIES STRIP-TEC SUMMIT TECHNOLOGY, INC. SUNWIZE TECHNOLOGIES, INC. TENMAT, INC. UNDERGROUND DEVICES UTILITY METALS

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PG#

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36 19 21 IBC 39 30 1 23 10 BC 17 37 28 34 7 25 26 40

37 15 16 2 44 33 4 17 10 3 14 39 32 35 8 18 31 45


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