Designing an Efficient and Flexible Control Panel with ERIFLEX

Clean. Elegant.  A control panel that can be described in that fashion can also be thought of as one that is efficient, reliable, safe. Contrasted to individually wired, point-to-point systems, where operators need schematics to track a jumble of cables and wires that have been cut to various lengths, an optimized and efficient control panel can be installed more quickly, tested more confidently, and maintained more reliably.

Today, OEMs face increasing needs for faster turnaround times to build Eriflex control panel optimizationand install the machinery they make, as well as the control panels that provide the power to the motor starters, contactors, relays, and pilot devices, as well as the myriad sensors, valves, actuators, pumps and other ancillary devices used in manufacturing facilities. Contractors and maintenance people also face pressure to maintain and troubleshoot control panels as quickly as possible; machinery downtime is a bottom-line killer.

The control panel of today has changed in design and build and its wiring needs have become more complex. To ease these challenges, suppliers have stepped in with new, smarter wire and cabling products.

One of the leaders in this wiring evolution is ERIFLEX, a Pentair brand that produces low-voltage power and grounding connections. The company has developed products to streamline control panel assembly and installation that can also be adapted to specific applications and customer needs.

Recently, the company introduced its ERIFLEX Flexibar solution, a flexible busbar wire replacement concept, that is designed to reduce weight and space and make cleaner connections using fewer materials.  The company says that the ERIFLEX low-voltage power and grounding connections are the next-generation alternatives to bulky wires and cables.

The Flexibar busbar is designed for low-voltage applications from 27 sq. mm up to 1,200 sq. mm and 125A to 2800A. A bus bar is essentially an electrically conductive strip or bar used to distribute power to multiple circuits in parallel. Busbar can also be used as a common tapping point for multiple ground or neutral terminals.

ERIFLEX’s Flexibar is made from thin layers of tinned electrolytic copper formed into a stack that can be easily bent, folded and twisted, improving assembly flexibility, shortening connections and decreasing foot print.

The copper layers are insulated with a high-resistance, self-extinguishing PVC or silicone compound. The insulating sleeve is grooved on the inner surface, reducing the contact surface with the laminates to less than 20%, increasing flexibility and making installation easier.

Additionally, the ERIFLEX line offers insulated braided conductors, Eriflex power distribution blockdistribution and power blocks, busbar supports, insulators and accessories.

The OEMs and electrical contractors who leverage this type of innovative, flexible technology for power distribution and grounding can gain competitive advantage. Because of installation speed, high-quality electrical connections and long-term reliability, early adopters will quickly see the bottom-line benefits, and be better positioned to stay ahead of the competition.

Hubbell Floor Boxes Available Same Day at Steiner Floor Box Central

Hubbell floor boxes and poke throughs

Need a floor box and need it fast? Steiner Electric can help as it has the largest inventory of Hubbell floor boxes in the Midwest. Visit Steiner’s Floor Box Central and find the right floor box and fire-rated poke-through for even the most demanding of multi-service applications. Not only will you find the floor box to fit your needs, but you can avoid costly overnight freight charges by picking them up at one of Steiner’s 9 convenient locations or have them delivered right to the job site.

Hubbell has expanded its floor box offering to provide an extensive range of products to fit your needs. Available in 5 finishes to match every décor, the floor boxes are available in 2, 4, 6 and 10 Gang Floor Boxes (rectangular and round), on-grade and above grade versions, and concrete and raised access floor boxes. All covers are ADA compliant, and fire-rated poke-throughs are available to accommodate every order. Hubbell offers a complete variety of traditional flush and recessed floor box options.

One of Hubbell’s most innovative floor box solutions is the SystemOne modular in-floor system that has been designed to give end users the ability to create solutions for a variety of power, data and audio/video requirements.

The SystemOne family of products include metal floor boxes such as cast iron, which is corrosion resistant for on-grade applications, stamped steel construction, which is economical and light weight for above-grade applications and Steel AV that can be used for high-capacity multimedia applications in 3 ½ in. minimum depth of pour.

SystemOne products are also available in a non-corrosive plastic construction that feature an oversized 1 ½ in. data conduit hub for increased cable capacity and bend radius.  Parallel conduit hubs reduce labor and material cost, facilitating easier wire pull.

The Hubbell SystemOne™ Universal Cover mounts directly to the floor box riser, eliminating the need for an additional adapter collar.  The Hubbell SystemOne Universal Cover features ScrubShield™ technology that exceeds UL514 scrub water exclusion requirements.

The ADA compliant covers and all SystemOne metal floor boxes are approved for use in the City of Chicago.

Remember, if you need a Hubbell floor box, and you need it fast, visit Steiner’s Floor Box Central.

Local Tradesman Gets Set to Defend IDEAL Best U.S. Electrician Championship Title

Winner of 2016 IDEAL Championship

Winning back-to-back titles is one of the hardest accomplishments to make in any competitive environment. Electrician Greg Anliker will get that chance later this year when he defends his title as the best electrician in the U.S.

Greg Anliker, winner of IDEAL National Championship, with trophyIn 2016, Anliker earned his title at the inaugural IDEAL National Championship in the professional category after facing a gauntlet of electrical challenges and competing against some of the most talented tradesmen in the country.

Anliker, a 19-year electrician, has worked for 13 years at Kellenberger Electric in Elgin, IL, which is a Steiner Electric customer. He earned $75,000 for being the Champion in the Professional Individual category. He was also a member of the team that won second place in the Professional Team category. That team included fellow Kellenberger electricians Will Barnett and Clay Noga. “As it turned out, we qualified as a team at a Steiner summer customer appreciation BBQ where Steiner hosted a qualifying event,” Anliker says, “We had our fastest time.”

More than 900 Qualifying Round events were held in the 2016 event. Contestants were required to demonstrate problem-solving and physical skills across four categories: wire cutting, stripping, termination, and testing through a multi-station speed test judged by fastest completion time and overall accuracy of the wire connection.

Contestants face off in timed trials at IDEAL National ChampionshipThe fastest times in the IDEAL competition territories advanced to The Championship Weekend where the tasks got more difficult as the field was reduced from 64 Professional Individuals down to the final 2. Anliker said competitors were not just judged on speed, but also quality of workmanship. For instance, one round tested their skills at bending and running conduit. “After we finished, the judges tore apart our work. If the pipe was more than 1 in. above the construction, you lost points. If the cuts were crooked, you lost points.” When it came to the final round, Anliker felt confident as he saw the task. “When I saw that the last task dealt with metal studs, pulling wire, installing boxes, terminating lines and more I thought I had a chance to win because that is right in my wheelhouse.”

Anliker will be competing again this year both as a Professional Individual and with teammates Barnett and Noga.

The Professional Individual and the Student/Apprentice Individual with the fastest times in the IDEAL competition territories will advance to The Championship Weekend taking place on November 10-11, 2017 in Lake Buena Vista, FL. Additionally, the five Professional Teams and Student/Apprentice Teams with the fastest times in the nation, will also head to The Championship Weekend.

For more information visit: IDEALnationals.com.

 

Electricians to Compete in IDEAL National Skills Championship

IDEAL National Championship

Do you have the power to be the best electrician in the nation? Compete in the 2017 IDEAL National Championship and find out.

IDEAL Electrical, a leading tool and electrical supply company based in Sycamore, IL, is once again hosting the IDEAL National Championship to honor and showcase abilities of electricians as well as award over $500,000 in cash and prizes. “The professional tradesman is too often an unsung hero. They keep our world turning, working in snow, rain and incredible heat all to fix our problems at a moment’s notice,” said Jim James, Chairman and CEO of IDEAL INDUSTRIES, INC.

IDEAL is also looking to build on last year’s initial success. “The 2016 competition drew nearly 24,000 Professionals and Student/Apprentices from 33 states,” said Andy Salemi, Key Account Area Manager for IDEAL Electrical.

IDEAL ChampionshiopSteiner Electric will be hosting Qualifying Round events in which contestants can compete individually or as a team in either the Professional or Student/Apprentice category. The Qualifying Round challenge will require competitors to demonstrate both their mental problem-solving and physical skills across five categories: pulling wire, cutting, stripping, termination and testing on a preassembled electrical platform. Competitors will be judged by fastest completion time and overall accuracy of the wire connection.

The fastest times in the IDEAL competition territories will advance to The Championship Weekend in Lake Buena Vista, FL on November 10-11. At this stage, the competitors will go through a series of progressively harder challenges that are developed internally IDEAL Championship team competitionby IDEAL experts to test the diverse range of skills demanded of today’s electricians and tradesmen. While speed is a large factor of the Qualifying Round challenge, it isn’t the only criteria at The Championship Weekend. “We have judges from around the country who come from leading training institutions who rate the competitors on the quality of work,” Salemi says. “As the rounds get tougher, the quality of the work becomes even more important.” On the line at The Championship Weekend is up to $75,000 for Professional Individuals and up to $30,000 for Student/Apprentice Individuals.

Last year’s top winners were Greg Anliker of Kellenberger Electric who won $75,000 in the professional category. First place winners in the professional team category were Sam Buche, Jon Dahlstrom and Michael Dahlstrom of Multitech Electric who split $60,000. In the students/apprentices category, the first place winner was Corbin Rios, IBEW Local-271, who won $30,000 and $5,000 for school. First place in the team student/apprentices category were Patrick Flanery, Bryan Olson and Ben Woodworth of Minneapolis Local 292 JATC who split $30,000 and $5,000 for school.

Competitors in this year’s event should go to IDEALnationals.com to register and search for local Qualifying Round events. Steiner will be sponsoring the following events:

DateTimeVenueAddress
May 1, 20173:30pm - 6:00pmIBEW JATC 46159 Sullivan Rd., Aurora, IL
May 10, 20174:00pm - 6:00pmIBEW JATC 70128600 Bella Vista Pkwy,
Warrenville, IL
Jun 22, 20174:30pm - 7:30pmSteiner Electric
Rockford Branch
6900 Rock Valley Pkwy, Loves Park, IL
Jun 29, 201711:30am - 1:30pmSteiner Electric
Elk Grove Branch
1250 Touhy Ave., Elk Grove Village, IL

For more information, and to register for the competition, visit: IDEALnationals.com.

 

Banner Lighting Solutions for the Pharma Industry

Banner Lighting Solutions for the Pharma IndustryLighting is no longer just a device to light up the night. As Steiner’s experienced lighting consultants and application engineers advise, it can increase productivity, improve a person’s mood and health, help monitor machinery, promote communication and more.

These concepts were clearly highlighted in a recent Banner Engineering newsletter, in which the company discusses “Four Ways Lighting Solutions Support Lean Manufacturing in the Pharmaceutical Industry.” The paper explores how the “right kind of industrial lighting can help increase efficiency and reduce material waste while ensuring product quality and compliance with FDA regulations.” In each case, the right lighting is available for purchase from Steiner Electric.

Banner LED light bar

In its first example, Banner looks at how the uniform illumination of LED lights, as compared to the flicker of fluorescent bulbs caused by intensity changes, allows an inspector to detect minute particulates reliably and efficiency.

Banner engineer pick-to-light sensor

In example 2, pick-to-light sensors are used in a kitting assembly application. As the kit assembler takes a part in sequence a beam is broken. The controller then determines if the correct component was selected and if it was selected in the correct order.

Indicator lights can be used to Banner domed indicator lightstreamline communication in a pharma factory. As described in example 3, they can be used to indicate environmental status such as temperature and humidity. Green indicates the room is within normal limits. Red means a potentially out-of-control situation. A more typical example would be when assistance is needed on a machine, perhaps one that is operating unattended. Green means the machine is performing with-in specification, yellow is a warning that it is approaching upper or lower control limits, and red indicates the machine is out of specification.

Banner tower lightLastly, Banner Engineering looks at how wirelessly connected lights enable overall equipment effectiveness. Tower lights equipped with wireless communication capabilities display a visual indication of an event for immediate action; plus, they can transmit wireless alerts to operators outside of the visual range.

For assistance with general lighting inquiries or more specific project needs please contact us or call 1-800-STEINER (783-4673) to speak with an experienced Steiner lighting application engineer.

Steiner Supports the 2017 American Cancer Society Walk & Roll Chicago Fundraiser

American Cancer Society Walk and Roll Chicago 2017

Lace up your sneakers, strap on those skates, pump up those tires, and join fellow Steiner Electric employees who have pledged to go the distance at the American Cancer Society’s 46th annual Walk & Roll fundraising event.

Come out and help raise dollars used to fund lifesaving research and the free programs and services offered to cancer patients and survivors. If you can’t make the event, show your support by pledging funds online. Your dollars, no matter the amount, can make a big difference. Currently, Steiner has several folks who have made a pledge, and, as a group, Steiner is nearing its goal of raising $5,000.

Pledge with the Steiner Team

Join CEI and Steiner Electric at Walk and Roll Chicago 2017 at Soldier Field

This year, the event kicks off at 8:30am and routes begin at 10am on April 22 from Soldier Field, and participants can enjoy the lakefront view as they walk or run a 5k, skate in a 10k, or bike a 15k race. There will also be live music and entertainment.

General registration is $15, but kids 17 and under can participate for free. This fee will be credited towards the fundraiser to help raise awareness and find a cure for cancer. As an extra incentive for donating, each person that raises $100 will receive a free, long-sleeve performance t-shirt. Pledge larger amounts, and earn even more valuable awards.

American Cancer Society Walk and Roll Chicago 2017 at Soldier FieldCheck-in on the day of the event begins at 8:30am at the Packet Pick-Up Tent on Soldier Field’s Stadium Green. Early packet pickup is available on Friday, April 21, from 4pm-7pm, at the DICK’S Sporting Goods store in Lincoln Park, 1538 N Clybourn Ave., Chicago.

Want some company?  You can walk along with us by joining the Steiner Team.  Our team is committed to helping the American Cancer Society raise awareness about what we can do, together, to help end this disease.  Our mission is clear – keep fighting for the day when no one hears the words “you have cancer.”

  • Date
    • Saturday, April 22, 2017
  • Time
    • 8:30am – Registration / Event Site Opens
    • 10:00am – Routes Open
  • Location
    • Soldier Field, Stadium Green
    • 1410 Museum Campus Drive , Chicago, IL
  • Registration
    • The registration fee per participant is $15 and will be credited toward the fundraising goal.
    • Registration for kids 17 and under is free!

Register Now

Brief Guide to Aluminum and Copper Wire

Because copper and aluminum wire have several different properties, there are different scenarios and purposes for each. This article will offer insight on which types of projects require the use of wiring – and which type of conductor is appropriate.

wire
Copper wire (left) compared to aluminum wire (right)

Copper Wire Applications and Considerations

For building wire, copper is often preferred over aluminum wire. Copper conductors are often used in power distribution and power generation as well. Other than silver, copper is the most common conductive metal there is.

Copper is more often used in the manufacturing of wire than aluminum, and most cables are made of copper. This type of wire is usually relied on for power transmission, and copper is resistant to corrosion. It can also withstand load surges better than aluminum wiring.

Copper wire is a strong electrical conductor and is very stable over time. It won’t need to be replaced often, and thus has a long life. Like aluminum, it can be used in commercial or industrial buildings. Copper is heavier than aluminum wiring, and can be the most economical of all conductors as well.

For electrical contractors, copper is the wire of choice for most jobs. The electrical contractor prefers copper for several reasons – for one, copper will not creep. Creeping is the deformation of metal conductors that results from subjection to stress or a pulling force, which can lead to termination issues, such as a screw squeezing and deforming the conductor causing a loose connection or other problems.

Another note of copper is that it is easy to work with. Copper is the preferred wire by electricians, as it strips and bends easily – all without nicking or breaking. Copper wire is approved by electrical codes nationwide.

Copper wiring installation is easy and well-known by electrical contractors. For this reason, it means that a contractor’s electricians won’t have to take time out for any special instructions or qualifications for installing a non-copper wiring.

Copper wiring can best handle overloads – and overloads will not loosen copper joints.  Though copper has been a popular choice for conducting electricity, aluminum, too, has some advantages that make it attractive for specific applications.

Aluminum Wire Applications and Considerations

Like Copper wiring, aluminum has many applications – however, it also has several differences to that of copper. Electrical utilities use aluminum wiring for overhead transmission lines. Aluminum has become more popular for use in commercial facilities – locations that take advantage of aluminum wiring include high rise buildings, stadiums, shopping malls, commercial buildings, wastewater treatment plants and manufacturing facilities.

Aluminum wiring is popular within the construction industry. Contractors have them installed in several places – including service entrance conductors, large conductors as well as power distribution conductors.

Aluminum wiring, when properly installed, is just as safe as copper. Aluminum wiring provides many advantages – it’s low cost, lightweight and is easy to use.

Image result for aluminum wire stadium
Stadiums are one example where aluminum wiring is used

Aluminum is easy to work with and can be installed quickly and effectively in many locations. In industrial settings or anywhere that weight is a concern, aluminum wiring will offer a big reduction in weight compared to copper wiring.

It is important that a licensed electrician who understands the concerns of aluminum wiring also handles the installation process. With the correct application, aluminum wiring can provide reliable power while simultaneously offering cost reduction.

aluminum

The appropriate wiring to use for any project depends on several factors, including its application as well as budget, code compliance and safety requirements. Whichever you choose, Steiner has the inventory to get your job completed! If you would like to know more about all of the wire options and services available at Steiner, please call us at 1-800-STEINER (783-4637) or stop by any of our nine convenient locations to learn more.

Steiner Electric Recognized as Illinois Large Family Business of the Year 2016

Elk Grove Village, Ill. – Nov. 17, 2016 – Electrical, industrial, and generator distributor Steiner Electric Company has been recognized by Loyola University of Chicago’s Quinlan School of Business as its Illinois Large Family Business of the Year 2016.

Left to right: Adam Kerman, Cheryl Kerman, Rick Kerman, Jeff Izenstark and Jason Kerman.
Receiving the award from left to right is Adam Kerman (Account Manager), Carol Kerman, Rick Kerman (President & CEO), Jeff Izenstark (Executive Vice President) and Jason Kerman (Creative Designer).

The Quinlan School rates local family-owned firms on business success, multi-generational involvement, contributions to industry and community, and innovative business practices and strategies. Independent judges select one winner in each of three business-size categories, large, medium and small, based on number of employees.

“The Steiner team is very proud to receive this honor,” said Rick Kerman, president and CEO of Steiner.

“We are grateful for our valued customers, suppliers and employees, all of whom have contributed to our success over these last hundred years.”

Kerman’s grandfather, George Steiner, founded the company in 1916.  Rick and his father Harold were partners for 35 years.  “Today, the third and fourth generation of Steiner descendants operate with the same commitment and core values that George and Harold brought to the business,” Kerman added.  “We’re investing and innovating for the next hundred years with products, services and social responsibility.”

ABOUT STEINER ELECTRIC

Steiner is a 100-year-old distributor of electrical, lighting, automation, industrial and power systems products, with nine locations in Northern Illinois, Wisconsin and Northern Indiana. In addition to products, Steiner provides custom services that deliver operational efficiencies for the contractor, commercial, MRO and OEM marketplace. Visit us at http://www.steinerelectric.com

CONTACT:
Jeannie McCarthy
Steiner Electric Company
847-956-3007
FAX 847-956-5014
jmccarthy@stnr.com
steinerelectric.com

Steiner 100 Year Anniversary Honored at 2016 AD Spirit of Independence Awards

In 2016, Steiner celebrates its 100 year anniversary; this milestone was recognized by AD (Affiliated Distributors) in October 2016 at the AD Spirit of Independence Awards.

Celebrating the Entrepreneurial Spirit, The AD Spirit of Independence Awards honor the commitment that AD members and supplier partners have made to independent distribution and the entrepreneurial spirit that drives them to stay ahead of the curve.

Test Fire Alarms and Emergency Exit Lights Now

“Fall Back” and “Fall Behind” are terms used as a guide for adjusting clocks during daylight savings. Fall is a season of transformation; with clocks going back an hour, leaves changing, school resuming and the sun setting earlier each day. With this in mind, fall is often a good time for any facility to revisit some safety precautions. While changing the clocks on walls, looking around and checking or testing emergency exit signs and lights as well as the fire alarm system would be highly beneficial.

In the event of a fire or power outage in the workplace, it is important for contingency plans to be set into place to provide for both notifying employees or other building occupants of a danger and allowing for a safe evacuation. Whether it be a power outage or a fire, there are things that any facility can do to provide safety, warnings and assistance– from smoke detectors to fire alarms to emergency lights – all with the goal in mind of providing a quick and safe exit.

For this reason, it is essential to periodically test fire alarms and replace the lamps or backup batteries in emergency light systems to maintain them working properly and ready when an emergency occurs. In addition to providing a list of items facilities need to have in an event of a fire or power outage, this article will cover some techniques on just how to test alarms, emergency exit, and emergency lighting systems.

Fire Alarm Testing

There are several reasons to test fire alarms. One of which of course, is to ensure it will work in the time of need, and that it – or its components – don’t need replacing. The other reason is false alarms. False alarms not only have to be paid for by the local fire department, but they also can wind up costing a fine, which is an additional reason testing regularly is important.

fire-alarm-red

A requirement for a facility or business’s insurance often times is to have a working fire alarm on the property – and without a working alarm, insurance could be in violation. Not having commercial fire alarms tested each year can cost a facility more than the cost of an inspection, another reason it is urgent to test and maintain fire alarms every year in order to be in compliance with insurance policies.

The process of maintaining fire alarm systems contains several steps:

  1. Test and calibrate alarm sensors – such as flame and smoke detectors, per the facility’s instructions or specifications. This will require a knowledge on the different sensors and their testing requirements, failure modes and requirements for re-installation.
  2. Simulate inputs and test the annunciators.
  3. Set the sensitivity. This requires understanding and knowledge of a particular system, the specific application and fire detection theory.
  4. Coordinate with local fire department when testing the input to their system.
  5. Check battery for corrosion, as well as the expiration date. If necessary, replace the battery.

Most system manufacturers will recommend at least one full annual test and inspection after installation. If improperly maintained, any fire alarm system can become ineffective, which is why it is essential to keep up with testing the system.

dmoke

While checking fire alarms, it’s a good time to look at other preventative fire supply options that may be missing. Perhaps now might be a good time to pick up fire suppression foam, sealants and more. Consider replacing an existing smoke or carbon monoxide detector as well.

Emergency Lighting and Exit Signage Testing

Every day, power outages occur for one reason or another all across the country. Some may think that the main purpose behind having an exit sign is to mark stairwells and building exists. This is actually a secondary purpose for lighted LED exit signs. The primary function for lighted exit signs is to provide visibility through smoke. This will allow for finding the exit in the event of an emergency situation quickly. In many circumstances, power outages are brought on by a fire in the building. In these type of cases, it can be difficult to locate the emergency exit – from both a power outage and a presence of smoke.

Testing emergency lights is an important step – even in the installation process. One reason for testing once it is installed is to make sure there aren’t any external factors – such as obstructions that would block view of lights. This allows for any last minute changes and adjustments to be made. After installation, regular testing and maintenance is a requirement to any emergency lighting system. While checking these systems seem tedious, it is nevertheless essential.

Illumination is necessary along exit access pathways that lead to stairs, aisles and ramps. Typically, emergency lighting is found along walls in compact units. Exit signs are designed to stay on all the time. An exit sign that appears to be working normally may not work at all during a power failure if the low voltage bulbs have burned out. Emergency power to exit signs and emergency light fixtures can be provided by an emergency power generator.

Most emergency lights or signs contain a small “push to test” button. This button can be pressed and held for 30 seconds to test the bulbs and the battery. The lights should go on and remain at the same consistent brightness level for the full 30 seconds. Some defective batteries will maintain a long enough charge to fully light up the bulbs for a few seconds, but they can lose power rapidly. By testing these lights for at least thirty seconds, it can make sure the batteries don’t just have a “surface charge”.

fire-alarm

Emergency exit signs, lights, fire alarms and other fire safety equipment are all available from Steiner Electric. For additional information or to have any questions answered, call Steiner today at 1-800-STEINER (783-4637).