Come and Qualify for The 2017 IDEAL National Championship

Do you consider yourself one of the country’s best electricians? If so, test your abilities at the qualifying rounds of the IDEAL National Championship being held at Steiner Electric’s Rockford facility on June 22, and its Elk Grove Village facilities on June 29.

The events coincide with customer appreciation days at the two venues. In Rockford, Steiner will host its 20th Annual Pig Roast, which, in addition to the electrical competition, will also feature new products and prizes. The following week, in Elk Grove Village, Steiner will host its Great American BBQ.

It was at a Steiner event last year that the 2016 IDEAL National Championship winner, Greg Anliker, qualified to move on in the competition.  Anliker, an electrician with 20 years’ experience, will defend his title as the country’s best professional electrician at this year’s Championship Weekend, Nov. 10-11, 2017, in Lake Buena Vista, FL.

Will you make it through the gauntlet of challenges to get a chance to challenge Anliker as this year’s champ?

In the IDEAL National Championship qualifying rounds, contestants are 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.

National Electrical Safety Month

National Electrical Safety Month

May is National Electrical Safety Month and this year the focus of the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) annual effort is to foster a clearer understanding of the National Electrical Code. The campaign, “Decoding the National Electrical Code® (NEC) to Prevent Shock and Electrocution,” features illustrated graphic resources to promote common ways to prevent electrical hazards.

According to the ESFI, which launched the safety campaign, thousands of people in the U.S. are critically injured and electrocuted as a result of electrical fires, accidents and electrocution. Additionally, an estimated annual average of 70 electrocution fatalities are associated with consumer products.

The National Electrical Code (NEC) creates a universal electrical safety standard that applies to new construction and renovations. The code is only in effect after it is adopted by the state or local jurisdiction. First published in 1897, the NEC has been adopted in all 50 states as the standard for safe electrical installation, inspection, and used to protect people and property from avoidable electrical hazards. Every three years, the Code is updated to include new, but tested safety technologies. There have been 15 code revisions since 1974.

As part of the ESFI’s safety effort to improve understanding of the NEC, the group developed the illustrated program, the “Electric Safety Illustrated 2017: Decoding the NEC to Prevent Shock and Electrocution.”

National Electrical Code: Your Guideline to Safety

Tamper Resistant Receptacles – Childproofing Done Right

Electric Shock Drowning – Unknown Danger Lurking in the Water

Surge Protection – Keeping your Electronics and Home Safe

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters – Your Protection from Electrocution

The program is financially supported by many leading companies in the industry, including several firms whose products are distributed by Steiner Electric. For instance, ESFI is promoting the use of ground fault circuit interrupters, and several Steiner vendors offer these products, including: Lutron, Eaton, Hubbell, Siemens, Legrand and Leviton. Other Steiner vendors participating in the program, include: Schneider Electric and Ilsco.

CribTrack Reduces Costs of Inventory Management

Maintaining costs is critical to business operations, and overlooking the costs associated with inventory management can eat away at margins. Inventory costs for essential consumable and reusable items vary – from smaller items such as light bulbs and batteries to bigger items like power tools.

Inventory control allows for an organizational approach to understanding the frequency items need to be replenished, while also instilling accountability for when inventory is used and by whom. These two operating benefits are just two reasons why organizations implement CribTrack inventory management solutions.

Because CribTrack offers security, flexibility and affordability, organizations count on CribTrack to assist with their inventory management needs – reducing costs and keeping operations running on-time.

Organized Approach Means Keeping Up with Low Supplies

Running out of certain items can slow or halt production altogether. Sending an employee offsite or paying for same-day or next-day shipping to replenish crucial items can be time-consuming and expensive.

CribTrack industrial vending machines prevent these costly problems before they happen by accurately tracking and monitoring inventory levels.

Flexible for Many Applications

An effective inventory management solution needs to be flexible in order to meet the vast requirements of factory floors, workshops, and building facilities. CribTrack vending machines offer that flexibility.

There are several industries that can make great use of CribTrack – such as industrial, hospitals, restaurants and schools. Whatever the application each machine slot can fit several different size items, so each business can make the most out of their machine – items that can fit include batteries, drills, end mills, gloves, tubes, medications, lab equipment, IT equipment, printer supplies, spices and more.

Magnetic Storage Containers

Shelving space can be configured as needed with a maximum capacity of 200 storage positions in each machine. Barcodes can be customized to accurately track whichever item resides in a specific storage bin. The barcode scanner is used to keep track of when items are removed or returned by authorized individuals, and automatic electronic alerts are sent when an item is in need of replenishment.

Monitoring is continuous with CribTrack’s included software. The software has the flexibility to be run on premise or in the cloud to meet the needs of an organization’s IT infrastructure.

Secure Machine Provides Accountability

Because CribTrack requires users to login one of three ways in order to access items, there will be a record at all times of who accessed the machine and scanned out items. There are three cameras as well, in the event that someone was to login and remove any items without using the scanner. The camera would capture a video recording of the event, tracing back to the employee, and maintaining accountability.

CribTrack is tamper-proof and comes with an embedded alarm. It requires users to login either by a PIN code, Prox card or biometric authentication fingerprint scan.

CribTrack Saves Businesses Time and Reduces Costs

Because CribTrack provides an easy-to-use, flexible, and secure industrial vending solution, organizations rely on CribTrack for their inventory management needs.

No Moving Parts

CribTrack saves time and reduces costs. Businesses can optimally maintain inventory levels reducing costs associated with production stoppage and lost items. If you would like to know more about CribTrack inventory management solutions and want to speak with an experienced application engineer, call 1-844-744-CRIB (2742) or email us today.

For 100 Years

2016 marks the 100th anniversary of Steiner Electric Company. Our fourth generation, original family owned and operated, company is very grateful for the many opportunities to serve our customers and the communities of our nine locations. For 100 years Steiner has continually evolved to meet the changing needs of our customers, suppliers and employees through technology, innovation and a culture of “helping our customer be the very best for their customers”.

George S Steiner
George S. Steiner (seated left)

Since George S. Steiner (left) founded our company in 1916 we have helped our customers grow their business by not only providing perhaps the largest inventory of electrical supplies in northern Illinois, but the product knowledge, application support and systems to save time and reduce operational expenses. We focused on expanding our core competencies with diversified but complementary products and services. There are five major divisions with the structure and teams to meet or exceed our customers’ expectations.

  1. Electrical Supplies
  2. Lighting & Control
  3. Generator Sales, Service and Rental
  4. Automation Products & Controls
  5. Metalworking & Industrial Supplies

The five bands within our 100th anniversary logo create a pathway from 1916 to 2016 corresponding to our five core competencies. The two rings are linked to show our interconnectedness from our past to our future. We gratefully acknowledge and learn from our history, whose foundation was built by our past customers, employees and suppliers. We embrace the future and the changes required to stay the course to creatively earn opportunities for future generations.

Steiner 100 Years

Thank you very much

Richard Kerman
President & CEO
Steiner Electric Company

Applications of Switchgear and Switchboards

switchgear vs switchboard

The terms “switchboard” and “switchgear” are interchangeable to engineers and architects. While they are in fact, interchangeable, they do both have distinct differences that are worth noting. These differences include configurations, components, reliability, standards and applications.

One of the major differences between switchboards and switchgear is the type of breakers that are used. The basic types are sealed, semi-open and open types. Specifically, these are called molded case, insulated case and power circuit breakers.

Molded case circuit breakers (MCCBs) are often used in all types of low-voltage switchboards and panelboards. These breakers can be found in ratings from 15 amps to 3,000 amps.

SQD JDL36200
Molded Case Circuit Breaker – MCCB

The breaker mechanism is sealed inside of the external molded case. If the breaker has a failure then it is to be replaced. These breakers are typically bolted onto the bus, or may have plug-in designs. The removal or addition of MCCBs to a switchboard must ONLY occur when the switchboard is turned off.

Power circuit breakers have ratings that range from 800 amps to 5,000 amps. PCBs are tested with different standards from MCCBs or ICCBs. They are attached to the bus in a drawout design, which allows the breakers to be withdrawn partially or fully while the entire switchgear is powered on. They have various components that are inspected and replaced. These components include arc chutes, contacts and pole assemblies.

To understand the differences between Switchboards and Switchgear, we will need to look at several variable considerations – Maintainability, Economics, System Coordination, Size and Project Application.

(Note: this article will cover circuit breaker type switchboards as compared to switchgear, and though some engineers may have a preference for fusible switchboards, this would get into fuses vs. circuit breakers, a topic for another discussion)

MAINTAINABILITY

Switchgear has the type of maintainable steel frame breakers which you are able to draw out. Switchgear also has mechanisms that draw out or rack out on racking arms. The main reason to use switchgear over switchboards is due to the ease of maintenance. Switchgear is more maintainable – this is due to the breakers that are used. Air circuit breakers are used in switchgear and insulated or molded case breakers are used in switchboards.

Switchgear incorporates low voltage power circuit breakers – abbreviated to LVPCB. Steel framed LVPCB’s have heavy-duty metal frames that are designed for ease of maintenance.

On the other hand, plastic-enclosed breakers must be disassembled to access the operating mechanisms, which makes it more complicated to maintain. In addition to this, plastic-enclosed breakers – if not requiring disassembling, would need to be unsealed to get to the internal components.

ECONOMICS

As in other applications, the economics are an important area to focus on. In many instances the initial factor that a potential customer or buyer reviews is the installed cost.

Group mounted switchboards tend to be less costly, while the individually mounted switchboards are about 15 to 50% more than group mounted switchboards. This all depends on the number and type of devices that are required. Typically, you will find that switchgear is more expensive than individually mounted switchboards.

SYSTEM COORDINATION

LVPCB’s don’t need an instantaneous trip function to be built in. Main and feeder breakers, likewise can be built without the instantaneous trip function.

Without it, main, feeders and other downstream devices are able to be more freely coordinated. Switchgear is more sophisticated in its trip functionality than switchboard breakers. This allows for a higher degree of coordination.

Circuit Breaker Maintenance
Circuit Breaker Basics

 SIZE

Another important consideration is the size. Switchgear is larger because of the rear access that is necessary for cable terminations, while switchboard construction is smaller and usually requires front access because of the group mounted circuit breaker arrangement.

Some applications are restricted in space, thus, a group-mounted switchboard is the only option. If the equipment needs to be against the wall, thereby eliminating the option for rear access, then the only alternative is group-mounted switchboards that allow for front-accessible terminations.

Group mounted switchboards require the use of molded case breakers as feeders. Because of this, the density can be greater and the overall width would be less. Applications that require higher levels of reliability, maintainability or remote operation need to be designed to allow for rear access of that gear.

PROJECT APPLICATION

Some projects require the use of switchgear, while other projects would be better suited with switchboards. An example of this is schools and the healthcare industry. Power to a school would not be as critical as that to a hospital.

The ability to precisely coordinate breakers allows for enhanced power integrity, thus preventing nuisance trips, resulting in reduced outages. For instance, hospitals require more reliable and dependable power due to the urgency of the industry, since lives are involved and operating tables are used.

operating tables
Power is essential for Hospitals

A switchboard that has a size and cost advantage is suited well for a school, while the switchgear may be better for the hospital. In either case, it would be beneficial to look at the location or project and determine what would be the best option on a case-by-case basis.

 

Steiner Electric Announces New Branch In Chicago

In 1916, George Steiner started Steiner Electric in an era when the world was captivated by the art of innovation and imagination.  100 years later, on March 7th, 2016 Steiner announced the opening of our ninth branch, located at 2225 W. Hubbard, in Chicago.  Rick Kerman, President and CEO states “Our diversified and unique business model focuses on providing value and an exceptional customer experience that complements the ever changing requirements of our customers.”

Steiner Electric Hubbard St -Chicago Branch
Steiner Electric Hubbard St. – Chicago Branch located at 2225 W. Hubbard Street

Located in the Kinzie Corridor, our new 26,000 sq. ft. location features a modern will call counter, designed around the professional electrician, facility, engineer and maintenance person. “We provide products and services never imagined when my great grandfather founded the company only a short distance from here,” says 4th generation, Adam Kerman.

Steiner’s new facility will also feature an innovative Lighting and Control Technical Center, highlighting all the leading commercial and industrial products from manufacturers, including, Acuity brands, Lithonia, Juno, Eaton/Cooper Lighting, Philips, Lutron Controls, and many more.

For more information on products, services and represented manufacturers offered at the Hubbard St. branch and through all Steiner locations please view the branch opening announcement flyer.

Steiner 100 Year Anniversary

Attend the 2016 ChicaGO Safety and Sustainability Conference

Chicago Safety and Sustainability Conference

The Electric Association will once again be presenting the annual ChicaGO Safety & Sustainability Conference on Thursday, January 21st, 2016 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL.

This year’s conference features a great line-up of educational programs that will be of interest to all segments of the electrical and construction industries. Inspectors, planners, architects, contractors, engineers, and members of the construction community will get a sneak peek at the major changes coming to the 2017 National Electrical Code. Attendees will have many different tracks of seminars to choose from throughout the day, spanning an array of topics including: OSHA regulations and managing your company’s safety plan, how to sell an energy efficient project, implementing renewable energies into your construction projects, the future of lighting technology, the Government’s sustainability plans, and much more.

550+ Attendees are expected to attend in 2016!

Who Should AttendRaffle Grand Prize of $10,000

  • Building owners
  • Facility Managers
  • Electrical contractors, electricians, installers, project managers
  • Architects, engineers, specifiers, designers
  • Electrical and building inspectors
  • Safety Managers and Professionals
  • HVAC and Mechanical contractors
  • Public sector planners: municipalities, schools, hospitals
  • Energy professionals, consultants, utilities
  • Industrial maintenance supervisors & personnel

Conference Details

  • Date:
    • Thursday, January 21, 2016
  • Time:
    • Workshops – 8am to 4pm
    • Tradeshow – 11am to 6pm
    • Networking Reception – 4pm to 6pm
  • Location:
    • Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
    • 5555 North River Road, Rosemont, IL 60018

Register Now for Chicago Safety and Sustainability Conference

Join Steiner Electric, the Electric Association, and partnering organizations at Chicagoland’s largest electrical construction conference of the year!

The Circuit Breaker

A circuit breaker is one of the most important safety devices in your home, but most people don’t give them much thought until their lights go off or they can’t watch TV because the breaker has tripped.  When the electrical wiring in a building has too much current flowing through it, the breaker cuts the power.

But do you know how old the circuit breaker is?

Circuit Breaker Steiner Electric Continue reading “The Circuit Breaker”

How Did this Winter’s Weather Affect Steel Conduit?

-By Ron Styne

The date may tell you its spring, but it still looks like winter when it comes to Lake Superior. The major effect of ice on the Great Lakes is crucial because it impacts many things from the fishing industry to commercial shipping and has actually had an impact on steel conduit. The amount of ice cover on the Great Lakes varies from year to year. However, according to the NOAA, National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab, the average thickness of ice on Lake Superior is 8.9 inches thick.

A key ingredient in the production of steel conduit is iron ore. Iron ore loaded on ships needs to come through the Great Lakes and make its way to production facilities so that it can be used in the production of rolled steel, which in turn is used to make steel conduit. According to the director of traffic services for the US Coast Guard, while shipping times are improving on the Great Lakes, there are 60 vessels waiting to lock through Lake Superior.

In wake of one of the worst winters in decades, there are calls for more US ice breaking capacity for its water ways.

So in essence, the harsh winter is still impacting the production of steel conduit.