Walking the exhibit floor at the 2007 NECA show in San Francisco, attendees found hundreds of products and services in exhibits that ranged from single booths to large, elaborate displays.
Companies new to the show, along with longtime regulars, displayed a variety of tools and equipment, lighting, cable, connectors, the latest estimating and management software, and essential services required by the electrical and datacom industries.
As always, many organizations planned product introductions to coincide with the electrical industry’s premier trade event.
The National Electrical Contractors Association’s annual show is one of the few trade events where it is possible for inventors with limited funds to showcase innovative new products, and there were several in that category in San Francisco.
The 2007 Showstoppers include some that many would consider obvious winners, and some are surprises. When reviewing the most recent Showstoppers, remember that decisions are reached by a process that includes a high level of subjectivity—what’s a Showstopper to some may be of little interest to others.
San Francisco Showstoppers, listed alphabetically, follow. For more product information, direct from the manufacturer, visit www.ecmag.com/info.
Jump to a Product:
1 Alcan > New FeederPlex high-performance plexed cable assembly reduces installation costs for pipe and wire installations that specify phase identification. FeederPlex cable is a plexed assembly of Stabiloy XHHW-2 conductors with each phase color coded. Light weight and flexibility make it easy to pull. Plexed assemblies provide distribution efficiencies by reducing the number of SKUs for stocking each color and wire size combination.
2 Arrow > The T72 wire and cable staple gun was designed to make cable installation fast, neat and easy. A contoured nose guides every staple over the cable to prevent penetration of the jacket. The wire guide perfectly centers cables for sizes up to ½ inch and can be removed when using to center larger cables. The tool has grooved wire guides and driving blade and patented jam-proof mechanism.
3 Carlon > New multipurpose spray-on PVC cement attracted contractors’ attention because of its ease of use and the prospect of eliminating spills and waste. The quick-drying cement is for use on Schedule 40 or 80 PVC electrical conduit in diameters to 4 inches and is equivalent to medium-bodied, low-VOC quick-setting clear cement. A 4-ounce can has a three-year shelf life and is equivalent to 4 ounces of nonaerosol PVC cement. It can be used in temperatures from 50–80°F.
4 Certified Insulated Products > The Hot Pack is a waterproof backpack containing a complete arc flash kit with flash-rated personal protective clothing and equipment, insulated and composite tools, and insulated gloves. CIP’s new pack design has a top pouch for gloves, two side pouches for testers, and a back pouch with slide-out sleeve for tools. The large center pouch accommodates and protects an arc face shield and flash-rated clothing. Kit components can be ordered to fit individual requirements.
5 Echo Measure > The Echo is a time- and money-saving tool that slips over a Stanley 25- or 30-foot tape measure to make voice recordings of measurement information. No more forgetting measurements when writing material isn’t available. The Echo is designed for recording measurements in difficult locations where writing is difficult. It can save time by recording several measurements before making cuts and can be used to record lists and reminders. Models to fit other brand tapes are planned.
6 Ericson > The attention-getting e-Cart 2 mobile power distribution center has a basic configuration that includes the industrial-duty, powder-coated steel frame with lifting eyes mounted on wheels or stands with a three-phase or single-phase 480- or 600-volt ventilated transformer, NEMA 3R load center with GFCI protection, and NEMA 3R fused primary disconnect. The frame will go through a 36-inch door and is easily moved around job sites on 10-inch rough-terrain tires (two steering, two with brakes).
7 Fluke Corp > New T+ Pro and T+ electrical testers are full-function instruments that indicate AC/DC voltage three ways: light, sound and vibration, which makes them easier to use in dark, noisy work sites and in restricted spaces. A hazardous voltage-warning light indicates the presence of voltage, even when the battery is down. Both models have a GFCI trip and continuity beeper and a built-in flashlight. Heavy-duty test leads are replaceable, and both are rated for Cat 4 600 volts and Cat 3 1,000 volts.
8 Greenlee > The UG5 Ultra Glider automates application of cable lubricant during cable installation, reducing cable pulling force requirements by as much as 50 percent. The Ultra Glider consists of four components: the power unit; a pump driven by an electric motor; an applicator that surrounds cable as it enters a conduit, spraying lubricant onto all sides of the cable; and a two-wheel dolly that carries pump unit and 5-gallon bucket of lubricant and can be quickly and easily moved around job sites.
9 Hioki > The new Hioki 3129-10 was presented to NECA attendees as the only Cat 4 600-volt nonmetallic contact phase detector available. The instrument uses fully enclosed ABS-molded clips, and an electronic induction voltage sensor inside the instrument is employed for accurate phase detection of insulated conductors. A buzzer provides audible recognition of phase detection, and bright red LEDs show phase orientation, even in dark locations.
10 Leviton > Vizia lighting products combine good looks with advanced design technologies in lighting controls with a simple user interface. Vizia products include incandescent, fluorescent and low-voltage dimmer controls and non-dimmer switches, fan controls and remote dimmer controls. Vizia’s uncluttered, streamlined designs complement a wide range of decorator styles in dimming systems that extend bulb life and provide significant energy savings.
11 Lightsmith Hole Pro > Visitors to this booth were impressed with the capabilities of Hole Pro Power Series tools—precision, adjustable hole cutters with dust-collecting safety shields. Different models can cut holes from 2 to 12 inches in diameter. The twin-blade design of X-200 and X-305 models eliminate the need for balance bars. Both include patented safety shields that trap shavings and debris while allowing a clear view of the hole being cut. Carbide-tipped blades maintain optimum cutting performance.
12 M.K. Morse > Known for its Metal Devil metal-cutting saw blades, M.K. Morse has developed the Metal Devil metal-cutting circular saw to maximize cutting efficiencies of the company’s blades for cutting angle iron, c-channel steel plate, threaded rod, trusses, rebar and more. The 9-inch saw has a laser line cutting guide, a special motor to maintain torque at optimum rpm, an upper chamber to minimize sparks and deaden sound, and ergonomic, sure-grip handles to steady the tool during cutting.
13 Megger > Contractors who think of Megger primarily for its insulation testers discovered new Megger DET4TC and 4TCR ground testers in the company’s NECA exhibit. The four-terminal stakeless testers provide two-, three- and four-point testing and have attached rod testing capability. Optional terminal adapters are available for a variety of test leads. Test kits include the instrument, test leads, stakes, batteries and a calibration certificate in a rugged polypropylene case.
14 Milwaukee > With much to see in its large NECA exhibit, Milwaukee’s compact new 12-volt Model 2401-22 subcompact driver was the product attracting the most attention. The lithium-ion battery tool weighs only 2 pounds including battery and develops 100 inch-pounds of torque and up to 500 rpm. The ergonomically designed tool comes with a soft carrying case, two batteries and a 30-minute charger. One charge can be expected to drive 130 screws.
15 Petersen Brands > Knock over a Wobble Light and it bounces back upright. This tough, self-righting Showstopper is built to stand up to severe abuse from drops, hits from debris and vehicles, and other sources. A shock absorber protects the 120-watt fluorescent bulb from jarring, and an internal ventilation system keeps the light cool enough to touch. The battery backup charges any time the unit is plugged in, and power automatically transfers to DC if AC power is lost.
16 Ray Tools > These replaceable-tip step drill bits eliminate the need to buy a new bit when only the tip is worn—simply replace the old tip with a patent-pending, tri-point bit tip, which requires less torque and runs cooler than two-point bits. Tip-bits are available in three popular sizes: 7/8-inch, 11/8- and 13/8 inches. Using replacement tips means base bits last three to four times longer, helping improve overall bit performance. Bit performance is the same as that achieved with nonreplaceable tip bits.
17 Rhino/Dymo > The Rhino 6000 is an electronic label printer with “hot” keys permitting users to quickly format common label types such as vertical wraps, wire flags, fixed-length labels and others from more than 250 easy-to-find preprogrammed industry symbols and terms, substantially reducing key-in time. The tool can store more than 1,000 custom labels—including graphics—and allows labels to be customized and standardized for large projects.
18 Salisbury > A real attention- getter was the Salisbury Pro-Air ACAIRr3000 by Workflow, which cools heads of hardhat wearers with forced ambient air. The compact system includes a lightweight blower assembly, universal band and short- and full-brim air tubes, all weighing less than 10 ounces. The blower is powered by rechargeable NiMh batteries. Automatic operation blows air for one minute, then turns off for four minutes. The FullBlast feature sends a one-minute blast of air.
19 Santronics > The Santronics Ultimate AC Sensor 3000 is a compact, hand-held instrument for determining the presence of 50 to 1,000 volts of alternating current and defective grounds in insulated wires, wall receptacles, fuses, junction boxes, switches and other voltage-carrying systems. It senses voltage without metallic contact. When AC voltage is detected, the tip glows red, and an audible tone is emitted. There is no on/off switch to fail, so it is always on and ready for use.
20 Sensor Switch > Available in stand-alone sensors or incorporated into occupancy sensor products, the Sensor Switch systems can fill unique requirements of individual rooms and applications with the most practical and cost-effective solution. They have automatic on/off switching, automatic dimming control, or a combination of the two. Automatic set-point programming requires only one installation trip, and calibration can be done any time of the day under any lighting conditions.
21 Snake Tray > The Mega Snake high-capacity cable tray system is designed to reduce labor and installation costs by eliminating many parts and labor-intensive steps required by conventional tray systems. A built-in suspension system eliminates brackets or struts and eliminates on-site fabrication of turns, tees and cross sections. Trays can be connected in less than one minute. It is available in 18- or 24-inch tray widths and with load depths of 4 or 6 inches.
22 Southwire > Simpull THHN cable is the only THHN available today that requires no pulling lubricant for a faster, easier, cleaner installation resulting in significant cost savings by eliminating the need for lubricant and reducing the amount of equipment needed during a typical cable pull. Production potential is increased by shortening setup and cleanup times and by the elimination of bunching, which results in a reduced risk of nylon tearing and other damage during installation. Simpull THHN is available in black and colors in sizes from 1/0 AWG through 750 kcmil with sequential footage markers.
23 Thacker Manufacturing > Herculoc secure pickup bed covers are more secure than conventional covers and come with a guarantee that the covers cannot be jimmied open. The Electric Series offers easy remote-control access with a self-locking electric ball screw actuator that holds the cover in any position. The manually operated Contractor Series is counterbalanced on steel torsion springs that can be opened on either side or both. All-steel covers are finished with UV-resistant powder-coat paint.
24 WattStopper/Legrand > From its broad line of lighting control products, a new line of multitechnology wall-switch occupancy sensors drew attention at WattStopper’s exhibit. Low-profile sensors use passive infrared, ultrasonic or dual technologies. Multiple sensing permits selection of the technology appropriate for each application. The sensors are available in single- and dual-relay models. SmartSet technology automatically adjusts time delay for maximum energy efficiency.
25 Woodhead > The new Woodhead LED Hand Lamp is an energy-efficient, economical and durable task-lighting option that is ideal for use in challenging working environments. The lamp’s light is emitted from 30 light-emitting diodes (LEDs) with output equivalent to a 13-watt compact fluorescent lamp and is designed to provide up to 100,000 hours of service light. Rugged construction makes the unit resistant to damage from impact, vibration and abusive environments.