Published: January 2011
Products of 15 exhibiting companies were named “Showstoppers” at the 2010 NECA Show held in Boston this past October. For the 2010 show, the Showstoppers competition was held in the New and Featured Product Room, creating the first NECA Showstopper Showcase.
Judged by a panel of electrical contractors and ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR contributors, submissions were evaluated on the event’s opening day. Winners were displayed with blue ribbons at the front of the exhibit hall on subsequent days of the show. Here are the award-winning Showstoppers, listed alphabetically by company name.
1 ElectricSmarts/NetPricer > NetPricer service from ElectricSmarts.com connects estimating software to a distributor’s pricing using the Internet for instant, accurate quotations, and the new Smart e-Cat brings an all-industry catalog directory to user desktops. Users can flip through electronic catalog pages; view product videos, installation guides and training modules; instantly display current distributor pricing; and create an individual catalog collection of favorites.
2 Extech > The EX540 wireless datalogger multimeter offers wireless connectivity to laptops or PCs, using a USB receiver, with a range of 33 feet. Using included software, the EX540 transmits real-time data for monitoring and trending and analysis on one of two available frequencies (433 and 914 MHz). The instrument includes double-molded test leads, a USB wireless receiver, a temperature probe, a magnetic hanging strap, a 9V battery and a carrying case. NIST calibration also is available.
3 GE Energy > Combining functionality with consumer-friendly features, the GE WattStation reduces the charging time of an 24-kWh electric vehicle battery to as little as four to eight hours instead of the standard 12 to 18 hours. The sleek, modular device can be pedestal- or wall-mounted and is ready for integration into smart electrical distribution systems and to support emerging technologies. The GE WattStation is scheduled to be commercially available globally in 2011.
4 Klipsch > New LightSpeakers from Klipsch combine light-emitting diode (LED) illumination and wireless ambient sound into a single unit that installs like a lamp. The dimmable LED and full-range speaker fits 5- and 6-inch recessed fixtures with a standard Edison socket. A 20W, low-distortion digital amplifier delivers sound through a 21.2-inch-wide dispersion driver. A music source, such as a CD player, laptop or iPod, connects to the LightSpeaker transmitter, which transmits sound wirelessly. The 10W LED lamp can last up to 15 years.
5 L.H. Dottie > Reach high ceilings without climbing a ladder by using the L.H. Dottie Ceiling Solutions telescoping pole and accessories for electricians. Plug-in threads maximize tool efficiency for installing ceiling wire, jack chain, threaded-rod hangers, and all types of screws. A triple 4-foot pole extends to reach 17 feet. The triple 6-foot tool extends to 24 feet. The thin profile permits reaching difficult-to-access areas. Poles can be powered by any 3/8- or -inch drill.
6 McCormick > Estimating software for contractors installing electrical systems in buildings does not meet the needs of poleline and underground contractors, who construct and maintain national, regional, and local transmission and distribution grids. New McCormick Systems Transmission and Distribution software incorporates data about specialized equipment and products used in this market to enable contractors to accomplish faster, more productive estimating.
7 Milwaukee > The 2216-20 digital multimeter is a heavy-duty, true RMS meter designed for professional residential, commercial and industrial applications. Rugged overmolding increases durability and improves grip; a large, black-on-white display and backlight is easy to read; and a slide rail adds proprietary accessories and an overmolded dial for one-handed use. The meter accommodates a wide voltage range to 600V AC/DC and measures frequencies from 10 Hz to 50 kHz.
8 Russound > The Collage powerline media and intercom system transmits music and voice communication over a home’s electrical wiring. Digital music can be transmitted from a variety of sources. With a microphone at each keypad and speakers in each zone, the system is a point-to-point intercom. Room-monitoring capability is an added feature. The Collage media manager establishes network connections between keypads and the home’s local area network.
9 Schneider Electric > Purchasers of electric vehicles must have access to efficient, safe options for recharging vehicle batteries. Schneider Electric presents a seamless EV charging network that includes residential charging stations with wall- or pedestal-mounting, modular-design commercial and fleet charging stations with multiple charging points and secure public and private access, and fast-charging stations to provide a partial charge in a few minutes.
10 Siemens > The solar photovoltaic type VBII safety switch is the industry’s first heavy-duty, UL-listed, three-pole solar disconnect switch able to control three separate 600V DC circuits. Available in 30-, 60- and 100A ratings, the solar photovoltaic type VBII safety switch lowers equipment and installation costs by doing the work of three traditional switches in similar solar applications. Available in fusible and nonfusible versions, it comes in Type 1 and 3R enclosures for indoor and outdoor installations.
11 Thomas & Betts > The Sta-Kon comfort crimp compression tool requires 25 percent less handle force than previous models to complete a crimp and as much as 75 percent less than similar tools. Overmolded handles reduce hand strain and provide a soft cushion. The tool’s patented mechanism ensures a complete crimp cycle is made before it releases to the open position. Interchangeable dies with color-coded die nests provide easy matching with Sta-Kon insulated terminals.
12 Trimble/Accubid > New Accubid Enterprise estimating software is designed specifically for electrical and ITS contractors and leverages data across the life of a project without the need for disparate systems. Its specification-driven method of takeoff, coupled with the robust SQL-based database, streamlines the estimating process for an electrical estimator, speeding up takeoff while ensuring greater accuracy with less data to manage in the database.
13 Vision InfoSoft > Electric Bid Manager (EBM) Enterprise is an integrated estimating software package that includes Electric Bid Manager Pro, On-Screen Takeoff, and the EPIC Pricing system. EBM has a large database and thousands of prebuilt assemblies. Commercial and residential versions are available. On-Screen Takeoff uses plans in almost any format; EPIC provides fast, convenient searching of more than 1.6 million items.
14 Werner > Lock-In ladder accessories permit customizing ladder tops of Werner’s most popular fiberglass stepladder series to hold tools and supplies. Utility and job buckets expand work surfaces and hold a variety of tools. The job caddy has four storage components. Other accessories include a paint cup, a tool lasso to secure tools from falling, and a utility hook that organizes and holds extension cords, air and garden hoses, lighting strands, and other tools or materials.
15 Wiremaid > Cable-Mgr. Pro-10 cable trays include a complete line of factory-prefabricated turns, junctions, straight sections and fittings. The line maintains 100 percent UL and cUL classifications and complies with NEC 392.5. Requiring one tool and limited accessory items, prefabricated components reduce installation labor hours by 50 percent or more by eliminating cutting and fabrication in the field. The system acts as an equipment-grounding conductor in accordance with NEC 392.7.
GRIFFIN, a construction and tools writer from Oklahoma City, can be reached at email@example.com.