2021 NECA Showstopper Winners

2021 NECA Showstoppers Logo
Published On
Jan 14, 2022

The Showstopper awards brought several hundred new products to NECA 2021 Nashville. Both in-person and online, the entries drew plenty of attention. The Showstopper judges—industry experts, educators and tool users—carefully evaluated the products on Sunday, Oct. 10, and selected 25 winners. The winning tools, accessories, software and clothing are listed alphabetically, and the descriptions are based on information provided by manufacturers. Showstoppers is the longest-running event of its kind in the electrical industry and is sponsored by ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR magazine.

1. 3M

The new Series 7900 warning tape is part of 3M’s Electric Marking System (EMS) technology to help prevent damage to underground utilities. Color-coded tapes are used to mark and locate paths of underground plastic pipe and conduit, eliminating the need for tracer wires. Tapes are embedded with markers that are activated by special 3M locating equipment above the ground’s surface to detect and track the path of the underground utility.

3M

2. ABB

The ABB enclosure doors enable users to quickly and safely visually verify blade and fuse status through the extra-large viewing window. No tools are required, because the door does not need to be opened. Available in heavy-duty safety switches up to 200A and 600V for enclosure options that include NEMA Types 1, 3R, 4/4X, and 5/12. A “donut” handle is hook-stick operable to further help protect personnel. The doors accept three padlocks when in the off position.

ABB enclosure

3. American Conduit

New PullEase EMT features a patented design to reduce internal resistance when pulling wire. No messy lubrication required. PullEase aluminum EMT is available in sizes ½ inch–4 inches and is UL-listed, just like steel EMT. PullEase carries the same ANSI and federal spec approvals, plus it is non-magnetic and fully recyclable. PullEase is less than half the weight of steel EMT for maximum worker safety and simpler installation. It is available now.

American Conduit PulleEase EMT

4. American Polywater Corp.

The PGKD modular seal with its integrated installation control lets the installer know when it is properly tightened with a visual indication that the seal is secure. Nuts are molded into the pressure plate, a design that greatly reduces the risk of lost parts. No retightening required. All metal parts are made of high-quality stainless steel V4A (AISI 316L), and it is watertight up to 72.50 PSI. Users have two options of PGKD modular seal—they are available in either EPDM or NBR rubber.

American Polywater Corp. PGKD modular seal

5. Arlington Industries

Arlington non-metallic hole covers provide a fast way to cover a hole on a building site that complies with OSHA Standard 1910.28(b)(3)(i)(A). Available in two sizes, covers come with retaining clips that allow for adjustment to fit a range of hole sizes. The reference scale on the underside of the cover allows for precise sizing to the hole diameter. Rated for a 250-lb. load, hole cover kits are tested at four times the rated load.

Arlington Industries non-metallic hole cover

6. Brady Corp.

BradyGrip print-on hook material labels with Velcro hooks are an effective way to identify cable and wire bundles. They are quick and easy to attach, remove and reposition. Simply print labels, apply to the Velcro roll, and attach the complete label to a cable or wire bundle. Durable construction means long-lasting service through continual service and reuse. Perfect for use with the convenient Brady BMP21 handheld printer or the i3300 desktop printer.

Brady Corp. print-on hook material labels

7. Buckingham Manufacturing

The Rhino Buck-It Rail system is a personalized, fully customizable tool storage system for bucket trucks. The patent-pending Rhino system features customizable Buck-It Rail Boards that allow lineworkers to organize their tools for easy access when working in a bucket. The modular system has fiberglass tool boards and a rail system available in many different styles. The system includes over 10 boards and has 20 accessories available. Just choose the board type and customize it with any holsters, pouches or other needed attachments.

Buckingham Manufacturing Rhino Buck-It Rail System

8. Current Tools

The reel cage allows electricians to store, transport and dispense as many as 16 reels of wire directly from one cage. It is built with solid thru-bar construction of the reel spindles and mesh sides so users easily can see the supply of wires inside the cage. With the cage, wire can be easily moved around on job sites, and it is designed with a width to go through a standard 32-inch doorway. Removable wire guides allow cable to be pulled from either side. The cage is lockable to keep contents safe and secure.

Current Tools reel cage

9. DeWalt

The Flexvolt 20V/60V Max battery has the highest capacity of any battery in DeWalt’s cordless system and is compatible with multiple Max tools and all 20V chargers. The DeWalt Flexvolt system allows users to share batteries between tools of different voltage requirements. A Flexvolt battery can be swapped between tools requiring any of three voltages. For example, when put onto a 60V tool, the battery automatically changes to a series combining voltages to 60V.

DeWalt Flexvolt 20V/60V Max battery

10. Enespro, PPE

The new AirLite 40 Cal VLF hood has dual fans and a large arc vent that significantly increase airflow. It is an example of a new generation of arc flash protection. The vented, lift-front shield allows the user to get fresh air while outside the hazard zone and still be hard-hat-compliant. Enespro OptiShield gray nanoparticle shields provide improved visibility and color compared to legacy green-tinted shields. Enespro shields are scratch-resistant, with anti-fog coating on the inside.

Enespro, PPE AirLite 40 Cal VLF hood

11. Ferret Tools

The Ferret Plus is a combination wireless variable-focus inspection camera and cable-pulling tool, equipped with a built-in voltage detector. The Ferret Plus incorporates the design and innovation of the original Ferret and adds new technology, providing increased functionality and usability. The Ferret Plus onboard memory capability provides the ability to record video when inside metal ducts, underground or underwater.

Ferret Tools Ferret Plus

12. Fluke Corp.

The FEV100 adapter easily and reliably tests the functionality and safety of electrical vehicle charging stations. This test adapter simulates the presence of an electric vehicle, allowing users to conduct tests in combination with appropriate test instruments such as a digital multimeter or oscilloscope. The FEV100 is used to verify that electrical vehicle supply equipment is working properly after installation and during periodic maintenance and troubleshooting.

Fluke Corp. FEV100 adapter

13. Greenlee

The Greenlee mobile bending table is compatible with the 881CT bender, one of the most popular hydraulic conduit benders on the market. The table improves job site safety by raising conduit bending to a working height. All accessories are stored in ergonomic lifting positions, reducing strain by as much as 30%, and the dedicated storage and labeling system makes accessing parts easy. The mobile bending table is available in two kits: with the 881CT hydraulic bender or as a bare cart.

Greenlee mobile bending table

14. Hilti

The EXO-O1 exoskeleton is an external system of support to help alleviate upper-body fatigue and pain resulting from repetitive overhead tasks, such as installing overhead conduit and lighting, cable fastening and wire pulling. Hilti has leveraged passive exoskeleton technology with mechanical expanders that are intuitive to use, easy to adjust, well-balanced, lightweight and offer a virtually unimpeded range of motion to redefine the way overhead work is conducted.

Hilti EXO-01 exoskeleton

15. iToolco

The Cordless Cannon 6K cable puller is the ideal choice for pulling jobs in remote locations. The 6,000-lb. puller is completely self-contained, and its intuitive design makes it easy to operate. A built-in rope engagement capstan switch is activated by tugging on the rope; slacking off the rope stops the pulling operation. Wide-angle, dual-head adjustment provides precise alignment with conduit opening. Pulling speeds are up to 52 feet per minute with the large capstan.

iToolCo Cordless Cannon 6K cable puller

16. L.H. Dottie

The Wall Twister is an all-steel, single-piece screw anchor manufactured with high-profile threads for use on a wide range of applications. No plug or plastic anchors required. Wall Twister’s deep-cutting thread design can fasten objects into wallboard, concrete, brick, hollow or grout-filled concrete masonry and plaster. When working with masonry-based materials, a 3/16-inch ANSI drill bit must be used to create a pilot hole. The serrated head prevents overtorquing.

L.H. Dottie Wall Twister screw

17. Lakeland Industries

The Lakeland Waffle Hoodie combines popular waffle-cut fabric with fire-resistant safety in a stylish, versatile hoodie with permanent moisture wicking and added stretch to keep wearers comfortable all day. The design features an attached neck gaiter for added warmth in cold weather. Additional features include pull-over design, hand-warmer pockets, and an 8-ounce mid layer. Its NFPA 70E rating is CAT2 at 9.7 cal/cm2.

Lakeland Industries Waffle Hoodie

18. Leviton

Decora Smart Anywhere dimmer and switch companion devices pair wirelessly to provide additional lighting control locations where needed in the familiar Leviton Decora Smart aesthetic. For example, pair with Decora Smart Wi-Fi 2nd Gen on a staircase, hallway, open area with multiple entrances or to control a lamp from a wall switch. Companions can mount directly to a wall surface with adhesive, providing the perfect solution where wiring or a wall box are not present.

Leviton Decora Smart Anywhere dimmer and switch companion devices

19. McCormick Systems

New McCormick estimating software features new change order management, an executive dashboard and enhanced integration with Foundation Software’s accounting program. Updates to the change order management feature include the ability to create automatic proposals when entering change orders, the option to easily total all job and man-hours, and an overall more organized view. Users also will be able to view all change orders for all jobs on a single screen.

McCormick Systems estimating software

20. Milwaukee Tool

The MX Fuel Rocket tower light and charger provides a portable 10-foot light tower with up to 27,000 lumens of task and area lighting. Four multidirectional LED light heads cast up to 27,000 lumens of high definition output in several directions. When powered by an MX Fuel Redlithium XC406 battery pack, the light tower runs up to 10 hours on a single charge, or it also can be plugged into an extension cord for all-day operation.

Milwaukee Tool MX Fuel Rocket tower light and charger

21. Milwaukee Tool

The 250L rechargeable penlight with laser pointer delivers 250 lumens of high-definition output for inspecting work plus an integrated laser pointer. A built-in protective rubber bite zone allows users to direct light while performing two-handed tasks. The built-in battery is micro USB charged and an onboard battery indicator shows charge level. The durable penlight/laser pointer is made to take impact of a 2-meter drop and has an IP54 water- and dust-proof rating.

Milwaukee Tool 250L rechargeable pen light

22. Orbit Industries

Orbit’s patented pedestal posts are NEMA 3R-listed raceways for switches and devices that serve power to nearly 99% of all common rooftop equipment. Available in 30- and 60-inch heights, they are stand-alone supports that require only one roof penetration. The two-piece design reduces the amount of labor and material required. Steel stand protects conductors and devices from impact far better than tubular raceway. It is UL-listed for wet locations.

Orbit Industries pedestal posts

23. Rack-A-Tiers

CircuitIQ is a powerful, easy-to-use professional electrical circuit mapping tool that quickly locates circuits with 100% accuracy. Circuit IQ can be used to create as-built digital circuit directories for new and out-of-date properties, which speeds electrical maintenance and renovations. It allows electricians to automate circuit mapping, electrical circuit directory creation, and electrical device labeling. The digital circuit directories are stored in the cloud.

Rack-A-Tiers CircuitIQ

24. Schneider Electric Interactive

The PowerPac T-series molded-case circuit breakers incorporate intelligent and reliable multistandard-compliant design to deliver performance, productivity and connectivity. Features include Visi-Trip breaker locator that provides a visual alert when a breaker needs to be inspected or updated, easy-to-read QR codes, increased visibility and improved user experience that increases confidence, improves operations and saves time and resources.

Schneider Electric Interactive PowerPac T-series molded-case circuit breaker

25. SP Products

Inside-the-pipe transition coupling joins sections of PVC without increasing outside diameter of the pipe. The product is used in a variety of ways for new installation and repair jobs. When PVC conduit breaks on a job, inside transition coupling is the solution. Simply ream out both PVC conduits, apply cement glue to both ends of the tapered transition coupling and complete repairs. Stub-ups coming out of slabs can be connected with the same method.

SP Products inside-the-pipe transition coupling

About the Author

Jeff Griffin

Construction Journalist

Jeff Griffin, a construction and tools writer from Oklahoma City, can be reached at up-front@cox.net.

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