Sights From the NECA Show Floor, Day Two

The second day of the NECA Show was absent the thousands of apprentices that crowded the aisles on the first day. That isn't to say it was slow, but it was a more steady pace. We had more time to get around and check out some of the finer points of the show and some of the new and exciting products launching right now.

New to the NECA Show this year is Ask Alexa (pictured above). Attendees can use these kiosks to ask questions about exhibitors, education, and just about anything they could possibly want to know about NECA 2018 Philadelphia. For instance, if you ask for the Product Presentation Theater, it will direct you to the correct booth number (which is 1618, by the way).

At Fluke/Amprobe (Booth 1408), Sean Silvey shows off the Fluke T6 1000. While it isn't a new product, he describes it as "the No. 1 tool right now." The company is exceedingly focused on safety, and this tool is just one example. He also emphasized the importance of Fluke Connect, which sends data remotely to a mobile app so it can be monitored from anywhere. He said this connectivity is all part of "the new age of communication," which is where the entire industry is going.

Silvey started in the heating and air conditioning business, then after becoming a technician, worked his way up to his current position at Fluke.

Milwaukee Tool (booth 1500) always has a huge presence at the NECA Show, unveiling many new cool tools. The sawdust on the show floor was impossible to ignore. What do we have here? It's a battery powered chainsaw. We're not sure how applicable this is to electrical construction, but who doesn't want a chainsaw without the mess? It runs on the M12 system, so it's light, and the only fluid it requires is oil for the blade.

Craig Caryl, CEO & Founder of SmartCSM (booth 1644), presented at Techtopia, demonstrating the investment benefits of its software. He gave a full audience a walkthrough of the system's capabilities. There is an emphasis on savings with SmartCSM. Caryl said the software saves with productivity and data-driven solutions. He said any contractor who might be feeling anxiety about new technology should rest assured that it isn't complicated. He said most people can learn the software in an hour to two hours.

At the BIM cave (booth 1841), Sanveo was demonstrating how BIM models can come alive in three dimensions. The drawings were projected onto the walls of the room, and then, with a pair of glasses, the drawings would come alive in the room. Sanveo also was demonstrating the next step beyond this with Microsoft's Hololens, which enables wearers to see 3D BIM models in real space, otherwise known as augmented reality.

Leviton's Justin Berghoff, Business Development and Product Management, said the company doesn't get into new markets just for the fun of it.

"If you don't have a different product, you're fighting on price, and nobody wants that," he said.

Leviton (booth 2008) is showing off its new load center, which has undergone a rigorous three-year development process. He said Leviton tested its arc fault breakers for a full year to minimize nuisance trips, and since the load center has launched, the company has had trouble keeping up with demand. It's target market is new construction, but they've actually had higher-than-expected demand in retrofit projects.

Above, Leviton unveiled its new Decora Smart Plug-in plug control and its Type A and Type C USB Charger Receptacle, which our judges actually awarded a Showstopper to at the show.

Leviton is also getting into the box game with a new line of floor boxes that include a level.

Elliott Shem-Tov

At the FLIR booth (1304), Elliott Shem-Tov shows off the FLIR DM285 thermal imaging multimeter. It is military-grade and identifies problems to keep workers safe from arc flash. In addition to their well-known cameras, FLIR also featured a receptacle tester with GFCI check. Just plug it in, and it diagnoses any issues with the receptacle. Also, there was a new, rectangular IR window designed with safety in mind.

Speaking of companies getting into the box game, Southwire Tools (booth 500) has a lot going on with its recent acquisition of Garvin. The company also acquired ProBuilt in August, makers of the Wobble Light. Elsewhere on the acquisition front, Southwire Tools now owns DCM Cables, which is a custom fabricator for data centers. According to Scott Mankins, most orders go out in 24 to 48 hours and ship in one day. He said contractors save about 50 percent in labor, and with Southwire's support, raw material costs have dropped substantially.

Perhaps the most impressive piece from Southwire Tools this year is the Maxis XD1 Circuit Puller (pictured above), which pulls seven circuits at a time. It's a drill attachment, and it attaches to any drill. According to Alan Daniel, who demonstrated the product, it features 600 lbs. of continuous pull strength, which he proved by pulling seven conductors through eight right angles of conduit. He also demonstrated that it's flexible and adjustable to almost any application.

That's not all Southwire has this year. It also showed us the new SIMpush Conduit Connector, which pushes on with no tools and uses a single tool to disconnect. It's water tight and concrete tight, and it's for EMT, liquid-tight, RMC, and PVC.

Finally for Southwire, the company has released a new Romex PCS Duo cable, which puts two cables in one—both power and control/signal on separate circuits in a single cable.

We would be remiss if we didn't mention the Rocky Fun Run, which kicked off the day at 7 a.m. and has been sold out for weeks. The proceeds are going to the Susan G. Koman Foundation. Participants chose to take part in a 5K run or a 1-mile walk on the Schuylkill River Trail. A Rocky Balboa impersonator was on hand to give runners high fives out of the gate as well as at the finish line. Finishers were awarded with medals as you see above.

That's all for now

We had a crazy second day, and tomorrow, while short, is shaping up to be crazier. Check back for our day three highlights.

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