Massive Benefits Coming from PoE

Enabling a single cable to provide both data connection and electrical power to low voltage systems is not a new idea. Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology has in fact been around for decades. But recent advances coupled with LED lighting are now exploding its potential.

While early PoE systems could only support 7.5W of power, they’ve since evolved to handle up to 60W. With today’s more efficient LEDs requiring only 30-35W, PoE can take the place of traditional Class 1 AC wiring for qualified applications. In facilities that already have multiple WAPs and CAT 5 cabling over thousands of square feet, powering new or expanding systems via existing infrastructure offers tremendous value.

In a nutshell, PoE not only extends sufficient power to low voltage appliances like security cameras and dimmers, but each LED fixture also becomes a standard RJ-45 connector plug & play device—with its own specific IP address. If sensors are added, these LEDs transform to smart hubs and become part of the overall IT network. They can then efficiently gather and report details on things even beyond lighting, like humidity, temperature and generic room-occupancy, providing an overall view for management staff. In some scenarios, LEDs can essentially become a li-fi system replacing traditional wi-fi, even delivering targeted information to nearby smartphones (see IIoT article).

On the construction side, structured cables like CAT 5 are considered Class 2, which is under 60 volts and less of a shock or startle hazard than Class 1 wiring. According to IEEE 802.3 standards, Class 2 installations don’t require licensed electricians, conduit or metal cladding. PoE’s more efficient power usage, quicker , safer, simpler installations, lower labor costs and smart-compatibility make a real impact to the bottom line.

Of course there are limits such as power and efficiency loss when high powered appliances are run at the end of long cable spans. But when used right the benefits far outweigh these issues. According to industry experts, facilities can expect a minimum of 15% savings in total cost of ownership over a 10-year period when using LED lights, controls and PoE together. On top of all this, PoE  offers a perfect fit for the IoT (Internet of Things).

If you’re interested in maximizing PoE technology, contact structured cabling experts that provide value added solutions to your industry.

7 Ways IIoT Will Boost Your Business

There’s no doubt that the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), is one of the most exciting and revenue-driving innovations to hit the industrial electrical and manufacturing markets in years. It takes PoE and the IoT one step further, delivering unrestrained evolution in Enterprise IT and Operations. Simply put, IIoT allows industrial “things” to not only talk to each other, but evolve together intelligently. By using far more data (aka big data), much faster and more efficiently than ever before.

In most industrial plants you’ll find sensors, software and controls that are outdated and hard to work with, making it very difficult to add new parts or upgrades. Data from various sources like plant devices, management applications and 3rd parties allow only basic integration. Aging operational systems aren’t easily replaced, and open up security risks as capabilities become less viable.  Whether at the device, product or plant level, there is very little embedded computing or intelligent control.

Early adopters of IIoT can expect significant opportunity and growth as their scope of abilities increases drastically. And while being on the cutting edge is never easy, security concerns being one of the biggest hurdles to overcome, the reasons to take the initiative with IIoT are clear:

  1. See the whole picture – with a real-time, big data view of machines, entire systems and overall activities
  2. Respond faster – with more timely and accurate data
  3. Increase quality and production – when problems are detected and resolved earlier and more precisely
  4. Boost revenue – when systems and operations management are at peak speed and efficiency
  5. Drive innovations – as machines learn, adapt and improve as an intelligent production team
  6. Refine the workforce – as more complex tasks become automated and new positions like data science, software development, hardware engineering and other specialists emerge
  7. Expand business models – as product-service hybrids and digital services open up unexplored areas of revenue

With IIoT, all communications and operations technologies will work cohesively with IT, meshing in the cloud and likely accessing a hoard of future software-enabled services to further refine productivity. There is even more to be imagined and defined as this technology takes off.

Find out how to grow with this technology and reach out to a qualified electrical or communications contractor that’s pioneering its potential.

Finally! Energy Storage Tax Credits

Soon businesses may have more ways to save on taxes when it comes to energy.  Storage is a large expense, but until now there’ve been no tax incentives. Proposed legislation by U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Angus King (I-Maine), and Dean Heller (R-Nev.), would extend the same tax incentives as solar to all energy storage technologies. This means batteries, thermal energy, flywheels etc. would be included, whether grid-connected, consumer-owned, or off-grid applications.

In general, the rebate amount is 30% for solar, fuel cells and small wind turbines, 10% for geothermal systems, microturbines , combined heat and power (CHP) and Protection Tax Credit (PTC) eligible technologies. The most return will likely be in the utility sectors, although large industry can benefit as well.

Homeowners would also reap the harvest with this ITC. The bill provides for residential tax credits that are again the same as solar, but extended to battery storage of 3kWh+.

For specifics on the legislation, visit http://energy.gov/savings/business-energy-investment-tax-credit-itc and watch for updates from your electrical contractor.

Arc Family Flips the Switch

A family business goes through many changes, with the times, with the people, with the marketplace and economy. It’s the nature of the game as we all know. And big changes are here for October, as Greg Judd takes the reigns from Elaine Judd as President and Owner of Arc Electric.

Greg started at the company with his father Bob in 2000, with a background in communications and low voltage applications. Working his way up through estimating, project management and operations, he became COO in 2011. Now Greg is making the switch—and leading the company with the same experience, response and quality work clients have relied on for decades.

Is it Time to Upgrade Your Data Fiber?

Manufacturers and data centers are spurring more and more changes in fiber optics technology as their data needs compound. With demand growing, everyone is working to increase transmission rates, lower costs and improve performance overall. New standards and improvements in fiber are continuing to enable this.

Multimode fiber (MMF) takes up nearly 80% of manufacturing and data center cabling needs for short-distance applications. Lower cost links and optical transceivers make it more cost effective than single-mode, which is better suited to longer range applications.

MMF advances in VCSEL and parallel transmission over multiple strands of fiber has supported growth to-date, but wideband multimode fiber (WBMMF) increases capacity fourfold. New WBMMF standards for OM4 are under TIA development, with IEC following up. Other wideband benefits include better support for longer distances, full compatibility with older apps as well as forward-compatibility.

There are a few other fiber innovations on the way, offering more efficiency in space and cost.

  • Wavelength division multiplexing allows multiple wavelengths to travel down the fiber, each carrying data.
  • Fibers with multiple cores could be a solution, if how to splice the fiber of hair-sized cores can be resolved.
  • MicroCore fiber housed in data centers are always encased in trays and don’t need a bulky covering, which can cut cable size up to 75% and reduce installation costs.

As these technologies are released, certified fiber installers can evaluate and propose a solution that suits the demand and growth of your facility.

How Energy Monitoring Can Lead to Profit

Energy is no longer a fixed cost. It can be managed to a company’s benefit by building a demand response program into its energy monitoring system. What’s interesting is that there’s not only efficiency to be gained for industrial and commercial operations, but actual profit.

As energy is in increasingly high demand, the grid needs more and more flexibility to cope. Electricity pricing is typically based on time of day. Users who exceed a maximum threshold are penalized. But utilities are now offering incentives for customers willing to reduce their power use during certain conditions or predetermined events.

Facilities that take advantage of these demand response programs improve grid flexibility and performance, and in return are credited and/or billed at reduced rates. Profit comes from either getting paid by the utility for every month’s agreement to shed load (whether an event occurs or not!), or the
actual shedding of the load for an event.

Every utility’s programs are a bit different and the initial process of granular, real-time energy monitoring and auditing are quite extensive. Contact an electrical contractor for an energy or demand response audit to find out more.

Making Wi‐Fi More Affordable with Geo Verification

Researchers at MIT have developed Chronos, a wireless access point able to detect users’ locations within a few inches. This means rather than hotspot password protection, the router is configured to allow access from only within a specific geographic area. So for example, customers within a restaurant would
have password-free access, while passersby outside would have none.

This new WAP calculates angles relative to a person’s position. Although that’s the same method used as existing multi-WAP configurations, Chronos also multiplies time of flight by the speed of light to get distance. Unlike other systems that can require four access points or more for triangulation, geo authentication requires just one.

This reduction in hardware and installation costs are valuable to everyone, but it also opens up wi-fi technology to smaller companies. What’s so exciting about Chronos is that it has more potential than protecting your wi-fi from outsiders. It could enable similar functions in heating and cooling that would automatically regulate room temps based on the number of people and their locations. Blocking neighbors from stealing the wi-fi is just a start!

What’s Behind Closed Doors?

It’s not only our technology that’s making advances, but our team as well! Find out how changes in our company can help yours too.

WBE Certification – Arc Electric is now certified as a women’s business enterprise by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the largest third-party certifier of businesses owned and operated by women in the U.S. Certification requires a business be 51 percent owned, controlled, operated, and managed by a woman or women, opening up the door to new business and opportunity.

Our owner and President Elaine Judd said, “We’ve always been a company run by family, for families, and our female staff are a big part of our success. Being able to reach out to new customers and opportunities that recognize this strength and diversity, goes hand in hand with our philosophy.”

2015ssa_Color125px

Angie’s List Super Service Award – Our residential team, The Wire Guys, are proud to have won this award for a second year in a row. Angie’s List is a members-only website where candid, detailed, verified reviews on specific project are submitted by our customers, allowing homeowners to also locate highly recommended contractors of all kinds.

As winners we’ve met strict eligibility requirements including daily rating. “Only about 5 percent of the electrical contractors have performed so consistently well enough to earn our Super Service Award,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “It’s a really high standard.”

Contact our team at Arc Electric at (570) 455-2370 for more info or a quote on your next project.

Avoid this Mistake to Increase Efficiency & Lower Costs at Your Facility

Manufacturing plants, hospitals and other facilities operate with a host of expensive machinery that can be hard to replace. With 30% of insurance loss caused by electrical fire, waiting for a problem to occur can be very expensive.

It only takes a 10° rise in temperature to cut a motor’s lifespan in half. When that happens it can result in equipment damage, loss of production and line shut downs. Thermal testing (aka infrared scanning) is not only beneficial for most large facilities, but essential. So it’s important not to forget annual infrared testing when it comes to long-term safety and productivity.

With an infrared camera, an electrician detects abnormal energy patterns caused by loose connectors, faulty breakers, damaged switches and other problems—before they cause damage. Make sure your contractor includes a detailed report with infrared images showing hot spots and temperature ranges. It should recommend a fix or permanent upgrade solution to prevent critical equipment failure.

When infrared imaging is built into your PM program, industry studies show a 4:1 savings and ROI, with lowered insurance rates and less down time.

3 Simple Tips to Increase Forklift Battery Life

By doing preventative maintenance checks on your forklift battery, you can increase its lifespan by up to 40%. This also decreases expenses and improves battery safety. An average forklift battery can serve your company for 6000 hours, but not everyone knows regular maintenance is REQUIRED to achieve that peak performance.

Use these three easy tips to help preserve the life of your forklift battery:

  1. Check the water level in the battery – Water is very important in maintaining the life of the battery. The water gets heated up and with time, the water levels WILL come down. Check and maintain water levels regularly but do not overfill.
  2. Do not do an “opportunity charge” – A battery’s longevity is determined by how many charge cycles it’s undergone. By doing an “ opportunity charge”, it decreases the battery’s efficiency and may result in no charge at all over time. Do not let the battery go below 20%. At that point, the electrical components run hot and could result in significant damage including motor failure and burned components.
  3. Be aware of your battery’s condition – One of the main reasons why forklift batteries fail is sulphonation. If you notice white crystals on the lead plate, neither the battery or the forklift are performing as they should. If the battery has been in use for years, it may be time to replace.

Time to Add Electric Vehicle Charging Stations?

Public use charging stations are being installed everywhere in the United States. As people become more energy and cost conscious, employers are accommodating and encouraging employee efforts as part of their company’s energy initiatives.

Vehicle charging stations are an ideal and effective solution for industrial plants, municipalities, hotels, airports and malls to initiate—and are becoming increasingly more popular. A survey conducted by the United States Department of Energy stated that workers are 20 times more likely to buy a plug in car if their employer offers at work charging.

To evaluate your facility’s need for electrical vehicle charging, consider the questions below.

  • How many staff are at your facility?
  • How many of them might be interested in energy and/or environmental conservation?
  • How many staff currently own electric or hybrid vehicles?
  • How strong is your company’s stand on green solutions and energy savings?
  • Is keeping up with the times and technology important to your facility?
  • Is there space to accommodate it in the parking lot or other accessible spots?

Up to the end of 2014 there were tax breaks available for adding EVCs. Check with your accountant and insurance providers to explore benefits, then be sure to contact an electrician certified to install EV charging stations.

Get an Award-winning Team on Your Next Project

We believe in treating our customers as we would want to be treated. Here’s how that philosophy has been recognized over the past year!

  • 2015 Athena Award – Awarded in May to Elaine Judd, Arc’s President and CEO; sponsored by the Berger Family Dealerships. This Greater Hazleton Chamber award is presented each year to a local area businesswoman for outstanding professional achievement.
  • 2014 YWCA Pearl Award – In March, Elaine was honored as one of six recipients of the 29th annual award, recognizing outstanding business women for their professionalism, excellence, achievement, leadership and value as a responsible role model in the community.
  • 2014 AngiesList.com Super Service Award – In February, our residential and generator division, The Wire Guys, was recognized for superior performance and customer reviews.
  • 2014 Small Business of the Year – Last fall, The Wire Guys team was also recognized by the Hazleton Chamber for their outstanding business and employer reputation.

If you’d like to experience outstanding performance on your next electrical project, just give us a call at (570) 455-2370.