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HOTS 03/2002

Issue: March 2002

By: Frank Bisbee

Headline News

Featured Story


The BIG picture

In a scenario that was similar to the rescue efforts in the book/movie "Blackhawk Down", several American GI's were killed. The battle to protect our freedom rages on. The fierce ground battle continues to escalate as Operation Anaconda engaged al-Qaida and Taliban fighters in the hills and mountains of eastern Afghanistan. This has grown to the largest ground battle of the war to date.

The price for our freedom is paid in blood. The enormous sacrifices cannot be measured. We should honor our defenders with the same passion that we have for the victims of September 11th, 2001 terrorist attack.

Two Army buddies from north Florida are headed home together one final time, among the seven Americans killed in battle on March 4, 2002 against enemy fighters in Afghanistan. Spc. Mark Anderson and Sgt. Bradley Crose were the best of friends. "They were like brothers," said Crose's brother, Aaron, from his parents home in Orange Park, Florida. They trained together, they took breaks together and they even traveled home on leave togher.

We honor these fine men who gave so much for our safety.

Even as we watch C-Span covering the investigative hearings on Enron, we are seeing economic reports are perking up. A Federal Reserve survey says the economy showed more signs of improving in January and early February, offering fresh evidence that the nation is recovering from the recession.

Many investors are feeling chills running up their spines over the unfolding story of greed and deception at Enron. Fraud can take many shapes in the business world. Half-truths and the spin-doctor tactics do little to hide the real issues over time.

As the modest recovery from the recession continues, there are scores of investors who are finding that there are uncounted real investment opportunities available. The country, bruised by the recession, the terrorist attacks, and the high price of war, is on the road to recovery. Americans should not expect a red-hot rebound. The telecommunications industry took many severe hits during the past year. Unfortunately, the bounce back has been much weaker than expected.

Time and technology keeps marching on. Computers are obsolete before you can get them home and open the box. Wireless is still fighting a loosing battle in the area of security. With obsolescence, security, and safety concerns, we are looking for a foundation for our communications technology. At home and at work we are trying to achieve a stable network that will offer us generations of change without overall replacement. This revelation makes the communications network infrastructure very valuable. Communications cabling is the best investment and most valuable asset that we can acquire in today's rapidly changing market.

The new National Electric Code (NEC 2002) mandates the removal of abandoned cable in a vaguely described set of conditions. The purpose is to make our structures safer from fire. This code will also serve to make our buildings safer from environmental hazards, which were not previously identified. The local fire marshals (AHJ - Authorities Having Jurisdiction) will be wrestling with implementation and enforcement of this new code for quite some time. There is little public understanding of the dangers from fire and the environmental hazards. Making a difficult situation worse, we have not clearly identified the responsible parties to pay for this cleanup. The building owner is not anxious to be the recipient of this unplanned and very costly expense. Leases will change, building owners will start specifying acceptable cabling materials and…. Technology marches on.

Cabling is not dull. This new set of concerns should not be taken lightly. They will affect the manufacturers, distributors, contractors, installers, and the end users. Now, add the building owners to the list.

The cabling goal is SAFETY FIRST!

Legal Issues when creating Codes & Standards

For those who engage in standard-setting activity, especially collective of several firms, which might be alleged to have market power, care must be taken to avoid communications of efforts "against" competitors, which might correctly or incorrectly be construed after the fact to imply any anticompetitive motives or intended effects of any standards. (See Addamax Corp v. Open Software Foundation, 888 F. Supp. 274 (D. Mass. 1995).) The defendants ultimately prevailed on the antitrust claims the Addamax case but were saddled with years of expensive litigation. The procompetitive effects should be articulated, and procedural safeguards adopted to minimize risks of antitrust violations.

Different organizations may have different rules regarding disclosure in the development process of industry codes and standards. Unfair competition claims, and more recently fraud claims as well, have been asserted against some individuals, companies, and associations who have participated in the codes and standards-setting processes. Care must be given to avoid violations of the Sherman Act and RICO violations based on the failure to disclose conflicts of interest in the process of attempted monopolization. Organizations, like the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) should be diligent in their activities to prevent efforts "against" competitors, which might correctly or incorrectly be construed after the fact to imply any anticompetitive motives or intended effects of any standards.

Remember: You are being watched!

NFPA elects Shannon president and CEO

On March 6, 2002, the board of directors of the National Fire Protection Association (Quincy, MA) unanimously elected James M. Shannon president and chief executive officer of NFPA, effective June 1. Shannon will succeed George D. Miller, who will retire after ten years. Shannon has been NFPA senior vice president and general counsel since 1991. Currently he oversees all the association's legal affairs, and has administrative and real-estate responsibility for the NFPA's properties. The NFPA says that Shannon has had visible roles in the organization's operations and government affairs, both domestically and abroad.

"I have every confidence in Jim Shannon's ability to further the NFPA's important work and to carry NFPA forward in its notable and most worthy mission," said Miller. He added, "My tenure as president of NFPA has been a highlight in a long career. It has been a great pleasure to work in support of NFPA's technical, educational, and research endeavors."

NFPA board chair Martin Reiss said the search committee "conducted a long and demanding search" before choosing Shannon, and "focused its efforts on identifying and recruiting a leader whose background, personal qualities, and skills set comprise the most appropriate fit for NFPA."

Shannon has served as Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, was senior partner in the Boston, MA law firm Hale & Dorr, and served in the United States House of Representatives from 1979 to 1985.

NFPA is a non-profit organization with a mission to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating scientifically basec consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education. The NFPA publishes the National Electrical Code and hundreds of other codes and standards.

Anixter opens office in New Zealand

Anixter Inc., ( Skokie, IL) the world's leading distributor of communications products and electrical/electronic wire and cable, has opened a sales and distribution office in Auckland, New Zealand, according to an announcement by Wayne Bogart, Vice President-Sales Asia Pacific Region/Managing Director for the company.

According to Bogart, Anixter will stock a wide range of products and offer its customers logistic solutions, as well as e-business opportunities through the company's "e-Anixter" on-line ordering and tracking capabilities. "Our e-Anixter program will allow our customers to access our on-line catalog with more than 50,000 products at their fingertips," Bogart explained. Customers can also track and monitor their orders through the same system.

Bogart went on to explain that Anixter has a presence in 180 locations worldwide and a global inventory in excess of $500 million. "Our technical expertise, global coverage, logistics management services and unparalleled product portfolio will provide a solid base for our customers to help them grow their business. We very much look forward to becoming a significant force within the New Zealand marketplace."

BICSI Enters Residential Cabling Market with Training Program &Manual

Today's homeowners want to enjoy all the benefits of the connected home hole-house Internet access and networking, intercom and paging, home theaters and automation, security, and more. BICSI, (Tampa, FL) the telecommunications association best known for educating designers and installers in the commercial market, now offers homeowners and builders a better guide to ensure a properly installed structured cabling system through its Residential Network Cabling Training and Registration Program.

Anderson Joins BICSI as Master Instructor for Residential Training Program

BICSI (Tampa, FL), the educational association for telecommunications professionals, recently added Richard S. Anderson, RCDD, of Boise, ID to its BICSI Master Instructor staff.

In addition to conducting BICSI's commercial installation training, Anderson will teach courses and proctor the exams for BICSI's new Residential Network Cabling Training and Registration Program. The residential program offers two courses: RES100: Residential Network Cabling: Theory and RES150: Residential Network Cabling: Theory and Hands-On Training. Each course is followed by a written or hands-on exam. Anderson has the Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD) designation, and holds a CompTIA A+ Certification. He has more than 15 years' experience in the construction industry as a general, electrical, and datacom contractor and is a journeyman inside wireman.

Most recently Anderson was an Applications Engineer for the voice and data division of Leviton, where he conducted training sessions and seminars and responded to technical customer requests. He also conducted staff technical training and development as Product Manager for ESWCo. Inc., Data Comm Division.

The International Association of Continuing Education and Training (IACET) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) recognize BICSI training for continuing education. The International Certification Accreditation Council (ICAC) accredits BICSI's registration programs.

OSHA officially recognizes ETL's Stockholm Lab

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) expanded the scope of the Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) status held by Intertek Testing Services to include an additional testing site in Stockholm. "This distinction is an official acknowledgement by OSHA that the Stockholm lab can perform independent testing per the product safety standards covered by the company's scope of recognition," Intertek said in a statement. Intertek is widely recognized, and does business, as ITS ETL Semko Labs.

ETL Semko (Boxborough, MA) now has a total of 13 NRTL sites. "Adding Stockholm to our already impressive list of recognized NRTL sites isn't just a distinction for ITS ETL Semko, it's tremendously beneficial to manufacturers," said Paul Moliski, director of accreditation for ITS ETL Semko. "European manufacturers will realize significant time and cost benefits with access to a NRTL in their own backyard." The NRTL scope of recognition allows all recognized test sites to perform product-safety evaluations corresponding to their particular product-safety standards.

Ortronics and Berk-Tek Offer Guaranteed 3dB Performance Above the Category 6 Standards
with the Introduction of NetClearGT3

ACE Wire & Cable (Woodside, NY), an authorized distributor of NetClear(tm) network solutions, a Berk-Tek/Ortronics alliance, is proud to announce the development of NetClearGT3 - the next generation of NetClear and the future of high performance cabling technology.

NetClearGT3 is a fully compliant Category 6 cabling solution that integrates LANmark(tm)-2000 cable and cordage, the latest development from Berk-Tek, a Nexans company, with Ortronics Clarity6 optimized Category 6 components, to deliver maximum network performance and channel capacity with guaranteed installed channel performance 3dB above the Category 6 draft 10 standard.

NetClearGT3 offers: optimal mated connector and cable balance to minimize the impact of media change on the transmitted signal; higher signal to noise ratio for 3.0 Gb/s guaranteed channel capacity; and connector elements that are all tuned to the center of the TIA target de-embedded values.

Graybar and SAP

Graybar, (St. Louis, MO) the leading national distributor of electrical, communications and data products and integrated supply services, has selected the mySAP.comÒ e-business platform to run its business systems applications. The e-business suite of software solutions, services and technology will run on IBM servers and storage hardware and will replace Graybar's legacy technology with a comprehensive system for more effective collaboration and complete integration.

Graybar's implementation of, which is currently one of the largest ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) projects in U. S. industry, is being conducted with Deloitte Consulting and was initiated in January. Graybar will deploy the entire suite of solutions for enterprise-wide e-business functionality, including mySAP Customer Relationship Management, mySAP Supply Chain Management, mySAP Human Resources, mySAP Enterprise Portals and mySAP Business Intelligence. The rollout of for Graybar's U.S. locations will be done in phases and will be completed by late 2004.

Graybar's Chairman, President and CEO Robert A. Reynolds, Jr. stated, "Graybar has made a significant investment in our physical infrastructure over the last few years with our zone initiative. This is an investment in our knowledge infrastructure that will complement that investment and provide functionality and capabilities to run our business that we have never had before."

"SAP offers a proven solution to handle a multi-billion dollar, high transaction, geographically dispersed, complex business such as Graybar," said D. Beatty D'Alessandro, vice president-IT Strategy Project, Graybar. "No other company had the broad suite of e-business functionality and the history of expertise with a business of our size, scope and complexity." Graybar's new business platform will run on IBM hardware including IBM's eServer pSeries and xSeries systems, Enterprise Storage Servers (Shark) and Linear Tape Open Libraries and Drives. This hardware technology solution will be implemented via IBM Global Services' Infrastructure Services Practice.

"Graybar chose IBM hardware because IBM was able to offer a total solution proposition," stated D'Alessandro. "IBM is able to fulfill all of Graybar's SAP hardware technology needs and deliver best-of-breed products in each hardware category including the high-end pSeries technology and its future development strategy. The Regatta, or p690, is an industry leader with the performance and scalability necessary to run Graybar's business today and into the future."

Prior to implementation, representatives from SAP and Deloitte Consulting assisted Graybar in a comprehensive proof-of-concept demonstration for Graybar executives. Technology solution demonstrations of business processes were prepared and executed on IBM high-end server and storage technology showing Graybar executives exactly how employees would use this new software. Structured load testing of the systems during the proof-of-concept phase assured Graybar's project team that the planned systems could handle the company's business processes within Graybar's acceptable utilization criteria. The short time frame and breadth of business processes included in the proof of concept demonstrate SAP's commitment to companies such as Graybar in the distribution industry.

"As a company with high volumes and demanding technology requirements, Graybar is well positioned to take advantage of SAP's comprehensive e-business solutions, industry expertise and technology for integrating diverse applications," said Wolfgang Kemna, president and chief executive officer, SAP America, Inc. "We look forward to working with Graybar, as well as with Deloitte Consulting and IBM, in leveraging SAP solutions to deliver broad-ranging benefits and competitive advantages for Graybar."

Williams Communications considers bankruptcy

After asserting that it was not considering bankruptcy, Williams Communications (Tulsa, OK) said that it might file for Chapter 11 protection as a means of de-levering its balance sheet. The long-haul carrier has seen its business hurt by the lack of demand for bandwidth and its high debt load. Though the company is in ongoing discussions with its bank lenders, it said bankruptcy became an option last Friday after concluding "certain institutions other than the banks are not likely to participate in the restructuring process on terms that are beneficial to all stakeholders of the company."

According to Williams, any of the new options under consideration could be highly dilutive to current shareholders. In addition, any reorganization would include reducing the company's cost structure by 25%, a figure that would include layoffs.

Dyneon developing foamed FEP product line

Dyneon, (Oakdale, MN) a 3M company and producer of fluoropolymers, recently announced that it is expanding its product lines to include a foamed FEP offering for communications wire and cable.

"The Dyneon Application and Product Development Lab is developing foaming solutions for Dyneon's FEP product line," the company said in a statement. "Foamed FEP is in demand for a number of communications applications, where it can improve electrical performance and lower the cost and weight of a cable."

"We are seeing increased demands in many wire and cable end-user markets, such as new trends ... in datacom with increased demand for better electrical performance," said Paula Hubbard, global marketing manager for wire and cable and Dyneon. "Many of the emerging electrical, temperature, and fire-safety performance challenges for designers and specifiers can be remedied by fluoropolymers. That is why we are increasing our product offerings and positioning Dyneon personnel to focus on innovation and marketing within the wire and cable industry."

In the release, Dyneon mentioned the automotive, aerospace, chemical-processing, and appliance-manufacturing industries, in addition to telecommunications, as those to whom the company is targeting its expanded fluoropolymer product lines.

Graybar new distribution center in Tampa, Florida

Graybar Electric opened its fourteenth distribution center February 18 in the Tampa area. The new 212,422 square foot distribution center employs 64 people and provides next-day service to customers throughout Florida.

Located at 8520 Eagle Palm Drive in Riverview, Florida, the regional zone warehouse maintains a multi-million dollar inventory of electrical, communications and data supplies and equipment. It serves as a replenishment and shipping facility for Graybar branches in the area. When the rollout of the logistics network is complete, Graybar will have 16 regional warehouses strategically placed nationwide enabling the company to ship orders to 98% of its customers within 24 hours.

Sales and customer service functions as well as counter and will-call service continue to be handled out of existing Graybar branches in the region. Inventory to serve customers' same-day needs is maintained in these branches close to Graybar's customers. The regional zone warehouses enable the company to enhance its customer service by consolidating orders for next-day delivery and by stocking slow moving and hard-to-find items - those not required every day by its customers.

In addition to the Riverview facility, Graybar operates regional zone warehouses in Lewisville, Texas; Austell, Georgia, Joliet, Illinois; Fresno, California; Cranbury, New Jersey; Stafford, Texas; Taunton, Massachusetts; Youngstown, Ohio; Puyallup, Washington; Rogers, Minnesota; Charlotte, North Carolina; Springfield, Missouri; and Hamilton, Ohio.

Key element of the regional zone concept is the demand-planning process that the company undergoes prior to each regional zone opening to ensure inventory is in the right place in the right quantities to serve customers' needs. After opening, regular demand-reviews enable the company to adjust local and regional inventories to keep current with market demands.

Zone Manager Robert D. Merrill directed the preparations for opening. Merrill states, "Graybar has stringent training requirements for all employees, especially new hires, before they can receive and fill orders and operate the machinery required to run a warehouse of this size. Graybar is ISO registered nationwide, and all employees must be trained in our quality and warehouse management system processes prior to opening."

Graybar uses a paperless Warehouse Management System (WMS) from Provia in its regional zone warehouses. "This system helps us increase inventory and shipping accuracy, increase order fill rates and provides us with greater flexibility to serve our internal and external customers," Merrill commented.

A nationwide distributor of electrical, communications and data supplies and equipment, Graybar carries top name brand products from over 4,500 manufacturers. Suppliers include Square D, General Electric Lighting, Avaya, Lucent Technologies, General Cable, Panduit, Thomas & Betts, Hubbell, Comdial, Cooper Lighting, Crouse-Hinds, Hoffman, Leviton, Bussmann, Superior Essex, Panasonic, Lithonia, Allen Tel, Mohawk/CDT and Belden.

Superior Essex closing Kentucky Plant

The Superior Essex Communications Group (Hickory, NC) has announced that it plans to close its manufacturing facility in Elizabethtown, KY, one of six North American plants that the Communications Group operates. The plant exclusively produces outside-plant copper communications cable products.

Approximately 230 positions will be eliminated as a result of the closure. Production at the plant will cease as of March 8, but some operations will continue through the end of the month. "The flexibility and capacity we have built into our remaining five manufacturing facilities assures continuation of our service levels to customers and the ability to react quickly to increased demand," says Justin Deedy, president of Superior Essex's Communications Group.

A GOOD START… Vinyloop recycling plant starts production in Italy

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (Feb. 26, 4:30 p.m. EST) -- Vinyloop Ferrara SpA, the first of what supporters hope will be a network of plants around the world recycling post-consumer PVC, has started production in Ferrara, Italy. The 10.6 million euro ($9.2 million) plant is the first to employ Solvay SA's Vinyloop process. The facility primarily will recycle post-consumer insulation material from electrical cables.

What the Toronto Free Press has to say about PVC & Vinyloop

Debut of VinyLoop

In the aftermath of companies like General Motors announcing it would phase out all PVC from the interior of its cars and trucks by 2004, A Belgian chemical firm is so confident of its new method of recycling PVC, it has told the European Union to revise its estimates for PVC recycling. Solvay has announced plans to build its first commercial plant to use the new technology, called VinyLoop, and is talking to potential partners about building 10 more across Europe, reports ENDS Environment Daily. VinyLoop is a new way of recycling PVC and any additives it contains while leaving other plastics. According to Solvay, the process produces a PVC recyclate that is much purer than other mechanical recycling techniques. PVC is a plastic comprising macro-molecules which are made up of carbon, hydrogen and chlorine atoms. It is made by combining ethylene, produced by refining petroleum, with chlorine, produced from rock salt.

From the mineral water bottle to the car dashboard, PVC is part of everyday life for most people. It was one of the earliest and still the most widely used plastic because it is light, non-flammable, impermeable, enduring and easy to maintain. Environmental groups such as Greenpeace, which is campaigning for a complete ban on PVC however, claim that it causes unacceptable environmental harm during every stage of its life cycle from production and use to disposal.

General Motors charged its suppliers with the job of finding alternatives to PVC, which is used in components such as instrument panels and doors. Last December, European Union member states unanimously approved a precedent setting ban on soft PVC teething toys, following a flurry of Greenpeace protests.

In April, three European Commission studies on PVC waste management concluded that PVC waste volumes will almost double over the next 20 years. The studies also said that significant quantities of phthalates and other PVC additives will continue to leach out of landfills. They are expected to influence the European Unionís PVC policy. Solvayís first plant will be built in Ferrara, Italy, with a capacity of 8,500 tonnes a year. It is expected to be operational next year. The company said it sees particular potential for recycling of cable scrap and flexible plastic packaging. April's European Commission studies concluded that only a maximum of 18 percent mechanical recycling of PVCs could be expected using current technology.

Solvay officials do not dispute the figure, but a spokesperson said that the advent of VinyLoop means that the commission would have to look again at the real potential for mechanical PVC recycling. The company's recycling claims carry increased importance because the European Commission is about to publish a policy paper on PVC and the environment, which is expected to pose tough questions to an industry already on the defensive.

Major UK retail chain to shun PVC

The PVC industry suffered another blow yesterday when British department store Marks and Spencer (M&S) announced it would remove the polymer from all products and packaging. PVC packaging, accounting for three-quarters of the chain's use of the plastic, is to be phased out by the end of 2002. Substitute materials are to found for products such as footwear and company credit cards as they are identified.

M&S environmental affairs manager Rowland Hill told ENDS Daily the decision had been "heavily influenced" by the ongoing debate over PVC at EU level, and in particular by European Commission studies outlining the plastic's environmental impacts. "Despite the significant improvements being made by the PVC industry, we do not believe that our current concerns can be resolved satisfactorily," he said.

The company is far from being the first to adopt an anti-PVC policy, but is following in the footsteps of firms such as Nike, Sony and Ikea. Martyn Griffiths of the European Council of Vinyl Manufacturers said he was "disappointed" by the decision. "They're very clever not to say exactly why they've taken it. They hint at problems involved in PVC incineration, but we can refute that. PVC is completely safe," he said.

New DataTwist ® 600e cable: Guaranteed Performance to 600 MHz - this is a HOT new product

Belden Wire and Cable Co. (Richmond, IN) has long had a reputation for innovative product design. Now Belden has taken the next step in networking cable design with the introduction of DataTwist 600e - a revolutionary UTP cable engineered specifically to perform well beyond current proposed CAT 6 standards.

Check out the entire Belden website or just focus on the Belden Electronics Division. You can reach their technical support at 1-800 - Belden1 or 1-800-Belden3. Belden is a world leader in cabling products and continues to introduce improved technology in sustainable and safe materials.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) secured commitments for a record $4.3 billion in pollution control and cleanup measures from polluters last year. The agency released data on its enforcement and compliance assurance results for fiscal year 2001 last week. The EPA said it also secured commitments for an estimated reduction of more than 660 million pounds of harmful pollutants and the treatment and safe management of an estimated record 1.84 billion pounds of pollutants.

"With our state and local partners, we set a high priority on areas that posed serious threats to health and the environment," said EPA Administrator Christie Whitman. "The Administration is determined to actively pursue those who fail to comply with the law while working closely with the regulated community to find workable and flexible solutions."

The agency's enforcement and compliance results from last year also include:

  • The settlement of 222 civil judicial cases and the issuance of 3,228 administrative orders and field citations
  • Prison sentences for criminal violators totaling 256 years - an increase of more than 100 years over fiscal year 2000
  • Almost $95 million in fines and restitution from criminal violators
  • violators paid $125 million in civil penalties to the United States and an additional $25.2 million to states
  • Supplemental environmental projects totaling $89 million - up 60 percent from $55.8 million in fiscal year 2000
  • Compliance assistance for more than one million individuals and businesses by direct assistance or through the EPA's Compliance Assistance Centers

The EPA says its major priorities included compliance with the Clean Air Act's New Source Review rules, which require emissions control upgrades at older facilities which expand their output; regulations governing protection of drinking water and illegal discharges from combined and sanitary sewer outflows and animal feeding operations; and compliance by permit evaders, those practicing illegal hazardous waste practices in violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

Schneider Electric…(Paris, France) (an $8 billion company) has become a world leader in PVC and composite materials used in the communications industry.

Schneider Electric, parent company of Square D, strengthened its position in low voltage products and systems in the UK market (11/4/99). Schneider Electric announced that its' Nordic Lexel Group has acquired MITA Holdings Ltd, a British company specializing in cable management systems for low voltage installations (trunking and ducting equipment).

MITA is a leading supplier of cable management products in PVC and composite material in the UK, with current revenues of approximately EUR 31 million (FRF 200 million) and a workforce of about 180 people. The company is serving both the commercial and industrial market segments and has established a strong position with the main national and independent electrical wholesalers.

The acquisition of MITA is part of the continuation of Schneider Electric's strategy to consolidate its position within the low voltage products and systems.

Plastic Waste Disposal Guidelines Adopted

Experts from some 100 governments met in Geneva Switzerland, have adopted a set of technical guidelines for protecting human health and the environment from the improper management and disposal of plastic wastes. In many developing countries, plastics are disposed of through landfilling or through open, uncontrolled burning, which produces environmental hazards that extend far beyond the burning site.

The burning of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics produces persistent organic pollutants (POPs) known as furans and dioxins. These pollutants circulate globally and have been associated with adverse effects in humans, including immune and enzyme disorders. They are classified as possible human carcinogens.

The new technical guidelines address growing concerns that some developing countries lack the legislation and facilities to cope with increasing piles of plastic wastes of all kinds, each kind requiring a different method of handling and disposal. This cable scrap is valuable, mainly because it contains copper and aluminum metal, although the plastic also has value and can be recycled or reused. Cable scrap contains primarily polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polyethylene insulation and jacketing.

The main way of recovering the metal from cable scrap in the developed countries is automated cable chopping in large plants. But in developing countries, environmentally sound but less expensive cable stripping plants are more common, a process with much lower throughput. "Pre-sorting is the most important element of the environmentally sound management of cables scrap," the technical working group says.

By contrast to the tailings remaining from cable chopping operations, tailings from stripping operations are mostly free of metal and frequently contain only one type of polymer. In the recovery of tailing materials for re-use this has resulted in second-generation products. For example, PVC is recycled in pallets or directly reused to manufacture insulation of electric cable, insulation tape, car mats, carpet lining, flooring and footwear. Again, the guidelines underline, "Open burning is not an environmental acceptable solution for any kind of waste."

Since 1969, many cable recovery furnaces have been supplied to metal scrap dealers and several cable chopping companies. More than 700 of these furnaces are in operation worldwide at their peak and still in use now. "Furnaces can be connected to appropriate gas cleaning systems for all plastic, such as scrubbers that remove the hydrochloric acid generated when burning PVC," the technical working group advises.

But Greenpeace says that incinerators with state-of-the-art pollution control equipment are formidably expensive. The environmental group points out that once authorities have invested in incineration they often do not have the money to invest in waste reduction. "In this way, incineration directly competes with efforts to reduce and recycle waste." "Like many industrial products, plastics pose risks to human health and the natural environment that can be reduced through recycling, re-use, and rigorous disposal procedures," said Klaus Toepfer, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme. "These new guidelines demonstrate that the Basel Convention is playing a lead role in promoting environmentally sustainable development."

The Basel Convention was adopted in March 1989 after a series of notorious "toxic cargos" from industrialized countries drew public attention to the dumping of hazardous wastes in developing and East European countries. The Convention regulates the movement of these wastes and obliges its members to ensure that such wastes are managed and disposed of in an environmentally sound manner. Governments are expected to minimize the quantities that are transported, to treat and dispose of wastes as close as possible to where they were generated, and to minimize the generation of hazardous waste at source.

Due to different reporting methods in various countries, it is difficult to produce reliable statistics on the generation and cross-border movements of hazardous waste, the convention secretariat says. It cites statistics provided by 36 nations that are Parties to the convention which show that about 200 million metric tons of hazardous wastes were generated in their countries in 1999. Currently, 148 countries and the European Community are Parties to the Basel Convention.

FOR THE RECORD: Definition of PLENUM according to Webster

Main Entry: ple-num
Function: noun
Etymology: New Latin, from Latin, neuter of plenus
Date: 1678
1 a : a space or all space every part of which is full of matter
b : an air-filled space in a structure; especially : one that receives air from a blower for distribution (as in a ventilation system)

Get it right or be prepared to pay an expensive penalty. When somebody asks for Plenum Cable, you better ask "by whose definition?" The AHJ will have the final word.

Graybar to Occupy Centerpoint Building in West Port

Graybar, has announced it is establishing an administrative center in the Centerpoint Building in the West Port area of St. Louis. The move allows Graybar to consolidate into one building its operations that now occupy four different facilities in the area. The six-story Centerpoint Building, which is located at 11885 Lackland Road and has 195,000 square feet of office space, was formerly occupied by MasterCard. Graybar will occupy the building in phases beginning this spring as cabling and redecorating are completed on each of the six floors.

The Graybar Administrative Center will house the company's information systems, training group and financial services subsidiary, Graybar Financial Services. In addition, its corporate accounts services group and other customer-specific service groups will have space in the new facility. "This investment will support our growth for the next ten years," stated Graybar Chairman, President and CEO Robert A. Reynolds, Jr. "Our growth during the last several years and the centralization of many of our purchasing and accounting functions demanded additional space. We had looked at several options in the St. Louis area and determined that the facility in West Port best suited our current needs while allowing for further growth."

When the move is complete, Graybar will occupy four facilities in the St. Louis metropolitan area: its corporate headquarters in Clayton, the Centerpoint Administrative Center, the St. Louis district headquarters, branch and counter at 8170 Lackland Road near I170 and the Collinsville, Illinois, branch. Graybar employs more than 900 people in the St. Louis metropolitan area.

Graybar Announces Vice President Appointments

Graybar, recently announced the following appointments: Lawrence (Larry) R. Giglio is appointed senior vice president-Operations at Corporate Headquarters effective April 1. He succeeds Golden (Sonny) W. Harper, who is retiring effective that same date. Giglio currently serves as vice president-Investment and Inventory Management. T. N. (Nick) Fleming and John T. Roney have been appointed vice presidents-Service at Graybar. Fleming is responsible for service in the Richmond, Pittsburgh and Eastern Comm/Data Districts. Roney covers the Chicago, Minneapolis, Cincinnati and North Central Comm/Data Districts.

Joseph F. LaMotte was named vice president-Electrical Sales of the Cincinnati District, succeeding Kenneth L. Netherton, who has retired. A 29-year Graybar veteran, LaMotte previously served as a senior national product manager at Corporate Headquarters. Jeffrey M. Cook was appointed to the new position of vice president-Government Sales at Corporate Headquarters. He was formerly director, corporate accounts. James M. Ertle was named to the new position of vice president-SBC based in St. Louis. Ertle previously served as director, strategic accounts-SBC at Corporate Headquarters.

James A. Grimshaw was appointed to the new position of vice president-Qwest at Graybar's Aurora District, which is located in Denver, Colorado. A 14-year Graybar veteran, Grimshaw was formerly director, strategic accounts.


Carlon (Cleveland, OH) has long been an innovator in electrical and telecommunication cable management systems designed to make commercial and residential cable installation faster and easier. Now they are doing the same for low voltage applications with their complete family of Carlon Structured Cable Management Systems for low voltage residential applications - both new construction and retrofit. Whether your cable management needs are limited to individual components or require a complete system solution, Carlon offers the family of products you need to organize and protect your structured cable investment.

On their website are two very good articles pertaining to the NEC 2002 code changes . One article specifically deals with the Abandoned Cable issue. Abandoned Cables by David H. Kendell. It's worth reading…

2002 NEC Code Changes: Cables abandoned and left in the plenums become a safety hazard ABANDONED CABLES By: David H. Kendall

The 2002 National Electrical Code (NEC) took the first steps in addressing the issue of removing abandoned cables for air handling spaces. Cables abandoned and left in the plenums becomes a safety hazard to the occupants of a building in case of a fire by adding to the fuel source in the plenum.

Cables approved for the Plenum have been evaluated for a maximum peak optical density, a maximum average optical density, and a maximum flame spread per UL 910 (NFPA 262) "Test for Flame-Propagation and Smoke-Density Values for Electrical and Optical-Fiber Cables Used in Spaces Transporting Environmental Air". These cables are listed for use within a plenum without being enclosed in a metal raceway system as described in Sections 300-22 (b) and (c) of the National Electrical Code (NEC).

A series of proposals were submitted to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to revise the 1999 NEC for Articles 300, 640, 645, 725, 760, 770, 800, 820, and 830 to require all abandoned cables to be removed from the plenum.

Only Code Making Panel 3, who oversees Article 300 of the NEC, rejected this proposal with the following substantiation:

The submitter's own substantiation states there is no indication that the additional cables in plenums caused an added fire hazard and that the fire record of cables in plenums is excellent. Requiring abandoned cables to be removed that are not intended for future use would be almost impossible to enforce. Many cables are installed for future use and cables are often swapped at patch panels to provide a very effective method of moving a computer or a piece of telecommunications equipment without having to pull a new cable."

The other panels did not agree with Panel 3 and have adopted language to require abandoned cables to be removed. Section 90.3, Code Arrangements, allows Chapters 5, 6 and 7 to supplement or modify the general rules found in Chapters 1 through 4 for particular conditions. Chapter 8 covers communications systems and is not subject to the rules of Chapter 1 through 7 except where the requirements are specifically referenced in Chapter 8.

Each Article adopted a definition of abandoned cables, and the rule for removal. For example, Article 770, Optical Fiber Cables and Raceways, added the following definition to 770.2 Definitions:

Abandoned Optical Fiber Cable. Installed optical fiber cable that is not terminated at equipment other than a connector and not identified for future use with a tag.

The rule was added to 770.3(A):

Spread of Fire or Products of Combustion. The requirements of 300.21 for electrical installations shall also apply to installations of optical fiber cables and raceways. The accessible portion of abandoned optical fiber cable cables shall not be permitted to remain.

Several organization such as BICSI, TIA and NECA are working on designing a "Tag" that would be acceptable for identifying a cable intended for future use.

Article 645 for Information Technology Equipment, indicates that all abandoned cables installed under raised floors shall not be permitted to remain unless contained in metal raceways. A "Tag" indicating future use for abandoned cables will not be considered an option to allow these cables to remain.

Architects, designers, engineers and contractors will need to take the abandoned cable rule into account when designing new buildings and retrofitting older buildings. The easiest way to remove and/or replace a cable is to have it installed in a raceway.

Each of these Articles defines the raceways acceptable for use in a Plenum. Those raceways defined in Section 300.22, which consists of metal raceways, are permitted to be used with each of these cable installations. Section 645.5(D)(2) expands the types of raceways permitted and allows nonmetallic raceways such as Electrical Nonmetallic Tubing (ENT), Rigid Nonmetallic Conduit (RNC), nonmetallic Wireway and nonmetallic Surface Raceway to be used under a raised floor for information technology equipment.

Articles 770 and 800 recognize listed nonmetallic raceways for use in a plenum. These listed raceways are classified under Optical Fiber/Communications Cable Raceway (QAZM) in the Electrical Construction Equipment Directory published by Underwriters Laboratories Inc.

Nonmetallic plenum raceways are suitable for use in ducts, plenums or other spaces used for environmental air as described in Section 300.22. These raceways are permitted to be used with Types OFNP and OFCP nonconductive and conductive optical fiber plenum cables as described in Section 770.53(A) and Type CMP communications plenum cable as described in Section 800.53.

Nonmetallic plenum rated raceways have the same fire-resistant and low smoke-producing characteristics as the plenum rated cables. These raceways exhibit a maximum peak optical density of 0.5, a maximum average optical density of 0.15, and a maximum flame spread distance of 5 feet when tested in accordance with UL standard UL2024, Optical Fiber Cable Raceway.

The 2002 National Electrical Code (NEC) took the first steps in addressing the issue of removing abandoned cables for air handling spaces. Cables abandoned and left in the plenums becomes a safety hazard to the occupants of a building in case of a fire by adding to the fuel source in the plenum.

Raceways are the solution to the abandoned cable issue. A building designed or retrofitted with raceways will easily allow the building to be code compliant and up to date with technology as technology continues to grow and obsoletes current optical fiber and communications cabling methods.

MCAA - Mechanical Contractors Association of America, Inc.Rockville, MD

This association has just released several press releases that may be of interest. Check them out through this link.

Words of advice from Ray Keden of ERICO (Solon. OH)…

Over the decades, most suspended ceilings and raised floors have become polluted with generations of abandoned voice and data cables. They pose a fire hazard as well as load problems in ceilings. The 2002 Code will require that "abandoned cables shall be removed from plenum and riser areas". It is up to the local inspectors to enforce this NEC mandate in their jurisdictions. So watch out next time you quote three additional drops for voice or data. There could be a $10,000 abandoned cable removal job following in their tracks.

Congratulations to Ray Keden, he has just been appointed Principal Member of the NEC Code Panel 3 "Wiring Methods" representing BICSI. This is the first time BICSI is represented in CMP-3.

Avaya Awarded Multiyear, Multimillion Dollar Purchase Agreement By U.S. Dept. of the Treasury

Avaya (Basking Ridge. NJ), announced that it has been awarded a blanket purchase agreement by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to provide voice and data solutions to the agency and its bureaus. The award was issued without a value cap and covers a 4 3/4-year term.

Called the Treasury Telecommunications Solutions Blanket Purchase Agreement, it is national in scope and is open to all bureaus of the U.S. Treasury-including the Internal Revenue Service, Alcohol Tobacco Firearms (ATF), Customs, Secret Service, and the Mint.

The award replaces and enhances a previous Avaya contract with the Treasury, which was limited to telephone switches and cabling for the Eastern corridor. Through this previous contract and other government buying agreements, Treasury has purchased more than 150 Avaya voice switches and has implemented one of the largest voice messaging networks in the world.

Communication is critical to the Treasury and its bureaus -- from the IRS communicatng with taxpayers to the ATF and Customs communicating with remote agents and sites,'' said Greg Jewell, Treasury team leader for the agreement. ''We look forward to working with Avaya through this new purchasing agreement to develop solutions that help each of our bureaus excel"

Avaya products and services available through the Treasury purchase agreement include the full range of the company's communications systems and equipment, including: Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Solutions that will allow Treasury and its Bureaus to manage work flow and to interact with constituents via the Web, telephone, fax, e-mail or mail. Unified Communication Solutions that will allow personnel to access e-mail, voice mail and faxes through a common interface on a computer or telephone. Converged Voice and Data Networks that will allow the agency to reduce its costs by using a common infrastructure for voice and data transmissions. MultiService Networking Infrastructure products and cabling to support the simultaneous, real-time transmission of voice, data and video via multiple transmission protocols.

''We're delighted to be able to offer the Treasury and its bureaus a convenient way to buy the breadth of Avaya's product line,'' said Bob Fortna, president of Avaya's D.C.-based Government Solutions business. ''With this new award we can offer a much broader set of solutions, ensuring immediate, reliable and secure communication-to and from anywhere-and over any medium.''

Bill Sapp, Avaya VP for civilian agency sales added, ''We expect this multiyear, multimillion dollar purchase agreement to be an important tool in helping us support the wide-ranging communication objectives of Treasury and its bureaus.''

On March 7, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone

My granddaughter keeps asking, "Pops, do you remember back then?"…. Sure, I remember everything, but not all at once.

ABR Consulting Group

ABR Consulting Group, Inc. (Pleasanton, CA) is the firm many companies retain to assist management in planning and managing their projects. They are the extra pair of hands you need to assist you with producing all equipment drawings and layouts for the architects and engineers, project management, communications cable design and the planning and relocation of your computer room, server room, labs and all other specialized IT spaces. ABR can expertly design communication cabling systems for large buildings, multi-building campuses, major computer/server/network rooms, fiber/copper entrance facilities and MAN/WAN networks. Their teams can manage your entire project with minimal oversight by your staff.

CIO, IT and Facility Managers - ABR Consulting Group, Inc. plans and relocates "MISSION CRITICAL" data center facilities. Over 80 data center/server rooms relocated. 15 years in business, 30 years in the IT/IS trade. We suggest that you check out their website. We interviewed Larry Smith, President-ABR, and found that their organization has a wealth of resources greater than the normal scope of a good communications consulting firm.

EZ Mount Secur-A-Shelf story

Did you ever imagine securing a small existing telephone or LAN network, WITHOUT HAVING TO RECABLE OR RECERTIFY THE NETWORK? Well, the iNNOdata, LTD (Derry, NH) EZ Mount Network Shelf (EZMS) affords that precise ability, by using the EZMS shelf solution, and later on, adding the EZ Mount Secur-A-Shelf (EZCB), with a padlock.

The original network (including up to 48 drops, with a 48 port patch panel (any brand), with its electronics (hub, switch, router), along with a standard rack mount power strip included, can be secured by adding a multiple piece enclosure, that goes on, in segments, in minutes; WITHOUT TOUCHING A STATION CABLE!! It uses the same hole placement that is used to mount the EZMS, therefore can be added by loosening the mounting screws, and, placing the side walls of the unit "BEHIND" the wall of the shelf itself. The addition of the bottom plate and top/front (hinged unit) is then added, and the front panel fits over a hasp arrangement that accepts a standard padlock!

Please keep in mind, that these products utilize one of the smallest footprints in our industry. The EZMS takes up only 9 x 19 3/16 inches of wall space and is 16 inches deep. The EZCB takes up 13 x 22 inches of wall space, and, is 18 inches deep.

When the unit is completely installed, it allows for the status lights on the shelf mounted equipment to be viewed through the window on the front of the unit. The lights can be viewed by simply looking at the unit.

There is adequate ventilation provided, as well as space behind both the top and bottom of the unit to allow for raceway on a surface mount installation. Provision for adding a muffin fan is provided.

On of the most significant features of the unit, both in an open or secured version, is that a technician can work on the patch panel, for installation, or completing MAC's, FROM THE FRONT. That is because of the EZ Mount Swivel Bracket which is already mounted on the EZMS product.

We have had the opportunity to use some of these products and we can tell you from experience it is a good value and… "It's as handy as a shirt pocket." All iNNOdata, LTD products are proudly manufactured in the United States of America!

Hot off the Press.. Accu-Tech Buyers Guide

Accu-Tech's new 100 page hot systems Buyers Guide features the latest end - to - end solutions for Category 5e, Category 6 and Fiber Optics from the industry's leading manufacturers. This great new source book brings together the industry's most comprehensive product offerings, at prices you'll find very competitive. And, when you have a hot deadline, Accu-Tech (Atlanta, GA) is your first call: chances are good that between their 16 stocking locations, they can handle it!

From the headlines

Picking up the pieces - the electronics industry's worst recession ever touched bottom in the last quarter of 2001. Now begins the task of restoring revenue and profit growth.

Industry indicator (Electronics Buyers' Index) hits 13-month high as economy improves… Index surge raises industry hopes about recovery

The threat to your wireless network is real! Are your Systems Safe? - cover story Feb 2002 issue of SENSORS magazine.

Real Numbers, Really Fast - cover story Feb.18, 2002 INFORMATIONWEEK Enron, the economy, and flagging investor faith have the SEC calling for more accurate and timely financial reporting, Are you ready?

Fun Facts from Hitachi Cable Manchester (Manchester, NH) - CABLE Mania

Well - informed people know it is impossible to transmit the voice over wires and that were it possible to do so, the thing would be of no practical value. - Boston Post, 1865 - Wisdom before its time…

In 1943, IBM Chairman T. Watson predicted, "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." Awesome vision….

CSC is one of the largest and fastest growing independent distributor of data communication products in the United States. We recently interviewed Mr. John Clifford, Area Manager in his Jacksonville, FL office. Mr. Clifford gave us a tour of their facilities and a review of their customer service system. This outfit has placed customer service on a par with mission critical commitments. From first hand experience, we were very pleased with their products, pricing, and promptness.

Since the company's inception in 1972, Communications Supply Corporation has expanded from a single location to a nationwide distribution network, with all locations managed by entrepreneurs who continue to put the customer first.


6 - 9 Electronic House Expo Orlando, FL

9 - 14 VDV Voice Data Video Expo 2002 Las Vegas, NV

11 - 13 I.CON The Industrial Conference for Commercial Real Estate
Atlanta, GA

17-22 OFC 2002
Anaheim, CA

24 - 26 National Green-Building Conference Seattle, WA


BICSI Certified Training Sessions in Dallas, Texas:
March 18-22, 2002 Technician
April 8-12, 2002 Installer Level 2
April 15-19, 2002 Technician
Apr 29 - May 3, 2002 Installer Level 1
Get specific details at

Training Companies Kitco Fiber Optics Training

IES Training Services

BICSI Training

The Light Brigade

ComNet Communications,Inc.


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