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HOTS 01/1998

Issue: January 1998

By: Frank Bisbee

Featured Story

Fluke Corporation, a leader in compact, professional electronic test tools, was awarded six "iF" Product Design Awards by the Industrie Design Forum Hannover (iF) in their 1997 competition. Fluke test tools to receive design awards this year include: the Fluke I410 Current Clamp, Fluke 12B Multimeter, Fluke FOS 1300 Fiber Optic Test Kit, Fluke 620 LAN CableMeter®, Fluke OneTouch™ Network Assistant, and the Fluke 701/702 Documenting Process Calibrators.

The iF Product Design Awards are held in conjunction with the exhibition season at the Hannover Exhibition Grounds in Hannover, Germany. The competition is open to all manufacturers and design experts. To ensure fairness and consistency in the judging process, every product submitted for an award is assigned to one of 10 categories covering the full spectrum of industrial production.

For more information about Fluke Corporation and its range of test and measurement products, contact Fluke Corporation, P.O. Box 9090, Everett, WA USA 98206, or call 1(800) 44 FLUKE, fax 1(800) FLUKE-FAX, or E-mail:

In Europe and the Middle East, call or write Fluke B.V., P.O. Box 1186, 5602BD Eindhoven, The Netherlands, 31 (0)40- 2678200, or FAX 31 (0)40 - 2678222. In Canada call (905) 890-7600 or FAX (905) 890-6866.

Whatever happened to interoperability of CAT 5 components? Some connector and cable manufactures have teamed up as "partners" claiming their products are specifically engineered to perform better with their "partners" products. We put that one in the same league as the tooth fairy. Fortunately, there are some manufacturers of CAT 5 cable who are still committed to the idea of open systems, where CAT 5 compliant products from any vendor can be combined to fully meet the performance requirements of the TIA/EIA 568A. REMEE Products Corp. appears to be leading the charge. They have come up with an innovative guarantee and certification program that offers users and cabling contractors the broadest possible range of options in selecting CAT 5 components and systems. REMEE can be reached at 800-431-3864 or

We’ve been asked questions about the supply situation on DuPont’s Teflon® FEP fluoropolymer resin. We contacted reliable sources and here is the bottom line:

DuPont expects Tefon® FEP to be in tight supply

They are meeting supply commitments to customers, but is not as much as they want to purchase.

DuPont’s new plant is coming on stream, mid-‘98 and supply is expected to improve sometime in the second half.

What does this mean? Expect firm cable prices for CAT 5 and Levels 6 and 7 throughout ‘98. Lead times will be extended but nowhere near the duration of the last temporary supply crunch. Remember too, it’s not just FEP supply. New higher performance cables like Level 7 require extremely tight process controls and generally slower production speeds.

Prestolite Wire has broadened their Fiber Optics line by acquiring Northern Lights Cable, Inc. of North Bennington, VT. Northern Lights is a manufacturer of fiber optic cable and assemblies for the telecommunications industry. Both companies are privately held.

"Northern Lights is an excellent fit for Prestolite," said George Joeckel, president and chief executive officer of Prestolite. "It’s broad range of fiber optic cable products and services, its manufacturing and applications expertise, and, most importantly, its team of fiber optics experts will enable us to improve our product selection as we expand our telecommunications business."

The addition of fiber cable broadens Prestolite’s offerings, which presently consist of copper wire products for voice and data communications, including NETLink 2000®, Category 5 PrestoPULL, and soon to be released UTP cable capable of supporting data speeds in excess of one gigabit per second.

"The acquisition of Northern Lights and the two expansions of our telecommunications wire plant in Nebraska, which we announced in 1997, are part of our strategy to provide a full menu of ‘bandwidth solutions’ to our customers, utilizing both copper and fiber optics cable," said Preston Speers, vice president and general manager of telecommunications products.

Wayne Kachmar, president of Northern Lights Cable, has agreed to remain in his current capacity. "Wayne is and excellent leader and will be pivotal in guiding Prestolite’s fiber optics business strategy." Mr. Joeckel said.

Prestolite wire Corporation, based in Southfield, Michigan is a privately held company serving global markets in telecommunications and automotive products.

EMS, Inc. delivers global systems integration services from Silicon Valley to Europe with acquisition of two companies.

In a move to provide strategically located systems integration solution for electronics original equipment manufacturers, Electronic Manufacturing Systems (EMS) Inc. has announced the purchase of Bemac Engineering Ltd. of Lisburn, Northern Ireland and Worcester, England and Talus Corporation of Santa Clara, California.

The acquisitions added 329,000 square feet to EMS’ current manufacturing facilities in Longmont, Colorado, Westbrook, Maine, and Grenta, Virginia, bringing the company’s combined six-location capacity to nearly 1,00,000 square feet. The purchases were made for an undisclosed amount as the three companies involved are privately held.

Bemac Engineering has state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities that provide metal fabrication, electronic assembly and test, and design and engineering services to a roster of blue chip customers. The Northern Ireland location offers several benefits including close proximity to major transportation gateways, a skilled work force, access to local universities, and favorable local government support.

The Talus site provides the base for EMS’ Silicon Valley and Pacific Rim presence. Talus’ extensive manufacturing capacity, engineering and prototyping services will enable the company to offer significant box building services to customers in the Silicon Valley area.

EMS is retaining the management teams and employees of Bemac and Talus, and has plans to hire additional people over the coming months. Bemac Engineering was founded in 1969 and has won numerous customer awards. The 20-year old Talus Corporation has been ranked as one of the 100 fastest growing private companies in Silicon Valley for the past three years by the San Jose Business Journal. In addition, Talus has been recognized by several leading OEMs as their supplier of the year.

FLUKE Corporation has announced that it is sponsoring a free media certification training course. "Media Certification: Standards and Practices," is a six-hour course that covers standards and techniques for testing installed cabling systems to Category 5 and beyond and is ideal for professionals faced with testing and troubleshooting network cabling systems.

Specifically, the course highlights the following:

      • -Standards for high performance network cabling
      • -requirements for TSB-67
      • -How to measure the performance for enhanced Category 5 cabling
      • -Troubleshooting tough cabling problems
      • -Fiber optic testing basics

Included in the course is a hands-on lab that allows attendees to certify and troubleshooting cabling systems. For cabling contractors interested in becoming a Fluke Certified Installer Partner, a one-hour lab exam is available.

For more information on the course "Media Certification: Standards and Practices", contact Fluke Corporation at (888) 215-4539, Fax (800) 853-0025, e-mail or visit Fluke's website at

Ortronics’ (Pawcatuck, CT) TracJack, a single jack network solution for cross-connect and multimedia applications, wins "Best of Show for New Facilities/Premises Product" at CMA Telcom 97 held November 11-13, 1997 in New York City.

TracJack product offerings include: single and dual gang faceplates, low profile surface mount boxes and 19" patch panels. All TracJack products work in combination with Ortronics TracJack snap-in modules which include: Enhanced 110 CAT 5 RJ45, RJ25C, F Connector, Dual RCA, Single and Duplex ST and SCs and blanks for future expansion.

Cable Major Custom Cable, Inc. ( 800-455-6224 - Jackson, MO ) is a manufacturer and distributor of virtually any type of connector cords or cable assemblies that you can imagine. The past few years has seen an impressive growth by this company. The quality of their products is exceptional. The assembly of all of their configurations are done in-house. No off-shore stuff from this bunch. We compared their price and quality with a few other sources. The price was competitive and the product was always equal to or better than the competition.

CDT (Cable Design Technologies), Pittsburg, PA was a good stock investment last year and I forecast more of the same for ‘98. CDT results reflect increased sales and gross profit in all five of CDT business groups. We see very strong market conditions that are continuing to intensify domestically. On the European scene, the formally sluggish market is strengthening significantly. In summary, I believe, CDT products are top quality and their stock is a good investment.

To recap CMA (Communications Managers Association), New York, NY annual 1997 conference and exposition (November, 1997), this expo was a real splash in the face of cold water reality. CMA has been traditionally telecom, telecom, telecom, and more telecom but not this year. We saw a show of products and interests that focused on the cabling infrastructure with little regard for telecom only. Most of the products were cabling systems which could support virtually all voice and data applications. The attendees that we interviewed were looking for systems which could accommodate change to a computer driven combination voice/data integrated technology...without rewiring. This was the 20th anniversary of this associations expo. On hand were some of the pioneers who began this associations integration with the vendors. Past presidents, Chet Belairs, George Fallat, and Chuck Schweis were on hand for this important anniversary.

Comdex (November, 1997), Las Vegas, NV, was techno-overdrive with a solid glimpse of significant new technologies in our immediate future. Everything from security systems protected by you image, voice, or fingerprints to faster network capabilities. We even got a hint of robotics that are starting to look and possibly act like the "TERMINATOR". Great! Just what I need, another impersonal boss. One thing for sure, the rush to deliver more bandwidth to the info highway is an unavoidable challenge for the cabling industry.

This Year (1998) both CMA (Communication Managers Association, NY,NY) and ICA (International Communications Association, Dallas, TX) celebrate their 50th Anniversary. We checked to find out which association had the seniority. ICA is the winner by almost 6 months. If you are planning your exhibits or attendance schedule for ‘98 you should include ICA Supercom and CMA Annual Conference and Expo.

ACP (The Association of Cabling Professionals, Jacksonville, FL) will be introducing many new services for members and non-members this year. In an effort to bring you more information quickly, ACP has reworked and expanded their website. Also, check it out for information on their annual conference and expo, Cabling The Workplace ‘98, Dallas, TX, May 17-20, 1998.

Anixter is rolling out the connector product side of Level 7 and it’s very impressive. You need to stay on top of this exciting program. Check for latest developments.

There’s a new National Distributer in town, ADI, Syossett, NY, is set up to be your one stop shop for all of your structured cabling needs. They carry most major brands of cable & apparatus and stock inventory in 100 locations in North America. They offer tech support to assist you in determining your needs and they will stock your materials local to your job site allowing you 24 hour access to it through their PAT (Pick-Up Anytime) rooms. Your may utilize their Kwikpick service by phoning in your order and having it ready within 15 minutes or you get a 5% discount. It’s services like these that have earned ADI the #1 position in security and alarm distribution over the last 14 years. For information or price/availability, call toll free 1-800-233-6261.


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