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Issue: June 2005
By: Frank Bisbee

Datacom/Telecom Glossary
In This Issue

Bits N' Pieces


BICSI's Spring Conference and Networld + Interop were both excellent events for the communications industry professionals.  BICSI boasted a record-breaking turnout of more than 4,200 attendees… and the exhibitors were all smiles.  The presentations were top notch and actually could compete with the Las Vegas distractions.  Networld + Interop was filled with a bonanza of technical miracles.  Many of the vendors exhibiting at this venue offered a glimpse into the next decade of possibilities.  The overall impact was phenomenal.  A comment overheard on the floor in the exhibit hall said it all: "Who would have ever dreamed we would be at 10G on copper."  What's next?

We had the opportunity to see the entire array of capabilities from Fluke Networks at Networld + Interop.  We were impressed by the amazing capability of the full family of products from Fluke Networks.  All of these systems were functionalized in a massive working network.  The representatives of Computer Associates explained the augmented capabilities of their software systems in combination with Fluke Networks.

In one portion of the booth, Fluke Networks displayed datacom tools for copper and fiber.  At the other eight stations, the focus was on network analysis and management.  A new portable network analysis tool, NetTool VoIP, showed how to quickly test communication between devices, including a switch and a VoIP phone.

Interop's Event Network (eNet) is one of the largest mobile civilian networks in the world, with more than 90 switches, 3,500 devices, and 12,000 nodes, providing connectivity to more than 375 Interop exhibitors, conference rooms, and meeting rooms, and serving over 17,500 attendees.  In addition to testing every drop in the net, Fluke Networks was the Distributed Analysis and Monitoring supplier for eNet.  FNET's SuperVision Console was deployed in the Network Operations Center (NOC), where it gathered data from 25 remote Fluke Networks' Workgroup Analyzers distributed throughout the show floor and meeting rooms.

During the show Fluke Networks announced product integrations with Computer Associates.  FNET's OptiView Integrated Network Analyzer teamed with CA's Unicenter Network and Systems Management to monitor the entire event network.  Unicenter provided high-level information for layers 2-5, while OptiView INA diagnosed layer 1 issues.  Many time problems could be corrected before users noticed anything was wrong.  CA's Help Desk program was teamed with Fluke Networks' EtherScope Assistant to remotely receive, resolve and close trouble tickets while the show was running. 

Any network administrator that has not had the opportunity to see this fully functional systems solution is really missing out. 

BICSI is definitely evolving into an organization with a much broader view than just cabling. There are many issues and products fighting for market validation.  For example: fiber, copper, wireless, VOIP, security, safety, environmental, and then bringing them all together.  Adding the issue of dealing with communications on a global scale, we must consider the rules of the road (codes and standards) where the applications are installed.  The rules in other countries may vary greatly from the US.

The world of automated building systems is pulling the infrastructure industry into the world of commercial real estate.  Names like BOMA, NAIOP, NECA, CABA, ACUTA, AFCOM, and a myriad of other organizations are gravitating to the world of IBS (Integrated Building Systems).  Smart buildings are an imperative to remain competitive in the future.  There are so many advantages to this design concept that many companies are already considering how to capture the value through systems integration and automation.  

I have a personal agenda: "Safety Is Too Important To Ignore".  In all of our efforts to build the communications infrastructure of the future, we should weave the safety issues into the fabric of our designs.  Lives and health are too expensive to contemplate otherwise. 

But that’s just my opinion

Frank Bisbee
Heard On The Street" column
Jacksonville, FL(904) 645-9077

More Than 85,000 Specifiers Get A New Hammer

There are periods where the codes and standards are relatively stable and the answers are universally available.  Today we face a changing communications world.  The standards are struggling to keep up with the technological advances.  The codes are also going through changes that affect the communications cabling industry.  Who ya gonna call?  Ghost Busters?  I don't think so.

At the BICSI Spring Conference we had the privilege to get the full scoop on a set of solutions to meet the challenges of a constantly changing environment for the specifier. 

We interviewed Bob Weiland, Graybar Commercial Market Manager about their new improved consultants and specifier’s service, Graybar VIP Design Online™.  This is the first web-based multi-vendor structured cabling design and budgeting tool.  The VIP Design Online™ tool may provide a 25 percent or greater increase in productivity with fewer errors.  Seasoned veterans of the specification world already know that even simple errors can result in huge problems.  We think this tool offers a better barrier to errors than anything we have seen in years.  The system allows the consultant or the contractor who is fulfilling the role of specifier to provide a higher level of accuracy and extremely professional image to their package. 

At one time or another, many specifiers and bidders have found their designs in the hands of the competition.  It happens.  This Graybar VIP Design Online™ service is unique in its offering and its individual security capability.  No one else has access to your designs in the VIP Design Online™ program.

Design Online’s simple point-and-click interface provides Graybar’s authorized consultants with the ability to let the market know them, their company, their reputation and their level of accuracy with a precise professional specification. This tool also allows the user to save on the time it takes to design, configure and budget structured cabling projects while reducing errors. For the first time within a Web-based design and budgeting tool, consultants will have access to a centralized repository of more than 8,000 data communications products and their prices. Included in the database are 15 interoperable cabling and connectivity product lines proven to exceed industry standards by the Graybar Verified Independently for Performance testing program. Consultants have the ability to manage multiple projects through the interface.

Design Online weaves together current content on data communications products with their proper configurations. This software was developed leveraging the eXalt Solutions software platform. Graybar selected eXalt Solutions because of its unique capabilities in building solution designs with technical products and dynamically creating complex bills of material, graphics, budgets and reports.

“The eXalt offering is truly unique – we have not seen any other software suited for the needs of our consultant partners. With Design Online, a consultant can assemble a VIP design in a fraction of the time with more accuracy than using conventional methods. We are excited to offer this leading-edge technology while extending VIP’s leadership position,” explained Graybar Commercial Market Manager Bob Weiland.

“Design Online was a perfect fit for our software platform,” stated eXalt Solutions President Leslie Swanson. Consultants can focus on what they do best – design – while removing the unnecessary clerical spreadsheet entry and phone work in the budgeting process to dramatically shorten project design times.”

Consultant Mike Keeling, President of Data Site Consortium, Inc. said, “Having reviewed the Beta version of Design Online, I am looking forward to using its capabilities to respond better and quicker to my clients’ cabling and connectivity needs. The site is intuitive to use, and its ability to save all related project information makes it truly an effective tool.”

Graybar VIP Design Online

One-Stop Shopping Provides Up-to-Date, Multi-Vendor Structured Cabling Product Data: For the first time, consultants can access multi-vendor structured cabling solutions and pricing in one convenient location. Gone is the time-consuming process of searching multiple Web sites and catalogs. The Web-based configurator houses the most current data on Graybar VIP cabling and connectivity products. Included are racks and cabinets for structured cabling design, budget and bill of material creation “on the fly.”

Self-Service Environment Enhances Productivity and Customer Confidentiality Rather than wasting time calling, faxing and e-mailing distributors and contractors, consultants can access pricing and product information online without delay. This also helps keep projects under wraps.

Templates Streamline Bill of Material Development: Consultants can choose from hundreds of ready-made templates to build material lists. Using templates is faster and more accurate than copying and pasting data into spreadsheets.

Online Visual Dramatically Accelerates Approval Process: With the dynamic graphic interface, consultants can show clients their design earlier and online. This may shorten the typical project timeframe from start to finish by more than 50 percent.

Design and Budget Updates Happen Instantaneously During Client Collaboration: As consultants design, the system generates a bill of material and budget reports at the same time. Updates happen instantly during project design sessions with clients.

“Goof-proof” Configurator Eliminates Design and Budget Errors: Now it is virtually impossible for consultants to “design in” mistakes. Budget-based rules monitor rack-space consumption and faceplate port allocation to ensure more accurate designs and budgets.

Powerful Search with Rich Repository of Product Content and Reference Materials: Consultants can find the right part quickly without having to navigate through dozens of screens of useless data. Powerful parametric search capabilities make it possible. Drawings and reference materials are available in an instant.

About Graybar
Graybar, a Fortune 500 corporation and one of the largest employee-owned companies in North America, is a leader in the distribution of high quality electrical, telecommunications and networking products, and an expert provider of related supply chain management and logistics services. Through its network of more than 250 North American distribution facilities, it stocks and sells products from thousands of manufacturers, serving as the vital link to hundreds of thousands of customers.     1-800-GRAYBAR

Electrical Contractor Magazine Focuses on Safety In Their May 2005 Issue

The May 2005 issue of Electrical Contractor Magazine is about SAFETY.  The President's message reminds the reader that May is National Electrical Safety Month.  NECA ( has been a proud co-sponsor of the Electrical Safety Foundation International's efforts to increase public awareness of the hazards of electricity ever since the annual observance was inaugurated many years ago.  We laud the NECA organization and the contractors who use this special opportunity to share the information provided through

Safety is a pertinent topic for electrical and communications contractors.  Contractors deal with OSHA, workers' compensation, and other safety issues.  The big change is in the revision to NFPA 70E.  The standard has been around for 25 years, but its effect on the industry will be felt more strongly now because of the revision.  If you don't have this issue, the May issue of Electrical Contractor Magazine will be posted online in a couple of weeks.  The June 2005 issue will likewise be a blockbuster, packed with valuable information for the reader. 

No matter how much is written about Fire Stopping, this important safety issue is often neglected or improperly installed. Installers of firestopping systems should have verifiable training in order to insure the systems are installed to meet the safety and code requirements.  One place that any contractor can get a training package for firestopping installation, at no charge, is  In the May 2005 issue, Fire Stopping - What Every Contractor Needs To Know, by Wayne D. Moore is an outstanding article that summarizes these challenges as well as we have ever seen.  Read it, learn it, and practice it.  Safety is too important to ignore.  

Speaking of safety, this month you can add your voice to the safety process.  Don’t let the big corporations and their shills rule the outcome of the NEC (National Electrical Code) revisions with their commercial agendas.  NFPA members (of more than 6 months) can vote on the open floor and address their comments to the membership on important issues.  In a way, June is safety month also.  NFPA World Safety Conference & Exposition® Las Vegas, NV June 6-10, 2005 Mandalay Bay Resort & Convention Center.

Electrical Contractor, the No. 1 trade publication in the electrical contracting industry, now offers advertisers the only in-depth reader profile in its category. Published by the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) on their website , Electrical Contractor’s “2004 Electrical Contractor Profile Study” pinpoints management gender, race and age diversity, brand specification, customer hobbies, education, work area trends, growing revenue sources and more.

“Our reader profile now offers advertisers in our category the only, complete picture of the electrical contracting industry,” said Electrical Contractor Publisher John Maisel. “To increase its value, this year’s study details new reader specifics to increase customer knowledge, and become a more highly effective revenue tool,” he said.

Conducted earlier this year by postal mail and the first time via the Internet, the study generated 865 usable surveys among its subscribers. The majority of the surveyed contracting firms are small in terms of their revenue and their number of employees: 62 percent have between one and nine employees, and 71 percent have annual revenues of less than $1 million. As an incentive to participate, Electrical Contractor contributed $5 to charity for each completed survey.

First, in this report, the survey examined the downtime for electrical contractors. Widening potential ad revenue from non-trade products and services, home improvement topped the list, with 59 percent of those surveyed reporting they like to work around the house in their spare time. Travel came in second at 51 percent. In third place, 39 percent of contractors chose hunting and fishing as their favorite outdoor activities. Watching sports came in fourth, music and theater placed fifth and woodworking came in sixth. Playing golf ranked seventh, followed by an interest in classic/antique cars, playing sports, cooking and wine and auto racing.

Specifying Brands, Purchasing Sources / Habits, Computer Use
On average, contractors specify a single brand about 20 percent of the time, and far more common among firms with one to nine employees than among larger firms. In all other cases, other factors include multiple brands, “or equal to,” or performance specified.

Brand discretion was another, key area. Overall, the survey shows that contractors decide the brand chosen more than 70 percent of the time. Contractors have the highest level of brand selection in smaller firms, and somewhat less input in larger firms.

Not surprisingly, electrical distributors account for the lion’s share of installation dollars. Although warehouse home centers are a distant second, they account for a relatively small percentage of spending firms with 20 or more employees. Almost all of the contractors buy from multiple sources, and the number of channels grows with firm size.

Firms with one to nine employees are more likely than average to utilize two outlets, while firms with 20-99 or 100+ employees are more likely than average to use all four of the channels included in the survey (possibly due to larger companies having locations in more places and involved in more different types of work). Additionally, firms with 100+ employees spend more of their total purchase dollar online.

Larger firms (20-99 or 100+ employees) are both more likely to use computers in multiple ways, and to cite each particular use compared with firms with one to nine employees. From highest to lowest, computer use comprises: Internet access/e-mail, word processing, accounting/payroll, estimating, job cost control/analysis, scheduling service work/logistics, CAD, equipment/tool inventory control, project collaboration (with other companies) and fleet management.

Work Trends: Type, Volume
On average, 50 percent of respondents said that their firm had worked in eight ore more of 17 listed 17 project types. Traditional power/lighting projects were mentioned most frequently by about 80 percent to 90 percent; backup power and communications/data systems were cited by 60 percent; fire/life safety systems were cited by almost half; energy management/power quality and two types of security formed the next tier at 30 to 40 percent; fiber optics (datacom and lighting) and/or wireless networks were mentioned by 20 to 30 percent, and alternative energy and biometrics were mentioned least often, by less than 10 percent.

Regardless of the types of work they performed in 2003, respondents estimated how they expect their firm’s future volume of work in each area to change over the next, few years. Among category participants, larger firms (20+ employees) are most likely to predict increases across almost all of the categories. Among category non-participants, firms with one to nine employees predict future growth in backup power, communications/data systems and fiber optics (datacom and lighting) work. In contrast, firms with 100+ employees are more likely than average to predict future growth in fuel cells and wind generation.

Revenue Sources / Company Sales
Although the respondents’ firms are involved in all construction sectors, 40 percent of their revenue comes from new construction, with approximately 30 percent each from modernization/retrofit or maintenance/service/repair; however, maintenance/service/repair plays a greater role to smaller firms (one to nine employees) while new construction plays a proportionally greater role as firm size (number of employees) increases.

Respondents confirmed that electrical power distribution accounts for the largest percent of company sales. Security and life safety work accounts for a greater percentage of revenue as company size increases. Firms with 10-19 employees report that total building automation accounts for more revenue than among companies of any, other size.

Across the total sample, contractors get more of their business from CII (commercial, industrial, institutional and public places) than from residential projects. Non-building projects (airports, highway, power lines and other) account for about six percent of the contractor business.

Dramatic differences occur in the types of work performed by larger vs. smaller firms. Residential construction accounts for a much greater proportion of work among smaller companies (one to nine employees), while CII projects account for more of the work of larger firms. Non-building work is much more prevalent in large firms. Overall, almost half (approximately 46 percent) of contractors’ revenue comes from design/build work (and particularly important to firms with one to nine employees).

Gender and Age Trends
Regarding gender, the non-clerical jobs—particularly journeymen electricians—are overwhelmingly male. While 42 percent of contracting firms employ women, however, almost three in 10 firms (28 percent) have female employees that are not clerical. Firms with non-clerical female employees are more likely to be mid-sized: those with 20+ employees and/or those with revenues in excess of $1 million. The next, largest percentage of women are executives (owners and proprietors).

Revealing that younger contractors are not yet filling the pipeline, 60 percent are between the ages of 35 and 54, with 83 percent between the ages of 35 and 64 (regardless of company size). Across the total sample, the contractors average 48.6 years and have been in the contracting industry an average of 24.6 years. 

The Electrical Contractor Magazine has definitely got the goods. 

Beast introduces the Wirewolf and the Claw at BICSI Conference in Vegas

Beast Cabling Systems (Arlington, VA) has released new enhancements for the Beast, the company's flagship portable system that separates, organizes and labels cable off the reel.  To you non-installer types, this may be a dry subject.  However, to the contractors and installers that actually handle these complex cable installations, this is a very sexy subject. 

At the BICSI Spring Conference in Las Vegas, we spoke with one of the top rated experts in cable installation.  Bruce Nardone, BICSI Master Instructor, told us that training and the right tools are essential to delivering the quality and bringing the job in "on time and under budget".  Bruce said that he has thoroughly reviewed the new Beast Cabling System technology. He is confident that it will contribute a significant level of capabilities to the installation process and end result.  "The BICSI training together with the right tools equals a very powerful competitive edge".

The Beast Cabling System enables the pulling of up to 48 cables from individual reels into cable pathways, which conserves time and materials, reduces errors and ensures uniform installation practices.

Both new additions from the Arlington, VA firm, include
The Wirewolf, which mounts in front of the Beast and provides a quick way to sort and organize cable for termination on patch panels or blocks.

"The process of pulling cable normally includes back-feeding disorganized batches of cable to the closet, where you face the time-consuming task of sorting cables for termination," said Greg Bramham, Beast's vice-president of business development.

The other new addition is
The Claw, which reduces the common problems of twisted or damaged cable and broken lead strings during cable pulling.

One contractor, that we talked to after they had seen the live demonstration for this system, told us that this tool could increase their profits by saving time.  Also the Beast Cabling System could give their installers a major boost in tackling the craft intensive requirements of handling fiber and copper at the new high performance levels including the 10G arena.  "Doing it right… the first time" saves hours of chasing ghosts when the tester results give you that nightmarish screen that says, "FAIL".

Graybar Announces "Enable the CableSM"

Graybar, the nation’s leading distributor of communications and electrical products and related supply chain management and logistics services, announces "Enable the CableSM".  This educational program is designed to help network architects, designers, contractors and technicians understand and leverage the value UTP cable brings to the construction of all building sub-systems or networks.  Graybar provided more " Enable the Cable" information on Sunday, May 1, during the Spring BICSI Conference at the Mirage Hotel, Las Vegas, NV.  Technology experts and engineers answered questions and assisted with technology implementation.

“Traditionally we wire buildings using two four-pair cables terminated eighteen inches above the floor as outlined in the cabling standards documents,“ said Karl Griffith, director, reseller markets, Graybar.  “We can no longer think of UTP cables solely for voice and data transmission.  UTP can also be used for application-dependent building services dedicated to a specific purpose.”

Building sub-systems, including security, physical access, lighting control and building automation, are a mixture of analog and digital technologies communicating via multiple protocols over individual, isolated networks.  These sub-systems are migrating into an integrated IP network carrying specialized building protocols encapsulated into IP packets.  The monitoring and management of these new networks will soon become the function of the building Information Technology (IT) Center. 

Initially, "Enable the Cable" will demonstrate the use of UTP cables in the CCTV environment.  Analog CCTV cameras can be wired easily with UTP cable at twice the recommended distance outlined in TIA/EIA-568-B while maintaining signal integrity.  UTP cables can terminate on CCTV cameras in ceilings and high on walls to meet the needs of the building owner.  Graybar has partnered with Berk-Tek, NVT and Pelco to develop the Enable the Cable architecture for CCTV camera installations.

“It is our plan to expand the Enable the Cable program to address the construction of other building networks,” said Karl Griffith.  “Regardless of the technology, networks constructed of high-quality Category 5e or Category 6 UTP cables can serve the building owner well into the future with a solid migration path to a complete IP building system network.”

CABA Invites You To Attend One Of Its BIQ Ranking Systems Workshops

CABA invites you to attend one of its BIQ Ranking Systems workshops (Intelligent Building Ranking Systems), being held at Realcomm 2005, in Anaheim, CA.

The BIQ Ranking System is an evaluation/assessment protocol and a guide for integrating intelligent building technologies. The aim of an affordable and easy to use online Intelligent Building ranking tool is to increase market penetrability of Intelligent Building technology with building owners, operators, managers and designers by demonstrating value and providing guidance.

Workshop #1: Sunday, June 26; 3.00 pm – 5.00 pm, Grand Californian Hotel; or
Workshop #2: Wednesday, June 29; 9.00 am – 12.00 noon, Grand Californian Hotel

--Introduction to CABA and IIBC Task Force Efforts.
--Presentation on the CABA efforts to Date on the BIQ.
--Solicit and Review New Technology Additions to BIQ Criteria.
--Building Assessment Tools and Ranking Methods Discussion.
--Demonstrate Green Globe BETA CABA BIQ Questionnaire. 
--BIQ Report Review and Attribute Trade Off Exercise.
--Discussion, BIQ User Sign Up and Survey Completion.

Cost: $275. US (CABA members save $25.)  Cost includes the workshop, reception and 1 free BIQ Ranking (valued at $700. US and is valid for 1 year).

To register, link to:, and click on Purchase CABA Products then Workshops.  In order to take advantage of your CABA member discount, you must first log into the Research Library/Members Lounge.  Contact David Dern at 613.993.6760, or by email: if you need assistance.

While at Realcomm 2005, take advantage of the Intelligent Building sessions, being held in conjunction with CABA’s CONNECT 2005.

Save $100 when you register for Realcomm 2005 ( using CABA’s discount code: RC05CABA1.


The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) honored four industry leaders at the Opening General Session of NAED’s Annual Meeting on Monday, May 16, 2005, at the Boston Marriott Copley, in Boston, Mass.

David H. Crum, CEO of Crum Electric Supply Co., Inc., Casper, Wyo., received NAED’s highest honor, the 2005 NAED Arthur W. Hooper Award, which is presented to an individual who has led an exceptional career in electrical distribution spanning many years.

Crum was one of the first industry leaders to recognize and promote the importance of technology in developing the electrical industry’s electronic commerce infrastructure. He led the creation of several e-commerce initiatives during his term as NAED chairman and was instrumental in founding the Industry Data Exchange Association (IDEA) in 1999 to manage the flow of data through the distribution channel.

During his 34 years in the industry, Crum has been active in NAED, serving as Western Region vice president (1992-94), NAED Foundation Board of Directors (1995-97), NAED Chairman of the Board of Directors (1996-97), and IDEA Chairman of the Board (1998-2000). Crum has also been honored with NAED’s Western Region Distributor of the Year (1996) and NAED Distinguished Service Award (1999). He was also the first distributor to receive the National Electrical Manufacturers Association’s Kite & Key Award in 1998. Crum was also named Wyoming’s “Small Business Person of the Year” in 1982.

Stuart M. Irby, president of Stuart C. Irby Company, Jackson, Miss., received the 2005 NAED Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes outstanding and dedicated service to the association and the electrical distribution industry.

As the third-generation in his family’s business, Irby has led his company from $35 million in revenue to $380 million, from 9 branches to 33, and from 232 employees to 664. During his 27 years in the electrical distribution industry, Irby has served the industry in a variety of ways. His company was one of the founders of IDEA, and Irby has consistently been a champion of the initiative throughout its development. He was IDEA Chairman of the Board (2002-2004), IDEA Vice-Chair (2000-2002) and IDEA Director (1997 – 2001). In addition, Irby also has participated as a member of the NAED Foundation’s Channel Advantage Partnership council (2004 – present), NAED Board of Directors member (2002-2004), NAED Membership Committee member (1991) and NAED area chairman (1988)., Irby is also active in his community as a volunteer on the boards of numerous organizations including a local college, leadership development organizations, Chamber of Commerce, the symphony, YMCA, Civic Club and church.

Edwin Kanner, chairman emeritus of American Insulated Wire Corp./A Leviton Company was presented with the 2005 NAED Award of Merit, which recognizes an associate company or individual that has been exceptionally active in promoting and supporting the tenets and goals of NAED.

Over the past 51 years, Kanner has actively encouraged communication and cooperation between manufacturers and distributors. He has supported NAED throughout his career, as well as serving on the NEMA board of governors twice, most recently from 1999 to 2001. Kanner has also received several awards for his ardent support of the manufacturing network and electrical distribution industry, including the NEMA Kite & Key Award, Scott Award, GEM Award and NEMRA Preston Award.

Francis Piscitelli, senior vice president of sales and service for OSRAM SYLVANIA was presented with the 2005 NAED Associate Award. The award honors an individual in the electrical manufacturing business who has been exceptionally active in promoting wholesale distribution as the best channel of electrical products and services.

During his more than 30 years in the industry, Piscitelli has served the industry in a variety of areas, including the NAED Manufacturing Advisory Council and, most recently, as the chair of the NAED Manufacturer Special Pricing Authorizations (SPA) Task Force. Throughout NAED’s initiative to improve SPA process efficiencies, he has devoted significant time to the effort, including speaking at the regional conferences. In addition, he is a board member of the Home Safety Council, Affiliated Distributors’ Electrical Supplier Advisory Council and the Siemens Sales and Marketing Advisory Council.

What a Great Week of Discovery

 By: Mike Holt

I have spend the past 20 years researching and testing the concepts of what others have written as it relates to Grounding. I have found that much of what I learned about grounding is not really accurate, at least not in relationship to premises wiring within the scope of the National Electrical Code.

This weekend I made lots of new discoveries based on some old historical papers that I received. I think I found the origination of the 25 ohm resistance for a ground rod, why a 6 AWG wire is used for a ground rod, and about where this concept of zero reference might have originated. By the way, the resistance of 8 AWG run seven miles at 25C is 24.64 ohms.

"Transactions of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers", "EARTH WIRES OR THE EARTH AS AN ELECTRIC COMPLETER."

Oh yea, Thomas A. Edison was heavily involved with the telegraphic system (before the light bulb), and he invented the fire alarm mechanism and signaling apparatus

Now the plot thickens… the Telegraphic industry uses the earth as a return conductor and Edison is involved in the Telegraphic industry. According to a good buddy of mine (Don Zipse), when Thomas Alva Edison started his electric illuminating company and began the electrical distribution system, he used the earth for the return conductor. This uncontrolled flow of electric current over the earth resulted in shocking horses and his employees as they dug along side of the underground distribution system. Horse pulled traction companies' employees working on the tracks received electric shocks, especially when separating the track joints.

In addition, based on original Ralph Lee (great engineer) writing, I figured out what the Code means about 'stabilize system voltage to earth during normal operation [250.4(A)(1)]. I'm so glad because nobody I know what this mean anyway. By the way it has to do with electric utilities and ungrounded systems, with miles and miles of overhead conductors, not premises wiring! So basically it's irreverent.

Unrelated to all of this, but just important (at least to me), I also figured out how a ground rod (earthing) could be used to reduce voltage on the metal case of a transformer that was installed in the 1890's. So basically grounding (earthing) the case of a metal transformer is just something we do based on conditions from over 100 years ago that don't apply today.

Then in the middle of the night, I figured out how placing a ground wire (connected to a ground rod) in a plastic animal water trough could be used to reduce voltage in the water so that the animals would drink it!

But basically for today's grounding (earthing, such as driving a ground rod) still doesn't do anything we (or at least I) thought it did to make anything safe in a home, establish a zero reference, or any of the other myths we carry on 

I’m currently working on a new book that probably will be titled Grounding Theory and the Real History of Grounding. It will be out in time for my Grounding versus Bonding seminars this fall

OptiView Link Analyzer and Protocol Expert Win Award

Fluke Networks today announced that its OptiView Link Analyzer network monitoring device, combined with Protocol Expert Plus software, has been named winner for a 2005 Well-Connected Award in the category of Gigabit Analyzer Probe by CMP Media LLC's Network Computing magazine.   Optiview Link Analyzer provides real-time analysis and line rate packet capture for full duplex Gigabit Ethernet links. This capability is a necessity for organizations that need to troubleshoot critical centralized applications.

"Being a winner of Network Computing's Annual Well-Connected Awards illustrates how OptiView Link Analyzer has proven itself as an effective application monitoring and troubleshooting tool for many of our largest enterprise customers," said Robert Finlay, Fluke Networks Product Manager. "We're happy to see our product recognized for its ability to provide accurate timing and traffic analysis."

This year, the winners of the Network Computing Well-Connected Awards were honored at a gala event held on the first evening of one of the industry's largest trade shows, NetWorld+Interop 2005 Las Vegas. All winners were highlighted in the April 28th issue of Network Computing and also on Network Computing Online at

The OptiView Link Analyzer remotely monitors and captures traffic, at full line rate, on full-duplex Gigabit Ethernet links, to provide accurate application timing and traffic analysis. Designed for network management staff in the IT operation center, the OptiView Link Analyzer works with OptiViewtm Protocol Expert and OptiViewtm Console to provide full visibility of traffic on high performance, switched Ethernet links.

OptiView Protocol Expert Plus is a scalable protocol analysis and monitoring solution for network field service staff and core data center engineers. Its VoIP option allows real-time, passive VoIP quality of service analysis. 

"For the 11th year in a row, Network Computing is recognizing the most outstanding tech products and services in the networking and IT world in our Well-Connected award April 28th issue," says Mike Lee, editor of Network Computing magazine.  "The awards are a snapshot in time, the best of what we evaluated over 12 months in our Real-World Labs -- more than 134 finalists in more than 44 categories were named. The winners were announced in our April 28th issue." 

BICSI Receives Donation of Beast™ Cabling System

Beast Cabling Systems, innovator of systems and processes that result in more efficient and more durable installation of cable, announced that it has donated a complete Beast™ system to BICSI for use in BICSI’s Tampa-based training facility. The donation is valued at more than $15,000.

If you were fortunate enough to attend the BICSI Spring Conference and Expo you may have seen the booth for Beast Cabling Systems.  This booth had an almost continual live demonstration of the new technology for the Beast Cabling System products including the Wirewolf and the Claw.  Several of the contractors who watched the demonstration commented on how they could use this system to increase profitability and job quality.  The preliminary numbers using this system are impressive.  

The Beast is a portable system that separates, organizes, and labels all types of structured cable off the reel. The system enables pulling of up to 48 cables from individual reels into cable pathways, conserving time and materials, reducing errors, and ensuring uniform installation practices for any crew on any job.

“We believe the process of pulling cable using the Beast represents the next-step in how all contractors will install structured cable in the future,” said Greg Bramham, Vice President of Business Development. “We know BICSI offers its students the most complete and up-to-date training available and were pleased that BICSI has accepted this donation for use in its training classes,” he said.

BICSI, the not-for-profit association dedicated to promoting excellence in the Information Transport Systems (ITS) industry, accepts donations of cable, connectors, tools and other products and services to enhance its training and world-class training facility in Tampa. Accepting the Beast for use in the classroom represents BICSI’s continued focus on bringing the latest practices to students and to the entire industry.

“It is important that we keep our members and other students aware of new tools, technologies, and processes that can help them be more efficient in their business,” said Patricia A. Boyland, Director of Professional Development and Credentialing for BICSI. “Donations such as the Beast ensure that BICSI maintains its leadership position as a provider of standards-based, vendor-neutral training for cabling professionals working in the Information Transport Systems business,” Ms. Boyland said.  -

ADC Introduces New TrueNet Midspan Power-over-Ethernet Controllers

ADC (NASDAQ: ADCT; today introduced new TrueNet® Midspan Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) Controllers featuring dual compliance with IEEE 802.3af and legacy Voice-over-IP (VoIP) devices as well as optional N+1 redundant powering capabilities. ADC will showcase these solutions at BICSI Spring Conference in Las Vegas, May 2-5, in booth #720/722 and at NetWorld+Interop 2005 in Las Vegas, May 3-5, in booth #839. 

ADC's TrueNet Midspan PoE Controllers allow enterprise network managers to power VoIP phones, WiFi access points, IP security cameras, and other devices without upgrading or replacing Ethernet switches and structured cabling.

The product's newest features accelerate VoIP deployment by overcoming significant powering obstacles traditionally faced by enterprise network managers: standards compatibility and redundant powering.

"Before IEEE 802.3af standards, leading manufacturers developed VoIP telephones with various proprietary standards for line powering over Ethernet cabling," said John Schmidt, product manager for ADC. "ADC's TrueNet Midspan PoE Controllers automatically detect the presence of legacy VoIP devices and inject appropriate power, enabling enterprise network managers to efficiently deploy VoIP services."

At NetWorld+Interop, ADC will conduct a live demonstration of the product's dual compatibility features by powering a legacy Cisco® 7960 IP Phone and an IEEE 802.3af compliant Cisco 7971G-GE phone via a single TrueNet Midspan PoE Controller.

To support lifeline telephony requirements, ADC's TrueNet Midspan PoE Controllers feature field upgradeable N+1 redundant powering capabilities. Delivering up to 15.4 Watts of power per port and featuring redundant and load sharing 400-watt power supplies, the controllers ensure consistent fault-free powering for critical voice circuits. The redundant power supplies may be field upgraded and up to five panels can be daisy-chained and controlled via one modular SNMP card and a single IP address.

Fluke Networks Announces Partnership with Ipswitch, Inc. to Offer New Network Management Solutions

Fluke Networks, a provider of innovative solutions for the testing, monitoring and analysis of enterprise and telecommunications networks, today announced it has entered a partnership with Ipswitch, Inc., a leading developer of network management, messaging and file transfer solutions, to produce a unique real-time solution for network administrators who need a powerful proactive and reactive solution to network problem identification and resolution.

The combination of Key Device Watch, based on Ipswitch's popular WhatsUp® network monitoring program, with Fluke Networks' portable network test solutions provides a streamlined approach to network monitoring and troubleshooting. Key Device Watch proactively monitors and identifies any problems on a network on a 24/7 basis. Fluke Networks' LinkRunner and NetTool can troubleshoot an identified problem area with instant information about the connectivity and performance of the network.

Lisa Schwartz, Fluke Networks Business Development Manager, stated that Ipswitch's compatibility with Fluke Networks' NetTool Inline Network Tester will extend the troubleshooting needs of technicians. "We are pleased to be an integral part of the NetTool Key Device Watch bundle. This partnership will help our customers attain increased visibility to network monitoring and troubleshooting," said Schwartz.

"We are excited to partner with Fluke Networks to provide the market with cutting-edge solutions to isolate network problems and fix them faster than ever before," said Alex Neihaus, Vice President of Marketing at Ipswitch. "As networks grow and become more complex, the administrator's ability to identify and address issues becomes even more important. Our partnership with Fluke Networks allows us to combine our strengths with theirs to deliver a unique, high-capability network monitoring solution for network administrators."

Key Device Watch is available in all versions of NetTool™ Inline Network Tester models and select LinkRunner™ Handheld Network Connectivity Tester models. It is also available as a stand-alone product.

Key Device Watch provides the critical functions needed to monitor and protect a small network without complexity or high cost. The software enables users to map to their networks, monitor critical devices such as email or web sites, and receive alerts about any problems via email, sound, or visual pop-up, in order to speed problem resolution. A trend analysis feature, which tracks network diagnostics with graphical reports and charts, is also available in this bundle.

Fluke Networks Portable Network Test Devices
NetTool Inline Network Tester combines cable, network, IP phone and PC configuration testing into one palm-sized tool that empowers network administrators to quickly identify and resolve the toughest connectivity problems. With the NetTool Inline Network Tester, administrators can connect between two network devices, listen to the traffic between them and quickly see the three most common connectivity problems: the PC is not properly configured, a network resource is not available or there is a cable problem.

LinkRunner is a portable network connectivity tester and an essential tool for network technicians that quickly and accurately verifies connectivity and availability. As networks run faster and become more complex, infrastructure cabling and devices must operate to precise levels in a tighter performance window. LinkRunner assists with this goal by enabling users to quickly identify a problem and improving troubleshooting and escalation accuracy.

Pricing and Availability
NetTool and LinkRunner with Key Device Watch are easy-to-deploy, cost-effective tools to measure and understand enterprise-wide application performance from the end-user's perspective. NetTool is available for immediate delivery in three different versions. All versions include Key Device Watch Software with suggested U.S. list price starting at $917.
LinkRunner is also available immediately, with Key Device Watch included, suggested U.S. list price starting at $545. Key Device Watch software is also available as a stand-alone product with a suggested U.S. list price of $245. 


Yangtze Optical Fibre and Cable Company, Ltd. (YOFC), manufacturer and worldwide supplier of industry leading optical fiber and cable, today announced the environmental performance of its multimode fiber portfolio is significantly better that industry standards by more than fifty percent.  YOFC’s new specification is < = 0.10 dB/km for the environmental parameters contained in the TIA/EIA-492 and IEC 60793-2-10 documents.  The typical values are < = 0.05 dB/km.

“This extremely high level of environmental performance of our multimode fiber portfolio represents our continuing leadership position in optical fiber coating technology,” observed Raadj Matai, Technical Director of the Fibre Division at YOFC.   “Nearly a decade ago, YOFC introduced DLPC 7, a dual-layer, UV curable acrylate coating material that exceeded the industry standards at that time. Our current coating, DLPC 9, introduced in early 2004, again offers environmental performance that exceeds current industry standards,” he commented further.

This superior environmental performance of YOFC’s multimode fiber in conjunction with its extremely low attenuation provides network designers and installers a more robust and reliably performing multimode fiber.  In January 2005, YOFC announced the industry’s lowest attenuation multimode fiber with a maximum attenuation specification of 62.5 multimode fiber of 2.65 dB/km at 850 nm and .60 dB/km at 1300 nm and, or 50 micron multimode fiber, a maximum attenuation specification of 2.25 dB/km at 850 nm and .60 dB/km at 1300 nm.

ACUTA 34th Annual Conference and Exhibition in Kissimmee, Florida

ACUTA, the Association for Communications Technology Professionals in Higher Education, is coming to Florida.  ACUTA welcomes you to join them in this extraordinary event and expo.  Some of the people we spoke with that plan to attend this conference are combining vacation time with the event (because they are going to be located in the heart of the world's greatest entertainment center).

We have previewed the agenda for this conference and can assure you that there is real value in the presentations. 

There will be higher education data/telecom professionals from all over the country attending the ACUTA 34th Annual Conference and Exhibition in Kissimmee, Florida from July 17-21.  You can meet, mingle, and network with current and potential customers while showcasing your assets in your booth.


34th Annual Conference * Kissimmee, FL * July 17-21, 2005

2005 Fall Seminars * Denver, CO * October 30-Nov 2, 2005


Sales expectations among electrical distributors show guarded optimism, according to the National Association of Electrical Distributors’ (NAED) most recent Quarterly Sales Change Expectation (QSCE) survey results. Of the survey’s 250 respondents, 73.6% expected positive sales for the first quarter (Jan. to March) 2005. The outlook for the second quarter (April to June) is more positive, with 84.8% anticipating positive sales change.

Modest Gains in First Quarter
First quarter reports reflected expectations of the last QSCE survey, with 76.3% forecasting increased sales. More than a third of respondents (36.0%) expect increases of 10% or more for Q1. Other categories with the highest response were sales growth by 5 to 5.9% (8.0%) and 8 to 9.9% (7.2%).

Flat sales were reported by 5.6% of respondents for the upcoming quarter. Slightly less than twenty percent (19.6%) reported negative sales, with 6.0% stating losses of -10% or more.

Second Quarter Forecast
In the second quarter of 2005, distributors are anticipating a boost in sales with nearly 85% (84.8%) expecting positive sales. A quarter of those responding (24.8%) predict gains of 10% or more. Other top categories were 5 to 5.9% (16.0%) and 6 to 7.9% (11.6%). Flat sales are expected by 7.6% of respondents and only 4.4% are preparing for sales decreases.

The survey was distributed in early April via fax and email to approximately 3,800 distributor locations. The questionnaire focused on sales expectations for the previous and upcoming quarter and the report features statistical breakouts by geographic region and number of employees.


All Regions Conservative in Estimates
All four geographic regions expressed similar sales results for the first quarter of 2005. The West was slightly more optimistic (76.2%), followed by the Midwest (74.7%), South (71.8%) and Northeast (69.7%). For the upcoming quarter (April to June), the Midwest (91.6%) and West (90.5%) have the most positive outlook followed by the South (76.1%) and Northeast (75.8%).

Larger Companies Most Optimistic
Larger companies, those with 50 or more employees, have the brightest outlook for the first quarter of 2005, with 83.3% reporting positive sales expectations. However, smaller companies are expecting increases as well, with 77.2% of respondents from companies with 5 to 9 employees anticipating positive sales change. Similar expectations were reported by companies with 30 to 49 employees (76.7%) and 20 to 29 employees (73.7%) as well as companies with 10 to 19 employees (65.2%) and 1 to 4 employees (64.7%).

Larger and mid-size companies are most confident about the second quarter of 2005. Businesses with 50 or more employees have the highest expectations of positive sales increases (92.9%), followed by businesses with 20 to 29 employees (89.5%), 10 to 19 employees (86.4%), and 30 to 49 employees (83.3%). Smaller companies are slightly more conservative in their expectations, with 78.9% of businesses with 5 to 9 employees expecting positive sales and 70.6% of businesses with 1 to 4 employees expecting increases.

Participation Matters
QSCE is a management tool provided by NAED to its members and affiliates at no additional cost. It supplies detailed information to help NAED members run their businesses more effectively.

Maximizing Duct Capacity and Simplifying Installation

Federal-Mogul Systems Protection Group, maker of BentleyHarris® brand protection products, is the world's largest supplier and manufacturer of protective sleeving. Headquartered in Exton, Pennsylvania, the company has three manufacturing plants in the United States; facilities in seven foreign countries; and an extensive research, development and testing facility.
The company remains focused on innovation and has dedicated over 15% of its workforce to product engineering, research and development.  So when the telecommunications market needed an alternative to traditional innerduct, Federal-Mogul Systems Protection Group was ready to respond by introducing CableGuide®'a8 SC, a textile-based innerduct solution.  CableGuide SC was launched with complete product and customer support from training, to installation instructions and specialty tools, and even on-site assistance.  From that point forward, an alternative to traditional innerduct became a new option in the telecom industry.
Traditional installation methods involve the use of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or polyvinylchloride (PVC) innerduct to separate individual or groups of cables. Because the innerduct is rigid and has a fixed diameter, there are limitations to the size and amount of rigid innerduct that can be used within conduit.  That then limits the amount of cable that can be installed.
A different approach to maximizing space utilization is to replace or supplement the existing HDPE or PVC innerduct system with CableGuide.  This type of system has the ability to conform to the inside of the conduit yet still keeps multiple cables segregated.,2194,2601_5853_14750614,00.html

CableGuide SC, a highly flexible, textile-based innerduct makes it easy to maximize duct capacity and has improved utilization of space up to 85%.  Key features of the product include:
•                  Rigorously tested single cell product.
•                  Woven polyester as individual cells.
•                  Various cell sizes can be engineered to accommodate a variety of cable sizes and types.
•                  Each cell is permanently color coded for identification.
•                  Pre-installed pull tape printed with sequential footage markers.
The choice of polyester as a base material insures that the product will not be adversely affected by moisture absorption. It also translates to exceptional chemical and ultraviolet (UV) resistance.  Polyester material is lightweight, which contributes to the fact that CableGuide SC is only a fraction of the weight of standard HDPE or PVC innerduct.
CableGuide SC is easily installed into unoccupied duct. The fact that it can be installed as individual cells or multiple cells is also important when working with occupied conduit systems. The cell’s design enables it to be pulled in alongside existing innerduct and cables and its inherent flexibility enables CableGuide SC to conform into the remaining available space.  
The most common installation technique for innerduct of any kind is to pull it into the conduit.  CableGuide SC can easily be installed by this method but also offers the additional capability of being air blown.  The use of the air blown method to reduce installation time and labor is a growing trend.  CableGuide SC was designed with this technique in mind.  
To further assist with the installation of CableGuide SC, Federal-Mogul Systems Protection Group created three unique alignment tools to ease the process of working with a flexible innerduct.   These tools can accommodate installation of up to nine cells, in tight areas, and in areas accessible through manholes.
Another need that was accounted for during the CableGuide SC design was the ability to quickly and easily splice the material in the field.  Splice kits have been developed that allow CableGuide SC to be safely and securely spliced if required during installation.  
CableGuide SC is available in a detectable version containing a 24 gauge, 19 strand coated tin/copper wire woven into the body of each cell to increase durability and allow for positive location detection from above ground.  The wire also allows detection of pre-existing non-conductive cable or dielectric fiber optic cables.  Installers can find the cable to make repairs and other utility workers can locate the cable so that they can avoid it if they are disturbing the ground in the immediate area.  
CableGuide® SC
•     Increases Conduit Space Utilization
•     Simplifies Installation Process – place several cables at once or add them one at a time
•     Can be used for new installation or existing network upgrades
•     Install in preoccupied duct with existing cables or innerduct
•     Easy to handle, ship, store and dispose
•     Easily identify cells and decrease location time
•     Optional detection features allow cable installers to make repairs and utility workers to avoid disturbing ground in the immediate area
•     Utilizes warehouse space efficiently
Solutions for Electrical Applications
A full range of Bentley-Harris products, manufactured by Federal-Mogul Systems Protection Group, are also available for applications including products:
•       Designed to protect wiring, hoses, cabling and mechanical assemblies against abrasion, dirt, cut-through and environmental hazards.

•       Featuring a broad ranging of coatings and treatments to protect against temperature extremes, breakdown strength, weight and flexibility.
Additional sleeving products such as Expando® and ROUNDIT® can assist in electrical and electronic applications depending upon the need for thermal stability, bundling and abrasion resistance.

As seen in Cabling Business Magazine – May 2005 Manufacturer’s Corner

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The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) announces a $500,000 commitment by GE Consumer & Industrial to the NAED Education & Research Foundation.

 "The NAED Education & Research Foundation is committed to helping the electrical distribution industry move forward, and GE Consumer & Industrial is pleased to be able to support their efforts and further demonstrate our commitment to education and learning. NAED's research and education initiatives are critical in keeping our industry successful with new technology and ideas,” said Michael Petras, vice president, commercial & industrial, GE Consumer & Industrial.

GE Consumer & Industrial, a $13 billion business unit of General Electric, spans the globe as an industry leader in lighting products, major appliances and integrated industrial equipment systems and services for multiple markets—residential, commercial, industrial and institutional/utility. The business, headquartered in Louisville, Ky., employs approximately 64,000 people at 135 locations globally.

For the past 30 years, GE has been one of the industry’s top supporters of education and training. This contribution is deeply appreciated, as it is further evidence of GE’s commitment to the growth and future of the electrical distribution channel,” said Bill Elliott, chairman of the Channel Advantage Partnership Council and president of Elliott Electric Supply in Nacogdoches, Texas.

The company’s donation will become part of an endowment fund for the NAED Education & Research Foundation. The principal amount of the endowment will remain untouched, while the interest will be used to commission future projects and studies. As a $500,000 donor, GE Consumer & Industrial will be recognized at the regent level and have a permanent position on the Channel Advantage Partnership Council, which will help select future educational programs and research projects.

DuPont enters the Cabling Contracting Arena With a Twist

New DuPont™ Abandoned Cable Services Help Ensure Code Compliance and Safer Building Infrastructure
This Market Offering May Help Reduce Uncontrolled Build-Up of Building Cables

On May 02, 2005, DuPont announced DuPont™ Abandoned Cable Services, a suite of services designed to drive compliance with building codes on cabling.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), approximately 60 billion feet of communications cabling has been installed in the United States. DuPont believes a significant percentage of that cabling has been abandoned in buildings and represents a large potential hazard.

With SIXTY BILLION FEET of abandoned cable in the US workplace to be removed, the cost will be staggering. Who will pay for this awesome cleanup and who is qualified to do the job? Most of the abandoned communications cable contains heavy metals like LEAD, as well as materials that may create deadly toxic gasses under heat decomposition. Some of these cables may be classified as HAZMAT and may require special (and expensive) handling in the waste stream. Building owners are preparing to deal with the potential liabilities and health risks associated with this issue.

In a press release DuPont stated, "DuPont™ Abandoned Cable Services will provide assessment services for identification and reporting of abandoned cable hazards in office buildings; planning for infrastructure improvement and management; connections with local labor; and removal and recycling logistics. This packaged offering is available to building owners, property managers, tenants, and corporate network engineers responsible for ensuring that their facilities meet the National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA) National Electric Code (NEC) requirement to remove abandoned cabling from buildings.

"The NEC requirement clearly recognizes that generations of abandoned wires and cables needlessly increase the fire fuel load on commercial buildings," said Pat Lindner, global business manager of DuPont Communications Cabling Solutions. "DuPont is committed to providing our customers with the best products and services to protect people and buildings from the damaging effects of fire."

DuPont™ Abandoned Cable Services are delivered through professional auditors, local DuPont preferred network contractors and exclusive recycling technology. The DuPont preferred contractor network, comprised of referrals to experienced contractors trained on responsible removal practices and efficient 'removal for recycling' techniques, is available in all North American major metropolitan areas, including the Washington DC/Baltimore area, New York City, Philadelphia and Chicago. End-of-life and abandoned cables are recycled from the client's site into reusable streams of copper and separated plastics.

In the press release for this new area of service offering, DuPont did not provide the criteria for selecting their "preferred network contractors" nor was there any detailed information on the "exclusive recycling technology"


According to a recent study commissioned by the NAED Education & Research Foundation, “Operational Model for Increasing Distributor Profitability,” electrical distributors are under pressure from their customers to provide more for less—lower prices and higher levels of service. With profit margins declining, the study suggests it may be necessary to implement an entirely new business model based on a more precise analysis of customer needs.

The study was researched by Dr. Perry Daneshgari, an adjunct professor of management and engineering at the University of Michigan and president of MCA, and edited by Dr. Al Bates, president of Profit Planning Group.

Researchers examined a new operational model for electrical distributors that incorporates the elements of “lean production.” As applied to distribution, a lean-production model involves five key elements: system design, process models, information flows, organizational learning and differential technology. All of these elements revolve around the need to respond to the ongoing demand for change by customers. This overcomes limitations by providing continuous needs assessment, time flow/error management and facilitated communication.

Through compiled electrical distributor case studies, the study indicated that a number of distributors were able to successfully adapt “lean production” concepts in the areas of customer satisfaction, reducing customer procurement costs and extending service. The researchers concluded that distributors need to transition from the historical competency of sales-based service; service-based sales will be the future of the industry. Service-based sales can increase both the productivity of customers and the profitability of distributors.

According to researchers, the challenge for electrical distributors is to determine how these concepts can best be integrated into existing businesses. Electrical distributors must combine market conditions and customer needs to produce their own industry-specific operational model.

This research study was selected, funded and monitored by the Foundation’s Channel Advantage Partnership (CAP). Together with the Foundation’s Board of Directors, the CAP Council is working to provide NAED members with tangible, useable information, as well as strategies and tools to operate stronger and smarter.

Copies of the study and an accompanying CD were mailed to the main contacts of all NAED members and affiliates. For more information, visit the NAED Web site at An educational course will be developed based on the data contained in the research study later this year.


Operational Model for Increasing Distributor Profitability

Research in distribution has found that customers have two fundamental and highly conflicting needs from their distributors. They desire lower prices, yet they also have a strong need for a greater array of services. While customers may not perceive the inconsistency of lower price and higher service, they are relentless in their demand for change.

This study suggests a new operational model for distributors that is based on “lean production.” As applied to distribution, a lean-production operational model involves five key elements, all of which revolve around the need to respond to the ongoing demand for change by customers. There is no need to change for the sake of change. Instead, there is always the need to meet customer needs.

Five Key Elements

System Design - The systematic measurement of customer needs and a commitment to meeting those needs. The goal of system design is to provide the maximum level of value added to the customer at the lowest level of cost to the distributor.

Process Models - Structuring the firm's activities in a way that focuses strategically on key customer needs. A process model, such as the Kano Model, helps indicate the direction the firm should take in modifying its service profile.

Information Flows - Rethinking information processes in the firm to provide more rapid responses to changing market conditions. The key to proper information flows is bandwidth. In most distribution organizations, horizontal bandwidth (such as manager to manager) is extremely broad while vertical bandwidth (such as delivery personnel to management) is unnecessarily narrow. Managers can force vertical bandwidth through formal meetings and job shadowing.

Organizational Learning - Creating an environment in which the firm can quickly and aggressively react to changes in customer needs. In most organizations, systemic learning takes place through a project audit, which should be held periodically on a company-wide basis.

Differential Technology - The utilization of advanced technology to maximize the firm's ability to meet customer needs at reduced expense levels. The key is applying technology in a way that competitors do not, such as expanded usage of online ordering.

In a traditional operational model, employees often perform their jobs flawlessly, but without regard for the effects on other areas of the business. The lean-production model overcomes this and other limitations by providing continuous needs assessment, time flow/error management and facilitated communication.

To increase profitability, electrical distributors must respond to the changing needs of customers by implementing a new operational model. Otherwise, customers will turn to other options, such as DIY organizations or by purchasing directly from manufacturers. Service-based sales can increase both the productivity of customers and the profitability of distributors. 

Belden Profits Rise

Belden CDT, formed by the merger last year of Belden and Cable Design Technologies, on Thursday reported higher quarterly net profit as revenue rose.

The St. Louis-based company posted first-quarter net profit of $13.0 million, or 26 cents per share, compared with $2.3 million, or 9 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.

Fluke Networks Teams With Computer Associates

Fluke Networks today announced it has joined forces with Computer Associates International, Inc. (NYSE: CA) to optimize the availability of the Interop Event Network (eNet) at the Interop conference in Las Vegas.

CA's Unicenter Network and Systems Management (Unicenter NSM) and Unicenter ServicePlus Service Desk have been selected to manage and monitor the eNet for the seventh consecutive year at the Interop conference. Fluke Networks, which has been an official eNet sponsor for 11 years, is now the Distributed Analysis and Troubleshooting Sponsor for eNet. Combining Computer Associates' and Fluke Networks' solutions help ensure the availability and performance of critical services for the eNet, one of the world's largest and most sophisticated short-term networks. eNet supports the Interop conference, which runs through May 6, 2005 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

"Fluke Networks and CA have teamed up to provide a broader and deeper enterprise systems management approach for our mutual customers," said Lisa Schwartz, Solution Marketing and Alliance Manager, Fluke Networks. "The combination of our solutions enables network professionals to work from a single user interface to access features such as remote data collection, detailed reports and remote user interfaces for troubleshooting. This strategic combination significantly extends Fluke Networks' leadership in the enterprise test, monitoring and analysis markets."

The combination of the companies' network management and distributed analysis capabilities can be seen at eNet's Network Operating Center (NOC). CA's Unicenter NSM monitors the health and availability of the eNet. The first indications of anomalies are analyzed by Fluke Networks' OptiView Console, OptiView Integrated Network Analyzer and/or EtherScope Network Assistant, all of which can be remotely accessed and controlled directly from Unicenter NSM. This seamless integration between Unicenter NSM and Fluke Networks' devices allows better visibility into network status and faster resolution of problems.

Fluke Networks' EtherScope Network Assistant communicates directly with CA's Unicenter ServicePlus Service Desk via a web interface to send trouble tickets and to dispatch technicians. Anomalies can be tested, diagnosed and resolved with the EtherScope, and the trouble ticket can be opened, modified and closed remotely, reducing paper-based processes and enabling the technician to more efficiently act upon trouble tickets and move to their next task. With distributed analysis, centralized analysis and remote troubleshooting, Interop's eNet benefits from a management system that minimizes problems and maximizes the network's value.

"The integration of Fluke Networks' monitoring technologies with CA's Unicenter enterprise and service management solutions enables customers to incorporate granular network insight into a coherent, efficient overall strategy for optimizing service levels and reducing the cost of infrastructure ownership," said Melvin Estrada, Business and Product Manager for Unicenter Network Management solutions at CA. "The fact that we are collaborating to support Interop's eNet is indicative of how well our products are integrated and how effectively they manage even the most sophisticated network environments."

About Computer Associates

Computer Associates International, Inc. (NYSE:CA), one of the world's largest management software companies, delivers software and services across operations, security, storage, life cycle and service management to optimize the performance, reliability and efficiency of enterprise IT environments. Founded in 1976, CA is headquartered in Islandia N.Y., and serves customers in more than 140 countries. .

About Fluke Networks

Fluke Networks provides innovative solutions for the testing, monitoring and analysis of enterprise and telecommunications networks and the installation and certification of the fiber and copper forming the foundation for those networks. The company's comprehensive line of Network SuperVision Solutionstm provide network installers, owners, and maintainers with superior vision, combining speed, accuracy and ease of use to optimize network performance. Headquartered in Everett, Washington, the company distributes its products in more than 50 countries. 

Three Tiny Treasures - Performed Line

Other newsletters adopt a "pick 'em and forget 'em" approach to stock recommendations. But that's not how we do things at Hidden Gems. We take our obligations to our subscribers seriously and strive to continuously monitor our companies and update our members on their progress. In that spirit, today Rich Smith examines the earnings reports that three of our Tiny Gems have just released.

By Rich Smith

In recent weeks, stock market investors have been living la vida volatile. The S&P 500 index plunged from a high of 1,225 to as low as 1,146 (a 6.5% decline) before staggering back up to close recently at just over 1,160 -- still a 5% loss. At Motley Fool Hidden Gems, our flagship publication for small-cap investors, we've felt the pain as well. Our portfolio, which in its inaugural year regularly posted gains in the range of 40% and more, has been hit hard. In fact, as of this writing, we're up "only" 28%.

But we're still beating the S&P 500 by a 5-1 margin. And those are just the results for our official recommendations. Our Watch List stocks -- the runners-up in our monthly stock-culling exercise -- are doing nearly as well. And our Tiny Gems -- high-quality companies in micro-cap packaging -- are beating the market by a 12-1 margin. (And, yeah, Tiny Gems' performance is more fluke than skill, but you know we're still grinning ear to ear reciting it.)

More than picks and statistics (enunciate it really well, and it rhymes)
What's more, we don't emulate the "pick 'em and forget 'em" approach of other investing newsletters. On the contrary, we've invested a lot of time and effort in finding these companies -- official recommendations, Watch List stocks and Tiny Gems all. And now that we've found them, we're not letting them out of our sight. Our team of Hidden Gems analysts continuously monitors these companies for news that our readers need to know and periodically updates them on developments in our companies, both on our Hidden Gems discussion boards, in monthly updates of the most interesting news, and in detailed semiannual reviews. And, of course, right here on .

In today's news
Speaking of which, the past couple of weeks have been busy ones for our Gems. Earnings season is in full swing, and the business press is chock-full of profits news on our companies. Rest assured that we'll be covering the majority of the really interesting earnings announcements among the Gems and Watch List stocks either in separate articles or in expert-led discussions on our boards. Today, I want to update members on the latest news out of three of Hidden Gems' JV league: our Tiny Gems.

Image Sensing Systems (Nasdaq: ISNS)
Like your car? Hate your commute? Then give a big "howdy" to Image Sensing Systems, because this traffic-camera designer aims to make traffic congestion a thing of the past. It's not a high-profile task. In fact, you've probably never heard of most companies working in this space, as they range from the small (Quixote (Nasdaq: QUIX)) to the very small (Optelecom (Nasdaq: OPTC)) to the very, very small (Image Sensing). But high-profile or not, Image Sensing is proving that by making traffic flow better, it can generate some cash flow as well.

On Thursday, this tiny company (and I mean tiny, with a staff of fewer than three dozen employees) reported $0.10 in earnings per diluted share, a 24% rise increase over Q1 2004. This despite a top-line increase of less than 3%. The reason for the huge jump in profits relative to revenues was that Image Sensing's lower-margin product sales declined by half year-on-year, while high-margin royalty revenue skyrocketed 39%. When most of your growth comes from sales that drop almost directly to the bottom line, as royalty revenues do, you can really supercharge your returns.

On the downside, it would be a mistake to assume that profits will continue to outperform revenue growth in future quarters. The company made a point of emphasizing both its backlog of equipment sales expected to take place in Europe and the fact that a new product is ready to begin selling in Asia. Both of those developments should lead to stronger revenue performance going forward, but with a consequent return of net margins to a more normalized level.

Lakeland Industries (Nasdaq: LAKE)
It's a good thing Lakeland's specialty is manufacturing protective clothing. This sub-$100 million micro cap needs all the protection it can get as it does battle for market share every day against giants hundreds of times its size. Household names such as DuPont (NYSE: DD) and Kimberly-Clark (NYSE: KMB) compete against Lakeland. Worse, Lakeland also has to buy some of its raw materials from major competitor Dupont. As hazardous-to-your-business-health environments go, it doesn't get much tougher than that.

Lakeland operates on a somewhat different fiscal timeline from most other companies. So when it reported earnings on April 15, it was actually reporting for all of "fiscal 2005" just ended, rather than for a single quarter. For the year, Lakeland experienced a 38% rise in net profits on a 6% increase in revenue compared with fiscal 2004. Per-share profits didn't do so well, however. The company issued 1.3 million new shares back in July 2004, diluting the extra net profits by 40% and reining in per-share profits growth to just 11%.

Worse, from Wall Street's perspective, the company isn't expecting to see per-share earnings rise at all in fiscal 2006, because of a combination of increased costs for Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, rising raw material costs, and additional stock dilution from a planned stock dividend that will be declared at the end of this week.

One final issue to keep an eye on with this company is the rate of inventory growth vs. sales growth. Despite revenues rising just 6% last year, inventories grew nearly 18% -- three times as fast. As is often the case with companies where inventory growth outpaces sales growth, the buildup in inventories also took a toll on the company's cash flows. After generating positive cash flow for two years running, Lakeland turned free cash flow negative in fiscal 2005 for the first time since 2002.

Preformed Line Products (Nasdaq: PLPC)
Batting cleanup for this line of happy-news bearers comes wire and cable encloser Preformed Line Products. And this slugger packs a wallop, as demonstrated by its first-quarter 2005 results released Monday. Compared with the year-ago quarter, Preformed Line ramped its sales up 28% and extracted from those results a 143% increase in per-share diluted profits.

That's outstanding. And what's more, the company's accounts receivable increased just 7% against the 28% sales increase, and inventories actually declined year-on-year. The way I read that, we're looking at a company with real sales here (channel stuffers need not apply) -- a company whose products are in such demand that it's able to require prompt payment from customers, while selling off goods almost as fast as it can manufacture them.

Combine strong profits with a strong business, and then throw in shareholder-friendly management that doesn't dilute outside shareholders but rather pays them an above-market-average 2.4% dividend. Small size or not, this one could be a true gem of an investment.  -

The first team
That's all the news on these JV Gem candidates for this week. Covering all three in a single column, I've necessarily abbreviated each write-up to fit the space allowed. But if you find yourself intrigued and wanting to learn more about these three Tiny Gems, you're welcome to peruse the Hidden Gems site free of charge for a month by clicking here.

Superior Essex Inc. Announces Filing of Universal Shelf Registration Statement

Superior Essex Inc., a wire and cable company in North America, announced that it has filed a universal shelf registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission. When declared effective by the Securities Exchange Commission, the registration statement will permit Superior Essex to issue, from time to time, up to an aggregate of $175,000,000 of Superior Essex common stock, preferred stock, debt securities and warrants.

"Having a shelf registration in place gives us flexibility to opportunistically access capital markets," said Stephen Carter, Chief Executive Officer of Superior Essex. The company would plan to use net proceeds from any sale of its securities to provide working capital for general corporate purposes.

Ortronics Introduces New Mighty Mo 6 Seismic Cable Management Rack

Ortronics/Legrand is pleased to announce the introduction of the Mighty Mo 6 Seismic Cable Management Rack. The patent pending Mighty Mo 6 seismic rack combines the advanced features of the Mighty Mo 6 cable management system with the added strength and protection of a Zone 4 seismic rating.

Ortronics Mighty Mo 6 seismic rack is compliant to Telcordia GR-63-CORE Zone 4 standards, with a load rating of 510 lbs, and is the first seismic rack with a "knock-down" design that can be assembled onsite. This patent pending steel frame design allows for much greater ease and flexibility in shipping, handling and installation, while still providing maximum strength and rigidity.

The Mighty Mo 6 seismic rack is 7 ft. high and available with either a 10.5" or 16.25" channel depth. A full 45 rack units of mounting space is available, with #12-24 mounting holes on the front and rear of the rack. The seismic rack accepts all Mighty Mo 6 vertical and horizontal cable managers and is fully compatible with all Mighty Mo 6 system components.

The Mighty Mo 6 advanced cable management system is specifically designed for higher density cabling system applications, such as premise networks, data centers and SANs. It features an innovative vertical management "cage" with individual 1-rack unit fingers and a double-hinged door that can open to either the left or right. Mighty Mo 6 also offers rack unit markings, built-in strain relief, bend radius control, and cable routing with floor and ceiling cable access to distribution cables. It features patented channel construction, and includes a top trough with built-in waterfall to provide bend radius control and efficient patch cable routing. Its durable black powder coat finish minimizes fingerprints and resists scratching.

iTRACS® Releases New IT Infrastructure Manager Software

Simplified management  tools provide ease of use without customization.

iTRACS Corporation, the leader in intelligent network infrastructure management solutions has released a new suite of easy to use software for IT change management and network infrastructure tracking.

The Product Design

iTRACS Infrastructure Manager software has been specifically designed to function in partnership with iTRACS-Enabled hardware - manufactured by industry leaders like AMP NETCONNECT. The software is designed to explore and discover and map the connectivity of the customer network. It is further designed to simplify the process of all future moves, adds and changes (MACs) of end-users. It also intelligently suggests the best connectivity routes, a feature called auto-routing. The software allows simultaneous access by a spectrum of department representatives; these include help desk, planning, network administration, supervision and technicians.

The Problems of Complex Networks - Solved

iTRACS IM single-site software is ideally suited to customers with complex data/telecom networks and critical applications. Examples include financial institutions, insurance providers, data centers, high security government facilities, military defense facilities, airports, medical centers, universities and corporate headquarters.

These customers and clients share the difficult management of complicated networks, requiring accurate record-keeping, high security, and frequent MACs. The simplification of the work order process also provides valuable benefits to client networks of any size, and can be upgraded for Enterprise networks that require custom program development.

Product Leadership

iTRACS, as one of the earliest developers of Cable Management Software (CMS), has maintained an international leadership position in CMS design for more than 15 years. iTRACS IM has been specifically designed to automate the MAC record maintenance process, to simplify the user interface and to share access across departments. No competitive CMS software package offers even a fraction of the strength and flexibility of the iTRACS IM product. 

“We listened to our customers and we are delighted to release iTRACS IM. It includes some new, highly desirable features such as automatic routing and service provisioning. iTRACS IM will be known for simplicity and ease of use, while remaining compatible with our mainstream products,” said Tom Reedy, President and CEO of iTRACS. “We’ve added more highly skilled and experienced people in anticipation of iTRACS IM’s success, and we look forward to continued sales growth and improved customer service through the efforts of our strong channel partners, quality sales professionals, and dedicated development team.” .

Belden’s President / CEO Announces Retirement

Belden CDT Inc. said C. Baker Cunningham, its president and chief executive officer, has decided to accelerate his plan to retire in 2006 at the age of 65.

Cunningham said at the company's annual meeting today that no formal retirement date has been set, and he will remain in his current position with Belden CDT during the transition to its new CEO.

Bryan C. Cressey is chairman of Belden CDT's board of directors and will remain in that role. Belden CDT Inc. was formed in July 2004 through the merger of Belden Inc. and Cable Design Technologies Corporation.

"The company is performing well and has the strength and financial flexibility to make measured long-term choices about its future," Cunningham said. "The integration of Belden and Cable Design Technologies is in the hands of our capable management and significantly ahead of schedule, and the opportunities for the combined company are outstanding. Starting the CEO transition now enables the person who will lead Belden CDT in its next stage of development to be part of our long-term strategic planning process as we focus on the future of our company."

Cunningham added, "It has been my intention to retire at age 65, and the company's solid performance, success with the integration process and strong outlook make it possible for me to retire sooner than I had planned."

The board's succession planning committee has engaged Crist Associates, an executive search firm based in Chicago, to identify CEO candidates.

Cunningham served as Belden's chairman, president and chief executive officer from its initial public offering in 1993 and as president and chief executive officer of Belden CDT since the merger. Previously he was executive vice president and a 23-year veteran of Cooper Industries, Inc., which also was Belden's parent company.

At the annual meeting shareholders re-elected the 10 members of its board and approved the addition of 2.5 million shares to the company's long-term performance incentive plan.

In addition, the board of directors of Belden CDT Inc. today declared a regular quarterly dividend of five cents per share payable on July 6, 2005 to all shareholders of record as of June 3, 2005. 

AFCOM’s Spring 2005 Data Center World Conference

From April 17th to the 21st, 2005, AFCOM held its Data Center World conference at the Rio in Las Vegas and concurrently celebrated its twenty-five year anniversary. The conference kicked off with a keynote address by Brian Koma, president of Stratagem Marketing, Inc.: “Back to the Future in the Data Center,” a look at the past twenty-five years in data center technology. At this presentation, AFCOM and Network World presented three New Data Center Awards for the most secure data center, the data center manager of the year and the data center of the year. Recipients included James Callahan, directory, data center security, MCI Smart Center, Beltsville, MD; Raymond Detheridge, data center facilities manager, MCI, Elmsford, NY; and the data center of the year went to Oracle’s Austin Data Center: Mitchell McGovern, vice president of Oracle Global Data Center Operations and David Thompson, senior vice president, chief information officer.

Data Center World’s attendance more than doubled from spring 2004, topping 900, and vendor participation in the expo hall increased by 37%. Highlights of the event included virtual data tours; full-day tutorials on power and cooling, budget validation, and data center standardization; and many educational sessions on topics including data center security, best data center practices, using metrics to drive computer operations efficiency, and mission-critical operations—to name a few.

Attendees raved about the Data Center World trade show that included industry leaders such as IBM, Connectivity Technologies, The Bick Group, AFCO Systems, Cybermation, Emerson Network Power/Liebert, Imation, and many more. “I felt the exhibit hall was outstanding,” shared Timothy Mills, operations manager, Cardinal Health. “I was there until pretty much the end. I met with a vendor who had new liquid for fire suppression, and I met with a guy from Help/Systems…about the direction of our organization,” he added.

One of the aspects that is most appreciated by attendees—and is expanded at each new conference—is AFCOM’s Vision2Vision program, which includes a networking luncheon, open forum sessions, and after-hours gatherings to promote end-user communications among their peers. Brad Lauderman, manager operations services, Armstrong World Industries, remarked, “A lot of us had very similar issues; one person in particular really matched my situation with change management, SAP and job scheduling; when I talked to him, it was nice to know where he is coming from.”

“The conference as a whole is definitely “value add,” and I definitely think it was worth my time; it definitely exceeded my expectations going into my first conference. I’ll be back next year,” Michael Miller, data center manager, ABN AMRO Bank concluded.

AFCOM’s next Data Center World conference will be held at the Hilton Chicago from October 9th through the 12th, 2005. And next spring, Data Center World will be in New Orleans, March 26th through the 30th, 2006. 

CommScope Announces the Opening of a Broadband Cable Manufacturing Plant in China

ommScope, Inc. a cable and connectivity network solutions purveyor announced the opening of a broadband cable manufacturing facility in the Peoples Republic of China. The plant, operating under the name of CommScope Asia (Suzhou) Technologies Co., Ltd., is located outside of Suzhou, China, a city of over one million people northwest of Shanghai. It has approximately 120,000 sq. ft. (11,000 m2) and will house manufacturing of broadband coaxial cable primarily for the Asia/Pacific (APAC) region.

"We are excited to have in-region manufacturing capability for the growing Asian market," said CommScope President and Chief Operating Officer Brian Garrett at today's ribbon-cutting ceremony. "We believe this facility will enhance our market presence by improving our customer service while providing our customers with cable that is made to CommScope's exacting standards."

The plant, which is projected to employ more than 200 employees after it ramps up to full production, is expected to begin shipping product to customers by mid-year 2005. 

The world of chemicals and cabling are married at the hip.  What affects one also affects the other. 

Dupont to invest $600 million in China by 2010

General Cable Corporation Reports First Quarter Results and Declares Dividend on Preferred Stock

General Cable Corporation reported net income after preferred stock dividends for the first quarter ended April 1, 2005 of $7.5 million, which was $0.18 on a diluted per share basis. These results were up from a net loss of $(3.4) million in the first quarter of 2004.


  • Net sales of $554.2 million were up 7% versus metal-adjusted sales in the first quarter of 2004. All three reporting segments reported positive sales growth versus prior year.
  • Gross margin increased by 290 basis points in the first quarter of 2005 versus the metal-adjusted gross margin, excluding rationalization charges, in the first quarter of 2004.
  • Completed the acquisition of certain assets of Draka Comteq's business in North America.
  • Earnings per share forecast for the second quarter of 2005 is between $0.20 and $0.25 per share on approximately $580 to $600 million in revenues.

In accordance with the terms of the Company's 5.75% Series A Convertible Redeemable Preferred Stock, the Board of Directors has declared a preferred stock dividend of approximately $0.72 per share for the three-month period ending May 24, 2005. The dividend is payable on May 24, 2005 to preferred stockholders of record as of April 29, 2005.

"The pricing actions we implemented in the second half of 2004 have been effective, allowing us to make significant progress towards recovering the inflation in our raw materials and increasing our operating margin on metal-adjusted sales by about 260 basis points versus the operating margin, excluding rationalization charges, in the first quarter of 2004," commented Gregory B. Kenny, President and Chief Executive Officer of General Cable. "Additionally, this is the eighth consecutive quarter in which we have reported positive year-over-year metal-adjusted revenue growth, indicating the recovery which began in 2003 in the wire and cable industry is continuing into 2005. We do, however, continue to cautiously monitor the underlying demand from our traditional RBOC telecom cable customers and the rate of incursion of fiber into the telecom network."

First Quarter Results

Net sales for the first quarter of 2005 were $554.2 million, an increase of 7% versus metal-adjusted net sales in the 2004 first quarter. The average price per pound of copper and aluminum increased $0.23 and $0.14, respectively, from the first quarter of 2004 to the first quarter of 2005. The 2004 net sales have been increased in this comparison to put them on a consistent metal-adjusted basis with 2005 net sales. Overall net sales for the quarter were positively affected by about 2% as a result of favorable year-over-year changes in foreign currency exchange rates for the Company's international operations and by increased pricing across all segments.

Contributing to the 7% increase in metal-adjusted net sales was a 10% increase in Energy cables, where North American sales increased due to strong demand for both transmission and distribution cables. International sales were also up due to demand for distribution cables and favorable foreign currency exchange rates. Industrial & Specialty cables revenue was up 3% due to continuing strong demand for zero halogen cables in Europe and favorable foreign currency exchange rates. Revenue for Communications cables increased 12% reflecting increased sales in all product segments, including telephone exchange cables, LAN cables, electronics and OEM assemblies.

Selling, general and administrative expenses were $43.2 million in the first quarter of 2005, up from $38.7 million in the first quarter of 2004. The increase was in large measure due to the Company's Sarbanes-Oxley compliance activities and changes in foreign currency exchange rates. Reported SG&A was 7.8% of net sales in the first quarter of 2005, up from the 7.5% of metal-adjusted net sales reported in the first quarter of 2004.

The first quarter 2005 operating income of $24.2 million was up from $6.7 million in the first quarter of 2004. The 2004 results included a $2.7 million charge related to the rationalization of certain industrial cable manufacturing facilities. Operating income for the first quarter of 2005 included approximately $0.8 million of strike related costs and benefited from the price increases implemented in the second half of 2004 to recover rapidly increasing raw material costs.

Net interest expense was $9.9 million for the first quarter of 2005, up from $9.3 million in the same period in 2004 as a result of a higher level of debt. The Company's debt level has increased over the prior year due to higher working capital requirements as a result of increased sales volumes and pricing as the Company passed through significantly higher raw material costs to its customers. During the first quarter of 2005, the Company accrued approximately $1.5 million in dividends on its preferred stock.

Second Quarter 2005 Outlook

"For the second quarter of 2005, we are estimating that revenue should be in the $580 to $600 million range, up approximately 5% from metal-adjusted revenues in the second quarter of 2004," said Kenny. "With the expectation that copper will average between $1.45 and $1.50 per pound, diluted earnings per share should be in the $0.20 to $0.25 range."


Brady Corporation has introduced its B-354 water indicating label material, part of a family of products under the Brady Aqualert™ brand. The labels offer evidence of water intrusion for control of warranty claims, failure analysis, design assistance, and service and repair troubleshooting. The labels change permanently from white to bright blue when coming in contact with water- based solutions. They withstand heat and humidity without a false indication.

Brady B-354 label material is UL969 recognized. Also, based on results of testing using recognized analytical methods performed by a third party independent laboratory, B-354 is RoHS compliant to the current TAG MCV proposal to the EU Commission Directive 2002/95/EU(RoHS) for cadmium(<100ppm), lead(<1000ppm), hexavalent chromium(<1000ppm), mercury(<1000ppm), PBB's(<1000ppm), and PBDE's(<1000 ppm).

The labels are available blank or pre-printed from Brady and can be used with thermal transfer printers using Brady's R6200, R7961 and R4500 series ribbons. Labels are available in an assortment of standard sizes and can be special ordered in custom indicating colors and designs upon request. They can also be supplied with an assortment of custom covert and overt security features for authenticity control.

DuPont Announces Availability of PFOA Emissions Reduction Technologies

 Available to Global Fluoropolymer Industry Royalty-Free

DuPont announced that it will provide critical technologies to reduce emissions of PFOA royalty-free to others in the fluoropolymer industry.

PFOA is an essential processing aid used to produce fluoropolymer high- performance materials. Fluoropolymers are used in architectural fabrics; chemical processing piping and vessels; automotive fuel systems; telecommunications and electronic wiring insulation; and computer chip processing equipment and systems, as well as consumer products such as cookware and apparel. The aerospace, transportation and electronics industries rely on these products because of their purity, reliability and durability in critical applications.

DuPont, in cooperation with The Fluoropolymer Manufacturers Group (FMG), a part of the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI), has committed to reduce emissions from fluoropolymer manufacturing sites worldwide and also will reduce APFO content in aqueous fluoropolymer dispersions used for coatings applications. The FMG is made up of the U.S. fluoropolymer producers, including DuPont, Dyneon (3M), Daikin America, and Asahi Glass Chemicals Americas. This action will reduce the potential for emissions at processors who use aqueous fluoropolymer dispersions by more than 90 percent. APFO is the form of PFOA used as a fluoropolymer processing aid.

"DuPont is offering our technology as a royalty-free cross license to help ensure the success of the FMG commitment," said David Boothe of DuPont Fluoropolymer Solutions. "Since all still need to use APFO to make fluoropolymers, this program is not designed to replace this essential processing aid. DuPont will instead add a step to our process that removes nearly all APFO from our aqueous dispersions to accomplish the goal. We expect to announce availability of these next-generation aqueous dispersion products soon."

In addition to source reduction technology for APFO in dispersion, DuPont also is offering royalty-free access to its patents and technology for PFOA emissions abatement, water treatment and recovery for reuse.

Berk-Tek and Ortronics Introduce the NetClear GTX UTP Cabling System

Berk-Tek and Ortronics announce the launch of the NetClear GTX UTP cabling system for support of 10 Gigabit Ethernet, as identified by the IEEE 802.3an and TIA augmented Category 6 channel requirements.

NetClear GTX combines Berk-Tek LANmark-10G UTP cable and Ortronics Clarity10G UTP connectivity in a system that provides alien near and far end crosstalk performance to 500 MHz for reliable 10 Gb/s operation. The NetClear GTX system guarantees 100-meter 10GBASE-T support for standards compliant channel configurations.

NetClear GTX is an addition to the NetClear XG LAN family of solutions designed to support the complex requirements of 10 Gigabit networks using either copper or fiber optic cabling. The NetClear XG LAN family of cabling systems from Berk-Tek and Ortronics provides the most comprehensive and highest performing array of 10 Gigabit solutions in the industry.  XG LAN solutions also include the NetClear GTS Category 6 FTP solution and the NetClear MM10 multimode fiber cabling system that offers the industry's longest channel lengths for 10GBASE-SR - 600 meters using economical 850nm optics.

Today Berk-Tek and Ortronics continue to provide their combined engineering expertise to the IEEE 802.3an and TIA standards committees to help define the final requirements for 10 Gigabit Ethernet over twisted pair cable media. The NetClear GTX cabling system will provide guaranteed compliance to all current and future 10G channel specifications identified by the IEEE and TIA committees.  In short, the NetClear GTX copper cabling system guarantees authentic 10 Gigabit performance.  http://www.netclear-channel.com


The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) has named John Duda, chairman and CEO of Butler Supply, Inc., in St. Louis, Mo., as the incoming chair-elect of the NAED Board of Directors.

“I am very honored to accept the awesome responsibility of serving as NAED chairman. I believe that a strong, national trade association that is attuned to the needs and wants of its members is an incredibly valuable resource. I am committed to serve large and small distributors alike so NAED can help us all to continuously grow and prosper,” Duda said.

Duda will serve as chair-elect in 2005-2006, preparing to lead the NAED Board of Directors in 2006-2007. He and his company have played a pivotal role in NAED for many decades, helping the association develop and adapt to changes. Duda will be the third chairman from Butler Supply.

In his 37 years in electrical distribution, Duda has served the association in numerous ways. While leading the NAED Education & Research Foundation as chairman from 2001-2003, he initiated the charge to create an endowment campaign to ensure the future of the Foundation. He also participated in the association as the Central Region Vice President, Missouri River Club President, and as a member of the NAED Board of Directors, Channel Advantage Partnership Council, Central Regional Council, Finance Committee, Industry Education Council, Foundation Blue Ribbon Panel and TED Advisory Committee.

Duda’s industry involvement also includes being active with the St. Louis Electrical Board as president, Affiliated Distributors as Network Chairman, and teaching a course on “Improving the Bottom Line” for the University of Electrical Distribution for two years. 

NAED is currently led by Peter de Steiger, CEO of Raymond De Steiger, Inc., in Sterling Heights, Mich. At NAED’s Annual Meeting on May 14-18, Bill Elliott, president of Elliott Electric Supply, in Nacogdoches, Texas will become NAED Chairman of the Board for the 2005-2006 year.

BOMA - National Hurricane Preparedness Week

Federal, state and local government agencies have united to stress hurricane preparedness for the upcoming 2005 hurricane season. In an official White House statement, President Bush urged “all citizens to become aware of the dangers of hurricanes and tropical storms and to learn how to minimize their destructive effects.”

NOAA hurricane forecasters are predicting another above-normal hurricane season on the heels of last year's destructive and historic hurricane season. "NOAA's prediction for the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season is for 12 to 15 tropical storms, with seven to nine becoming hurricanes, of which three to five could become major hurricanes," said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator at a news conference in Bay St. Louis, Miss. "Forecaster confidence that this will be an active hurricane season is very high."*

Owners of real estate should be especially concerned. Last year’s hurricane related damage estimates topped $40 billion. Though buildings cannot always withstand the destructive forces of a hurricane, proper planning can help mitigate damage and save lives. Property owners’/managers’ play an active role preparing for such events. The best course of action is to have a working emergency plan in place. Once an overall comprehensive plan is in place, it can be modified to accommodate various scenarios.

As part of National Hurricane Preparedness Week, BOMA International is offering property owners and managers the tools needed to prepare for emergency situations. Let BOMA International show you how to put an emergency preparedness plan into action.

This comprehensive guide shows you every aspect of how to plan for emergency situations. The book covers emergencies such as fire, flood, power failure, bomb threat, medical emergencies and crime. It also includes specialized emergencies such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes and elevator failures. Every aspect of creating and/or updating your emergency/security plan is discussed. BOMA, 2001. 218 pages.

This guidebook gives a step-by-step analysis of everything you need to do to prepare a comprehensive emergency/disaster plan. Places a special emphasis on evacuation and recovery. The book offers: detailed evacuation procedures; a comprehensive overview of terrorism, with special sections focusing on bioterrorism and cyber terrorism; steps to be taken when preparing for a natural disaster (including hurricanes); an outline to follow when recovering from a disaster; and guidelines for communicating with tenants and the media. BOMA, 2002. 170 pages.

For more information on National Hurricane Preparedness Week visit:  

Superior Modular Products Announces Steven Funderud As Product Manager

Superior Modular Products is pleased to announce the addition of Steven Funderud to the position of Product Manager. Steven brings to SMP an extensive background in distribution sales and marketing, as well as previous sales history with SMP products and services. Steve’s knowledge of product, applications, and ever changing market factors will be a contributing factor to growth in two of SMP’s most highly visible product lines.

Steve will be directly responsible for managing the Copper product line, in which Superior Modular Products holds patents that make the company a major player in the Premise Cabling Industry. Furthermore, he will also manage a section of the Residential product line, which includes MSDE and HAX enclosures with associated modules.

Brad Everette, Director of Marketing for Superior Modular Products states, “Steve brings a fresh approach to managing the Copper and Residential product lines. His insight and experience will push our efforts to keep our line of copper connecting hardware as the backbone of our company while increasing market awareness and sales of our Residential Enclosure product line. We are glad to have him back and I think you will see very quickly that he will be quite valuable in all of our efforts.” 

Since their beginning in 1990, Superior Modular Products has prided itself on manufacturing top-quality products as well as generating innovative solutions for the telecommunications industry.

Superior Modular Products has focused on manufacturing products that are not only competitive but consistently surpassing industry standards. The development side of this dual commitment has yielded a long list of patented innovations widely used throughout the industry, many of which have become the basis for what is now standard technology. All of the products they have developed are consistently recognized for their innovation and reliability by some of the largest manufacturers in the industry.

Their invention of the low cross-talk, electrical connector system (US Pat. 5,299,956) revolutionized the high-speed connector industry. This system forms the basis for cross-talk reduction of category 5, category 5e and category 6 patch panels and is still required in the emerging categories of high-speed connectors.

SMP's next major engineering breakthrough came with the development of the impedance matched, reduced cross-talk, electrical connector system. Although its importance was not fully realized at first, impedance matching is now recognized as one of the most critical needs in the industry. With the emergence of Gigabit Ethernet, issues of return loss and impedance have been propelled to the forefront of connector design.

Some of their more recent patented innovations include a modular plug design suitable for category 6 applications, which allows manufacturers to simultaneously increase yields and lower the costs of category 6 compliant patch cords.

Superior Modular Products closely monitors and supports Standards organizations and have played a major role in the TIA Committee’s efforts to establish patch cord test standards and to identify the problems associated with high-frequency performance connectors.

With their history of innovation and reliability, Superior Modular Products is well positioned to move into the future of this rapidly evolving industry. SMP stands behind their complete line of high-speed copper and fiber optic products with the assurance that their two-fold commitment to quality – superior development and superior products – will continue to prove them aptly named.  

Also check out

NECA E-News Letter:  Make Your Ultimate Electrical Connection!

Welcome to the Ultimate Electrical Connection, the new biweekly e-newsletter that will keep you up to date on NECA 2005 New Orleans, including the NECA Convention and Show, the updated Conference on Integrated Building Systems and the brand-new Conference on Lighting Education.

Watch this space for the latest in speaker information, workshop topics and new exhibitors joining the NECA Show. Want to find out what NECA is cooking up just for you in New Orleans? Check out the Ultimate Electrical Connection - delivered right to your inbox every two weeks!

Find out more at

Gain an Advantage at the Conference on Lighting Education

Learn how to take advantage of all the lighting industry has to offer you at the only conference for electrical contractors! The Conference on Lighting Education is the best source of information for contractors who want to turn lighting projects into greater profit for their companies.

The conference features an all-star roster of speakers from the lighting industry, including Mary Beth Gotti, manager of the GE Lighting Institute; Cheryl English, vice president of Lithonia Lighting/Acuity Brands and vice chairman of NEMA's Lighting Division; and Mark Lien, manager of Cooper's Lighting Center, the SOURCE.  Lighting product manufacturers will also offer technical workshops from the NECA Show floor.

Make the most of your specifying power on lighting projects by learning directly from the industry experts! Make plans to attend the first Conference on Lighting Education at NECA 2005 New Orleans! See the conference schedule at

Why IBS Education is Important to Your Business

The integration of traditional power systems with building controls and communication systems is becoming the business core of today's electrical contractor. Low voltage building communications and control systems are among the fastest growing and most profitable areas for electrical contractors. According the 2004 Electrical Contractor Profile compiled by Electrical Contractor magazine:

·       71.6 percent of electrical contractors are working in voice, data, video, fiber options and/or premise wiring;

·       65 percent are working in security/life safety;

·       33 percent are involved in residential automation, security and theater systems; and

·       55 percent are involved in automation/control systems project in commercial, industrial or institutional project.

Now more than ever, electrical contractors need the educational opportunities available at the Conference on Integrated Building Systems. The four-day program and special IBS Pavilion on the NECA Show floor are geared towards providing electrical contractors with the tools to become the general contractors, and prepare specialty contractors to become a prime contractor on the job. Get the details at

An Evening with Jo Dee Messina

It may seem that Jo Dee Messina burst onto the country music scene overnight when she won Best Country Artist at the 1996 Boston Music Awards. But the truth is Jo Dee Messina has been singing and working hard in country music ever since her childhood.  .  In fact, since her debut, Jo Dee has had eight number one hits, sold more than 5 million albums and has received critical acclaim for her explosive singing style and electrifying performances. Her third album, "Burn," sold more than a million copies and earned her two Grammy nominations. Her latest album "Delicious Surprise," was heading to the top of the Country Albums chart even before its official release this spring.

Jo Dee Messina will bring her special country music style to NECA 2005 New Orleans Closing Celebration Tuesday evening, Sept. 19, at the New Orleans Cultural Center Municipal Auditorium. Jo Dee will deliver a selection of songs that promise to capture her essence - her feistiness, her strength and her humor - and offer some "delicious surprises" as well. What a great finale to NECA 2005 New Orleans!


Reach the Customers that Matter the Most!

New Orleans is known for many things - parties on Bourbon Street, fabulous art galleries, delicious food and music in the air. Don't miss your chance to be a part of the fun, while making a lasting impression on those who matter most in your industry!

NECA 2005 swings into New Orleans Sept. 17-20, and with this year's packed program will come over 8,000 electrical contractors to one location - the NECA Show floor.  Eighty percent of NECA Show attendees make the purchasing decisions for their companies and will spend more than $7.5 billion in electrical equipment this year. Don't let them leave the show floor without making a connection with your company!

Raising the visibility of your business is easy with NECA 2005 Sponsorship Opportunities. There are a variety of ways you can show your support for the electrical contracting industry while promoting your company.  To view a complete list of the sponsorship opportunities still available, visit

DuPont Receives Department Of Justice Subpoena on Teflon


E.I du Pont de Nemours & CO. received a subpoena asking for information related to chemicals used in nonstick pans that are believed to be linked to health problems, the company said Thursday.

The Wilmington, Del.-based company said it will be “fully responsive.” The Federal subpoena calls for the production of documents related to perfluorooctanoic acid and its salts, C8, ammonium perfluorooctanoate, and FC-143 – key components used in the manufacturing of non-stick coatings.  The subpoena from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia was served by the environmental crimes arm of the Justice Department.  “DuPont is committed to operate to the highest standards of ethical behavior and environmental responsibility,” the Wilmington, DE, chemical maker said in a press release.  “We will be fully responsive to the DOJ in this matter.”  

A spokesman for DuPont recently agreed to a $100 million settlement in West Virginia where the chemical was found in drinking water, according to reports.  The company also has been in negotiations with the Environmental Protection Agency over how C8 breaks down in the environment.

Related news:

Teflon Pollution

Scotchgard Whistleblower Muzzled by Minn. Pollution Agency

17MAY 2005 – A Minnesota environmental scientist says her bosses are trying to stop her from speaking out about toxic chemicals.  The scientist works for the state agency run by a former 3M employee (and current stockholder) who has lagged in addressing concerns about drinking water contaminated by a toxic chemical in 3M’s Scotchgard.

MPR's Comprehensive Coverage
EWG Letter to MN Official
DuPont Shareholders Celebrate Strategic Victory  

EPA, DOJ, and EWG continue to focus on PUBLIC SAFETY.

Criminal Probe for DuPont on Teflon Chemical?

May 19, 2005 DuPont was served Thursday with a subpoena from the Justice Department's environmental crimes unit requesting documents on a key Teflon chemical. DuPont has already agreed to pay up to $340 million in a civil settlement for Teflon pollution and is the subject of an EPA investigation into its cover-up of studies of the chemical's health effects.

EWG Statement | Reuters Story | Associated Press Story

"This development gives some hope that DuPont will be held accountable for its contamination of virtually every American's bloodstream with this toxic Teflon chemical. A federal criminal probe should not be required to find out what a company knew and when it knew it regarding a product's contamination of people and the environment. It's a dramatic example of why we need a complete overhaul of the regulatory system for this industry."

— EWG President Ken Cook

EWG is a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, D.C., that uses the power of information to protect human health and the environment. The group's research on Teflon chemicals is available online at 

 The world of chemicals and cabling are married at the hip.  What affects one also affects the other.  Recent troubling news about PFOA and other toxic issues associated with FEP or Teflon have many concerned citizens demanding the facts and answers to the public health questions. 

Market Pulse: DuPont shareholders group asks for SEC probe
Group seeks financial disclosure of Teflon pollution case

By Carolyn Pritchard

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- The DuPont Shareholders for Fair Value coalition, a group of company shareholders, said Tuesday that it is asking the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate whether executives at DuPont Co. are hiding financially relevant information from investors. The group said it is also calling on the SEC "to compel company executives to disclose data that would forewarn investors about potentially costly health, safety and legal liabilities at plants that use or produce perfluorooctanoic acid." The chemical is the subject of an Environmental Protection Agency investigation of potential health risks, the group noted. The DSFV coalition said it owns more than 28,700 shares of DuPont.

Superior Essex and Leviton Introduce 10 Gigabit Ethernet Over Copper Cabling System

Superior Essex and Leviton Manufacturing jointly announced the introduction of NextLAN® 10Gc, a UTP copper cabling system designed to support 10 Gigabit Ethernet transmission for 100 meters. NextLAN 10Gc is the first UTP cabling system to fully comply with the latest draft ANSI/TIA standard for 10-Gigabit Ethernet cabling requirements with a 4dB margin guarantee for Power Sum ACR.

10 Gigabit Ethernet systems have been in use for several years over fiber optic cable like the NextLAN 10GF 50 micron laser optimized system. Only recently has the electronics industry begun specifications for 10GBASE-T, a 10 Gigabit Ethernet protocol standard designed to run over copper structured cabling. The data speeds afforded by 10GBASE-T are ten times the current maximum data speeds of copper networks. The continued growth of data-intensive applications, (i.e., video imaging, high-speed data storage, internet browsing, file sharing, etc.) is fueling the need for 10 Gigabit Ethernet backbone networks, especially in corporate offices, campuses, medical centers and data centers.

NextLAN 10Gc is the outcome of several advancements in copper UTP cable and connectivity that collectively provide a channel that is robust enough to support the most demanding test scenarios for 10 Gigabit Ethernet transmission. The proprietary designs of the new NextLAN 10Gc components (including 10Gain™ cable and eXtreme® 10G connectors) provide customers with exceptionally matched electrical performance and functionality, backward compatibility with legacy Leviton connectivity, and a design that is as easy to install as the NextLAN Category 6 system.

"The demand for 10 Gigabit Ethernet over UTP copper cabling is being driven by economics and familiarity," said Bill Slater, Enterprise Networking Manager for Leviton. "10GBASE-T switches and NICs will be less expensive when they are introduced than comparable fiber cards running 10GBE. For data centers and SAN's that require 1 Gigabit Ethernet now, but want the infrastructure in place for 10GBE later, a 10G copper system makes economic sense. In addition, many users prefer the ease-of-installation advantage that copper has over optical fiber."

"10Gain UTP cable provides exceptional internal and alien cross-talk performance without resorting to an odd-shaped design, or extra elements that can slow installations," said Dr. Paul Neveux, Director of Premises Cable Product Management for Superior Essex. "For 10G Ethernet applications, Power Sum ACR is one of the best indicators of channel performance because it is directly proportional to the signal-to-noise ratio of the system and is the best gauge of channel headroom. Because of this, we focused our system design on offering the best Power Sum ACR margin in the industry."

"The new eXtreme 10G connector introduces several technical breakthroughs, including a patent-pending Cone of Silence™, which creates a "noise elimination" zone that effectively blocks out EMI from adjacent connectors," said Slater. "The technology imbedded in NextLAN 10Gc is so impressive that the system performs as well as all-shielded 10G cabling systems, but of course without the many drawbacks that accompany shielded cabling."

NextLAN cabling systems are the result of joint engineering and testing efforts between Leviton and Superior Essex Communications to create datacom cabling solutions.

The Abandoned Cable Dilemma

Electrical Contractor Magazine - June 2004

by Mark C. Ode

There’s money to be made, but hidden costs as well .

Low-voltage cables and wires are often installed as part of the initial electrical installation for a facility and used to connect communications systems, control wiring, speakers, fire alarms, computers and other limited-power applications to their related equipment. In a remodel or when equipment is being upgraded or added, old cables are usually abandoned and new cable installed. Must these old cables be removed when installing new cables or can the cables be left for future use? Whose responsibility is it to remove the old cables and is it a hidden cost to the job or additional revenue?

Seemingly hidden within various low-voltage articles in the 2002 National Electrical Code (NEC) are definitions and sections of the articles dealing with abandoned cables. Based on the 2002 NEC, abandoned cables must now be removed. This can add a substantial amount of hidden labor to a job where the contractor is not familiar with these clauses in the NEC and has not added this into the overall bid. If the particular job has been competitively bid, the other bidders may or may not have figured this cost into their bid and the added cost to your bid may mean the loss of the job. Either way, an electrical inspector may require all abandoned cables to be removed, even those cables that were abandoned during previous installations, adding hidden costs to the job.

Since the type of termination and the cable use is slightly different for each system, each definition of “abandoned” varies slightly. The abandoned cable definition for Class 2, Class 3 and PLTC cables reads: “Installed Class 2, Class 3 and PLTC cable that is not terminated at equipment and not identified for future use with a tag.” The definition was written to ensure that only cables that are not spare and truly abandoned in place must be removed. At first glance, the simple answer may be to label all cables for future use but this also requires extra labor that may not have been figured into the job. However, the responsible contractor will understand the reason for the cable removal and will remove any excess cable.

Within the application portion of each article for low-voltage and communications cables is a sentence stating that abandoned cables shall not be permitted to remain. Based on the definition of abandoned cable, any cable that is not tagged or labeled for future use and not terminated at the equipment must be removed. A close examination of this definition indicates that the cable must be terminated at the equipment and identified for future use with a tag or a label; however, the intent was to permit either termination at the equipment or tagging of the cable to identify the cable for future use. Check with the design engineer or the electrical inspector for the installation for a clarification on this issue and what will be required for your particular installation.

Even though most cables installed in a facility are limited-smoke or low smoke-producing fireresistant cable, the proliferation and expanded use of computers, sound systems, fire alarms, telephones and similar applications has resulted in a massive amount of cables in a facility. Cables installed in ducts, plenums, and other spaces for environmental air, as well as those in

other areas of the building, are required to comply with certain NFPA and Underwriters Laboratories Inc. standards for low smoke emission and fire resistance.

NFPA 262, the Standard Method of Test for Flame Travel and Smoke of Wires and Cables for Use in Air-Handling Spaces, limits the maximum peak optical density of the smoke produced to 0.5 and the maximum average optical density to 0.15. The purpose of the test for the maximum optical density level of smoke is to ensure that, in a fire situation, only a certain of amount of smoke will be produced where cable is installed in an environmental air duct, plenum, or other space.

UL 1581, the Reference Standard for Electrical Wires, Cables, and Flexible Cords provides a method of testing the cables for fire resistance and uses a vertical cable tray with cables installed to test whether a fire in the cables will spread to the top of the cable tray. This test is commonly called the vertical tray flame test and is very effective in determining the fire resistance of the cable.

If large amounts of smoke are produced in these areas, the air movement in the ducts, plenums, or other spaces will cause the smoke to be spread to other areas within the occupancy and may affect the successful and safe evacuation of the building. Responsible removal of abandoned cable will limit the amount of smoke produced in a fire and provide a safer facility.

Mark Ode is a staff engineering associate at Underwriters Laboratories Inc., in Research Triangle Park, N.C. He can be reached at 919.549.1726 or via e-mail at .

Reprinted with permission from Electrical Contractor Magazine

The leading publication for the Electrical & Datacom Contractors  

Also check out

Mike Holt Seminar Schedule Next 4 Months June through Sept 2005

Mike Holt Seminars are packed with value.

Check out the Mike Holt Seminar Schedule Next 4 Months June through Sept 2005

Mike is nationally recognized as one of America's most knowledgeable electrical trainers. He has touched the lives of many thousands of electricians, inspectors, contractors and engineers. His dynamic and animated teaching style is relaxed, direct and fun. Perhaps Mike's best quality is his ability to motivate his students to become successful.

Mike is devoted to providing quality training seminars, videos, books and software that enhances job performance, personal confidence and career growth. The quality that sets Mike apart from the others is his ability to motivate his students to become successful. Mike's experiences as an electrician, inspector and contractor help him develop training programs that the electrician understands and enjoys. His ability to take the intimidation out of learning is reflected in the success rate of his students.

Mike does seminars on Electrical Theory, National Electrical Code, Electrical Calculations, as well as Business Management. He also does seminars for magazines, trade shows, inspector's groups, contractor's groups, industrial facilities, and others interested in the National Electrical Code.

Mike Holt Seminar Schedule Next 4 Months June through Sept 2005

New Cost-Effective, Time-Saving CADDY® SPEED LINK LD

for Lighting and Installation Projects

CADDY® SPEED LINK LD is a universal support system that quickly suspends static loads, even at an angle. It is a cost-effective alternative to jack chain, threaded rod and associated hardware in lighting and other installation projects. The 1.5 mm (0.059 in.) wire rope with a crimped-on hook holds working loads of up to 20 kg (44 lb) with a 5:1 safety factor.

A small, aesthetically pleasing locking device completes the assembly. This low-profile stainless-steel device ensures stability and allows for additional vertical adjustment after wire insertion. A small screwdriver releases the lock for fast installation adjustments.

The wire rope/hook assembly is made  of galvanized steel as standard, but is also available in stainless steel for applications where a higher level of corrosion resistance is required. The system installs without drilling or tools and allows objects to be hung at an angle – e.g., from sloped ceilings.

CADDY SPEED LINK LD is available in 2m (6.6ft), 5m (16.4ft) and 10m (32.8ft) lengths. It works with a variety of CADDY® Fasteners including beam clamps and purlin clips or can be looped directly around the beam.

This versatile support system hangs lighting fixtures, speakers, alarm sensors, signage and pipes, among other things. A convenient plastic sleeve keeps the wire rope looped up until the contractor is ready to install. An optional extension tool allows CADDY SPEED LINK LD to be installed from the ground.

ERICO® is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of precision-engineered specialty metal products serving global niche product markets in a diverse range of electrical, commercial and industrial construction, utility and rail applications.  The company is headquartered in Solon, Ohio, USA with a network of sales locations serving more than 25 countries and with manufacturing and distribution facilities worldwide.  ERICO’s well-known brand names include: CADDY® fixings and fasteners; CADWELD® welded electrical connections; CRITEC® surge protection devices; ERICO® rail bonds; ERIFLEX® low-voltage components; ERITECH® lightning protection and grounding; and LENTON® mechanical rebar splices. Visit ERICO online at

Maclean's Magazine - "Teflon Trouble"

The first 100 years and now the second 100 years with a roar

Maclean's owes its origins to Toronto journalist/entrepreneur Lt.-Col. John Bayne Maclean. In 1905, the 43-year-old trade magazine publisher purchased an advertising agency's in-house business journal -- along with its 5,000-strong subscription base. The Business Magazine, launched in October of that year, was a pocket-sized digest of articles gathered from Canadian, U.S. and British periodicals. It sold 6,000 copies. Inside its bright blue cover, the fledgling monthly anointed itself, "the Cream of the World's magazines reproduced for Busy People." Its aim, Maclean wrote a year later, was not "merely to entertain but also to inspire its readers."

The magazine went through many incarnations over the next century. Within a few years, Maclean changed the name to Busy Man's Magazine and began commissioning articles before settling on Maclean's in 1911. The magazine started to include coverage of politics and arts, and opened its pages to works of fiction. Following the First World War, as the economy recovered, Maclean's was published bi-monthly and kept up hard-hitting articles inspired by wartime reporting. The future was bright until the Depression hit and revenues dipped; the magazine devoted its pages to first-hand accounts of people's struggles to survive.

The 1957 federal election led to one of the magazine's most embarrassing moments: an editorial proclaiming a Liberal win printed before the results were tabulated. It hit newsstands the day after voters handed John Diefenbaker's Conservative party a resounding mandate. The next issue of Maclean's featured the retraction "We were Dead Wrong on Your Vote," calling the gaffe an "unexampled case of editorial fat headedness."

The '60s were a time of turmoil both in the nation and the magazine masthead. There were numerous changes in editorship during the decade, slowing in 1971 with the appointment of Peter C. Newman to the top post. Maclean's began losing money by the mid-60s -- the first time since the Depression -- and reverted to a monthly schedule. But that was soon to change. In 1975, Newman increased the frequency to bi-weekly and then again in 1978, issuing Canada's first newsweekly.

In 2001, Anthony Wilson-Smith was named 15th editor of Maclean's. In an age of instantaneous news delivery, his vision involves a shift away from simply reporting hard news toward including more analytical features and fresh voices.

The world of chemicals and cabling are married at the hip.  What affects one also affects the other.  Recent troubling news about PFOA and other toxic issues associated with FEP or Teflon have many concerned citizens demanding the facts and answers to the public health questions. 

Read the article Teflon Trouble by May 19, 2005 by Danylo Hwaleshka.  Are PFC's , the compounds associated with pans, cabling, computers and clothes, truly benign?

Cabling Industry Recent Financials

Belden CDT Qrtly 2005

General Cable Qrtly 2005

CommScope Qrtly 2005

BICSI Installation Classes

By Certified Communications, Inc.

Certified Training Schedule

June– Sept, 2005

Dates                                                                     Class


6/13 – 6/17                                                            ITS Installer 1


7/11 – 7/15                                                            ITS Installer 1

7/18 – 7/22                                                            ITS Installer 2

7/25 – 7/29                                                            ITS Technician


8/8 – 8/12                                                              ITS Installer 1


9/5 – 9/9                                                                ITS Technician

9/19 – 9/23                                                            ITS Installer 2

This schedule is subject to change based on Customer preference and can be modified to take place from 6PM to 10PM for a 2 week period.

James R. (Ray) Craig RCDD/ITS Specialist

Corporate Trainer

Certified Communications, Inc.

Suite #162

903 N. Bowser Road

Richardson, TX  75081

Toll Free   1-800-479-7126

Cell               972-880-6528

Internationally, Fire Safety Includes Toxicity Factors

Cable and safety debate: Halogen-or not?  By David Boothroyd

From the pages of Pennwell's Cabling Installation and Maintenance Magazine

While PVC is still the most widely used cable in many countries, the use of low-smoke halogen (LSZH) is growing rapidly.

Low-smoke zero halogen (LSZH) cable has been available for more than 20 years and has come to be widely used, especially throughout Europe. It was developed as a response to the potential risks that have resulted from the use of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) as the standard insulating material for cabling.

If a fire occurs, the halogens in PVC can generate toxic fumes-acid gases that sear the eyes, nose, mouth and throat. The fumes can disorient victims, preventing them from escaping the blaze. They can cause severe respiratory damage, and they can kill. This is why a number of governments worldwide have standardized on LSZH cabling. 

(To read the full article)

Belden CDT Appoints John Norman Controller & Board Okays Stock Buy Back

Belden CDT Inc. announced May 23, 2005 that John Norman has joined the Company as Corporate Controller. Mr. Norman was formerly vice president and controller of Graphic Packaging International Corporation in Golden, Colorado, and has 17 years experience in public accounting with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in St. Louis and Denver. He is a native of St. Louis. Mr. Norman will be responsible for coordinating and developing the Company's accounting systems and policies and for leading its planning and analytical processes. He will report to Richard K. Reece, Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer.

Belden CDT Inc., a maker of high-speed electronic cables, on May 23, 2005 said the board authorized the repurchase of $125 million in common stock. Belden said the company plans to buy back shares in the open market or through negotiated transactions. As of March 31, the company had 47.3 million common shares outstanding. "With our strong cash flow and cash balance we have the flexibility to provide this value to shareholders now, while still maintaining the resources we need to grow the business," said C. Baker Cunningham, president and chief executive.  

Anixter on the Move

Anixter International Inc. Initiates Offer For The Shares Of Infast Group plc
GLENVIEW, IL, May 26, 2005 – Anixter International Inc. (NYSE: AXE), a leading distributor of communication products, electrical and electronic wire & cable and a leading distributor of fasteners and other small parts (“C” Class inventory components) to Original Equipment Manufacturers (“OEMs”), today announced the initiation of an offer at a price of 34 pence per share for the shares of Infast Group plc, (“Infast”), a U.K.-based distributor of fasteners and other “C” class inventory components to OEMs (the "Offer").

The offer has been unanimously recommended by the Infast Board of Directors. Anixter has received commitments to accept the offer from shareholders representing approximately 58.70 percent of the 114.34 million outstanding shares of Infast. The offer is subject to a number of conditions including a minimum acceptance level of 90 percent.

In February 2005 Infast announced that it had reached an agreement to sell the last of its manufacturing operations. That transaction completed a multi-year restructuring program in which Infast sold a number of businesses unrelated to its current fastener and “C” class parts distribution business. In its audited financial statements for the financial year ended December 31, 2004 Infast reported sales and earnings before interest, taxes and exceptional items of $287.3 million (£157.1 million) and $5.7 million (£3.1 million), respectively, from the continuing distribution operations which Anixter is proposing to purchase. Currently Infast operates 25 distribution centers in the U.K. and 6 in the U.S. and in total employs approximately 900 people.

Based on the offer price of 34 pence per Infast Share, Anixter expects to pay a total of $72.2 million (£39.47 million) for all of the outstanding and to be issued shares of Infast. As a result of the Acquisition, Anixter will assume the outstanding debt obligations of Infast which at December 31, 2004 totaled $25.4 million £13.9 million). The purchase of the shares will be funded from on-hand cash balances of Anixter.

Commenting on the proposed acquisition, Robert W. Grubbs, President and C.E.O. of Anixter International said, “The addition of the Infast operations to our existing OEM supply business is another significant step in positioning ourselves as a leader in the supply of fasteners and other small parts to original equipment manufacturers, service organizations and government support operations. The Infast customer base adds to and complements the existing base of multi-location
and multi-national customers we service today. Once this transaction is complete we will have proforma annual 2005 projected sales in this market of approximately $755 million.”

“As we have developed our position in this market place over the past three years our ability to provide quality products along with reliable supply chain services has positioned us well with the large multi-location and multi-national customers we serve. Our geographic presence, financial strength and focus on service give us the ability to capitalize on the opportunities in the marketplace. The proposed acquisition, in addition to bringing important new customers to our business, also adds to the scale of our operations and brings a proven group of employees that will contribute to a continued focus on enhancing our service capabilities,” continued Grubbs.

Concluding Grubbs said, “We expect this transaction to be immediately accretive to earnings. The completion of this proposed transaction will enhance our ability to compete effectively in this market on a global basis. Over time, as we blend the strengths, skills and capabilities of the Infast operations with our existing OEM Supply business, we expect the earnings contribution from the combined business to grow in a meaningful way.” 

General Cable Wins Frost & Sullivan Market Leadership Award

In the Automotive Aftermarket

Palo Alto, California and Highland Heights, Kentucky – May 26, 2005 – After recent analysis, Frost & Sullivan today bestowed its Market Leadership Award upon General Cable Corporation (NYSE: BGC) as the top market participant in the North American ignition wires sets aftermarket.  This Award is given to General Cable for exhibiting market share leadership through excellence in all areas of the market leadership process—the identification of market challenges, drivers and restraints and successful strategy development to address these market dynamics.  The Award also recognizes General Cable’s continually demonstrated solutions for monitoring market changes.

The General Cable Automotive Team has implemented a sound marketing strategy to maintain its leadership position even in the face of increased competition for a shrinking installed base for ignition wire sets.  The team is not content to be a follower and provides the market with a strong model for success.

“The North American ignition wire sets aftermarket is saturated with brands from manufacturers and retailers,” said Frost & Sullivan Research Manager Jasmine Sachdeva. “General Cable’s go-to-market strategy focuses on private branding and supplying wire sets to retailers who are striving to provide end users with diverse brands and product lines.  By taking a strategic approach in sharing information through their supply chain, the Company provides all its departments with the ability to maximize revenue and stay ahead of the technology and innovation curve,” she continued.

A recent example of the General Cable strategy included the introduction of a product line in November 2004 that replaced insulators on Coil-on-Plug (CoP) applications to facilitate tune-ups for vehicles with these systems.  This innovation highlights General Cable’s commitment to integrating products dealing with the next generation of ignition systems.

“General Cable is pleased to receive this Award from Frost & Sullivan in recognition of our market leadership in our core automotive product category — ignition wire sets,” commented Roger Roundhouse, Vice President and General Manager, Automotive and Wire Harnesses & Assemblies Products.  “We have a group of people who are passionate about a common vision.  This drive, coupled with our unique private brand strategy, will enable General Cable to maintain its leadership position in this category and continue to Deliver the Spark That Moves the World.”

To view the Frost & Sullivan Movers & Shakers Interview conducted by Research Manager Jasmine Sachdeva:


Want to know more about how you can capture the business opportunities associated with integrated building systems? Mark your calendars for several key conferences and exhibitions.

AFCOM: April 17-21 Las Vegas

BICSI SPRING: May 2-5 Las Vegas

BOMA: June 23-28 Anaheim

REALCOMM: June 27-28 Anaheim, CA

CONNECT 2005: June 28 Anaheim ,

ACUTA: July 17 - 21 Gaylord Palms - Kissimmee, FL

NECA: September 18-20, 2005 New Orleans


April 5-7

April 6-7
SFBF: Ft.Lauderdale, FL

APRIL 13-17
BOMA Southern region conference. Memphis, Tenn

APRIL 17-22
Data Center World (DCW): Las Vegas, NV

April 20-22
Environ Design9

April 21-22
Broadband Wireless World: Las Vegas NV

May 1-6
Interop: Las Vegas, NV

May 2-5
2005 BICSI Spring Conference: Las Vegas NV

May 4-6
Green Design Solutions: Hospitals & Schools: Chicago, IL

May 4-6
13th National Conference on Building Commissioning: New York City, NY

May 10-11
Expocom: Toronto

May 16-21
Affordable Comfort 2005: Indianapolis, IN

May 17-19
VOIP: Beijing China

May 17-27
Sustainable Practices in Design and Construction: Maho Bay, St John U.S. V.I.

May 18
ACUTA Midwest Regional Workshop - "Strategic Tradeoffs in Campus Wireless Mobility": Chicago, IL - Hyatt Regency O'Hare

May 19-21
AIA National Convention & Design Expo: Las Vegas, NV

May 22-25
UTC Telecom: Long Beach CA

MAY 30-June 2
Broadband World Forum: Yokahama Japan

JUNE 1-3
Greening the Heartland 2005:Cost, Practice & Policy: Chicago, IL

June 6-8
IEC: Chicago, IL

June 6-10
NFPA: Las Vegas, NV

June 6-9
Supercomm: Chicago, IL

JUNE 20-23
Ecobuild America 2005: The Environmental Systems Techology Conference

June 25-28
The North American Commercial Real Estate Congress & The Office Building Show
BOMA: Anaheim, CA
Vicki Cummins 888-777-6956


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