Canadian Electrical Industry News Week

Feb 20, 2019

AC DriveBy Blake Marchand

Electric motors account for approximately 53% of the world’s electricity use, and at least 90% (International Electromechanical Commission) of all electricity consumed within industry itself. With that in mind, it doesn’t take long to conclude that efficiency will be, and is, a key consideration for manufacturers in reducing overhead, as well as their overall carbon footprint.

“As a result,” explain Orlowska-Kowalska and Dybkowski in their market report, “one can state that current development trends are and will be strictly connected with drive energy efficiency, electric power quality and influence on the environment” (Orlowska-Kowalska, Dybkowski, 8).

While reliability remains the prominent factor in selecting electric drives, efficiency and connectivity should not be overlooked. Efficiency standards implemented by governments around the world “means that in the near future most machines used in industry will be equipped with a variable frequency drive with a possibility of angular speed regulation even when a technological process does not require this type of algorithm” (7).

The report ultimately concludes that, “there is no doubt that in most industrial applications the future will belong to AC motor drives fed by frequency converters with network converters and voltage converters made using smart power modules controlled by the MSI method.” However, the report does not specifically account for power loss from AC/DC conversion, so perhaps more research is required to definitively determine the benefits.

The ability to control VFDs (Variable Frequency Drives) remotely increases their benefit with respect to both efficiency and associated maintenance costs. As IIoT connectivity capabilities increase, so too do the possibilities of preventive maintenance that will allow manufacturers to decrease down time between repairs, as well as costs associated with those repairs, ultimately increasing the lifespan of their drive systems. The ability of drive systems to work smarter, rather than harder, also opens the door for increased output without the added strain on the drive system.

Research And Market’s 2017 report Global Electric Drives Market 2017-2021 agrees that, with respect to efficiency and IIoT, “The current market trends are favourable for AC drives because AC motors are more energy efficient than DC motors and do not have unreliable commutators.”

The IEC adds that, “The focus on motor efficiency has shifted from the product ‘motor’ to the ‘motor driven unit,’ which is the system consisting of the motor control with a variable frequency drive, the motor itself, the mechanical equipment, and the driven application (pump, fan, compressor, etc.),” meaning that the entire motor system is being taken into account when looking at efficiency. This perspective benefits AC motor drives. Another factor for the prominence of electric drives in general is the growing demand for IoT technologies.

The embedded microcontroller chip cuts out the uncertainty of external sensors creating a direct connection through the Internet, increasing the possibilities of predictive maintenance. The emergence of IoT/IIoT in accordance with the continued prominence of electric drives will allow manufacturers a high level of certainty on their maintenance schedules, and the overall life expectancy of their equipment.

In future applications, market trends suggest that sensorless drives will be used in manipulators and industrial robots, while direct measurement in this context, “will be replaced by reproduction of state variables using algorithmic and/or neural estimators with high tolerance to changes and erroneous identification of motor parameters.” (23)

Construction and automation — particularly relating to oil and gas, food and beverage, and pulp and paper — are the industries that will hold the largest share of AC drives’ prominence, while in terms of region Asia-Pacific is the fastest growing market. And that prominence is initiated by the region’s emphasis on energy efficient policy. As traditional energy sources like oil and gas have quantity limitations that equating to higher prices countries will look at efficiency as a new energy source, meeting their increasing energy demands by altering the way they consume their resources.

Ultimately, the future of drives will belong to those that maximize efficiency, connectivity and safety. As a result, it appears as though DC drives will be incrementally unable to compete with their AC counter parts. And thus, “while the market growth of DC drives remained almost flat in recent years, the market for AC drives is expected to see linear growth.”

In addition, field oriented control makes it possible for AC drives to match the performance of DC drives across a wide speed range without compromising the life span or reliability of the drive. In this respect, the advantage DC drives have over AC drives in high output applications may decrease in the coming years. In the past, the benefits of AC motors could not outweigh the performance of DC motors, particularly for applications requiring a high level of output. Technological advancements encompassing the entire drive system, as well as efficiency regulations for drive systems rather than just motors, have closed the performance gap for many applications.

The prominence of AC motors and drive systems has also been pushed forward by advancements in automation, which requires a more complex drive with significant computing power. Motor drives can be thought of as 80% drive and 20% services; the future of drives will close that gap significantly as industrial connectivity increases.
As industrial automation continues to become more complex, and IIoT continues to create more interconnection, electric motor drive systems will be required to process and simplify a high level of complexity and connectivity — in addition to being able to achieve higher levels of energy efficiency.

Blake Marchand is Assistant Editor, Drives & Controls Solutions. This article was first published online.

Dybkowski, Mateusz; Orlowska-Kowalska, Teresa. Industrial Drive Systems: Current State and Development Trends. Power Electronics and Drives. Vol. 1 (36), No. 1. 2016.

Matsuse, Kouki; Matsuhashi, Daiki. New Technical Trends on Adjustable Speed AC Motor Drives. Chinese Journal of Electrical Engineering. Vol. 3, No. 1. June 2017.

Contractors! You Deserve Better.

Ledvance EIN Aug4 You Deserve Better July 2022Contractors! You Deserve Better | Win $2,000 Grand Prize from LEDVANCE, THE WORLD'S LEADING VERTICALLY INTEGRATED LIGHTING COMPANY


You deserve better and LEDVANCE wants to make sure you know it. Enter for a chance to be one of over 190 winners with the grand prize including $2000 and a SYLVANIA Work Light!

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2021 Canadian Electrical Code Overview of Changes

EIN CSA Group Logo 2022 400CSA C22.1:21, Canadian Electrical Code, Part I contains many updates and changes that are potentially significant to electrical professionals. This online, self-guided course provides the key changes and impacts to the industry presented in an easy-to-follow format.

 Designed for professionals with a good working knowledge of the Code and who solely need the key changes including general updates or those made for clarification, safety, and new products and systems. Key changes due to Rule relocation or deletion are also noted.

This course may help save valuable time to help keep electrical projects safe and in compliance. This training is developed with input from a broad cross-section of electrical industry experts and with cooperation from all provinces, territories and several key jurisdictions across Canada. 

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Changing Scene

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Government of CanadaThe federal governemnt has officially launched a call for proposals (CFP) for the Zero-Emission Vehicle Awareness Initiative (ZEVAI). The initiative’s 2022 CFP will help fund new and innovative projects that aim to increase awareness and knowledge of ZEVs and charging and refueling infrastructure thereby increasing public confidence in these vehicles and their economic and environmental benefits.

Natural Resources Canada will provide funding through non-repayable contributions of between 50 and 75 percent of the total eligible project costs, with a maximum funding of up to $300,000 per project. The CFP will close on August 18, 2022.

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Omnicable joins ETIMETIM North America announced that OmniCable has joined the product classification standards organization. Headquartered in West Chester, PA, OmniCable has 24 locations throughout North America, and also owns Houston Wire & Cable (HWC). The company partners with many electrical manufacturers and only sells to distributors.

According to John Dean, Director of Marketing & E-Commerce, OmniCable/HWC, “The wire and cable industry is often called commodities, but there are very distinct features and attributes for the different products our manufacturers produce. 

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Atkore United Poly SystemsAtkore Inc. announced that it has acquired United Poly Systems, a manufacturer of High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) pressure pipe and conduit, primarily serving telecom, water infrastructure, renewables, and energy markets.

“We are pleased to complete the acquisition of United Poly Systems, which strengthens Atkore’s product portfolio, expands our manufacturing capacity and further enables us to meet HDPE customers’ needs,” stated John Pregenzer, President of Atkore’s Electrical business. “HDPE pipe and conduit is a growing market that is expected to benefit from U.S. infrastructure legislation, and United Poly Systems is a great addition to Atkore. We welcome these employees and look forward to working together to continue to serve and support our customers.”

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Canadian Electrical Contractor Discussion Group: Can You Count the Deficiencies?

EIN CECD 400Have you ever been called to fix the work of a 'handyman'?

"Was supposedly done by a"certified ' electrician....told the homeowner that he got a $266 record at TSBC. Can you count the deficiencies?"

"There is a second panel change in the triplex also.......even more deficiencies. Think the guy was a glorified handyman. Ones not obvious: 240 BB heat hooked up 120....drier on 2p20....range on 2p50....water heater fed with 2c14 Bx on 2p15."

Go HERE to join the discussion



Grimard is more competitive and produces estimates 3X faster with Procore


When the pandemic lockdowns started in March of 2020, Grimard (an electrical contractor) had to decide whether to shut down its operations entirely or implement a new platform with people who were now freely available for work. Once they implemented Procore, they found a way to efficiently communicate with stakeholders and offer full transparency in terms of project costs and planning. It also allowed Grimard to utilize historical data to make project estimates more accurate. Grimard was able to streamline its bidding process, which made it more attractive to potential clients and helped the business grow.

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Iron+EarthThe RenuWell Project partners are excited to announce the groundbreaking of two pilot sites located near Taber, Alberta. These pilot sites are the first of their kind to repurpose inactive oil and gas infrastructure as a foundation for renewable energy development and job creation.

When operating, the solar projects will generate 2,030 MWh annually – enough electricity to power 280 average Alberta households or irrigate 11,700 acres of farmland for an average year. This is roughly equivalent to $200,000 in electricity sales per year with 1,100  tCO2e savings in GHG emissions. Over a 25-year lifespan, the projects will generate 50,750 MWh, with GHG emission savings of 28,420 tCO2e.

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David O'ReillyBy Elle Bremmer

Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down with David O’Reilly, Vice President Home & Distribution and Secure Power Divisions with Schneider Electric Canada for a discussion regarding the Wiser EnergyTM smart home solution, the Wiser Approved training program, and his thoughts on several different subjects, including sustainability and future technologies currently in the works at Schneider Electric. David has been with the company for five and a half years in his role.

We recently published a study (version en français ICI) from Schneider Electric showing a strong interest from Canadians in smart home technology. 

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Product News

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Ericson String LightsEricson announces upgraded versions of their extremely capable line of Industrial String Lights and SL, LED Stringlights. These new and updated products have several key features important when safe, code compliant lighting for industrial workspace is necessary.

Infinitely capable, these ruggedly built products have several industry leading & exclusive features including:

Industrial String Lights:

  • A United States Navy Specification since before WWII, they’re time and application tested...


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Intermatic Pool and Spa SolutionIntermatic Incorporated announced its new P40000 Series Load Centers, a set of next-generation panels for pool-only applications, as well as its new PE24GVA 24-Volt Valve Actuator, an easy-to-install valve actuator that allows for tool-free cam adjustments. Both solutions remove obstacles for pool service professionals while delivering lasting performance.

“Intermatic load centers and valve actuators have been the preferred choice of pool professionals for more than 30 years,” says Brian Lamberty, product marketing manager at Intermatic. “The PE24GVA and P40000 Series build on that tradition, helping pool professionals streamline service calls while setting the standard for quality and performance.”

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Klein Tools Zipper BagsKlein Tools introduces new Stand-up Zipper Bags, in a 2-Pack with 7-Inch and 14-Inch sizes, both designed to handle tough jobsite conditions and stand up so tools and small parts can be easily accessed when working.

Stand-up Zipper Bags, 7-Inch and 14-Inch, 2-Pack (Cat. No. 55559)

  • Perfect for storing pliers, wrenches, screwdrivers, drill bits and other small tools and parts
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Emerson HV SafetyThe Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates 350 employees are killed annually in electrocution accidents, which roughly equals one fatality per day. In the face of these dangers, OSHA officials and industry safety consultants alike recommend eliminating potential hazards on work sites, rather than simply relying on contractors or employees to follow safety guidelines.

To help safeguard employees from electrocution, Emerson has launched its Appleton™ Powertite™ Lock Collar, a device that fastens over plug and connector connections and is secured with a padlock, preventing unauthorized personal from disconnecting the cable connection once in place. 

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Peers & Profiles

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Headquartered in Concord, Ontario, Mercury Lighting services national retail, ...
Among the recipients of the 2021 Clean50 Awards announced last month is Carolina Gallo, Vice ...
Sarah Silverstein is a principal with Liteline along side her two brothers Mark and Daniel. ...

Copper $US Dollar price per pound

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