Canadian Electrical Industry News Week

Nov 1, 2019

LDS EPIC mainlab 400By Blake Marchand

When it comes to bringing technology and innovation into the marketplace, in particular, technologies and innovations that broader society has vested interest in proliferating, collaboration between government, educational institutions, and industry are often a necessity. While colleges and universities excel in research and development from an intellectual and facility perspective, they aren’t as equipped as industry when it comes to bringing those innovations to market. And from a resource perspective, government can bridge the gap between industry and institution to provide an extra incentive to not only innovate but bring those innovations to fruition in the marketplace.

This is why programs like Mohawk College’s IDEAWORKS and their Energy and Power Innovation Centre (EPIC) are so crucial to the industry as well as in developing well-rounded students that are prepared to succeed within that industry.LDS EPIC Faculty 400

“Mohawk College has conducted applied research for approximately 12 years and focusing energy and power for 9 years, the initial area of expertise of EPIC was protection and control, and power quality. For the last two years, we have re-focused our areas to evolve with industry, as well as involve more our students and Faculty,” explained EPIC General Manager, Mariano Arriaga. Operating on a cost-recovery basis, the Centre has been able to develop and grow with provincial and federal government grants, as well as with their collaboration with industry stakeholders.

IDEAWORKS engages undergraduate students and hires co-op students in Mohawk’s Energy and Electrical programs, which in addition to providing practical research and development experience, provides students with career opportunities with the companies the college is collaborating with. A benefit to the industry and students.

LDS EPIC student 400“We provide them with a meaningful experiential learning opportunity since they are working directly with industry in solving some of the current problems. The students participate directly in projects ranging from testing, validation, and demonstration of new technologies; verify performance and efficiency of technologies and different configurations, as well as feasibility studies. In addition, from an industry perspective, our projects involving students become a pre-interview process for industry to hire students that, as part of the projects, are already familiar with their products and services,” said Mariano.

The Centre essentially lowers the risk companies undertake when developing new products or technologies. Maximizing value proposition by leveraging government funding, providing targeted training activities, and ultimately providing access to facilities and equipment, “including electrical testing and monitoring, protection and control equipment, power sources (conventional and renewable), real-time simulator, and battery and solar PV emulator. As well as, information from the College’s Building Automation System (BAS) for a recently opened 8, 900m2 Net-Zero Energy Building.”

Mariano said the Centre has established a process to identify and work with industry partners in applied research projects. Guiding them to the process of identifying the challenge, scoping the project, finding funding sources, and developing the collaboration project. In addition, EPIC has the support from IDEAWORKS Business Development team which helps identify potential partners and disseminate project results.

Mariano identified energy efficient technologies and cybersecurity as two areas pertinent to the future of the industry that EPIC has begun exploring.

“There is a set of energy efficiency measures that industry is and will implement without requiring an applied research component,” he explained, “We believe, and know, that industry can jump ahead and implement this right away. However, we want to focus on upcoming technologies, processes, sensors that require some testing, validation, and demonstration of the technology or configuration.”

“One of our main objectives, besides reducing energy consumption, is to decrease commissioning time at industrial facilities as much as possible.”

Mohawk recently opened a cybersecurity lab that will soon offer cybersecurity related programs.

“We want to leverage this upcoming expertise with the existing expertise in protection and control and our decommissioned substation facility in downtown Hamilton,” he said.

LDS EPIC CarolineSubstation 400In 2018, Alectra Utilities provided use of a decommission substation, with support from Omicron, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Schneider Electric, and Siemens. The substation was renovated to include classrooms, and ultimately provide a real-life working environment for students, as well as a facility for the industry to conduct training, demonstration, testing and research.

Mariano has been EPIC’s General Manager since June 2019. He earned his B.A.Sc. and M.A.Sc. degrees in Industrial Systems Engineering from the University of Regina in 2002 and 2003, respectively.

“My experience has been very positive while growing the Centre and finding opportunities for our students, faculty, and technical staff to get involved in projects directly related to industry problems. The Applied Research capabilities of Mohawk (EPIC), and, I can say, Colleges in general, are growing areas where collaborative projects with industry can bring mutual benefits,” said Mariano of his time with EPIC.

Over the past 10 years Mariano has focused on renewable energy research and practical projects at different development stages, with a special focus on energy for remote communities. He also works with Ontario’s First Nations as an advisor and instructor in energy-related opportunities at the community level.

His work and research have taken him all over the world from his hometown in Mexico to Canada, Tanzania, and Laos. He earned a M.Sc. in Renewable Energy at the University of Zaragoza, Spain in 2009 and completed his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Waterloo in 2015.

Photos courtesy Mohawk College

Blake Marchand is Assistant Editor with Kerrwil Electrical Group

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EIN ABB logo 400ABB is an international company with a large global presence, but did you know that a significant percentage of the products sold in Canada are also designed and manufactured locally?

ABB’s Installation Products division, formerly known as Thomas & Betts, operates seven manufacturing facilities in Canada, six of them in Quebec and one in Alberta.

Many of their most well-known brands, including IBERVILLE®️️, Marrette®️️, Microlectric®️️, and Star Teck®️️, are products that started in Canada and are still manufactured locally to meet Canadian standards.




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




 Siemens Built In Isolation Products 400By Alyssa Kerslake

Life safety today is top of mind for nearly everyone. There is a certain level of trust that fire alarm systems continue to work within a fire incident. With system survivability being a key concern to regulators, building managers, and the public, Siemens has developed systems that are designed to meet and exceed regulations that protect people, property, and assets. 

One of the most significant concerns, particularly in a large multi-story building, is implementing a secure and fully functional fire alarm system. Today, it is not uncommon to have power and data for hundreds of fire alarm devices connected over a single pair of wires. The concern is, if a fault occurs somewhere between the devices, the zone and location of the device may no longer be known, or the operation of that circuit reduced or possibly impaired. These scenarios could allow an undetected catastrophic event to develop within the space due to inoperable life safety devices. 


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David Gordon

By Terry Becker, P.Eng., CESCP, IEEE Senior Member

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I have been involved in supporting industry with respect to shock and arc flash hazards in the workplace and in understanding what needs to be done to ensure worker safety, that effective defendable due diligence is established, and evidence of compliance is available related to occupational health & safety regulations both Provincial, Territorially or Federally.  I am in Ontario this week completing a detailed Electrical Safety Audit at multiple enterprise facilities.

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Milwaukee M12 Cable Stripper

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Incoplas Hybrid

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EngWorksBy Blake Marchand

EngWorks was formed in 2004 as an electrical engineering and consulting firm by Allan Bozek, “After a short time we realized there was a niche in hazardous locations, in particular in hazardous area classification design requirements for various facilities. And also helping people understand just how the Canadian Electrical Code applies to hazardous locations.”

Given the complexity of hazardous locations, Bozek saw a need for education while working in the field and began developing training courses designed.

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We met with him recently to discuss his new role at the helm of ABB Canada and his plans moving forward. He began by pointing out that the recent change to ABB Canada's structure, as elsewhere in the world, was made to make customer relations more straightforward. 

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