Canadian Electrical Industry News Week

September 13, 2021

EIN Nexans Jerome 400By Jerome Leroy - VP, North America, Buildings & Territories

In just 18 months, our industry has seen businesses locked down and borders closed. Lead times have grown from weeks to months and orders have been cancelled. Copper prices have nearly doubled and continue to increase. We’ve seen an increasing number of extreme weather events, for instance Texas shut down by cold weather and British Columbia hit by record heat. And, of course, the pandemic has affected every economy in the world.

Make no mistake: these events characterize a new normal where, we believe, we’re seeing the emergence – and acceleration – of two widescale trends. The first is supply chain disruption. The second is the rise of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

Supply Chain Fear Factor

These days, lucky are the purchasing directors who are not facing supply chain challenges – raw materials for manufacturers, finished goods for distributors and installers, and volatile pricing for both. There are several reasons for this:

  1. Raw material shortage: Beginning with copper, several key wire cable components have been hard to find this year (PVC, aluminum, wood, etc.). The reality is that COVID has accelerated a long-term trend of copper production contraction, with mines closed for several weeks. Snow in Texas and the recent Hurricane Ida have also had a negative impact on production of plastic compounds (and to some extent on copper production as well).
  1. Market demand surge: While manufacturers and distributors with low inventory levels were recovering from COVID shortages, construction sites began reopening. Pandemic economic response plans provided incentives while good weather and the flux of people moving from urban to suburbs, smaller towns and rural areas only increased demand. From residential to commercial applications, our industry is processing volumes of cable we have not seen in years.
  1. Manufacturing limitations: In addition to stresses on raw material and labour, the Canadian market has been impacted by the US market recovery. American high demand combined with unusually high margins have pushed some manufacturers to momentarily step out of Canada to focus on US demand.

These events may or may not happen again, at least not at the same time. Copper prices are, however, likely to continue growing. As Goldman Sachs explained in a December 2020 report, we are currently at a peak in copper production that will decline for at least the next 20 years, while demand driven by cables, batteries, etc., will continue to grow. What’s more, unexpected weather events have and will keep happening – bigger and more frequently if we listen to environment experts, which will contribute to cause disruptions.

 

CSR and Climate Change

Until recently, ‘CSR’ meant Customer Service Representative to most businesses. While more top of mind in Europe until recently, Canadian companies are catching up on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). One reason for increased awareness: large corporations are being pushed to work on and publish their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reports, because more investors, like Black Rock, are taking carbon emissions into account when investing.

Another reason? Companies are feeling the rise of CSR-related challenges locally – in particular companies like utilities, committed to carbon neutrality. In the years ahead, manufacturers will need to redefine their way of doing business and find a way to emit less CO2, directly or indirectly. The same goes with public buildings that require LEED certification, which will in turn pressure manufacturers to address their carbon impact. Beyond CO2, several utilities are focusing on community issues -- like local employment – in their ESG reports and supplier evaluations.

There are even more CSR-related changes to come that will impact businesses in Canada. Two examples: a potential Green New Deal in the US that radically accelerates CO2 emission cuts by 2030 and would likely force Canada to follow suit. And a Dutch court ruling that requires the global oil and gas giant Shell to cut CO2 emissions generated by both its oil and gas and oil products production, which could put the same pressure on carbon-intensive Canadian companies to comply. In the cable industry, Europe has made good progress in calculating and benchmarking CO2 emissions of cables, while requiring manufacturers to continually monitor environmental regulations (e.g., REACH, RoHS) for allowed materials and ensure they comply. Finally, with recent events in British Columbia, and Canada experiencing the second fastest growing average temperature globally, heightened political and legal pressure are just around the corner even without international action.

Embracing These Trends

It’s a new world Nexans is already preparing itself, its clients and the industry for. Last year, we announced that we would focus on service quality, dedicating most of our capacity to top customers. We also reinforced the integration of our operations with our Montreal Copper Rod Mill to sharpen operations. This has proven to be the right decision, allowing us to ensure business continuity with all our clients.

In the meantime, we are paving the way to a CSR-compatible way of doing business. Leveraging the experience Nexans built in Europe, we are already reducing our carbon footprint and we built a roadmap to lead us further. And we are engaged with our key suppliers and clients to do more.

As an active member of the Canadian community for 110 years, we have seen, supported, and led some of the biggest changes in our industry. We are eager to embrace these latest trends and challenges, together with our partners.

Changing Scene

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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 permit....no 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

The CSA Z462 Workplace electrical safety Standard published its 2021 Edition in January.  A mandatory requirement for an employer is developing, implementing, and auditing an Electrical Safety Program.  If you have an Electrical Safety Program, is it up to date in its policies, practices and procedural requirements, is it performing as expected?  Workers do not necessarily do what you expect, they do what you inspect!  Management of change is required.

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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Product News

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Milwaukee M12 Cable Stripper

Connect plug-in lamps, holiday lighting, and small appliances to the top “Controlled” outlet, while the bottom “Powered” outlet remains always on. The DW15R features tamper resistant receptacles with built-in shutters to prevent the insertion of unintended foreign objects. As well, the integrated button with vanishing feedback LED provides manual push-button on/off control and clear indiciation at any time.

Simplify control of the residence - schedule lamps and connected loads to turn on/off at specific times or based on sunrise/sunset, easily group smart devices into rooms, and create scenes to activate multiple loads at once. Utilize the auto-shutoff feature as a countdown timer in closets, hallways and bathrooms.

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Incoplas Hybrid

Now available for Siemens Class 52 Actuators and Indicator Lights are the new Class 1, Div. 2 contact blocks. Suitable for use in Hazardous Location, Class 1, Div. 2 applications when used in a suitable enclosure. No matter which style actuator you use, the common base provided attaches to the hazardous location contact blocks easily.

Hazardous Location (HL) Series Contact Blocks are good for Hazardous Location CL1, DIV2 Applications using a Standard Enclosure NEMA 1, 12, 13, 4, 4X.

HL Series Contact Blocks are rated for switching high inrush loads like Tungsten Lamps.

 

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EarthTronics 25-Watt Emergency Driver for Linear Highbay

The 20A Outlet and 15A Outlet have the ability to allow function specific Inserts to be installed/removed/swapped making this platform an optimal choice for renovations and new construction. The Swidget Outlet is installed using the same wiring as a standard wall receptacle and when paired with a Swidget Insert turns into a powerful and flexible Smart Home device. The swapability of the Inserts ensures that this will work with Smart Home wireless systems now and in the future.

The Swidget product line targets the Home Automation and Smart Home markets with a unique future-proof solution. Swidget currently offers eight smart Inserts with different functionalities including Wi-Fi control, indoor air quality sensor, temperature, humidity, and motion sensors, as well as a USB charger guide light, and emergency lighting. They can all be controlled from anywhere with the Swidget App for iOS/Android or Alexa and Google Home.

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Peers & Profiles

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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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Éric DeschênesBy Line Goyette

As the head of ABB Canada's electrification business unit, Éric Deschênes is no newcomer to the electrical industry. He has a long track record and a passion for finding practical solutions to optimize technology adoption. Deschênes took on his current role with ABB January of 2020, he joined ABB in 2017 as Executive VP of the Electrification business after 15 years with Schneider Electric.

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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