Canadian Electrical Industry News Week

July 30, 2019

Core logoBy Blake Marchand

Justin Harris is a Programmer/Electrician for COREngineering, a New Brunswick based mechanical engineering firm that specializes in the design of custom equipment. Some of their projects include specialized conveyors, power factor systems, palettizing systems, pneumatic drop testers, as well as panel builds.

As you will see in the interview below, Harris is the only electrician at COREngineering. As such, he is responsible for everything electrical, from quotes to field service, programming, wiring, pneumatics, and mechanical assembly.

Following high-school, Justin worked for several years moving from labour job to labour job including a stint in the Alberta oil fields. “I eventually got tired of breaking my back everyday,” he noted, and went back to school to upgrade his math and biology credits so that he could enroll at Holland College in the industrial electrical program. Harris told Panel Builder & Systems Integrator that he had very little knowledge about the industry when he began in the program, which, understandably, presented a considerable challenge.

“My first year was a great challenge as I did not know anything about electrical, including not knowing what AC or DC stood for, or even the difference between a volt or an ampere,” he explained, “After a challenging year of school, I passed my block 1 exam and achieved my first block.” Despite the challenge, Justin was committed to furthering his education and entering the electrical industry, “I did not find a job in the electrical field after the first year of school, but I didn’t give up!”

Harris returned to school to get his industrial block 5. With a base knowledge of the electrical industry he had a very successful year, which included receiving 109% in his PLC course with the help of a bonus project few students had previously completed successfully. He also participated in the school’s skills competition, finishing in third place. With two years of formal training in his pocket, Harris took a job with Olympia Electric in PEI where he remained for a year before returning to school and furthering his education.

“I wrote my block 2 and passed with excellent marks and then went on to work with Chas M Stewart Electrical and Alarms,” he explained, “After a bit I was getting bored of doing residential and commercial wiring procedures, so I moved to bigger better things.” Which is when he found a job with COREngineering, and since has gained a very extensive knowledge from training courses in safety such as arc flash, guarding, robotics training, and programming in robotics as well as completing his block 3.

Can you tell us a little about your work with COREngineering?

I found a job with COREngineering in Moncton New Brunswick. So, I relocated to Moncton and started work in January 2018 doing everything from quoting, sourcing, designing, building, and commissioning machinery that we custom design for clients. We do anything and everything from design, conveyors, vision system, power factor correction, you name it.

Why did you choose to pursue a career in the electrical industry?

Well to be honest, I always wanted to be a police officer while growing up but that changed over the years. When I was out in Alberta back in 2006, while working on the oil rigs, I watched an instrumentation electrician come in and do some work on a boiler and was kind of interested. When I moved back to PEI I did a bit more grunt work and decided enough was enough and to get into industrial electrical. It wasn’t until later I realized that I needed to be in mechatronics in order to do the instrumentation exam, so I stuck with the industrial because I really enjoyed the course.

What are some of the challenges associated with your role as Programmer/Electrician with COREngineering?

I faced a steep learning curve when I took on this position at COREngineering, I was fair warned at my interview. I am the only electrician at the company, so I do everything from quoting to completion for electrical. I do quotes, electrical design, ordering, wiring, pneumatics, programming, even do mechanical assembly as well. With me being the only person here, and the knowledge I had when I started, google, codebook, speaking to people to educate myself and forms became my best friend. There is a lot of knowhow in electrical, between smarts and hands on, such as common wiring practice, and learning new software for PLC, vision systems, and with robotics coming into the spotlight in industries that takes things to a whole new level. I learn everyday and learn it with great pride, because I do it on my own, asking a few questions and doing a lot of reading.

One piece of advice I would like to share is Reading brings knowledge and wisdom to oneself, I would never be where I am without my father telling me “pick up a book and don’t be afraid to learn something”… this has stuck in my head since high school and it benefited me to a great extent in terms of learning challenges.

How have PLCs progressed in recent years? What aspects interest you/have an impact on what you do? What is next in terms of advancements for PLCs in the next 5 years or so?

PLCs have advanced quite a bit in my time of using them, including size, complexity, and functionality, but if you want to compare now to the early 90’s they have progressed greatly in cost, speed, memory, functionality and much more. In the next 5 years, many PLC companies will need to be hoping on board with SCADA systems, interconnectivity and be Industry 4.0 ready for the new advancements the world is trying to accomplish.

Considering they provide similar functions, can micro-PLCs replace programmable relays in some applications?

Yes, PLCs were originally developed to replace relays and since, have quickly advanced into more complex smarts with many new capabilities. Cheap controllers, called micro PLCs, still are great for relay-replacement. But they also offer many functions that were once available only in large PLCs, such as math calculations, subroutines, and analog control, more memory, alarms, diagnostics, counters, IO and more. Micro PLCs provide many functions in a small component making them great for simpler applications.

Blake Marchand is an Assistant Editor with the Kerrwil Electrical Group

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Electrician Forum Brought to you by Schneider Electric

As industry experts you know the products you use everyday better than anyone and should have input on what information you receive about products and what could improve them.

Therefore, we want your insight on the biggest challenges or issues you face when installing loadcentres, breakers (CAFI, GFI's…) and other surge protection devices. We ask that you do not provide product specific details but rather your general issues and concerns or any questions that have come to mind while working with these product types. Provide us with your valued expert insight into the issues you have faced so manufacturers can better inform you about the installation and use of these products. Lets generate some discussion that will help guide the Industry.

Make your comments  HERE

 

ABB PortalThe ABB eFinder portal simplifies the process of locating inventory from ABB’s selection of products used for connection and transmission of electrical power. Customers may now search online for ABB Installation Products and can purchase them from the distributor who has the products in stock. Once the product is located, the customer may buy it from the distributor by connecting directly to the distributor’s e-commerce page and placing the products in an online shopping cart for the final purchase transaction.

 

 

 

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White PaperBy Steven Carlini, Schneider Electric

Internet use is trending towards bandwidth-intensive content and an increasing number of attached “things.” At the same time, mobile telecom networks and data networks are converging into a cloud computing architecture. To support needs today and tomorrow, computing power and storage is being inserted out on the network edge in order to lower data transport time and increase availability. Edge computing places data acquisition and control functions, storage of high bandwidth content, and applications closer to the end user. This white paper explains the drivers of edge computing and explores the various types of edge computing available.

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Dot Foods is the largest food industry redistributor in the U.S. and has been expanding and renovating throughout its headquarters over a couple of years. The main lobby area is the latest to get an upgrade, and as the first point of contact for many entering the facility it had to leave an instant impression.

 

 

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Copper $US Dollar price per pound

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