A Perfect 10

After much fanfare and time between the unveiling of our Product of the Year finalists this past June and the actual on-line voting, we're ready to announce this year's winners. But before we do, a couple of notes about the process: Back in the spring, we asked vendors to submit innovative products that came to market in previous year in the major M/E disciplines we cover.

11/01/2006


After much fanfare and time between the unveiling of our Product of the Year finalists this past June and the actual on-line voting, we're ready to announce this year's winners. But before we do, a couple of notes about the process: Back in the spring, we asked vendors to submit innovative products that came to market in previous year in the major M/E disciplines we cover. Entries were judged on a 1-to-10 scale by an expert panel of our readers. The judges narrowed the field to three finalists in each category. We then asked readers to go online and vote. The product with the most overall votes is our “Grand” winner—ABB, who also took gold in the Drives category. Congratulations to all, and we look forward to seeing next year's entrants.

Sincerely,

Jim Crockett

Editor-in-Chief

Grand Winner DRIVES

Ultra-Low-Harmonic Drive by ABB

“Improving line voltage quality by reducing harmonics is a primary concern for many variable-speed drive users,” says Ari Hedemaki, product line manager, ACS800 Industrial Drives, ABB, Low Voltage Drives. “Harmonics can disturb equipment of other power consumers, cause additional losses in power distribution and, in some cases, can even damage equipment connected to the same network.” These drives, available as wall-mounted and cabinet-built units, use an active converter controlled with direct torque control to eliminate low-order harmonics and an active front-end LCL line filter to combat high-frequency harmonics. With total distortion reduced to about 4%, the drives meet the requirements of harmonic standards such as IEEE 519 and G5/4. A significant added benefit is that the drives always operate with unity power factor. www.abb-drives.com

Silver: Electro Static's Aegis SGR Shaft Grounding Brush

Bronze: Baldor Electric's H2 Adjustable-speed Drive

HVAC WINNER

Vektor High-Plume Dilution by Greenheck

This high-plume dilution system is designed for institutional and industrial laboratory applications and employs a multi-stage discharge nozzle that entrains ambient air that is added to the lab exhaust. This additional air not only dilutes the lab exhaust, but also assists in displacing it at a significantly greater distance from the roof—and in turn, further from building makeup air systems—when compared to conventional exhaust systems. Spark-resistant construction is available for facilities that exhaust flammable and explosive solvent vapors. www.greenheck.com

Silver: Bell & Gossett's VSX Centrifugal Pump

Bronze: Carrier's Evergreen 23VXRV Chiller

Electrical WINNER

IPC2 Integrated Power Center by Square D

By integrating panelboards, individually mounted circuit breakers or lighting contactors with a dry-type transformer into a single factory-assembled and pre-wired unit, this unit has the potential for greatly reduced installation time. Also, with panels stacked above the transformer, there is considerable space savings. “Depending on the application, labor savings of 15 to more than 20 hours can be realized,” claims Schneider Electric Marketing Manager Craig Jones. “In a conventional installation, multiple components must be received, handled, stored and installed, along with conduit, wire and fittings. The IPC2 eliminates all that, with a footprint that is only 24 in. deep by 42 in. wide.” www.us.squared.com

Silver: Eaton's Quick Connect Switchboard

Bronze: GE's Entellisys Low-Voltage Switchgear

Controls WINNER

APOGEE Wireless by Siemens Building Technologies

The APOGEE system is a wireless field level network that communicates via radio frequency links instead of a hard-wired communications network. This system of wireless building automation for HVAC is based on a mesh topology that is seal-healing so that users don't have to worry about losing communication with control devices across the system. “Simply put,” says Jay Hendrix, manager of SBT's Wireless Solutions, “the network can't be compromised because the signal is automatically able to circumvent obstructions and find its target.” Once installed and powered, the radios automatically form the network and the communication is virtually transparent to the end user.

www.us.sbt.siemens.com

Silver: Watt Stopper's BACnet-enabled Lighting Controller

Bronze: Ebtron's SCB202-T Terminal Controller

Lighting WINNER

360

About a year ago, Watt Stopper/Legrand unveiled a new family of occupancy sensors that feature 360° coverage, advanced detection technology and a low-profile design. Available in both line and low voltage models, the UT-300, CI-300 and DT-300 series mount on ceilings, offering a flat, unobtrusive appearance. The UT-300 features ultrasonic sensing technology, while the CI-300 employs passive infrared (PIR) technology for occupancy detection. The DT-300 relies on both ultrasonic and PIR sensing technologies. “Advanced capabilities such as SmartSet technology and walkthrough mode offer increased energy savings potential,” says Joy Null, marketing director with the company. “With SmartSet, sensors automatically adjust time delay and sensitivity settings based on occupany activity and space characteristics. Walkthrough mode turns lights off automatically after brief visits. www.wattstopper.com

Silver: Lutron's EcoSystem Lighting Controller

Bronze: Lithonia's I-Beam High Bay T5-HO Fluorescent

Power Generation WINNER

Flywheel Energy Storage System from Liebert/Pentadyne

Emerson Network Power's Liebert and Pentadyne Power were co-winners in this category, because the Liebert FS UPS system uses the Pentadyne VSS+DC flywheel system, and both companies submitted this year. “Flywheel technology represents a viable alternative to battery backup in some applications,” says Kevin Stoll, vice president of marketing at Liebert. The system provides 120 kW of instant ride-through power and voltage stablilization for 20 second or more—more than enough for most power events. Configured as a two-terminal DC energy storage system, the unit provides a functional replacement for a bank of chemical batteries. A significant feature of the flywheel itself is that it is made of carbon fiber composite, making it much lighter than other flywheels on the market. www.liebert.com

Silver: Caterpillar's ACERT genset

Bronze: Cummin's PowerCommand

Fire WINNER

BEAM200(S) by System Sensor

“This single-ended, reflected-type beam smoke detector includes an 8-in. reflector and an integral sensitivity test. It is especially suited to protecting open areas with high ceilings where other methods of smoke detection are difficult to install and maintain. “This is a vast improvement over the prior generation of beam smoke detectors,” says David George, director of communications with System Sensor. “First, it's an addressable beam smoke detector, an industry exclusive, allowing the building owner or fire professional to know which detector is in alarm and exactly where the smoke and/or fire is located. Second, it will automatically adjust its sensitivity using advanced software algorithms to select the optimum sensitivity for the specific environment. And finally, and most important to installers, it is much easier to install than dual ended projected beam detectors.” Wiring only needs to be run to one end due to the transmitter and received being combined into one unit. Alignment is quickly accomplished via an optical sight and a two-digit signal strength meter www.systemsensor.com

Silver: Fike's Cheetah Xi Special Suppression Control System

Bronze: Gamewell's E-Series Alarm Panel

Plumbing WINNER

SMOOTH (Side-Mount-Operator-Over-The-Handle) by Sloan Valve

This handle quickly and easily converts most of the manufacturer's Flushometers to water-saving sensor operation, offering hygiene and convenience to users. There are also cost and maintenance advantages for facility owners and operators. A big plus is that there is no assembly required, and the unit has a true mechanical override, meaning that it functions even when the batteries need to be replaced. “It installs in less than a minute using only a screwdriver,” says Susan Kennedy, director of marketing with Sloane Valve. “There's no need to even turn off the water. It works right out of the box for either left- or right-handle installation on exposed manual water closets and urinals.” www.sloanvalve.com

Silver: Hilti's CP 683/680 Firestop Device

Bronze: None

Communications/Security WINNER

VideoJet 8008 by Bosch Security

This eight-channel IP networking system offers DVD-quality, real-time video combined with efficient use of bandwidth for a compact solution wherever multi-camera transmission and recording are required. “For new and large facilities, many designs are using the IP network and Internet to transmit video between buildings and a central site,” explains Bob Banerjee, product marketing manager with Bosch. “and commonly get recording centrally on network video recorders.” If the camera is separated from the recording device, a network outage will stop the recording. This system solves that problem. When the system is used to stream to a central NVR, the internal hard drive can be used to buffer video in the event of a network outage, allowing recording to continue. on www.boschsecurity.us

Silver: Wiremold's 4000 Designer Series Raceway

Bronze: None





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