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

 The Evolution Series. Poke-Thru Devices, Floor, Wall and Ceiling Boxes 

Legrand Wiremold EvoFrom poke-thru devices to floor, wall and ceiling boxes, the Evolution Series has continued to increase device efficiency and reliability while providing durability and quality. Customizing your space and maximizing access to all the power, A/V and communications you could ever need. Evolution Series boxes bring power, communications and A/V to walls, floors and ceilings. Evolution adds flexibility, functionality and stylish good looks to every room you create when planning office buildings, airports, schools and hospitals.

 

 

Watch the video Here

 

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Alta EnergyAlta Energy has completed the installation of solar power systems at 14 campuses across California’s Poway Unified School District (PUSD). Alta Energy installed a total of 632 kilowatts (kW) on 65 of PUSD’s standard 24 by 40 feet relocatable, portable classrooms. Financed through a power purchase agreement (PPA) with no out-of-pocket costs to the district, the project reduces PUSD’s electricity expenses by nearly 15 percent and will save the district $250,000 per year.

 

 

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Networking encompasses all parts of a building — from the electricity supply, taking account of regenerative energy (smart grid), via safety and security technology and operational regulation through interconnected building-automation systems, to control via mobile devices. The prerequisite for all this is systems interoperability, the only way network risks can be mastered.

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Klein Tools Slim-Tip ScrewdriversKlein Tools introduces a new line of Interchangeable Insulated Screwdrivers to give professionals greater accessibility with their insulated tools. Twist and flip or switch the blades for a convenient way to change between the most common screwdriver sizes used in electrical applications.

All screwdriver sets include:

  • uto-eject lock collar that twists to release the blade quickly and easily
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Greenlee Versi-Tugger Handheld PullerEmerson announced the addition of a handheld puller to its Greenlee pulling lineup – the new G1 Versi-Tugger. The versatile and portable G1 is designed for pulls normally done by hand and can pull up to 68-percent faster when compared to manual pulling.

“We engineered and built G1 based on honest feedback from professionals,” said Adele Hendrix, product manager for Greenlee, Emerson. “We learned being fast wasn’t only about pull speed. From setup and pulling to unspooling the line after – the entire process should be quicker than pulling by hand. Our design delivers that speed.”

 

 

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Paul HannaniaBy Blake Marchand

Held from November 7th to 9th in Orlando, Florida, the Ideal National Championships gives electricians a chance to display their skills in a high-level competition. For the first time, the event expanded internationally — over 55,000 electricians from 5 countries attempted to qualify for a chance to compete in the championship event.

For the second consecutive year, Paul Hannania was among the 162 professionals and apprentices to compete in the National competition. 

 

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