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Connect-Air CableM8 Giveaway: We Have a Winner!

2018 July 3
by ajweberalps; 109 views

Remember back in April when you could enter for that sweet giveaway for a Connect-Air CableM8 after buying 5,000 feet (five boxes) of cable?

Well, we’ve got a winner! ABM Building Solutions, LLC will walk away with Connect-Air’s all-in-one cable distribution system, which is able to carry up to 10 cable pulls, tools, additional reels, and other parts. Recently our Regional Sales Manager for the Western U.S. Jim Kalafatis met up with Connect-Air’s Regional Sales Manager Ed Serrano to award the prize to Paul Chapling, who is the Operations Manager at ABM’s Sacramento, CA, branch.

When asked how he would use the Cablem8 on an upcoming job, Paul was quick to point out the obvious: “Well…we’re gonna pull wire with it,” which got us all laughing.

Left: Ed Serrano, Regional Sales Manager at Connect-Air; middle: Paul Chapling, Operations Manager at ABM (Sacramento); right: Jim Kalafatis, Regional Sales Manager (Western U.S.) at alpscontrols.com

He also said,

I can definitely see this saving time. Very convenient just for packing the wire up. This wire management system will probably save us labor, time in pulling wire. And then also the ability to to throw the rolls of wire down below, for those pulls that we do. It looks nice rolling it around people’s offices. Typically we’re doing retrofit work, so this would fit right in.

Chapling also explained that the CableM8 was preferred by his engineering department for its ease of use. “We can get all of our Connect-Air wire right away. It’s an efficient time saver we have right here!”

You can also become eligible win amazing prizes! Stay connected to our giveaway offers by subscribing to our newsletter here and filling out the brief form at the bottom of the page.

CO₂ Leak Detection in Refrigeration Applications

2018 May 23

Growing Need for CO2 Leak Detection

Regulations, market drivers and trends reflect that carbon dioxide (CO2) is increasingly being used as a refrigerant in a variety of applications. This includes applications such as:

  • Supermarkets / Grocery Stores
  • Cold Rooms
  • Walk-in Freezers
  • Industrial Cold Storage
  • Food Manufacturing / Processing

CO2 is less environmentally harmful than many of the gases previously used in these refrigeration applications, having a significantly lower Global Warming Potential (GWP)than HFC and HCFC refrigerants. Some of these gases, such as R-404A, are beginning to be phased out of use due to environmental impact and regulations. These factors contribute towards CO2 becoming an increasingly attractive option for use when balanced against the requirements of regulations such as F-Gas (EU Regulation No. 517/2014), and the US EPA Clean Air Act Section 608.

Furthermore, the manufacturers of refrigeration systems continue to develop a growing range of ever more efficient and cost-effective CO2 refrigeration system options, enabling their wider adoption into commercial applications.

The Need for CO2 Leak Detection

While beneficial in environmental impact, CO2 is a potentially harmful gas to humans if sufficiently high concentrations are present. Typical figures stipulated for CO2 exposure by OSHA are:

  • 5,000 ppm – Occupational Exposure Limit (OEL)
  • 40,000 ppm – Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH)

Refrigerant safety standards, including EN 378-1:2016 and ASHRAE 34-2013, include these exposure levels to determine the safety of a refrigerant system and the cases inwhich refrigerant leak detection is mandated. These use-cases will typically include refrigerant detection in machinery rooms and

other refrigerated spaces, including cold rooms and walk-in freezers. Where larger refrigerant charge sizes are used, the potential for mandated refrigerant leak detection in larger spaces, such as storage freezers, is increased.

As with all refrigeration systems, over time there is the potential for leaks to occur. Causes can include improper maintenance, mechanical wear, inadvertent damage or improper maintenance. With pressurized systems, these factors can contribute to a significantly higher risk of leaks. Due to design requirements, CO2 refrigeration systems typically operate at high pressures; sub-critical or trans-critical system pressure ratings often operate in excess of 2,000 PSI. These high pressure ranges mean that in the event of a major CO2leak, the gas can escape into a space at very high leak rates.

An example:

Taking an example of a walk-in cold room / freezer, with a room volume of 1,000 ft3 / 28.3 m3, and a typical rate of one air exchange per hour, the following can be determined:

  • A leak of CO2 at a rate of 7.5lb/hour, or 3.4kg/hour, will create an atmosphere containing 5,240 ppm of CO2 in just 5 minutes. This surpasses the OEL and reaches a level to which workers should not be exposed.
  • A leak of CO2 at a higher rate of 1lb/minute, or 454g/minute, will create an atmosphere containing 41,920 ppm of CO2 in just 5 minutes. This surpasses the IDLH level, and would be highly and immediately dangerous to personnel entering the space.

These theoretical examples show that CO2 leaks in refrigerated spaces have the potential to become dangerous very quickly. Effective CO2 leak detection can be an essential tool in maintaining a safe environment.

Selecting an Effective CO2 Leak Detector

CO2 is monitored in a wide variety of applications, including Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), occupational workplaces and refrigeration applications. However, it should be noted that not all CO2 monitoring devices are suitable for leak detection in refrigeration applications.

Two key factors that should be considered when looking for a suitable CO2 leak detector relative to the applicable application are Response Time and Operating Temperature.

Response Time

The rate at which CO2 can leak and create a dangerous environment makes response time a critical factor in delivering effective CO2 leak detection. Instruments suited for monitoring of gradual changes in the atmospheric CO2 level, such as used in IAQ applications, may not be suitable for leak detection purposes, where a fast response is needed to ensure that a dangerous working environment is not created and/or entered. It should be advocated to review both the stated response time of the sensor being used in a leak detector, and most importantly the response time of the instrument. Different instrument designs can affect how quickly gas can diffuse into a CO2 sensor.

For example, a sensor can be directly presented to the atmosphere being monitored, thereby helping deliver a fast response time, or the gas may need to diffuse down a capillary tube to enter the sensor which would significantly increase the response time of the instrument and negate the stated response time of the sensor itself. It is imperative that the gas detector response time is appropriate for the designated application to provide the benefit of its intended use.

Operating Temperature

Operating temperature is also a key factor in selecting an appropriate CO2 leak detector for a refrigeration application. There are comparatively few CO2 sensors available on the market that are specified for use at temperatures lower than 0°C / 32°F, with response times required for effective use in the refrigerant gas detection applications. As the use of CO2 in refrigeration continues to grow, it becomes imperative to ensure that sensors appropriate for use in low temperature environments are used by instrument manufacturers whose products are intended for leak detection in refrigerated spaces.

Fundamentally, it can’t be determined what behavior a sensor would exhibit if run outside of its specified operating range without test data, as each sensor may behave differently. What can be stated, is that any reading could be invalid and the device behavior could be undefined. At best, the sensor may be inoperable and a fault detected; at worst an invalid or inaccurate reading may be provided. It could be argued that a sensor operating outside of its designed specifications is less useful than none at all, as it may provide false confidence the gas level is being accurately monitored and its benefit of installation and use is nullified, creating risk of exposure.

Summary

CO2 refrigeration systems are increasingly used in commercial applications, a trend which is expected to continue. In turn, this creates an increasing need for effective CO2 leak detection systems to be employed, helping to enhance the safety of those working in refrigerated spaces. CO2 can be a dangerous gas in sufficient volumes, so care should be taken in selecting an effective solution with an appropriate response time and operating temperature.

Original article provided courtesy of Bacharach

There’s No Time for Downtime – Insertion Electromagnetic Flow Transmitters from Dwyer

2018 March 22
by admin; 429 views

 

 

With the release of the Insertion Electromagnetic Flow Transmitter, Dwyer Instruments, Inc. provides performance, accuracy, and reliability with same day field configurability.

Previously, insertion flow transmitters on the market did not offer much flexibility to configure products in the field. Dwyer addressed these concerns, delivering a solution with their new unit.

“The installation of the Series IEF Insertion Flow Transmitter was very simple,” said Walter Smith, Pipefitter/Service Technician/Foreman with mechanical contractor D.A. Dodd. “The rod that came with the unit to set the depth of the transmitter makes it very installer friendly.”

D.A. Dodd, headquartered in Rolling Prairie, Ind., conducted installations of three new IEF Insertion Flow Transmitters beginning in October 2017, which allowed for Dwyer to have the opportunity to individually study the magmeters.

“I believe this insertion flow transmitter will meet and exceed the requirements for its application,” Smith said. “From what I have seen so far this is very accurate and comparable if not better than similar products.”

Field configurable, integral, or remote setup displays allow for ultimate flexibility by accommodating a variety of application options with a single model through multiple display arrangements. These include pipe size, pipe material, liquid type, analog output, pulse/frequency output, alarm outputs, communication outputs, damping, and calibration factor.

Smith, who has been a pipefitter and service technician for 25 years, has experience working with a wide variety of flow transmitter products and manufacturers. He found the new Dwyer Insertion Electromagnetic Flow Transmitter to be easy to work with.

“The display and configurations are user friendly,” Smith said. “They are better and have a larger display than units I have used in the past. I would recommend this unit to my customers. They perform very well.”

The Insertion Electromagnetic Flow Transmitter can be used in a variety of applications such as: boiler feed water, chilled water, open and closed loop condenser water, irrigation systems, municipal water distribution, process and coolant flow, ground water remediation, chemical processing, pump protection, wastewater, and mining.

The Series IEF will be replacing the Series IEFS in the Dwyer product line. New features include temperature compensation, one size fits most adjustability, additional output/communication options, a wider operating voltage range, and NSF/ANSI 61 and 372 (pending) approval for drinking water system components.

All of this versatility packed into the Series IEF Insertion Electromagnetic Flow Transmitter means a single solution for your toughest needs with same day installation because There’s No Time for Downtime!

Check out the Insertion Electromagnetic Flow Transmitter from Dwyer on alpscontrols.com 

Setra System’s Power Battalion 48 Networked Power Meter

2018 March 15
by admin; 538 views

Setra’s newest networked Power Meter – the Power Battalion 48

Learn more from the video that was provided to us by Setra:

The New Setra Power Meter Roll Call

Like the Power Patrol and Power Squad 24, the Power Battalion 48 is a ANSI C12.2 revenue grade power meter capable of capturing both high and low voltage loads. This meter offers additional options when planning your next building automation project. The Power Battalion 48 adds flexibility by combining two different voltage sources, allowing the user to monitor both high voltage loads (480V, 600V) for chillers and compressors while also capturing low voltage loads (120V, 208V) for lighting grids. The dual voltage references eliminate the need to have more than one multi-circuit meter– all for less than $100 per metering point.

Why Setra Power Meters Excel

  • Multi-circuit meters eliminate the need for multiple enclosures or breakers; an installer can mount 16 traditional single circuit meters with individual enclosures and fuse disconnects – or they can just install one Power Battalion 48! A single 15 amp, 600 Volt rated breaker can protect all 48 circuits being monitored.
  • Setra’s family of Power meters are UL610.10 rated for installation inside main distribution panels without having to install them in a UL508 enclosure – eliminating costly labor and conduit runs.

  • USB interface allows for setup via a laptop prior to installation.  The Setra Power Battalion 48 is also equipped with a web browser-based setup, eliminating the need to suit up in personal protective equipment (PP/Arc Flash suits) while setting up the meter parameters. The utilization of one meter, which provides full data stream metering via common Building Automation System (BAS) platforms allows for the user to choose the right communications protocol needed for the application. Supported protocols include:
    • BACnet IP & BACnet MS/TP (BTL Certified)
    • Modbus TCP & Modbus RTU
    • Two pulsed outputs
  • Every Setra power meter is equipped with the unique functionality of being installed on 90-600 Volt services without having to know your voltages ahead of time. Each meter can work with small 20 amp CTs at 0.333 MV output or Rogowski CTs from 5-5000 amps at 108mV/1kA. Setra’s Patrol Flex Rogowski coils exhibit industry-best accuracy at 0.5% (positional) while only weighing about half a pound each.

Where are Setra power meters being used now?

User-owned power meters are increasingly installed as standard practice in most industrial and commercial new construction. With environmental sustainability becoming a growing concern, a lot of new construction projects are following LEED certification guidelines. Advanced LEED power monitoring requirements include frequent logging of power usage and demand via a BAS, monitoring of power factor, and submetering among many other factors.

Watch the video that was provided to us from Setra:

Increasing energy costs are frequently the largest variable expense for commercial and industrial facilities; the installation of submeters can provide numerous benefits to the facility manager.  Real-time submetering data can help facility managers drive savings by highlighting opportunities to optimize equipment and site performance.  This data can provide feedback on energy consumption; how much energy is being used throughout the day and identify which areas are consuming more energy than necessary.


Find the Power Battalion 48 on alpscontrols.com

And here’s where we dedicate inside sales and support team members specifically to your account.

2018 February 26

In an effort to always-constantly-perpetually-forever improve your customer support experience when you shop in our online marketplace, we’ve recently made changes to the assignments of our technical and sales support staff who are now dedicated specifically to your account.

So when you reach us via phone, email, live chat, or Skype, you can depend on talking to the same support team member who knows you, knows your account, and is ready to jump in right away and help.

Here’s how our inside sales and support team breaks down geographically:

(click to enormous-size)

And here’s how you can easily reach them:

EAST REGION:
ernie larsonErnie Larson
Customer Service/Inside Sales
phone: +1 412.464.1730 x29
email:
call Ernie Larson on Skype

jj maloneyJohn “J.J.” Maloney
Customer Service/Inside Sales
phone: +1 412.464.1730 x42
email:
call J.J. Maloney on Skype

Ernie and J.J. help customers in our northeast territory in support of our regional sales manager Chris Colacito; in our mid-Atlantic territory for Jason McCormick; and in our southeast territory for Jon Cramer.

CENTRAL REGION:
gabriel porroGabriel Porro
Inside Sales Representative
phone: +1 412.464.1730 x46
email:
Hablo español
call Gabriel Porro on Skype

jeremy robertsJeremy Roberts
Customer Service/Inside Sales
phone: +1 412.464.1730 x44
email:
call Jeremy Roberts on Skype

Gabriel and Jeremy help customers in our midwest territory; in our mid-south territory in support of our regional sales manager Laci Jackson; in Latin America & the Caribbean for Gerardo Vergara-Monroy; and for our Honeywell Key Account Manager Wendy Siefert.

WEST REGION:
braden larsonBraden Larson
Customer Service/Inside Sales
phone: +1 412.464.1730 x31
email:
call Braden Larson on Skype

matt bensonMatt Benson
Customer Service/Inside Sales
phone: +1 412.464.1730 x32
email:
call Matt Benson on Skype

Braden and Matt help customers in our west territory in support of our regional sales manager Jim Kalafatis; and in our southwest territory for Greg Thorne.

The bottom line: we’re here to help. You can contact your service/inside sales representative above, or feel free to reach out to any of us on the Contact Us page at alpscontrols.com.

Thanks for reading!

RLE Technologies Addresses Some Common Concerns About Wireless Monitoring Systems

2017 November 14

Contributed by our friends at RLE Technologies

The advantages of a wireless monitoring system include ease of deployment/expansion and even the simplicity of the relocation of sensors as site configurations change. Unfortunately, I regularly hear from site managers with concerns about the security risks of installing a wireless monitoring system who may not understand just how secure a well-designed system can be. Hopefully, these Q&As might help provide peace of mind for those who are on the fence and considering a wireless monitoring solution.

First and foremost, don’t confuse WiFi sensors that communicate directly with your network with a system utilizing 868 MHz/900 MHz sensors that communicate directly with an appliance designed to accept those signals. Obviously, there are adherent risks with a monitoring system based on WiFi sensors and incorporating a WiFi router on your network as an access point. 868 MHz/900 MHz sensors do not communicate with WiFi routers. They communicate directly with a wireless manager that is designed specifically for the purpose of monitoring the sensors, providing a GUI of the current conditions, alarm notification and providing a way to easily integrate the wireless sensors into a network or building management system.

Can someone use a wireless signal to hack into my network through a wireless manager accepting MHz wireless signals?
No. Generally, the 868 MHz/900 MHz receiver on a wireless manager will only communicate with 868 MHz/ 900MHz sensors or range extenders and the communication is proprietary. In a well-designed system, only the sensors and range extender transmits a wireless signal. The wireless manager has a wireless receiver but not a wireless transmitter so bi-directional wireless communication with it is impossible. The 868 MHz/900 MHz signals that it receives are coded into the wireless manager and the manager will not recognize any signal that has not been coded to communicate with it.

How secure is a MHz wireless manager that is connected to my network?
It is as secure as the firewall that it is installed behind. If the wireless manager is behind a firewall, then the firewall determines access to the wireless manager. If port 80 (HTTP/Web) is open or port forwarded, then a remote user may still be required to log onto the wireless manager. If successful, the user has access to the port 80 web GUI. At this point, the user could change the configuration of the wireless manager, but has no access to the sensors or the network.

Can someone use a wireless manager as access point into my network?
Absolutely not. A well-designed wireless manager does not route anything. It simply serves its own web GUI, along with passing Modbus, SNMP and BACnet signals to a BMS/NMS. Additionally, client applications should include SMTP (mail) notification so alarms can be delivered to the appropriate personnel.

Can someone upload their own firmware to take control of a wireless manager?
No. Not with a well-designed system. The flash application should be proprietary so nothing can be uploaded to it except for updated firmware created and provided by the manufacturer (and there should also be numerous checks and lockouts!).

Is it necessary to have to pay subscription fees or recurring costs for a wireless monitoring system?
Definitely not. Instead of spending money to simply maintain what you have, it makes more sense to spend the money to continue to enhance the system that you already have.

UPDATED! Every Day, We’re Offering More Free Shipping From More Suppliers.

2017 October 11


If you’ve been paying close attention, you may have noticed recently that we’ve been offering free shipping when you order from a number of our terrific suppliers.

Well, here’s a special news flash: we’re only just getting started.

Every day we’re meeting with our suppliers and working out new deals to bring our customers free shipping. And while it’s not a quick or simple process — because honestly, free shipping simply isn’t a good fit for every product from every manufacturer — we truly are dedicated to bringing more value and convenience to purchasing in our online marketplace at alpscontrols.com.

So stay tuned, because you’ll see more no-hassle, free-shipping offers on alpscontrols.com in the days and weeks to come. Right now today, we invite you to enjoy these productivity-boosting, massive-selection-choosing, bottom-line-improving offers from:

That’s free ground freight shipping, anywhere in the contiguous United States. Some restrictions apply, so if you have questions just contact anyone on our support team.

Check back here often — because we’ll be adding to this list soon!

Have a terrific Christmas – because that’s what we’re planning to do!

2016 December 19
by admin; 3,721 views

christmas_2016
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, so why not avoid any product-ordering delays by peaking through this list of our suppliers’ holiday closure notices?

  • alpscontrols.com will be closed on 12.23 and 12.26.16, and also on 1.2.17
  • BAPI will be closed 12.26 and 1.2.17
  • Belimo will be closed on 12.23 and 12.26
  • Fox Thermal will be closed 12.23, 12.26, and 1.2
  • Functional Devices will be closed Monday, December 26 through Wednesday, December 28. They will also be closed on Monday, January 2, 2017.
  • IDEC will be closed December 26th. They’ll also be closed January 2nd.
  • IR-TEC will close at noon PST on Friday, December 23rd. Then they’ll be closed from Monday 12.26 through 1.2.17.
  • Johnson Controls Product Sales Operations Team in Milwaukee, WI will be closed for the holidays December 23rd, 26th, and 30th, and January 2nd.
  • KMC Controls is closed from Monday, December 26th and will reopen on Tuesday, January 3rd.
  • Ruskin is closing for the holidays on 12.23, 12.26, 12.30 and 1.2.17
  • Setra Systems will close 12.23, 12.26, and 1.2
  • Siemens will be closed on 12.23, 12.26, 12.30 and 1.2.17

BAPI invites us to an awesome, relationship-building visit to their Wisconsin manufacturing headquarters.

2016 September 29

There’s just nothing like a trip out to the countryside!

bapi-randy-ritch-dave

BAPI Production Technician Randy Stevenson and President Ritch Stevenson talk quality with Dave Meyers of alpscontrols.com

And so it was earlier this month when our friends at BAPI invited our President Dave Meyers, Vice President Sales Barry Olson, and our entire sales team to visit their production facility in Gays Mills, Wisconsin. We’ve been selling BAPI sensors for temperature, humidity, pressure, wireless, and air quality monitoring on alpscontrols.com for 22 years now, so we were very excited to spend a day meeting the BAPI staff and production team, and building on our long and successful partnership.

We admit it, we wanted to show off our facility and the fine people here at BAPI. We also wanted to have our friends from alpscontrols.com get a better understanding of the detail that we put into each sensor that leaves our facility.

This was a pretty cool opportunity; we talk to our counterparts at BAPI nearly every day as we go about fulfilling customer orders and quotes, so the visit was an excellent chance for us to get to put faces with the names that we’re so familiar with, and strengthen the relationships between our two companies. It was inspiring for us to see — up close and personal — the amount of care and expertise that they bring to their work.

bapi-dave-jim-donita

Dave Meyers helps build a sensor with BAPI production line leader Donita Silvia

And Dave even went a step farther, sitting down with one of BAPI’s production line leaders and helping her build a sensor!

In addition to touring the production floor and warehouse, we also put in a long day getting valuable training about new products, new ideas, and what the future might hold for our two companies.

The fact is, it’s terrific enough for us to work with a company like BAPI because of their quality products and high standards of service — but it creates a whole new level of commitment when we get this kind of rare opportunity for hands-on, face-to-face interaction and communication with one of our manufacturer-partners.

Our visit to BAPI made such an impression on all of us from alpscontrols! To see them building their products with such pride and excitement, with such incredible attention to detail and care, it really gives us a powerful insight into how these products make an impact in our customers’ building projects.

From L to R: BAPI Distribution Lead Jon Greenwald; Sarah Jeffries; BAPI Key Account Specialist Brian Thaldorf, BAPI North American Sales and Customer Service Manager Emily Bialkowski;Jason McCormick; Barry Olson; Laci Jackson; Jim Kalafatis; Dave Meyers; BAPI President Ritch Stevenson; Gerardo Vergara-Monroy; Travis Haas; Chris Colacito.

From L to R: BAPI Distribution Lead Jon Greenwald; Sarah Jeffries; BAPI Key Account Specialist Brian Thaldorf, BAPI North American Sales and Customer Service Manager Emily Bialkowski; Jason McCormick; Barry Olson; Laci Jackson; Jim Kalafatis; Dave Meyers; BAPI President Ritch Stevenson; Gerardo Vergara-Monroy; Travis Haas; Chris Colacito.

Our special thanks to everyone at BAPI for extending this invitation to us, and for showing us a good time full of instruction, insight, and inspiration!

New Babies, New Weddings, New Employees, and More!

2016 January 20

With an ever-growing staff like we have at alpscontrols.com, it’s inevitable that we’re going to experience a string of those Big Life Milestones from time to time — and 2015 was a big year for growth, change, and new life.
joe-abagail-thumbOn July 12th of last year, our UX* Designer Joe Benscoter got himself married off to Abagail, whom he met when the two of them traded coffee for tacos while working at adjacent restaurants in Beaver, Pennsylvania. These two crazy kids honeymooned on Mackinac Island where they rode horses, rode bikes around the island, and enjoyed some excellent meals.

Here are two more pictures of the happy couple.

Nicely done, Joe and Abagail!

*UX stands for “user experience.” Impress your friends!
IMG_8443July 2015 was a busy month! It also brought the birth of Greta Ann Mead, daughter of Jake and Clare Mead. She’s our Southwest Region Sales Representative, and the family lives in Austin, Texas.

Greta — who also enjoys the distinction of having our own Dave Meyers as her grandpa — was born a week early on July 19th. Now she’s learning to eat big-people food, with a particular enjoyment of broccoli and avocados. She also goes by the nickname “Chicken” because she loves to squawk.

Are you overloaded with adorableness yet? Because here’s another picture of Greta and here’s one of the happy trio.

Welcome to the world, Greta!
alex-boguszewski-thumbAlex Boguszewski joined alpscontrols.com in November 2015. He’s our new Software Quality Engineer on our Website Development team, working to test and ensure that our software products will meet the needs and wants of our customers.

And wouldn’t you know it? Alex barely had time to warm up his seat in our IT department before he got married, too. Alex and Bonnie were wed January 2, 2016, among many friends and family. The next morning, the newlyweds boarded the Norwegian Star for a seven-day cruise to Roatan, Belize City, Costa Maya, and Cozumel.

Great to have you on the team, Alex, and best wishes to you and Bonnie!