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Commercial Solar Projects Are Growing in the Northeast

Large commercial solar farms are cropping up all across the United States at an unprecedented pace. According to S&P Global Market Intelligence, the U.S. added 4.8 gigawatts of utility-scale solar capacity in the first half of 2021, a 15% increase from the first half of 2020 and nearly half of the total capacity added in 2020. And long-term growth prospects for solar are excellent. In late 2021, the federal government outlined a plan that would see the U.S. grow solar capacity by an average of 30 GW per year until 2025, then 60 GW after 2025.

While many of the largest solar installations are in California and the Southwest, solar growth is not limited to the Sunbelt. Even the Northeast, better known for long, cold winters, is seeing an explosion of new (and planned) commercial solar projects. Here are a few notable examples:

Cider Solar Farm

Spread across 3,000 acres in Genesee County, N.Y., the planned Cider Farm project is a 500-megawatt photovoltaic (PV) facility being developed by Hecate Energy. When completed, the project will supply an estimated 920,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of renewable electricity per year — enough to power over 125,000 New York households.

The Cider Farm facility will use an innovative solar panel tracking system that will follow the sun to optimize power production throughout the day. The project developers estimate that the Cider Solar farm will offset nearly 400,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually – equal to removing almost 90,000 cars from New York’s roads each year.

If the New York State Office of Renewable Energy Siting (ORES) approves the project, Cider Solar Farm will be the largest solar project permitted and built in New York state, at an estimated cost of $500 million.

Gravel Pit Solar Farm

North of Hartford, Connecticut, the small town of East Windsor is the future site of one of the largest solar farms in the region. The project will be built on a 485-acre site and generate over 120 megawatts of power— enough to service almost 23,000 homes.

According to East Windsor selectman Jason Bowza, the solar farm will become one of the town’s five largest sources of property tax revenue, generating $378,000 a year for the next 20 years, plus an additional $1.5 million in infrastructure enhancements. The project also promises to create significant employment opportunities in the East Windsor region.

The developer, New York hedge fund D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments, is targeting a project completion by late 2022 or early 2023. According to project partner VHB, the East Windsor facility will reduce carbon emissions and align with Connecticut’s clean energy goals while providing power to Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.

South Ripley Solar Farm

Chautauqua County, N.Y., is home to ConnectGen’s large-scale South Ripley Solar Project. The South Ripley project will include up to 270 megawatts of power generation and a 20 MW battery storage facility, creating enough energy to power over 60,000 New York homes.

The South Ripley facility will create an additional $800,000 in tax revenues annually to the Town of Ripley, totaling more than $26.8 million over the project’s lifespan. It will also provide approximately $190,000 annually in incremental property tax revenue to Chautauqua County and more than $389,000 annually to local school districts.

According to ConnectGen, the South Ripley solar farm will take up approximately 2,000 acres, and construction will be low impact to minimize soil disturbances. ConnectGen has also committed to limiting tree clearing, working around wetlands, and collaborating with local farmers to identify and utilize low-productivity farmland. ConnectGen expects the South Ripley facility to be fully operational by Q4, 2023.

Horseshoe Solar

Nestled between Rochester and the Finger Lakes, the towns of Caledonia and Rush are the future sites of the 180-megawatt Horseshoe Solar Farm. Power from the farm’s 600,000 panels will power an estimated 35,000-50,000 homes. The project represents a $200 million capital investment, will generate $500,000-$700,00 in taxes annually, and remit $650,000-$1.3 million in landowner payments each year.

Horseshoe is just one of many solar projects that are creating significant economic benefits for the state of New York. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), solar projects have resulted in more than $3.5 billion in investments in the state and created over 9,000 jobs. In addition, 88 facilities in New York manufacture electrical components utilized in the solar industry.

While the Northeast is seeing the development of several impressive solar projects, they can’t match the scope of those coming online in the Southwest. For example, The Gemini project, scheduled for construction on federal land in Clark County, Nevada, will be a 690 megawatt, integrated solar PV and battery storage facility.

If completed as proposed, Gemini could be the largest solar plant of its type in the country. Encompassing 7,100 acres, the Genesis project is expected to create over 2,000 construction jobs, with a forecasted completion date of Q4, 2023.

An Unprecedented Opportunity for Contractors and EPCs

The U.S. solar boom can best be categorized as ‘full speed ahead.’ In December, President Biden signed an Executive Order that, among other things, called for ‘100 percent carbon pollution-free electricity (CFE) by 2030, at least half of which will be locally supplied clean energy to meet 24/7 demand.’ References to several ambitious solar projects were prominent in the Executive Order’s official brief.

While large-scale solar projects represent a significant opportunity for contractors and EPC’s, they’ll need to embrace innovative methods and technologies to maximize productivity and profits. For example, contractors using One Pull’s solar PV bundled wire system can pull one megawatt of PV string wire per day with a four-person crew and reduce installation time by up to 80%.

Contact us today if you would like to learn more about how One-Pull’s PV bundled wire solutions can help reduce your labor costs and solar project completion times.

A World of Opportunity For Commercial and Industrial Electricians

It’s not easy to become an electrician. It takes years of study, training, and hard work — often under challenging conditions. However, the rewards can be substantial, both in remuneration and job security. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for electricians was $56,900 in 2020, and there are 84,700 projected job openings every year until 2030.

Commercial and Industrial electricians looking to further stack the cards in their favor should consider specialization. Many electrical specialties are in high demand and should remain so for years to come. That demand is reflected in both opportunities and compensation.

Here are ten specializations for commercial and industrial electricians:

  1. Solar Electricians in the commercial sector install, maintain and repair solar photovoltaic (PV) equipment, wiring, and fixtures. These specialists will plan the layout and installation of solar wiring, test equipment, and circuits for safety, and ensure compliance with local building and electrical codes. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that employment opportunities for solar technicians are projected to grow 52% from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.
  2. Security and Fire Alarm Technicians install and repair security, fire, and smoke alarm systems in industrial and commercial facilities. These electricians specialize in low-voltage systems. Tasks may include:
  • Maintaining and upgrading CCTV systems
  • Conducting regular inspections
  • Educating customers
  • Determining if systems comply with fire and electrical safety codes
  1. Marine Electricians install and maintain electrical systems on ships and other aquatic structures, with duties that include troubleshooting and safety testing. Marine electricians require a detailed understanding of the unique challenges (e.g., submersion and corrosion) associated with mixing water and electricity.
  2. Wind Turbine Electricians (aka wind techs) install and maintain the electrical components of wind towers and turbines that generate clean energy. Wind techs must be comfortable working in small spaces and at significant heights — sometimes up to 200 feet. These specialists also manage transformer bank wiring and partner with electrical company personnel to connect turbines to the general power grid.
  3. Industrial Electricians work in large-scale plants and manufacturing facilities. The heavy machinery and equipment used in these locations typically use more power and require frequent electrical work. Industrial electricians often work across multiple job sites and projects and may require industry-specific certifications.
  4. Electrotechnical Panel Builders install and manage complex electrical control panels used in industrial systems. Responsibilities include installing all panel components, inserting wiring harnesses, and testing all components and circuits. Electrotechnical panel builders must have a good understanding of information technology, including programmable logic controls, and be able to read schematics and panel blueprints.
  5. Electrical Instrumentation Technicians install, test, and repair commercial and industrial building control systems (e.g., heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration). Other tasks include implementing and calibrating sensors, control devices, and measuring instruments. Precise control of these systems helps optimize manufacturing production and maintain safe working environments.
  6. Outside Linemen are electricians who install and repair power lines that run between power plants and commercial buildings or residential units. A career as an outside lineman is not for the faint of heart. It involves working at heights (up to 100 feet for transmission linemen) and outdoors, sometimes in difficult weather conditions. Linemen often perform emergency work on weekends, holidays, and at night.
  7. Electrical Inspectors review and certify the electrical components of new and existing buildings and commercial facilities. They must ensure that all wiring is up to code and meets all safety requirements. Electrical inspectors also document each inspection, certify installations as required, and may stop work or request changes if a project does not meet specifications.
  8. Highway Systems Electricians install and maintain roadway transportation systems, including traffic lights, roadside lighting, and intelligent transportation They also support traffic information and communications systems critical to managing traffic and maintaining road safety. Highway systems electricians often work outside under challenging conditions and sometimes must climb poles and operate heavy equipment and vehicles in heavily-trafficked areas.

Certification Levels For Electricians

As with most technical fields, electricians’ training, experience, and certifications pay dividends as their careers progress. There are three certifications levels for electrical workers:

Apprentice Electrician. Every new electrician is required to complete an apprenticeship program. In addition to a high school diploma (or equivalent) in most jurisdictions, apprentices must complete several hundred hours of classroom training, then apply for an apprenticeship with a licensed electrician.

Journeyman Electrician. Once a new electrician has completed their apprenticeship requirements, they can test out and (if successful) receive their Journeyman license from their governing body (state, local, or federal). A certified Journeyman may work unsupervised and is qualified to train new apprentices.

Master Electrician. The requirements for this highest level of certification differ from region to region; however, most states require approximately 4,000 hours of Journeyman experience and the successful passing of the licensing exam. Master Electricians take on the most challenging industrial projects and may provide on-the-job training for Journeymen electricians.

Unprecedented Opportunity for Specialist Electricians

2021’s infrastructure bill has positioned $550 billion in spending over the next five years for a wide range of renewable energy and infrastructure projects. These initiatives will provide countless opportunities for skilled tradespeople — perhaps even more so for experienced, specialized electricians.

Keep up on the latest news impacting electrical contractors by checking out the One-Pull blog, Bundled Cable Calculator, or sign up for the monthly One-Pull newsletter.

 

That’s a Wrap! Pull Tabs Make Bundled Cable Solutions Even More Versatile

Industry insiders will tell you there’s an art to pulling cable. Contractors and EPCs are always looking for ways to increase the speed and efficiency of cable pulling, and even minor differences in bundled cable construction can yield significant reductions in labor costs.

At One-Pull, we manufacture two configurations of bundled cables — spiral (a One-Pull exclusive) and straight — each with pros and cons, depending on the application. While both configurations can use resin-bonded nylon binders (or wraps) to hold cables together, our straight cables can also be bound with pull tabs. This simple yet effective binding technique offers several advantages for contractors pulling cable through conduit.

Spiral Configuration Cable Bundles

One-Pull’s spiral bundled cable configurations consist of several conductors spiraled together to form a highly flexible cable bundle.

Spiral bundles are held together with a nylon harness that helps maintain the bundle’s shape when pulled. They are ideal for ‘home runs,’ when cables are pulled for long distances along a straight path (e.g., through conduits and raceways).

The ability of One-Pull’s spiral configurations to retain their shape even when bent results in fewer hangups, helping to speed cable pulls and reduce labor costs.

Size limitations. While spiral bundled cables are ideal for long, end-to-end conduit pulls, they have a size limitation of 1.48” maximum overall diameter. Contractors requiring a larger bundled cable need to opt for a straight configuration cable bundle.

Straight Configurations

In straight configuration bundles, conductors are laid parallel with no twists and wrapped with either a nylon harness or pull tabs. Straight configurations are particularly useful when cable bundles are laid in trays or other wire management systems.

Straight configuration bundles can accommodate up to 200 conductors on pull-length reels. With straight bundles, cable installers can break out individual conductors at intermediate points along the run.

One-Pull’s straight bundles are available with custom printing every 1” to 6” along the entire length of the conductor. This custom printing, along with custom bundling with a single reel set-up, speeds installation into cable trays while reducing leftover cable and cleanup requirements.

Size limitations. As with spiral configurations, there are size limitations with straight bundles. Straight configurations have a maximum overall diameter of 2.1”. While straight bundles may be wrapped with nylon binders no matter their OD, it is recommended that bundles with OD from 1” to 2.1” use pull tabs, especially if your cable gauge is 8 AWG or larger.

The Pull Tab Option

Pull tabs (aka cross tape or quick-release tabs) can be used as alternatives to nylon harnesses on straight configuration cable bundles. Pull tabs are small pieces of low-residue electrical tape wrapped around all the conductors in a cable bundle at pre-measured intervals.

There are two main advantages to using pull tabs. If installers need to break out cable at intermediate points along a run, it’s much faster to release a pull tab than cut a nylon harness. In large projects, this time savings can translate into significant labor cost reductions.

Pull tabs can also offer advantages over nylon bindings when pulling straight bundles through conduits. Cables with nylon wraps can sometimes get caught in a bend or snagged on a conduit imperfection when pulled. Nylon binders also make for stiffer bundles that allow for less bend radius, making cable pulls through corners and conduit bends even more challenging.

The easiest way for installers to eliminate this issue is to have the wires loose (as individual conductors) when pulling through the conduit. Using pull tabs, cable bundles can be pulled whole, then separated into individual conductors as required. The pull tabs release quickly and leave no adhesive, so conductors won’t stick together when fed into the conduit.

Finally, using pull tabs eliminates ‘pop-outs,’ where the bending pressure in nylon-wrapped cable bundles causes individual conductors to pop out and get hung up inside the conduit, slowing the cable-pulling process.

While pull tabs offer several advantages, they do have one drawback. Often installers must remove them before pulling cable into the conduit; otherwise, the tabs may be pulled off and create snags inside the pipe.

A Bundled Cable For Every Project

At One-Pull, we know that every job is different. That’s why we manufacture bundled cable options to meet every requirement — from our industry-exclusive spiral bundles to straight configurations with either nylon binders or pull tabs.

And that’s not all. From the industry’s shortest lead times to custom printing and packaging options, One-Pull is committed to helping you complete every job on time and under budget.

Contact us today to get a quote for your bundled cable.

What is THHN Wire?

THHN (Thermoplastic High Heat-resistant Nylon-coated) wire is designed with a PVC (polyvinyl chloride) insulated nylon sheath. Most THHN building wire comes with the dual rating THHN/THWN, meaning it is usable in both wet and dry conditions, as well as both indoor and outdoor use. THHN carries a UL rating of 90 degrees Celsius in dry environments and 75 degrees Celsius in wet environments. The conductor can either be copper or aluminum and either stranded or solid. It is available in 12 colors and is generally used in electrical applications of 600V or less.

 

What Can THHN Wire Be Used For?

THHN is the number one commodity wire in the U.S. It is a general use wire for equipment and circuits. It is popular among electrical contractors as an inexpensive building wire that can be used in industrial environments. The NEC (National Electric Code) rating for THHN is NFPA 70- the benchmark for safe electrical design, installation, and inspection to protect people and property from electrical hazards. THHN can withstand grease, oil, and heat, and passes the FT1 flame test.

Because of its voltage capacity and insulation, THHN can be used for many indoor appliances such as garbage disposals or hot water heaters. When applied indoors, the wire is used in either a single- or multi-conductor form. Additionally, it can safely carry electrical currents between buildings and external power sources, signaling, control wiring, machine tools, and automated conveyor belt systems.

THHN wire can also be used as control wire for outdoor applications in addition to indoor. For underground outdoor applications, THHN must first be safely installed into a conduit (tubing that protects buried wire) before being run underground. The nylon jacket on the wire protects it from damage as it is pulled through the conduit.

 

Why Should Electrical Contractors Bundle THHN wire?

THHN is a popular choice for electrical contractors because of its ability to meet the requirements of electrical applications at a low price point. Its affordability often makes it a good alternative to wires such as XHHW-2. THHN’s relatively thin PVC insulation improves conductivity but reduces the flexibility of the wire. By using THHN in a cable bundle, it can minimize the disadvantage of inflexibility. 

To ensure safety between construction workers and running electrical equipment, THHN building wire can be bundled to fit the specifications of the worksite. Increasing accuracy and reducing the number of labor hours that would be needed if the wire was installed manually. One-pull can also bundle THHN wire together with protective UFB (Underground Feeder, Direct Burial) Jackets to save time in outdoor applications.  

THHN building wire is a useful product for electrical contractors in commercial applications. Its high heat and water resistance make it possible for use in both indoor and outdoor applications. The cost-effectiveness of THHN often makes it a better choice in comparison to other commercial use wires such as XHHW/XHHW-2 or THWN. Bundling THHN in a one-pull bundle cable can help to create flexibility and reduce the amount of labor hours needed for the project.

 

Interested in learning more about the different wire types available in one-pull bundles? Have a look at XHHW-2.

 

What is XHHW-2 Wire?

XHHW-2 is a commodity in commercial and industrial applications. It is an upgrade from THHN (thermoplastic high heat resistant nylon) wire, as it can withstand more extreme temperatures. XHHW-2 is heat, chemical, oil, and moisture-resistant, and flame-retardant. It is rated according to UL standard 44 for use in 90 degrees Celsius in both wet and dry environments and approved for use up to 600V.  

What is XHHW-2 Wire Used For?

XHHW stands for XLPE (cross-linked polyethylene) High Heat-resistant Water-resistant. It’s commonly used in applications like commercial buildings, and industrial applications such as power plants and mills. It can be used in single-phase setup or parallel for a multi-conductor. The conductors can be made of copper or aluminum and either stranded or solid, stranded being used for more flexible applications.

XHHW-2’s thermoset material also gives it great flexibility. The flexibility makes it suitable for applications that may involve bends or sharp corners. Another predominant use of the wire is for critical circuitry. RHH/USE, a derivative of XLP, can be used in power circuits run in conduit from the utility meter to main circuit protection panels and can also be used in direct burial applications.

Why Should Electrical Contractors Use XHHW-2?

XHHW-2 is often used in electrical contracting work despite being more costly than other options such as THHN. Its benefit in performance makes it a more popular choice among contractors and makes it the most recommended by the electrical distribution industry for industrial, residential, and commercial construction.

XLPE (cross-linked polyethylene) provides a dielectric constant (k) value usually ranging from 2.2 to 3.0 megohms @ 20° C. This feature allows XHHW-2 to resist leakage at higher temperatures and prevent cracking at low temperatures.

THHN, which is made with PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is much more susceptible to temperature damage. Its hygroscopic nylon jacket absorbs moisture and can only withstand up to 75 degrees Celsius in wet environments.

These factors make it a safe choice for electrical contractors.

Making sure you have the correct wire and matching the NEC (National Electric Code) job site conditions in conjunction with the project engineer is vital for the safety of all contractors and construction workers. The elevated temperature resistance of XHHW-2 in wet and dry environments make it a safe option, despite the higher cost.

Additionally, its ability to be customized in conductor and color and its ability to be bundled is an advantage in electrical construction. One-pull can also customize the wire with stripes in a spiral or a longitudinal full-color stripe, along with being able to number each conductor or phase tape each end.

XHHW-2 is one of One-pull’s most requested access control wires to bundle. Learn more about what other types of wires can be used in wire bundles.

Renewable Energy Supply Chain Disruptions in 2021

 

The demand for renewable energy remained higher than that of natural gas throughout the emergence of Covid-19. However, the increasing costs and supply chain disruptions threatened the projected growth of solar energy. An efficient supply chain is important for all manufacturers. Short lead times to distributors ensure customer delight and strengthen industry relationships. 97% of industrial product companies say that the pandemic has had a negative effect, and are making supply chain visibility the number one priority over the next three years.

 

1. Surge Pricing

Solar project developers are halting installations because of increased prices for materials and labor. Contractors who can wait on their projects have placed them on hold, hoping that the prices will begin to decrease. However, the prices continue to stay high, which is slowing down the growth of the solar industry.

Before the pandemic, the industry had been experiencing a steady growth of 42% per year, while maintaining low costs. This surge in pricing suggests a turn-around from the advancements made in the past decade in the solar sector; threatening the U.S. plan for 70% renewable energy in 2030. Despite the U.S. now being in the recovery of the pandemic, contractors are still hesitant to continue projects that they had put on hold in 2020.

 

2. Layoffs

Nearly 600,000 clean energy jobs were lost during the peak of Covid-19, around 17% of the existing workforce. Jobs in solar and wind make up over 15% of that number. Due to social distancing guidelines from the CDC, access to homes was limited during the pandemic, causing the cancellation of many commercial and residential projects that required entry by workers.

Between December 2020 and January 2021, the renewable energy sector went through a massive rehire of the labor force. However, they were still at a 12 percent decline over pre-COVID-19 employment levels.
If the renewable energy industry continues at this slow rate of recovery, it would take at least two more years to balance the employment losses during the pandemic.

 

3. Construction Delays

Installations under construction could not continue with the component delays during the pandemic. Three essential processes of solar installations i.e. approvals for hydropower projects, investment in battery storage, and electricity grid spending experienced a decline in 2019 and into 2020 impacting development schedules for all projects. The majority of utility-scale installations are expected to fully resume in 2021. However, individuals and companies along the supply chain remain hesitant to make investments in distributed PV and solar heaters, with the uncertainty of return on the projects.

 

Once the fastest growing industry, the solar industry took a hit with the emergence of Covid-19. However, despite slowed and cancelled projects, the EIA expects that the share of U.S. generation from wind and solar sources will rise from 11% in 2020 to 15% by 2022. For this to happen, companies within the clean energy supply chain will need to focus on repairing the damage to their supply chain caused by the pandemic.

 

Learn more about the U.S. plan for renewable energy in 2021.

 

One-Pull’s History: A Legacy of Innovation

With roots going back over 75 years, One-Pull Wire and Cable Solutions is the nation’s leading manufacturer of custom bundled cable solutions.

Today, One-Pull is the nation’s premier manufacturer of custom bundled cable solutions. Our UL-listed Quik-Pull bundles can cut labor costs by up to 40% by reducing time spent on the job site for setup, installation, and cleanup. With an expanding portfolio of industry-specific solutions, short lead times, and winning customer service, One-Pull delivers a competitive edge for electricians and contractors.

1946

Clifford of Vermont is founded by Ted Clifford in Bethel, Vermont, to distribute post-WW2 surplus telephone cable and hardware.

1979

Clifford of Vermont launches Quik-Pull in Randolph, Vermont, to provide custom printed and bundled cable solutions to Clifford customers.  Quik-Pull manufactures printed wire, twisted pair solutions, straight-pull and spiral cable bundles (or “Quik-Pulls”).

1989

A former Clifford shareholder establishes Cable & Harness in Windsor, Vermont. The new company manufactures printed wire, twisted pair solutions, and straight-pull bundles only.

1999

Clifford of Vermont purchases Cable & Harness, expanding its product lines and distribution network.

2003

Clifford of Vermont is acquired by Memphis, Tennessee’s Power & Telephone Supply Company to provide Power & Telephone with new manufacturing capabilities and broader market access.

2019

One-Pull Wire and Cable Solutions purchases Quik-Pull and Cable & Harness from Power & Telephone Supply. Windsor, Vermont-based One-Pull consolidates operations at the Quik-Pull plant in Randolph.

2021

One-Pull Wire and Cable Solutions is a leading national manufacturer of custom printed and bundled cable solutions for commercial and industrial applications. One-Pull remains the only manufacturer of spiral “Quik-Pulls.”

 

One-Pull’s Bundled Cable Outside Diameter Calculator

Saving time is always a top priority for busy construction project managers and procurement specialists. When your to-do list and your inbox are both full, finding small productivity enhancers can make a big difference in your day.

Take, for example, when ordering bundled cable. Project managers need to know the estimated outside diameter (OD) of XHHW-2 or THHN wire bundles to determine if they will fit inside existing conduits and trays, or confirm which conduit size to use on the job site. PMs typically rely on engineers or vendors to make those calculations. That means making calls or sending emails, then waiting for a response.

At One-Pull, we’re always looking for ways to save our customers time. By providing a real-time answer to “what is the diameter of my wire bundle?” our Bundled Cable Outside Diameter Calculator tool does just that.

Configuration Types and Fill Rates—

Will My Cable Bundle Fit?

The calculator is located on the Resources page of our One-Pull website. Users simply input their wire insulation type, gauge, and the number of conductors, then select their configuration type. The calculator instantly outputs the outside diameter of the specified cable bundle in inches. Users also have the option of receiving a detailed, downloadable spreadsheet containing their bundled cable OD calculations.

This immediate calculation is beneficial for project managers who must keep conduit fill rates in mind when designing their cable bundles. Conduit fill is the amount of conduit occupied by a cable or cable bundle, based on the conduit’s inside diameter and the outside diameter of the cable or cable bundle.

Recommended fill rates are determined by the National Electrical Code® (NEC), and non-compliance can lead to costly rewiring or even an unsafe installation. Our One-Pull Bundled Cable Outside Diameter Calculator helps project managers quickly determine fill rates and confirm compliance with NEC specifications.

Spiral Versus Straight Cable Bundles

The One-Pull calculator also highlights a key difference between spiral cable bundles and their straight bundle counterparts. Spiral bundles are smaller and take up less room in the conduit than straight bundles.

Spiral cable bundles are also more flexible than straight bundles, which can be critical when pulling cable through bends or on long home run pulls.

One-Pull — Saving You Time and Money

Saving our customers time and money on every project is central to One Pull’s mission. Here are other ways we’ll work with you to deliver on that promise:

Custom printing. Terminating cable is time and labor-intensive, especially if contractors have to label and test every conductor. One-Pull minimizes those requirements by printing unique identifiers on each wire. We can also tailor printing for specific customer needs by adding custom numbering schemes, branding, or other text.

Wire striping. Striping helps contractors to quickly identify individual conductors by visual inspection. One-Pull’s striping is available in multiple colors as a linear tracer or in a spiral tracer stripe that wraps around the conductor.

Short lead times. One-Pull’s lead times are the fastest in the industry for custom cable bundles, with targets of five days or less.

Same-day quotes. Our highly-trained customer service team responds quickly to all email and telephone inquiries and provides same-day quotes to help meet tight customer deadlines.

At One-Pull, we know your time is valuable. That’s why, whether you’re gathering information, looking for a quote, or installing our bundled cable solutions, we’ll get you the answers you need, when you need them.

Just like with our Bundled Cable Outside Diameter Calculator.

The Value Prop of Pre-Cut, Pre-Labeled, Bundled Cable

Across the wire and cable industry, a common assertion is that bundled, pre-cut, pre-labeled cable solutions can save contractors and installers up to 40% in labor costs.

At One-Pull, we know that assumptions aren’t enough for our customers. So we conducted a controlled time and motion study to quantify the time savings achieved when installing bundled cable compared to pulling, cutting and tagging multiple conductors on-site.

Even we were surprised by the results.

How Does Bundled, Pre-Cut, Pre-Labeled Cable Slash Costs?

Pulling cable is a labor-intensive, multi-step process. Installers must pull conductors from separate spools, feed them through conduit or a cable tray, then label and terminate each wire. Bundled, pre-cut, pre-labeled cable eliminates or simplifies several steps in this process.

Pre-Printed Cable Eliminates Labeling

With single conductors, installers have to label wire multiple times. First, they label individual spools. Next, once they pull the wire through the conduit, contractors separately label each conductor after referencing it back to the associated spool. If they don’t, they’ll need to ring out each wire, a very time-consuming process.

Finally, when installers terminate the conductor onto the breaker panel, they’ll typically have extra wire left over. When they trim that extra wire, often they’ll remove the label as well — so those wires must be relabeled.

Pre-printed cable eliminates the need for all this labor-intensive and time-consuming labeling. With pre-printed conductors, the custom printing repeats every few inches on each wire. No matter where contractors trim and terminate the cable, the identification is always in the right place.

Easier, Faster Pulls


While most of the time savings associated with a bundled cable are realized in both a straight or a spiral configuration, when pulling through conduit a spiral bundle has significant advantages over both singles and a straight bundle.

Spiral vs. Straight Cable Bundle Configurations

Contractors often use straight bundled cable configurations for home runs and assemblies laid in place. The un-spiraled structure also helps minimize heat build-up in power wires 12 AWG or larger.

The compact binding in spiral configurations maintains its shape and provides greater flexibility. Spiral cable bundled are often used for long pulls in conduit or where numerous bends in the conduit could cause hang-ups. Spiral-wrapped bundles pull much easier through conduit, requiring much less force.

In our time and motion study, we measured the force required to pull both 50 conductor straight and spiral bundles through the same conduit. The straight bundle needed three people to pull — two pushing from the spool end and one pulling from the terminating end of the conduit. It was slow and difficult to pull — one team member used gloves to help protect his hands when pulling on the pull string to complete the task.

By comparison, the spiral bundle needed only two people — one at each end. The pull required much less effort and was completed significantly faster.

Pre-Cut Cable — Another Time-Saver

When contractors are installing hundreds or thousands of cables, every minute they can save quickly adds up. Pre-cut cables eliminate trimming time for installers and minimize expensive copper waste, both which can yield boost the bottom line.

Other Benefits of Bundled, Pre-Cut, Pre-Labeled Cable

While the cost savings are significant, using bundled, pre-cut, pre-labeled cable offers other important benefits to contractors and installers:

Error reduction

Mislabeling conductors is a serious job site concern. Installers can incur critical delays if they’re forced to ring out or re-terminate mislabeled cables.

Less Cluttered Job Sites

Manually-bundled cables can leave the job site littered with debris — hundreds of empty spools and piles of trimmed cable ends. While a cluttered job site can represent a safety risk, there are also costs associated with disposing of cable debris. Using pre-cut cable also minimizes leftover wire that has no residual value and must be scrapped. 

Fatigue Reduction

Contractors are always concerned about repetitive strain injuries and employee safety. Our time and motion study confirmed that it took much greater force to pull manual cable bundles than pre-cut, spiral bundles. These extra efforts can translate into worker fatigue, injuries, and even employee time off.

The Bottom Line — Big Savings

To zero in on the savings potential of bundled, pre-cut, pre-labeled cable solutions, we conducted our time and motion study in a carefully controlled environment. We pulled both 25 and 50-conductor bundles and repeated each step of the process several times.

The result? We determined that contractors using bundled cable solutions is over 8 times faster compared to manually pulling single conductors.

Of course, no two projects or job sites are the same, and not every One-Pull customer may achieve the same results. However, contractors looking to save labor costs and boost margins would be wise to explore the benefits of bundled, pre-cut, pre-labeled cable for themselves.

One-Pull’s lead times are 3-5 days — the shortest in the industry — and our expert customer service team is standing by to answer your questions and provide a same-day quote.

Determining the Cost of Conveyor System Installation

Conveyor systems  increase efficiency and productivity in manufacturing. When considering installing a conveyor system, it is essential to be aware of all the components that determine the pricing.  

Installing a conveyer belt system goes beyond equipment acquisition. A conveyor system carries three costs two of which are rarely taken into consideration. Besides the initial costs that are easiest to understand and quantify, there are operational and maintenance costs. Being aware of and understanding these associated costs enables companies to decide whether installing a conveyor system is financially feasible.  

Since conveyor system installation costs vary, this article does not provide specific prices associated with conveyor belts. However, it gives a breakdown of what factors go into determining the overall costs.  

We look into the three costs mentioned above and how they factor into an automated conveyor system installation. 

 

1. Initial Costs

When it comes to a conveyor belt system installation, the initial costs  include the price of the equipment, installation, and controls.  

Conveyor systems come in a range of prices depending on their intended use. They vary depending on the needs and scope of the project. Certain types of conveyor systems are more expensive than others. For example, a regular conveyor belt is used for a general process or a manufacturing step can be found at lower prices. Belt conveyors, on thother hand, are the most commonly used since they are cost-effective.

Another less expensive option would be acquiring used conveyor belts or modular conveyer belts. Modular belts are small and semi-portable. They come in pieces and are assembled on site. While less expensive, they are subject to wear and are not heavy duty.  

Labor costs should also be taken into consideration when looking at initial costs. While hiring a specialty electrical contractor adds to the labor costs, it could ensure a safe and successful installation. Improper installation can lead to performance issues which is why getting the right contractor is important. Such contractors are well-trained to handle new equipment designs and safety procedures. The electrical contractor can also oversee ongoing maintenance contributing to more efficient production. In the long run, this not only reduces injuries but also saves money. 

 

2. Maintenance

A well-maintained conveyor system is critical to its success. High breakage of materials could lead to longer processing times which in turn delays orders.  

Different types of conveyor systems require different levels of maintenance. Vacuum conveyors, for example, have a very high maintenance cost.  

While everyday maintenance is critical, it does not significantly increase the overall cost compared to maintenance resulting from poorly functioning equipment.  

Purchasing a cheaper conveyer system to lower initial costs, regardless of the durability of the equipment, could mean constantly having to buy and install replacement parts. This could quickly add up, bringing the cost even higher than the initial cost or even the cost of a more expensive but durable conveyor belt system. Therefore, it may be more cost-effective to purchase more expensive but more reliable equipment than initially cheaper equipment with a higher risk of failure. 

Replacing parts of a conveyor system requires expertise which could mean hiring specialized labor. This adds to the labor costs and overall cost of the conveyor system.  

 

Learn more about conveyer systems in our quick guide to material handling systems. 

 

3. Operational

 While more manufacturing machinery is becoming automated, running a conveyer belt still requires some form of human oversight. This is an operational cost in the form of associated human labor costs. This goes beyond wages as it includes administrative costs of maintaining operators for the conveyer equipment. 

Maintenance and repair costs are also factored into the overall operational cost of the conveyor system. 

Besides maintenance, repair, and labor costs, another operational cost associated with conveyor systems is the energy consumption cost. 

A facility’s energy costs will vary based on the type of energy source, location, and electricity peak demands. Being a high energy consumption equipment, conveyor systems could significantly raise the energy costs of a facility. Hence one should consider the energy needs of a conveyor system prior to installing one to make sure that they are ready for the associated energy costs.   

 

In summary, to determine the overall cost of a conveyer system, always take this calculation into consideration: 

TCO (total cost of ownership) = IC (initial cost) + OC (operational costs) + MC (maintenance costs)/ useful life of the system. 

 

 

Check out  5 U.S. companies that are leading the charge in the manufacturing of automated conveyor belt systems.