The field of electrical contracting has made exciting strides over the past 25 years. Prefabricated construction and other innovations have made the work of the electrical contractor more accurate and efficient, leading to faster build times and greater client satisfaction.
Frank Averill of Averill Electric, located in Massachusetts, explores some of the most recent new techniques used by electrical contractors around the country. These new ways of doing business are influential because they reduce the time needed to complete a project and lessen the potential for errors. Understanding how these innovations work can help your company compete in today’s information-based economy.
Internet of Things
You may wonder what the Internet of Things means. Simply put, it involves machines, appliances, and other electrical items that connect to the Internet in some way. Electrical workers can use the tools and software they need to connect with components of a system and find out exactly what is going on with a part. It is especially useful because it helps to coordinate and plan activities in the workplace.
Automation is quickly becoming one of the most influential trends in the construction industry as a whole. Some examples of automated construction include robotics and drones. Robotics helps make the process of putting electrical components together much faster and more accurate. Similar technologies have been used in the automotive industry for years now.
Drones are another influential innovation in electrical contracting today. With a drone, it’s possible to get a birds’ eye view of an entire project without having to take a site tour in person. You can get up close to any details that you might want to see, and you can store the images you take for later reference. Drones are especially useful in construction sites that have personnel restrictions for some reason, such as the COVID pandemic. Getting a clear view of what’s going on can be incredibly valuable.
Cloud computing has become incredibly influential in the past few years. It is becoming less common to host a business website or network on your machine, but rather to build your network in the cloud. This means that necessary data is accessible from anywhere, including from Internet of Things (IoT) equipment.
The cloud has the potential to make electrical construction more efficient and organized. Frank Averill of Averill Electric believes that the cloud will be a great advantage as time goes on.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
Virtual reality and augmented reality are becoming important parts of the design process. When virtual reality is used, an electrical contractor can “walk through” their project and see what it is going to be like when it is finished. It is an excellent way to show clients what is going on with their projects.
Smart helmets and augmented reality glasses are being developed right now. These helmets and glasses even have technology that allows them to see into the walls and find the electrical ductwork and cabling.
Prefabrication and Modular Construction
Averill Electric has been a leader in prefabrication for several years. With prefabrication, individual electrical components are built in a central facility and taken to the site when they are finished. This enables the process to be quicker and more accurate. It is possible to use lower-skilled labor in a prefabrication shop, keeping costs down. It significantly cuts down on the number of errors that are experienced at the job site.
Prefabricated construction also results in a cleaner worksite because there is very little wasted material. What little waste is produced can be recycled at the main facility.
Prefabrication is great for wire bundling, panelboard, and transformer assemblies, among other excellent applications.
CAD and BIM
While CAD (Computer Assisted Drafting) has been around for many years, BIM (Building Information Modeling) is a newer program. CAD helps engineers design new projects, providing blueprints that can be used in traditional settings.
Frank Averill is an active proponent of BIM modeling. BIM provides an interactive 3D model of the entire site, and various features of the model can be adapted on the fly. It can help to make construction more efficient. It is also highly useful because it allows contractors to renovate properties more easily.
The Smart Grid represents a revolution in traditional grids. Smart meters and sensors make it much easier for contractors and building owners to understand what kind of power flow the building needs. Electrical contractors should consider using this feature in all of their new and existing builds.
Today, the use of LED lighting along with CFL lighting has become commonplace. LED lights use far less energy than incandescent or fluorescent bulbs. Lighting systems will need to be designed with these new bulb types in mind. The wireless LED is just a few years away from being developed, making the construction process even easier.
Watching Future Developments
Electrical contractors like Frank Averill of Averill Electric are keeping a close eye on these new developments in the electrical industry. The process of an electrical build-out is becoming more efficient and more data is being produced that will help engineers decide how to set up their systems. These innovations have brought an impressive level of sophistication to the electrical industry and kept it at the forefront of technological change.