Category Archives: FG News

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Reform Capacitors to Keep Your Spare VFDs Ready for Use

Having spare VFDs on hand can help reduce the amount of downtime when a failure occurs, but these spares require regular maintenance to keep them ready for use.

When VFDs are stored for long periods of time, typically 12+ months, the internal chemistry of the DC bus capacitors begins to deteriorate if power is not applied.  Formed when voltage is applied to the capacitor, its oxide layer acts as an insulator preventing shorts from occurring. In storage, this layer can degrade.

If the VFD is not powered up slowly to recondition the DC bus capacitors and prepare it for operation under full load, it could result in a catastrophic failure and render it useless. To help maintain your spare inventory, French Gerleman now offers a Bonitron M3628PCF Portable Capacitor Former for rent allowing you to reform your VFDs on site.

 

How often do capacitors need to be reformed?

Most manufacturers recommend an annual power up of all drive modules to insure capacitors are always in an operable state. Consult the manufacturer’s guidelines for specific instructions for your specific VFDs.

 

 

 

Why rent the Bonitron Portable Capacitor Former?

The M3628PCF Portable Capacitor Former can reform capacitors by slowly increasing the DC bus voltage to allow the internal chemistry to readjust at a safe rate. There are digital displays to show the voltage levels and current. The Capacitor Former operates from standard 110-240VAC supply and can also be used as a variable DC power supply for recharging capacitors, or discharging capacitors for maintenance.

Because it comes with wheels and an extendable handle, it is easy to take with you wherever you need it.  It is only 10.5” tall by 18” deep by 22” wide, which makes it convenient to use.

Renting a Bonitron M3628PCF Portable Capacitor Former may be the right solution to make sure your spare VFDs are ready for operation when needed. If you are interested in renting a Bonitron M3628PCF Portable Capacitor Former or have any questions, please contact your French Gerleman Account Manager or Power Control Product Manager.


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French Gerleman’s New Mobile App: UPC Scanner

Today most manufacturer products include a UPC (barcode). When you’re looking to replace an existing item or replenish inventory, the French Gerleman UPC scanner can help you quickly locate the products you need.

Ordering a product from French Gerleman is easy.  Simply scan the UPC with your phone using the UPC scanner built into our mobile app. If the product is in our inventory of 36,000+ SKUs, the app will bring up the product and you can directly add it to your cart.

Not only can you easily match and order the right product with the UPC scanner, you can also check real-time inventory.

Use the scanner and more features with the French Gerleman app, now available for Android or iOS. To learn more about our app, contact your French Gerleman Account Manager.


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French Gerleman’s New Mobile App: My Product Groups

French Gerleman’s new mobile app focuses on providing speed, convenience and mobility. The app has many features that personalize your experience so you can quickly find the product you are seeking.

If you consistently order the same products from French Gerleman, you can group them together to make them easier to locate and reorder in the future. These groups can be completely personalized based on your needs. Want different lists for lighting fixtures, conduit, fittings, cleaners and more? There’s no limit to the number of groups you can create or the number of items you include in each group.

You can set up your product groups either on the website or in the app. If you set up your groups at a desktop, they will show up on your app and you can easily add them to your cart to order, and change quantities based on your needs.

The app is available for both Android and iOS. Use it on your phone or tablet based on what is most convenient for you. For more information about the app, contact your French Gerleman Account Manager.


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Show Your Workers You Care About Their Safety This Winter

In the Midwest, it’s never too early to start thinking about winter safety. The upcoming drop in temperatures can cause safety issues for your workers and potential damage to your equipment. Making sure workers are properly equipped and educated in safety precautions to take during cold weather can help reduce accidents and keep your jobsite or facility running smoothly.

Watch out for Cold-Induced Health Issues

Extreme cold is known to cause various illnesses, but did you know workers can still suffer from many cold-related illnesses even at above freezing temperatures? Strong winds and damp environments can cause body temperatures to drop to dangerous levels. Learn more about some of the illnesses to guard your workers against this winter.

Put the Coffee Down

Coffee can make you feel warm, but unfortunately it doesn’t actually warm your body. Because the beverage is hot and the caffeine increases the heart rate, coffee just gives an illusion of warmth, which can cause more harm than good. Encourage your workers to stay hydrated with water or an electrolyte drink as the temperatures start to drop.

Suit Up For the Cold

Safety gear is required when working in hazardous environment, and proper winter gear should be required when working in hazardously cold environments. Staying warm and dry makes a huge difference in your workers’ health.

Here are a few of our featured cold weather products:

Heat PacksWinter Liners

Cold Weather Gloves

Sweatshirts

Limit Exposure to the Cold

Keep your eye on the weather so you can know when the weather starts to get dangerous. When it’s extremely cold, make sure workers can have frequent, short breaks in a warm environment. If possible, schedule work in the warmest part of the day to minimize their exposure outdoors.  You can download a weather app to your smartphone so you have up-to-date forecasts at your fingertips.

Watch Your Step

With winter comes slippery surfaces and an increased potential for trips and falls. Equip your workers with appropriate footwear to keep them upright. French Gerleman has a wide selection of shoes and boots which provide the grip they need, and can keep their feet warm and dry this winter.

Clear off the Snow First

Winter weather can bring a host of new hazards every day, from slippery surfaces to fallen branches. Supervisors should inspect the workplace before work begins to check for any hazards that need to be addressed. Clear snow and ice away before starting the job, and salt large areas of ice as needed. Taking the time to prepare the workplace at the beginning of the day will save you time later.

Don’t Forget Your Vehicles

Vehicles also can suffer damage due to cold, and should be checked to ensure they are working properly before use. Make sure every vehicle is equipped with a winter emergency and first aid kits in case of an accident.

Simple precautions can make all the difference when dealing with cold weather. Remember, our weather can be erratic, so don’t get caught by surprise.  Contact info@frenchgerleman.com or your French Gerleman Account Manager today to learn more!


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French Gerleman’s Upcoming Holiday Hours

The holiday season is upon us and French Gerleman will be closed the following dates:

Thanksgiving

  • Thursday, November 23
  • Friday, November 24

Christmas

  • Monday, December 25
  • Tuesday, December 26

New Year’s Day

  • Friday, December 29
    • St. Louis – closing at Noon
    • Kansas City – closing at Noon
    • Columbia, MO – closing at Noon
    • Washington, MO – Closed all day
    • Springfield, MO – Closed all day
    • Quincy, IL – closing at Noon
  • Monday, January 1- Closed

 

When it comes to production lines and facility downtime, we know every minute counts. As a reminder, after-hours emergency services are available around the clock on holidays and weekends and from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. on Monday through Friday.  Access our emergency service team by calling your local branch:

St. Louis:  800-333-3122 or 314-569-3122

Kansas City:  800-707-3122 or 913-894-8844

Columbia, MO:  800-283-3122 or 573-474-4194

Washington, MO:  888-959-9448 or 636-390-4949

Springfield, MO:  855-763-9311 or 417-799-0200

Quincy, IL:  800-234-3122 or 217-223-3122

An automated attendant will answer. Follow the prompts to reach our on-call representative. A service charge may be applied.

We appreciate your business, and wish you a safe and happy holiday season.


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French Gerleman Launches New Online Ordering Website & Mobile App

We understand getting the products and information you need for a project or job should be fast, easy and convenient. That’s why we designed our new website and mobile app around the specific business requirements of today’s busy industry professionals. Our enhanced e-Commerce platform offers instant access to more than $24 million of in-stock products, images and specification information.

Save time and consolidate your purchase orders with French Gerleman. You’ll have instant access to more than 40 product categories including the latest products and technologies in Automation, Electrical Supply, Datacom, Power Transmission and Safety. Plus, we’ll keep you updated on relevant training options, upcoming events and new products that help streamline your business and make you more profitable.

The new frenchgerleman.com focuses on three core customer requirements – speed, convenience and increased mobility.

Speed

We offer several online options designed to quickly get you to the information you need:

  • Predictive Search – Available options displayed as you type in product numbers.
  • Product Attributes – Quickly narrow and refine your product search results by specific attributes.
  • Price and Availability – Instant access to account pricing and real-time inventory levels
  • Customer Part Numbers (CPN) – Search for products by your unique part number.
  • Product Groups – Create lists of products you order most often.
  • Quick Order Pad – Enter part numbers freeform and add to cart.
  • e-Quote – Review and approve quote online and place order online.
  • Punchout – Access and integrate frenchgerleman.com through your procurement platform.

Convenience

We’ve included a variety of online features designed to make your online experience convenient and simple:

  • Locations, Maps & Phone Numbers – Instant access to important branch information.
  • 24-Hour Emergency Service – Available after hours, weekends and holidays.
  • Events & Training – List of upcoming activities and online registration.
  • Manufacturer Search – View available products by manufacturer.
  • Credit Card Payment – Convenient credit card payment and procurement options.
  • Order History – View all orders placed on or offline. Multiple search options available.
  • Order Confirmations – Receive an e-mail confirmation confirming all your order details.
  • Shipment Tracking – Access a tracking number for all UPS and FedEx shipments.
  • Delivery Notifications – Know when you order has arrived at the jobsite or for a pending project.
  • Request Quote – Looking for something unique? Submit an online quote request.
  • Return Request – Have a need to return product? Start the process with an online request.
  • Account Dashboard – Manage all your account options through a convenient dashboard.
  • My Saved Cart – Save your cart(s) and place your order(s) at a later time or date.
  • Blog – Get current news about services, events, trends and new products.

Mobility

Whether you’re in a warehouse, on a job site, or just need to place an order after normal business hours, French Gerleman offers online options that meet your growing expectations for increased mobility:

  • Responsive Design – Website is configured to adapt to multiple platforms and devices ensuring a user-friendly experience.
  • Phone App (Android & iPhone) – Access important account information from your phone, scan bar codes and add products to your shopping cart, forward product photos and information for quote requests.

To get started, visit frenchgerleman.com/register. If you’re a current customer, we’ll match your online registration request with your active account information. Allow 24 hours for account set-up and e-mail confirmation. If you’re new to French Gerleman, you can order via credit card or submit an online credit application to be considered for open account terms.


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Workplace Safety Starts with First Aid

Category : FG News

First aid is crucial—especially in the workplace. It’s important to make sure you have the correct supplies stocked to comply with American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards and keep your employees safe. The ANSI 2015 standards for first aid went into effect summer of 2016, updating minimum performance requirements.

First aid kits should be checked regularly to make sure they are fully stocked, but now “fully-stocked” levels may have changed. Reviewing the ANSI 2015 standards gives a good baseline of what you’ll need, but since every workplace is different, appropriate content may be supplemented to fit its needs.

French Gerleman, in partnership with First Aid Only, has a vendor managed inventory (VMI) program which we can regularly inspect and replenish your first aid kits, based on each workplace’s individual needs, while meeting ANSI standards.


First Aid Only has released an overview of the new ANSI standards, listing what is now required for first aid kits in the workplace. Items include:

  • Adhesive Bandages and Tape
  • Antiseptics
  • Antibiotic Ointment
  • Breathing Barriers
  • Burn Treatments
  • Cold Packs
  • Eye Coverings
  • Eye Wash
  • First Aid Guides
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Pair Exam Gloves
  • Roller Bandages
  • Scissors
  • Sterile Pads
  • Trauma Pads
  • Triangular Bandages

These components are required in varying sizes and amounts depending on whether your workplace requires a Class A or B kit. In fact, there are four types of kits, some of which are meant to be portable vs stationary, and their level of durability. First aid supplies are organized by color in unionized kits.

Deciding which type, class and quantity of kits are best for your workplace is important, and many different factors should be considered including the potential risks and number of employees. If you have questions or are interested in our First Aid VMI program, contact your local French Gerleman account manager or e-mail info@frenchgerleman.com.


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Convenient Electronic and Online Options for Your Business from French Gerleman

Looking for ways to save time, money and ultimately, make your life, and job easier? You have enough on your plate, and we want to help streamline the process and make the experience working with French Gerleman as simple and convenient as possible. That is why we offer a wide array of electronic and online options!

Technology is constantly changing and advancing, and we want to provide valuable business tools to help you manage your account information and transactions with us.  We have convenient order and Invoice management as well as e-Commerce Solutions that are quick and easy.

In this blog, we will highlight options that are currently available to help build our business partnership. For full details and specifics on our offerings, you can download our Electronic & Online Options brochure HERE.

  • Online Credit Application: Request an account with open payment terms.
  • Electronic Invoicing: Free electronic invoicing, receive statements on invoices faster.
  • Online Payments- Automated Clearing House (ACH): Pay your invoices online and eliminate paper clutter, as well as review invoice history and account balances…
  • Electronic Data Interface (EDI): Receive data from your company via EDI, receive electronic orders, order acknowledgements and invoices.
  • Online Ordering: Order the products you need online with real-time product availability and pricing.
  • Credit Card Payment: Pay using Mastercard, Visa, American Express or Discover cards.
  • Request Quote: Request quotes for your unique item and we’ll respond with availability and pricing.
  • Shipment Notifications: Know when products are being shipped to your warehouse or job site.
  • Return Goods Authorization Request: Easily request a return authorization.
  • eQuote: Access your quotes online for up to 60 days.
  • Punchout: Automate ordering directly from your internal procurement system.

In addition to our electronic and online business options, we offer training on the latest technologies to help increase your company’s return on investment. We offer courses to help you effectively implement your automation, datacom, electrical supply, power transmission and safety investments. We can also create custom and private training.  Contact us for more information.

To discuss available electronic or online options, contact your French Gerleman Account Manager or visit us online at frenchgerleman.com/EZTDBW.  Don’t have an account manager?  Call 800-333-3122 to learn more.

 


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Rebuilding Together Day, Year 12: Bringing the Community Together

At French Gerleman, we enjoy giving back to the communities we serve. In St. Louis, we are passionate about Rebuilding Together and are proud that so many employees and vendors were willing to donate their time, money and products to help others in the community. This was our 12th year participating in Rebuilding Together Day, and this year was extra special as we experienced some challenges that put our team to the test.

In February, we were assigned our home and we assembled our team. Bob Anderson stepped up to be our House Captain this year, and Vickie Katashuk returned as our Volunteer Coordinator for the seventh year.

When we met with Rebuilding Together about our assigned home, they detailed the home’s issues that needed attention to make it more livable and secure. After our initial meeting with the Rebuilding Together team, we had a couple months to meet with the homeowner and tour her house to confirm the projects that we would take on and begin compiling the items needed.

The homeowner we partnered with this year was Miss Joyce Johnson-Seddens, a lovely, kind woman in her 60s who lives in north St. Louis. When you meet Joyce, you can’t help but love her. We had originally outlined this project to cover fixing her AC unit, painting the exterior of her home, updating her yard and retaining wall and various minor repairs around the house. After touring the home and talking to Miss Joyce about what would help make her home more livable and functional for HER, we decided we needed to add a few projects to our list! That list included:

  • New AC unit
  • Exterior paint
  • New retaining wall
  • Yard work/clean up
  • Fix fencing in yard
  • Safety measures – fix railings in basement and front stairs
  • Replace glass panel doors with security doors
  • Post repair
  • Install new LED lighting throughout the house
  • Install gutter guards
  • New crawl space doors
  • Cleaned the house
  • New garbage disposal

The funding from Rebuilding Together was tight this year, so we knew we needed to work hard to stay in budget or get items donated. We only had a budget of $1,000 from Rebuilding Together, so we knew we needed to solicit additional donations. Between employees, vendors and customers, we pulled together more than $3,000 in donations (monetary and materials) for the project!

It’s amazing to see our community come together to help someone in need. We called Vogel AC to help us fix Miss Joyce’s AC unit that had not been functioning for quite some time. Vogel was kind enough to donate and install a brand new AC unit, going above and beyond our expectations. This is something Joyce desperately needed for the hot St. Louis summer days.

The LED lighting that we installed throughout the house was provided by Philips and Lithonia Lighting. Not only does the new lighting help improve the overall appearance of her home, but the technology will save her hundreds of dollars on energy bills! When Miss Joyce found out how much money she would be saving, her face lit up and she was thrilled. It’s moments like that, when you see the homeowner get emotional, that makes all of our team’s hard work worth it.

We also had a plumber at the house doing some minor repairs and he saw that her garbage disposal was not working. He happened to have one in his truck and he gave it to her! The kindness we experienced throughout this process is truly overwhelming and we feel incredibly lucky.

Rebuilding Day might just be one day, but because of the scope of the project and our desire to provide the best experience for Miss Joyce, we had volunteers at the home throughout the week leading up to the Day and many days following to ensure we completed each task. In total, we had 24 volunteers who came out to join us at Rebuilding Day, ranging from French Gerleman employees, families, friends and even customers from Lange Tech. Some of our volunteers had to battle the flooding to make it out to help, which we thought would be a setback, but they braved the elements! One of our volunteers had a flooded basement at his house, but he joined us because he felt like it was his commitment and where he needed to be.

“Rebuilding Together Day can be stressful,” said Bob.  “We’re worried about getting all of our projects completed, we sometimes experience setbacks and the work is hard, physically and emotionally. But at the end of the day, you forget about the stress, the pain and the long hours when you see the look on the homeowner’s face, the emotion and pure joy they experience when they see their ‘new’ home.”

When we asked Vickie what brings her back to Rebuilding Together, year after year, she said, “You replace that person’s face with a family member’s face, someone you love. You would take care of your family and do anything to ensure that they are safe, secure and comfortable. That’s exactly what we do for these people. We love these people and will take care of them like they are our family, just like we hope someone would do for our family members if they were in need.”

A big thank you to our wonderful volunteers, employees, vendors and customers who supported our team through this process and Rebuilding Together.  Without all of you, it wouldn’t be possible to raise the donations we did or to accomplish all the projects we did for Miss Joyce.

And a special thank you to Bob and Vickie for their selfless, hard work and dedication to Rebuilding Together. They went above and beyond to make sure Miss Joyce’s house was safe, secure and that the remodel made an impact on her life.

Are you or your business looking for a great organization to support? Rebuilding Together is a wonderful organization who could use some help, both monetary donations and volunteers are greatly appreciated. Be sure to visit http://www.rebuildingtogether-stl.org/ to learn more.


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IDEAL National Championship: How Electricians Become Legends

Do you have the power to be the best electrician in the nation? Now is your chance to see if you have what it takes!

IDEAL Electrical, a leading tool and electrical supply company based in Sycamore, IL, is once again hosting the IDEAL National Championship to honor and showcase abilities of electricians as well as award more than $500,000 in cash and prizes.

The IDEAL National Championship features several categories for competition: Individual-Professional, Individual-Student/Apprentice, Team- Professional, and Team- Student/Apprentice.

The Qualifying Round challenge requires competitors to demonstrate both mental problem-solving and physical skills across five categories: pulling wire, cutting stripping, terminating and testing on a preassembled electrical platform. Does this sound like something you could master? Time to sign up!

We are excited to host local Qualifying Round events at several of our upcoming Customer Appreciation Days! Mark your calendars:

  • St. Louis, MO – Thursday, June 15, 11 a.m. to 1p.m.
  • Quincy, IL – Wednesday, June 21, 11 a.m. to 1p.m.
  • Washington, MO – Wednesday, September 13, 11 a.m. to 1p.m.
  • Columbia, MO – Friday, September 15, 11 a.m. to 1p.m.

If you are interested in competing, go to IDEALnationals.com to register and search for your local Qualifying Round event. We can’t wait to have all the legends-in-the-making compete at our Customer Appreciation Days!