Category Archives: Industry News

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The New OSHA 1910 Regulations — What do they mean for you?

You may have heard by now that OSHA has updated its 1910 General Industry regulations regarding walking-working surfaces and personal protective equipment. These new regulations went into effect on January 17, 2017. What are the changes and what do they mean for you? It can seem a bit overwhelming as there are many changes in the regulations (which is a 513-page update), so our friends over at Guardian Fall Protection pulled together a list of the most impactful updates and what they mean for you. You can check out Part 1 of their guide HERE and Part 2 HERE.

One of the most wide-ranging change is the addition of personal fall protection systems and safety nets as an option for protecting workers from falls. By expanding the standards to allow more options to protect the worker, OSHA will allow employers and workers to use the system that they feel will protect them the best and is most suitable for the specific situation.

With the new regulations, training is huge. Workers will be even more knowledgeable about fall protection hazard identification and mitigation with new training standards.

Another big change affects fixed ladders. All existing ladders taller than 24′ must have a cage, well, ladder safety system or personal fall arrest system in place by November 19, 2018. There are a lot of changes when it comes to ladders, so be sure to stay ahead of the game and check out the changes HERE.

Rope descent systems and anchorages are also addressed in the new regulations. OSHA now requires that before use, “the building owner must inform the employer, in writing, that the building owner has identified, tested, certified, and maintained each anchorage so it is capable of supporting 5,000 pounds in any direction.” Somewhere around 487,500 buildings will require annual inspections and decennial certification. Make sure your anchorages have been inspected and certified!

This is just a small snapshot of the OSHA changes, be sure to check out Guardian’s breakdown of new regulations. If you have any questions, give your account manager a call!


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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!


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How Can 5S Help Your Business?

Productivity is a key issue in manufacturing environments and our customers are constantly looking for ways to improve their productivity and reduce total costs. 5S is a great way to get a business organized and productive. 5S might sound scary or little different, but it’s one of the most widely adopted techniques in establishing operational stability and sustaining continuous improvement.

5S is a lean methodology derived from five Japanese words.  It is designed to reduce waste and optimize productivity through better and more effective organization. The five categories of the 5S are Sort (Seiri), Set in Order (Seiton), Shine (Seiso) Standardize (Seiketsu) and Sustain (Shitsuke). In 5S, visual devices such as red tags, floor marking tapes and shelf labels are used to ensure everything has a place, and that everything remains in its place. This not only keeps everything clean and organized, but also helps you to see what you have, what you need and what is getting low, ultimately, helping you to save time and money.

With some help from our friends at Brady, we will detail each of these 5S pillars, explain the process and how these guidelines for a visual workplace can benefit your company.

Step One: SORT

The first step is as simple as going through what you have and determining what you want and need to keep, and what you can get rid of. This includes sorting through all tools and materials, only keeping the essentials. Anything that doesn’t make the cut, discard! This will keep your workplace clutter and hazard free.

Step Two: SET IN ORDER

Did you know that 75% of knowledge is gained through visuals? The second step in 5S is to look for ways to reduce any sources of waste and errors in your facility, and in the process, make it more visually instructive. By adding visuals to the workplace, employees have the information they need to effectively do their jobs, cut down on wasted time and be more effective.

Areas of focus include:

  • Organizing equipment
  • Establishing safety measures
  • Creating procedures
  • Establishing product quality standards
  • Creating effective inventory and material handling

Step Three: SHINE

Step three simply put means CLEAN. By eliminating dust, dirt and sources of contamination/debris and inspecting your equipment in the process, you can improve the safety and productivity of your facility. Once you get your workplace clean, create a plan or process to ensure you can maintain its appearance and use preventative measures to keep it that way.

Step Four: STANDARDIZE

Next, you need to expand your efforts and create best practices to make the improved workplace a standard. To do this, it’s important to have clear and consistent visual controls, roles and responsibilities. This includes job scheduling boards, employee schedules and check sheets, supply checkout boards, safe state visuals and Lead Daily Management (LDM) boards.

Step Five: SUSTAIN

This step is all about ensuring that employees understand that workplace organization is a top priority. It is a goal to continually improve the workplace.

PLUS

Safety is built into the 5S structure by identifying potential hazards, risks and creating preventive safety processes to keep your workplace operating at 100% and helping to keep your team safe.

Through our French Gerleman Stock Optimization Program, we can help you to implement the 5S structure and get your facility to optimum productivity. We have many products and solutions, such as our Job Site Storage Mobile Carts, that can help get you and your employees stay organized. You can also learn more about how Brady utilizes 5S with their products HERE.

If you’re interested in learning more about 5S or how to increase your company’s productivity, give your French Gerleman Account Manager a call today!

Source – https://www.bradyid.com/en-us/standards-and-compliance/lean-visual-workplace/5s


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LED Lighting Retrofit: Your Path to Savings

Is your company spending more on lighting than it needs to—both in terms of energy and maintenance?  If so, it’s time to consider retrofitting your lighting to LED and put more of your profits back where they belong—in your business.

Retrofitting is a popular topic, particularly among our commercial and industrial end user customers. Converting existing fixtures to LED, either through the swapping of lamps or a fixture retrofit, is a way to transition to LED technology without the full financial investment of purchasing and installing new fixtures.

The demand is strong, and there are many manufacturers offering a cost-effective retrofit solution for just about any existing fixture.  Here are some options to consider:

Step into LED with a lamp retrofit.

The most economical move into LED technology is to swap your current lamps from conventional light sources to LED.  LED lamps can improve ambiance, energy efficiency and reduce maintenance.

  • Philips InstantFit is a truly compatible plug and play LED tube lamp that performs as expected, so you don’t have to go back and waste time and money redoing a job, and can instead focus on growing your business. Available in a variety of sizes and wattages, popular types include T8, 4-Pin Long Compact, U-Bent T8, and 4-Pin Plug-in.
  • Transform your environment while reducing lighting-related energy costs with Philips “Screw-in” LED lamps. The line includes popular A-type, candle, globe, MR16 and PAR lamps – all with smooth dimming technology.

Get rid of your florescent strip fixtures.

Linear fluorescent technology represents an estimated 80% of the installed equipment and 72% of total annual energy consumption for commercial lighting making it the perfect candidate to upgrade to LED with a retrofit. Universal Lighting Technologies’ EVERLINE® LED Retrofit Kit simplifies the transition from fluorescent to LED.  The EVERLINE® Retrofit Kit converts 2’, 4’ or 8’ fixtures to LED lighting.  The kits include everything needed for simple installation and are available in 2,300 lumens to 6,000 lumens with an 82 CRI and CCTs of 3500K, 4000K and 5000K.

Troffer Retrofit Kits

Are you looking for an affordable way to use LED lighting to cut back on energy costs, but don’t have a huge budget? Upgrading your traditional fluorescent in-grid ceiling troffers may be easier than you think.

    • The Universal Lighting Technologies LED General Purpose Fixture is a recessed prismatic LED Luminaire. Designed for replacement of fluorescent troffer and parabolic style luminaires. The GPA Series is installer friendly and comes in standard sizes for grid lay-in applications. Designed as an economical option for lighting indoor spaces with T-Grid ceilings, its high efficacy and excellent uniformity make it a great choice for most office and classroom environments.
    • Lithonia Lighting’s BLT Relight Series provides quick, easy installation into most
      existing luminaires. It provides look, feel and performance of a full fixture replacement at a fraction of the cost – reducing installation cost and materials. The BLTR series also provides control options to further enhance your space.

Got illuminated signs? Upgrade their lighting.

Now signs can be seamlessly converted from existing fluorescent to LED technology. Universal Lighting Technologies’ EVERLINE® LED Sign Tubes are an LED outdoor replacement solution for T12HO or T8HO lit signs. Designed for fast and easy installation, the Sign Tube uses the existing RDC sockets with minimal modification. It features 90° adjustable RDC style endcaps for correct lamp orientation in vertical or horizontal installations, regardless of how the socket was originally installed.

Think “outside” for even more retrofit opportunities.

Retrofits aren’t just for indoor applications. The Lithonia Lighting KADRD-LED retrofits any existing 100 – 400W metal halide or high pressure sodium KAD into a high-performance LED luminaire, while realizing typical energy savings up to 70% with expected service life up to 100,000 hours. The KADRD-LED retrofit door simply replaces the existing KAD door containing the glass lens and installs in minutes.  Part of the Contour® Series luminaires, the KADRD offers traditional square dayforms with softened edges for a versatile look that complements many applications.

Hazardous locations deserve LEDs, too.

It’s important for hazardous (classified) work sites to be equipped with proper lighting for their classification. Ratings are used by engineers and architects to determine where specific fixtures should be used under the specific conditions. Currently, there are a handful of classifications for explosion-proof LED lighting.

Dialight offers fixtures for installation and use in hazardous (classified) locations including: Class I, Divisions 1 and 2, Groups A, B, C, and D; Class II, Division 1, Groups E, F, and G; Class II, Division 2, Groups F and G; and Class III, Divisions 1 and 2, in accordance with the National Electrical Code, NFPA 70.  Their Vigilant Industrial Solutions and SafeSite Hazardous Area Solutions offer a variety of LED retrofit and replacement products for classified spaces.

Start on your path to savings today! With LEDs you use up to 90% less energy than traditional sources and the longer lifespan reduces maintenance needs – saving you both time and money.  In addition, you may be able to take advantage of utility incentives available in most areas by retrofitting your facility’s lighting with LED.

Along with our manufacturer partners, French Gerleman can help you improve your facility with solutions to improve lighting efficiency and save on annual utility expenses.  Our lighting team is well versed in LED lighting products for use in commercial and industrial facilities.

To learn more about these products to for help with your next lighting project, contact your French Gerleman Account Manager.  Our lighting team can help you identify any applicable utility incentives in your area and help with LED solutions to meet your project’s specifications.


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Two Electrical Expo Events- MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

Spring is the season of renewal. A fresh start. Learning, growing and experiencing new things. This year, we will be ushering in Spring by supporting two informational and educational expos.

The first event is the Electrical Board of Missouri and Illinois (EBMI) Electrical Expo at the St. Charles Convention Center in St. Charles, MO. This event will take place on March 21-22. As EBMI members, we are excited to be on hand for this event and to participate in the seminars and visit with many of our great vendors.

Following the EBMI Expo, we will be sponsoring the Electric League of Missouri & Kansas Expo at the Overland Park Convention Center in Overland Park, KS, on April 11-12. Make sure to save the date, you won’t want to miss this opportunity to meet with vendors, hear the latest industry news and attend the popular seminars.

Here are the details on the upcoming Expos:

Electrical Board of Missouri and Illinois Electrical Expo

March 21-22, 2017

St. Charles Convention Center – St. Charles, MO

Tuesday, March 21: 1 – 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 22: 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

 

This EBMI Electrical Expo held only once every three years and attracts manufacturers from across the country to the area. At this event, you can visit more than 200 exhibits and take part in educational sessions to learn more about key products, learn about new industry codes and earn PDH/PEU credits.

Event Features:

  • 12 seminars are offered during the two-day event, offering PDH and PEU credits. Sessions cover a wide variety of topics including: preventive maintenance, plant cyber security, lighting, code changes and much more.
  • Visit with 200+ vendors for a first look at new products.
  • Network with associates from all segments of the electrical industry.

If you’re looking for a way to attend and don’t live in the metro area, French Gerleman will be offering transportation from Columbia, MO, and Quincy, IL, to the St. Charles Convention Center. As members of EBMI, we will be hosting a hospitality suite in conjunction with Expo, so feel free to stop by and visit with the French Gerleman team.  Watch for information coming soon.

The Expo is free to attend, but there is a cost to attend the educational seminars.  If you register early, you can save on the cost of the educational seminars. When you register for this Expo, please note French Gerleman as your referring distributor.

Featured exhibitors include: Appleton, Eaton’s B-Line Business, Hubbell Wiring Device-Kellems, Mersen, SolaHD, Thomas & Betts, General Cable, Lutze, Dialight, Acuity (Lithonia Lighting), Philips Lighting, Fluke, Greenlee, Ideal, Universal Lighting Technologies, Panduit, Spectrum Controls, Nord, WEG and APC.

You can see the full list of exhibitors HERE. For more information, visit http://www.electricalboard.org/2017-expo-information/.

Electric League of Missouri & Kansas Expo

April 11-12, 2017

Overland Park Convention Center – Overland Park, KS

Tuesday, April 11: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Wednesday, April 12: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

For our Kansas and western Missouri friends, this event is for you! The Electric League of Missouri & Kansas is hosting a free, two-day educational event at the Overland Park Convention center, and French Gerleman is proud to be a sponsor. This Expo is held once every three years, and features educational seminars, vendor exhibits, door prizes and much more.

Breakout sessions will be held in each morning and will include both educational seminars and premiere lighting sessions. Other training highlights include: arc flash compliance, CPR training and more to be announced over the coming weeks. Following the morning sessions, there will be a lunch break as well as a trade show networking event on Tuesday evening.

The list of exhibitors will be announced soon. For up-to-date event details, visit http://www.electricleague.org/tradeshow/trade_show.html

Mark your calendars and we hope to see you at one of these two upcoming Expos!


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French Gerleman Awarded the ElectricSmarts 2016 Distributor Top 10 “Smarty Awards”

We’ve once again won a “Smarty Award” from ElectricSmart! The awards were given to the top 10 distributors ranked by content page views on their network. In previous years, we won in the award in the Elite Status Quarter Million View Club, but this year, we made the Half Million View Club! This is a huge honor for us, and we are thrilled to see our growth this year. The ElectricSmarts Network continues to achieve millions of views in 2016, and with the increase in web traffic, they created the new Half Million Views Club.

electricsmarts-award

ElctricSmarts is a network created to provide web-based product marketing and education services. Their mission is to enhance communication and provide additional value across all levels of the supply chain and improving efficiency of already strong channels.

You can learn more about the Smarty Awards, other award winners and our past Smarty Awards HERE, and you can view the full list of distributors who have achieved the Half Million Views Club HERE. A big thank you to ElectricSmarts for their ongoing support and for this award. It’s always a great feeling to receive recognition for our hard work. We are excited to see how we do next year!


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Product Spotlight: Hoffman Filter Fan

In today’s business age, we rely more on electronics than at any time in history. We live by it, and we die by it. Nothing kills productivity faster than an electronics failure, and nothing causes failure faster than heat. Even with today’s thermal reducing technology, the only true protection from heat is effective airflow.

The full line of Hoffman brand filter fans is built to keep your business moving. With superior performance and numerous options, these filters are designed with your productivity in mind.

From industrial automation to automotive assembly, from material handling equipment to food and beverage process controls, Hoffman Filter Fans have been an industry leader for decades.

UL/cUL Listed and made with rugged UV-resistant plastic, the Click-Fit design makes installation a snap. The rope gasket in a molded channel ensures a tight seal with the cabinet. The shallow depth means it will fit almost anywhere. And the Easy-Grip tab ensures easy filter replacement. You can even choose black or light gray grill cover.

With over 90 models to choose from, Hoffman has the filter fan to fit your needs. Top or side mount with AC and DC power, standard or reverse flow, with no tools or screws required for assembly. Reversible airflow models mean there is no field modification needed, which means shorter installation and improved turnaround times.
enclosures

French Gerleman is ready to support you, with many models already in stock, ready to ship to you today.

Backed by a one-year standard warranty with unsurpassed customer service, Hoffman Filter Fans are the solution for all of your electronics cooling needs. So the next time you need filter fans, make your first stop your last stop. Give your Account Manager a call to learn more about the Hoffman Filter Fans.


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Manufacturing Matters, or The Internet of Things

Take a moment to sit back and imagine the future. Look 10 years from now, how does the manufacturing industry look? And are you prepared? Ten years from now, the global manufacturing sector will look completely different than it does today. Every day, advanced manufacturing technology is transforming the global competitive landscape at rapid speeds. If we act now to seize manufacturing’s promise, we will not only succeed, but will THRIVE in the 21st century. But those who fail to engage in smart manufacturing will rapidly fall behind.

Smart manufacturing, or the Internet of Things (IoT), marries information, technology and human ingenuity to bring about a rapid revolution in the development and application of manufacturing intelligence to every aspect of business. We recently held a day long seminar in conjunction with Rockwell Automation to explore ways companies can begin or continue their journey towards Smart Manufacturing. In case you weren’t able to attend the event, here is a recap of some of the key points.

Status of Manufacturing in the United States

Manufacturing in the United States is down at 2009 levels. Why you might ask? For some, the term “Made in the USA” doesn’t have the same connotation that it used to and its perceived value isn’t as high as it once was. There is a lot of pressure to improve costs, inventory, yield and delivery time.

Challenges faced in the industry:

  • Financial- revenue, GM, productivity, uptime
  • Customer pressure- this is only going to increase: innovation, flexibility, safe, green, price
  • Regulatory pressures- compliance, taxes
  • Internal pressures- aging equipment, aging workforce.

Companies are bringing manufacturing back to the US, causing the gap to close making China cheaper to manufacture in. But what’s causing this revolution? There is a new emerging middle class. By 2020, one billion new middle class consumers will be adding $8T to consumer spending money. Technology continues to advance, and with 75% of the workforce being Millennials by 2025, there will be mobility in manufacturing.

Convergence of IT and OT

What is Operational Technology (OT)?
OT is the technology hardware on the plant floor: sensors, machines, materials, controls, safety and security.

What is Information Technology (IT)?
IT involves the ERP, financials, HR, logistics, etc. This includes orders, supply network and product design.

process-example-1

process-example-2

The goal with integrating IT and OT is to drive productivity by providing visibility and clarity on the order as it goes through the shop. The key to this is looking at data in real time to make better decisions to improve profitability.

Change and Keep Changing

According to Steve Gansen, Cisco’s Manufacturing Industry Sales Manager, there are NO manufacturing companies…only sales and marketing companies. The key to success is to change and keep changing. The Midwest is a key area for reshoring because you can get closer to your customers. Logistics are a bigger play to drive efficiencies.

internet-of-everything

IoE transforms data into wisdom. It’s a journey and everyone is at a different place on that path. You’re either a disruption or someone is going to disrupt you. The key is to start small, disrupt in a small way to show results and go from there.

Modernized Automation

The top concerns of manufacturers are:

  • Economy and political influence
  • Recruiting/retaining personnel with proper technical skills
  • Regulations compliance and traceability
  • Product development and innovation/agility for quick change overs
  • Balance throughput and maintenance
  • IoT vs cyber threats- security

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To help ease these concerns, it’s important to have smarter machines and equipment with real-time data. These machines will help reduce downtime by helping to replace items faster. You must determine your wants and needs and from there, determine if your network and hardware can support these wants/needs. If not, the next step would be to design a strategy to get you there.

Industrial Security Trends:

  • Formerly “good enough” security, now, is better than “perfect” security… never
  • Security ultimately relies, and fails, on the degree to which you are thorough. People don’t like to be thorough, so this will be your biggest hurdle.
  • Your absolute security is only as strong as your weakest link.
  • Concentrate on the known, probable threats.
  • Security is not a static end state, it is an interactive process.

The Connected Enterprise: Power of Information

The challenge today is finding the right data from different sources and getting it back into and understandable format. This includes real time information. It’s also important to note that millennials look at data in a different way, so be sure to formulate the data in a way that will be the most useful for those who need it.

connected-enterprise

This was just a quick highlight of some of the information presented at our recent Manufacturing Matters event. If you’re interested in learning more or reviewing the presentation, contact your French Gerleman Account Manager.


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Switchgear Solutions: What You Need to Know

Switchgear: The goal is to maximize equipment life cycles and improve reliability with preventive and predictive maintenance of power distribution equipment. Here’s a closer look at Switchgear Solutions.

Electrical switchgear is composed of passive and active components. Passive components are horizontal and vertical bus structures. Active components are power circuit breakers, fusible switches, protective relays and motor control. Their role is to protect the electrical assets downstream, disconnect the circuit and protect personnel in case of an arc flash event. They are extremely important when it comes to your safety.

siemens

Preventive Maintenance
Once installed, all electrical equipment begins deteriorating due to normal wear and tear. This will happen regardless of the brand or product used. Regular maintenance ensures the equipment’s integrity and proper mechanical and electrical functionality, as well as optimizing the equipment’s lifespan. Even the best maintained equipment ultimately will degrade and reach the end of its useful life. The average useful life for well maintained equipment is 35 years versus only 17 for unmaintained equipment. With a little maintenance, you can double the equipment’s life.

How you can perform preventive maintenance:
Switchgear should be cleaned, inspected, tightened, lubricated and maintained on a regular basis. You will need to consider the environmental and equipment conditions when determining a preventive maintenance schedule. This is where a trained switchgear maintenance person or firm should come in and help you to prepare a plan.

Power System Studies and what you need to know:
Power System Studies, or PSS, provide multiple benefits including retention of protective device settings, proper sizing of electrical equipment, protecting employees and the equipment and compliance with industry standards and codes.

Electrical equipment and power distribution systems have never been designed to remain perpetually energized without interaction by the owner, so electrical equipment requires your attention and ongoing maintenance throughout its installed life.

Contact your Account Manager or Randy Laird, Switchgear Specialist, at 314-478-4458 or rlaird@frenchgerleman.com.


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French Gerleman Wire Management Solutions and GenClean from General Cable

At French Gerleman, our expanded wire management solutions help save you time, money and get you the right materials! We are constantly expanding our colored wire offering to help make your jobs more efficient and safe.

Not only do we offer the standard black and colored wire and cable, but we also offer various wooden and metal compartment reel options to allow for parallel pulling. Even more, we can install pulling heads for more efficient, fast pull and we can even custom label your reels to aid in delivery to multiple locations, which will save you time and a headache, trying to sort out what needs to go where.

A product we are excited to offer at French Gerleman is GenClean™ by General Cable, ideally suited for the food/beverage industry. CAROL® Cable is a trusted brand who revolutionized the cord industry with Super Vu-Tron®, and have now made a splash with their Carol Brand Rubber Cord featuring GenClean technology. The rubber cord with GenClean jacket technology can substantially reduce the environmental conditions conducive to microbial growth.

GenClean Product Sheet

The GenClean jacket has been tested with many solvents and has proven itself in the toughest of environments, which is something we look for in our products.  Furthermore, its super tough jacket construction is built to withstand daily abuse, temperature extremes (-50°C to 105°C) and high-stress industrial environments.  It is abrasion-, cut-, heat-, flame-, sunlight- and chemical-resistant and includes the following benefits:

  • Smooth rubber jacket with enhanced ability to be properly cleaned
  • High durability for longer life-cycle
  • High performance in the harshest manufacturing environments
  • Excellent flexibility in cold temperatures
  • Resistant to oils, acids, chemicals, ozone and sunlight (UV)
  • Abrasion- and cut-resistant
  • High heat and flame resistance
  • TRU-Mark® Sequential Footage Marking System

If you are interested in learning more about French Gerleman’s Wire Management Solutions or General Cable’s GenClean, give your Account Manager a call today or request more info HERE.