Locking devices keep lighting system securely connected

Nov. 15, 2002
In this installment of What Works, a company uses locking devices to ensure that its lighting system stays connected.

Last year marked an important date for Oklahoma City's General Motors (GM) plant. For the first time, it produced trucks instead of automobiles. The new line of GM trucks, the GMC Envoy XL, is a super-sized version of the company's popular sport utility vehicle (SUV). Reconfiguring the plant, which had specialized in Chevys, Buicks and Oldsmobiles, was a super-sized endeavor as well.

Since May 2001, virtually everything in the 22-year-old facility was replaced, including robotics, equipment and the assembly line. The plant conversion cost GM an estimated $700 million and included a range of innovative processes and technologies. Those technologies, from the most advanced robot to the most "routine" electric receptacle, were selected based on their anticipated ability to deliver quality and dependability.

The plant's new paint shop is a case in point. The 250,000-sq. ft. shop replaced an older paint facility and now features a high-output lighting system. The shop includes a series of painting booths and inspection decks, with a flexible lighting system for task painting illumination and general production purposes. Cooper Wiring Devices' 15 amp industrial specification grade single and duplex locking receptacles are specified for installation throughout the paint shop. Approximately 2,000 overhead lighting fixtures in side-by-side and end-to-end configurations outfit the new paint shop.

"Using 8-ft. light fixtures in the installation was driven by GM criteria and special standards applying to the various process and general lighting functions," says Pat Capouch, site manager of St. Paul, Minn.-based Hunt Electric Corp. GM specified locking devices from Cooper Wiring to ensure that the paint shop lighting system stays connected, and, if necessary, can be altered, relocated or rearranged easily. "You can easily allow for making lighting alterations," Capouch says. Hunt Electric was a contractor team partner with Oklahoma Electric Supply, Oklahoma City, under the principal contractor Durr Industries, Plymouth, Mich.

The installation includes a high-voltage power distribution system, composed of 12 unit substations with large bus-duct distribution, several ovens for drying and curing, a paint mixing and dispensing operation, an electrostatic paint application system, tack-off feather dusters and emission controls, regenerative thermal oxidizers, and air make-up units.

From a contractor's point of view, one advantage of Cooper Wiring locking devices is they allow back wiring of the receptacles, which permits easy installation and saves labor. From an end-user's perspective, the devices maintain power quality and reliability. Serrated terminal plates allow reliable connections, while the one-piece brass contacts provide excellent plug retention and continuity.

"No matter how good the system design is, if the connections aren't reliable, there will be problems," says Bill Dillon of Cooper Wiring Devices. "Our receptacle devices are designed to handle harsh treatment and deliver dependability."