Better, cheaper, faster – MODE hits all the right targets for Clancy-Docwra
| By choosing the new MODE (Multiple Occupancy Distribution Equipment) range of products from Merlin Gerin, a brand of Schneider Electric, as the basis for electrical installations in blocks of flats, multi-utility specialist Clancy Docwra is making big savings in both time and money.
In addition, the company is finding that MODE equipment, which is fully approved by United Utilities, Scottish Power and many other DNOs, is technically superior to and more readily available than the distribution products it has used in the past for similar applications.
Designed to offer standard distribution solutions that are available for fast delivery at very competitive prices, the MODE range includes just 13 types of fused distribution board which, between them, cover applications from 200A 2-way up to 500A 20-way. This means that they can satisfy the requirements of almost any residential installation.
Prior to the launch of the MODE range, Clancy Docwra engineering manager, Jack McWinnie took part in the end-user consultation process which helped Schneider Electric to shape the design of its new products.
“It was very pleasing to find a company that was genuinely interested in hearing the views of its customers,” said Jack, “and it was even more pleasing when I saw the prototypes for the new boards, and realised that most of my suggestions had been adopted.”
“I’m not, of course, claiming credit for the design,” he continued, “but I do believe that, by listening to me and others like me, Schneider Electric has been able to produce a distribution board which is much better than the competitive products.”
Among the innovations which Clancy Docwra finds particularly attractive in the new boards is ease of cabling. MODE products feature a staggered busbar system so that connections to the red phase outgoing circuits are in front of those for the yellow phase which are, in turn, in front of those for the blue phase.
This means that cables for each phase run straight, rather than having to be bent to suit the flat connection arrangement used by other products. In addition, the neutral and earth bars are readily accessible, and are firmly secured with multiple fixings.
Another improvement which has proved useful to Clancy Docwra is the versatile cable entry arrangements offered by MODE products. Not only are they offered with a choice of aluminium, steel or plywood gland plates, they are also offered with the gland plates that are ready drilled to the user’s specification. Suitable glands can also be supplied along with the boards.
Safety has also been given careful attention, with the boards offering IPXXB protection even with the doors open, and the provision of a separately shrouded section for incoming connections.
“Some of these may seem like relatively minor enhancements,” said Jack, “but they make a very big difference on site. The boards are fast and easy to wire and the pre-drilled gland plates eliminate all of the hassle of having to cut large holes with portable tools. This added convenience makes our installation teams very happy – while the time saved makes us and our clients very happy!”
Not all of the benefits offered by MODE products are technical. Deliveries are, for example, much shorter than those typically offered for competitive products. In fact, at the time when Clancy Docwra made its first MODE purchases, the delivery was just one third of that being quoted elsewhere.
“By limiting the range to standard configurations, Schneider Electric are also able to offer exceptionally competitive pricing,” said Jack. “Although the MODE range jumps from 6 way boards to 10 way, the 10 way MODE product is actually less expensive than even a 7-way board from the nearest competitor.”
Schneider Electric has also scored with Clancy Docwra by matching MODE products to market requirements. In Scotland, for example, many flats require a six-way distribution board which also makes provision for one “landlord’s supply” to power lighting and other equipment in common areas of the property. Although this configuration might be considered unusual, it is available as a standard item in the MODE range.
The last word goes to Jack. “We very happy with every aspect of the MODE products,” he said. “They’re well engineered, well built, readily available, and very attractively priced. When NASA launched its “better, faster, cheaper” initiative, some wit commented that you could choose any two from three. That may have been true for NASA, but with the MODE range, Schneider Electric has managed to score a bullseye with all three targets!”
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