Category Archives: industry news

5 Reasons to Use Plug Joint Connectors for Pre-Wiring Prefab Homes

Prefabricated homes are a fast-growing segment of the housing market. They have many characteristics that make them a popular choice for a new home, but the most obvious advantage is in how they’re constructed. For instance, electrical prefabrication can simplify the work at the construction site by pre-wiring the modules at the factory. Once the parts of the home arrive at the build site, it’s simple enough to connect the modules together to provide power to the entire building.

Those who choose to use Nichifu for their electrical prefabrication needs will be able to significantly reduce the time it takes to complete a new home construction. In this article, you’ll see how the incorporation of our plug joint connectors during the pre-wiring process will benefit both homeowners and builders alike.

Prefabricated Homes

Prefab Home Construction
Prefab Home Construction

According to a 2020 study by The Freedonia Group, demand for prefabricated homes in the United States is expected to reach a market value of $10.8 billion USD by 2024. The study offers several factors that are spurring such demand. One is a shortage of affordable housing due to the amount of time and money needed to construct site-built homes. Prefabricated homes have an advantage in this arena, as modules are rapidly constructed and assembled on site for far less than the traditional site-built home.

Another factor is the increasing interest in multigenerational living across the United States. The recent economic impact of COVID-19 has brought the home to the forefront for Americans across the nation. Many parents are required to stay home with children, or may be hesitant to send their aging relatives to nursing homes. As such, Americans are looking for solutions to housing several different generations of their family tree under one roof. Prefabricated homes again offer a solution, either in the form of add-ons to an existing home or nearby constructions to accommodate additional family members.

To sum, new home manufacturers can expect to see an increasing demand for prefabricated homes and the flexibility and affordability they provide to consumers. Indeed, the Freedonia study makes it clear that consumer concerns are what’s driving the market at this time. So, what can new home manufacturers do to ensure they’re ready to meet this demand?

When it comes to building prefabricated homes, manufacturers will need to show that their building process offers the highest quality of service to the homeowners that will be enjoying the final product. Take the necessity of electrical prefabrication, for instance. As we move into the third decade of the 21st century, continued changes in consumer concerns could spell trouble for new home manufacturers who fail to complete the pre-wiring process at the factory.

For instance, homeowners might desire a rush installation on their home. Given the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, new and seasoned homeowners alike are looking for a sense of stability when it comes to their homes. This is the place where they’ll be quarantined should a lockdown occur, and they need their homes to be available without delay. Setbacks will only serve to frustrate the homeowner and poison their relationship with the manufacturer. Businesses who choose to pre-wire electrical components at the factory can ensure that construction proceeds as quickly as possible.

Sustainability is another important issue that modern-day homeowners are likely to take into account when choosing a prefab home manufacturer. Many Americans are concerned about climate change, green energy, and leaving a small environmental footprint throughout their lives. Such homeowners might request that the parts of their home have a low-impact on the environment—including the electrical components. They may even desire the construction of a tiny home, where manufacturers would need to provide the capability for the wiring of compact electrical components.

Moreover, these homeowners are likely to desire the addition of energy-efficient components after the build process is complete. Manufacturers who provide safe and flexible pre-wired modules are likely to win the hearts of such consumers. Lastly, increasing globalization brings an additional concern to the table for today’s homeowners. For those who might desire to relocate their home at some point in the future, electrical components in prefabricated homes must be easily disassembled.

As demand for prefabricated housing rises, so too do the individual demands of the homeowners who will be living in the constructed homes. The coronavirus pandemic has shown Americans nationwide the importance of a safe, stable home environment. As a result, prefabricated home manufacturers can expect a heavy list of demands to accompany the request for a new construction. Those who are prepared to tackle those demands will have an undeniable edge over the competition.

Plug Joint Connectors

Electrical prefabrication is the process of assembling the wiring for electrical components inside of prefabricated home modules. When the modules arrive at the build site, they’re ready to be installed—sometimes, with the simple push of a plug! Pre-wiring a new home ensures that manufacturers remain ahead of the competition. The final product will not only have the wiring for TV, Internet, security, lighting, and other systems ready to go; but it may also be future-proof, ensuring that homeowners will be able to modify and extend the electrical components of their home as they wish.

Nichifu’s plug joint connectors are well suited for the pre-wiring of prefabricated home modules. In the next few sections, we’ll take a closer look at the product specifications to see how our plug joint connectors can help you to smoothly and safely include electrical prefabrication as part of your construction process.

Easy

With traditional methods, connecting electrical wires can be a difficult process. It often requires stripping insulation and crimping the connection—and if done improperly, small interruptions to the connection can cause the crimp to come apart. It’s absolutely crucial that homeowners aren’t presented with a newly constructed home that has faulty wiring from the start.

As an alternative, the Nichifu plug joint connector provides you with quick and easy connections. Indoor electrical wiring becomes extremely simple: you only need to plug the wires directly into the terminal block to make the connection. As such, our plug joint connectors are especially efficient for the pre-wiring of prefab homes. After installing the electrical wires into the wall, floor, or roof at the factory, all that’s left to do is to push the plug into the tab block at the build site.

What’s more, our plug joint connectors eliminate the need for junction boxes. These small, metal boxes often end up hidden in hard-to-reach places, like under a floor, deep inside a wall, or behind an access panel, where they can cause a fire hazard if sparks were to fly. What’s more, homeowners who might attempt to access these junction boxes without professional help can find themselves in a dangerous situation—which could lead to a lawsuit at the manufacturer’s expense! Thankfully, our plug joint connectors eliminate these concerns; our product has been approved by the Japanese Electrical Appliance and Material Safety laws for use without a junction box.

Safe

When you’re working to pre-wire a prefabricated home, workers may be tempted to try and complete the process as quickly as possible. Laborers are particularly at risk of this when homeowners are impatient about the build process, or when there are construction setbacks and delays. Unfortunately, workers who try to rush the pre-wiring process using traditional methods are not likely to ensure that all connections are made properly and securely. What’s more, improper connections can lead to safety hazards or even loss of human life.

Our plug joint connectors take some of the guesswork out of wiring electrical components. To prevent improper connections, we’ve ensured that the plug and terminal block have the correct mating mechanisms. Furthermore, the transparent housing plug allows you to visually inspect the connection to be sure that it’s secure and properly polarized. With this, you can quickly and safely expedite the completion of the pre-wiring process for prefab homes.

Sustainable

Homeowners in the 21st century are likely to be concerned about the sustainability and reusability of the various parts of their home, including electrical wiring and electrical components. When using traditional plug connectors, this might not always be the case: these are components that, for the most part, were never meant to be removed or rewired ever again.

To try and reuse traditional plastic wire plugs, a homeowner would need to go through the exhausting process of extracting and re-connecting the likely metal terminals that house them. For traditional plastic terminal connectors, if they’re damaged in the rewiring process, then they can be difficult to replace. They may have even been coated with a sealant, one which might be toxic and non-biodegradable. Homeowners who are environmentally conscious are likely to recoil at the thought of the “guts” of their home causing such waste for the planet.

When you choose to include our plug joint connectors as part of your pre-wiring process, then you’ll be able to offer environmental peace-of-mind to your green clients! The plug and terminal block are both reusable, and the terminal removal method is extremely simple. To take off the wires, you simply press the lock release lever using a flathead screwdriver on the plug. The homeowner or their hired electrician will be able to quickly and easily perform rewiring work in almost any electrical setup—without sending damaged wires and soldered plugs to the landfill!

Flexible

While you might strive to make detailed plans in order to have everything on hand to complete the manufacturing process, obstacles are bound to arise that derail these plans along the way. For instance, workers may discover that there simply isn’t enough wiring to complete one of the modules for a prefabricated home. It may be tempting to try and stretch the wires to force the connection, but this isn’t optimal. On the safe side, you’d have a faulty connection and the homeowner would be at risk of losing power at some point in the future. On the more dangerous side, you could be introducing an unnecessary safety hazard into your homeowners’ electrical setup.

Thankfully, there’s a safer option. Our plug joint connectors make it easy to connect multiple lengths of wire. If the current wire length has been reached, it’s simple enough to connect the end to the start of a new wire, thereby extending the length of the cord. By changing the terminal block, it even becomes possible to make single-line or double-line connections. Furthermore, our plug joint connectors are able to handle the stranded copper wires that might be used for pre-wiring indoor components, such as circuit boards and electronic devices. Nichifu plug joint connector attachments will allow you to take advantage of stranded wire connections when pre-wiring a new prefab home. Using the cover and pin terminals, the plug will accept stranded wire, allowing you to work with those indoor electrical components that need a bit more flexibility.

Compact

Last but not least, it’s important to ensure that you’re using the correct plug joint connectors for the appropriate size of wire for the construction in question. For example, tiny houses and micro prefabricated homes will obviously require a pre-wiring setup that can accommodate wires with a smaller diameter. Fortunately, we offer a product that will allow prefabricated home manufacturers to cover their bases when it comes to thinner wires. Our mini plug joint connectors are available in a compact size that’s made for use in a wide variety of tight-fitting spaces. They can pass through an opening with a diameter as small as 25mm.

The straight-line connection is male and compact, and the terminal block can be used for joint branching. You can make a connection with just a simple touch, and remove it just as easily by using the wire lock release lever. Because the connection is directional, there’s no need to worry about miswiring. Furthermore, the transparency allows you to check the wire insertion status and polarity. Using our mini plug joint connectors during the pre-wiring process reduces work time, saves labor costs, and improves the quality of the final electrical wiring system.

Conclusion

Nichifu plug joint connectors are well suited for pre-wiring of prefabricated homes. In this article, you took a closer look at the product specifications to see how our plug joint connectors can help you to smoothly and safely tackle the electrical prefabrication process.

We hope that Nichifu plug joint connectors will become an essential part of your manufacturing process. To learn more, check out the product page or contact us to see how we can assist you with pre-wiring a new prefab home construction.

Renewable technology is here to stay and will continue to grow

Solar Power along with other renewable technologies (geothermal, biomass, hydroelectricity, battery) continue to surge and lead the world’s emerging energy technology. According to the United Nations, they found that global spending on solar power was higher than any other energy source in 2017. Even more, the International Energy Agency (IEA) claims that wind and solar capacity is “ten-fold” what it was a decade ago.

Global Energy Impact

Countries all over the world are taking advantage of the many benefits of renewable energy. China is a major player in renewables being nearly half of the entire worlds renewable energy budget. According to Dr. MacGill from the United Nations, Air Pollution in China is believed to kill around a million people every year, which would also likely to be a key motivation to their huge investment in clean energy.

In 2015, developing countries such as the Middle East and Mexico invested more in renewable energy than developed countries have done since.

Wind offers the lowest price form of renewable energy in some countries.

Future Impact on environment and policy

While fossil fuels still exist, and are widely used across the globe, renewable energy will hopefully remedy the greenhouse gas emission damages that effect the environment and society. Policies may also take place for any investors that continue to use fossil fuels.

Figure 1 Graph provided by: Renewableenergyworld.com

It is predicted that by 2026 Western Europe and North America will reach a solar capacity of almost 300 gigawatts of energy. Advances in the technology will be the major driving factor in the cost as so will tax policies. This would mean stronger battery technologies, more efficient electronic components and reliable cables.

Smart Factories Going Off the Grid

Factories are some of the biggest consumers of energy. Because of this, many companies are exploring the use of solar power as a way to reduce operating costs in the manufacturing process. Solar costs have been going down over the years and it may be getting closer to the time that factories consider solar as a real option.

Solar power became the most inexpensive source of energy last year. Solar is now cheaper than wind and its fossil fuel counterparts like natural gas. The biggest challenge of solar is the question of what to do for power supply at night or during bad weather when the sun is not out. Storage solutions help to the problem and many consumers still rely on grid-sourced electricity for part of the day for their homes.

Manufacturing plants and offices consume most of the energy they require during daylight hours. This means that commercial plants may benefit from solar power without needing to buy a storage solution to cover night time usage.

There are also economies of scale with solar power. The cost per unit goes down as the usage goes up. In fact, commercial solar installations are largely responsible for giving solar the title as cheapest energy resource in the world. Commercial solar installations can often get to ROI in a few years.

Factories are known for having flat roofs with lots of roof space to accommodate solar panels. The large, flat surface area of a factory building allows an easier and faster system installation while having fewer shading issues caused by nearby trees.

The energy market is in a state of rapid change. It’s not too early to start paying attention to what’s happening with the solar market and consider how your factory may benefit from a switch to solar energy. Even if you don’t jump off the grid cold turkey, you may find you can stick your toes in and find a hybrid solution that will still lower your operating costs and your carbon footprint at the same time.

2-part blog post: Part 2 -SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS for the Factory Floor

In Part 1 – How Dangerous is it to Work Near Heavy Machinery, we explored some of the dangers posed by working in environments with heavy machinery. Despite the dangers, there are some safety precautions and measures that can be taken to greatly reduce the risk of injury and even death. Here are some considerations for keeping the factory floor safer:

Fatigue:
About 38 percent of U.S. workers sleep less than seven hours a night, according to a 2016 study from NIOSH. Several additional studies found that workers who have a sleeping disorder are more likely to be involved in a workplace safety incident. Furthermore, fatigue-related productivity losses cost nearly $2,000 per worker each year, according to estimates from a 2010 study conducted by Cupertino, CA-based Alertness Solutions. The RAND Corporation has three recommendations for decreasing the amount of fatigue. They include, 1) understand the importance of sleep and promote it, 2) create brighter workplaces with settings for naps and 3) deter lengthy use of electronic devices after work.

Handling materials:
If you work in an industry which requires the use of mechanical handling equipment, making sure the proper use of mechanical handling equipment, the storage of materials, and the maintenance of the storage locations should be paid close attention. Sufficient safe clearances should be allowed for aisles, at loading docks, through doorways and wherever turns or passage must be made. In addition, aisles and passageways should be kept clear and in good shape, with no obstruction across or in the aisles that could create a hazard. It’s also important to avoid a stacking collapse, a common accident related to storage. So items stacked upon each other should be properly secured. The location where the materials are held must be kept clear of accumulating materials which can create hazards from tripping, fire, explosion, or pest harborage. Finally, proper signage should be used to mark clearance limits as they apply.

Training:
Safety training should be part of your program to keep workers safe. OSHA Train-the-Trainer and OSHA Safety Training courses are available for construction or general industry to U.S. workers who need specific job-related safety training.

Complacency:
Complacency can be the enemy of safety. Complacency occurs when you’ve been doing something one way for so long without incident that you assume there can never be an incident. A false sense of security does not bode well in any industry, but it could be most dangerous in environments with heavy equipment where things are constantly changing. In a constantly changing environment, extra vigilance is needed, but workers still become complacent. Fixing complacency takes constant vigilance. Nothing beats complacency like regular reminders. Morning meetings allow you to bring safety awareness to the forefront of everybody’s minds first thing in the morning each and every day. If the job doesn’t allow for daily meetings, at least plan for one at the beginning of each week to get people refocused on safety.

Good signs can be effective against complacency too. Even making just one person think more aware of safety measure can prevent deadly incidents.
Everybody on a site or manufacturing floor or in a warehouse should be working with safety in mind.

Keeping equipment on a maintenance schedule and adhering to the schedule is another way to keep the factory floor safe. Companies that have safeguards in place and have well documented and communicated emergency procedures will be two steps ahead if they face an unforeseen situation when they will be sorely needed in order to save lives.

2-part blog post: Part 1- How Dangerous is it to Work Near Heavy Machinery?

Every day thousands of engineers, operators, assemblers and compounders are faced with the dangers of working near heavy machinery. In addition to heavy machinery, these workers also face the dangers of conveyor belts, combustible liquids and spray booths. Most warehouses and production plants are noisy, fast-paced and have many moving parts. It’s no wonder that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 300 work-related fatalities are reported each year in the US. In addition, nearly 400,000 non-fatal injuries are reported annually, out of approximately 12 million people who are employed in the industry.

IMPORTANCE OF MANUFACTURING
Despite the dangers, the National Association of Manufacturers reports that for every $1 spent in manufacturing, another $1.40 is added to the economy. Manufacturing is a crucial part of the keeping the economy going strong. Manufacturing has the highest multiplier effect of any economic sector. Continuing to increase the safety measures for people working with heavy machinery and other workforce dangers in manufacturing should be a priority for every manufacturer.

Every business can learn from Amazon about automation and robotics

Amazon is leading the charge to reshape how the logistics industry operates by using automation and robotics. More and more, consumers are dictating logistics operations by their ever-shortening demand for fast and convenient everything. Amazon has set this bar high and consumers don’t want anything less than Amazon-fast. Logistics is becoming ever more data-driven as a response to this increasing demand for faster response, faster delivery and flawless execution.

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New ways to implement continuous improvement in factories

Continuous improvement has long been an important part of staying competitive in manufacturing. As product life cycles become shorter and the number of new product proliferation grows, there is an increased need for continuous improvement.

Some of the new trends in manufacturing that are being embraced include additive manufacturing, cloud-based systems, rapid design and super-fast prototyping, and crowd-sourcing. Here are just a few ways these trends will help factories implement continuous improvement across their supply chains.

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The Industrial Internet of Things is About to Change Manufacturing

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has the opportunity to bring changes across the manufacturing industry in a variety of ways. information will increasingly be generated by machines and things, and that information will be connected to help unveil insights across the supply chain. How exactly will IIoT change manufacturing? No one can predict for certain, however, as information is increasingly generated by machines and things, information will be tracked and captured using sensors, RFID tags, meters, actuators and GPS, among other things. We can expect that inventory will count and manage itself, shipping containers will detect their contents, assembly will be robotic, the entire value chain will be connected and connectivity will mean worldwide networks will plan and make decisions in real time. Some of this is already occurring in manufacturing and things will continue to go in this direction.

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