OUSING EVERYTHING FROM
wires and controls to drives, power distribution equip- ment, and more, modern electrical boxes are specifically de- signed for use indoors or outdoors, are often optimized for a broad range of unique applications, and have been influenced by evolving trends in inte- rior design as well as a growing need for labor-saving features by contrac- tors. Here, manufacturers of these products offer their insights into cur- rent drivers, market trends, and sales opportunities for distributors.
Product Scope and Trends
“Electrical boxes play a vital role in the installation of electrical products and electric service today and provide important benefits such as labor sav- ings and safety across the broad range of indoor, outdoor, commercial, in- dustrial, and residential applications,” said Matt Hyder, associate product line manager at Eaton ( eaton.com). For that reason, and in tandem with the ongoing resurgence in con- struction within a variety of market segments, experts agree that the market for electrical boxes remains strong. “The commercial building market is growing through new construction and renovation projects, which will result in a general increase in electri- cal sales,” said Ray Szekretar, senior product manager of Wiremold Prod- ucts at Legrand ( legrand.us).
Among the drivers currently influ- encing product designs within the electrical box category are evolving trends in interior design. Specifically, “architects and designers have em- braced the open design concept in office spaces, educa- tional classrooms, hotel meeting rooms, and even residential homes, especially between the kitchen and living room,” said Szekretar. “As people are breaking free of traditional walls—where they’d been tied to wall recep- tacles in the spaces where they live and work—contractors and distributors are using floor boxes to bring power, data, and A/V connections to open areas in a visually appealing way.” In the case of commercial offices, for example, where floor layouts have moved from cubicles to open working areas and huddle spaces that facilitate communication and collaboration, “floor boxes provide a safe, conve- nient way to power phones, comput- ers, and task lighting and eliminate the need for extension cords, which reduces tripping hazards,” Szekretar said, noting that a growing number of schools are also favoring open-space designs, which will drive their in-
Shifts in commercial and residential layouts as well as
a growing demand for labor-saving designs are driving
changes in the market for electrical boxes.
creased need for in-floor power, data, and A/V connections as smart- phones, tablets, and laptops play larger roles in the classroom. With technology continuing to change the way we live, work, and use spaces, Szekretar noted that people are spending increasing amounts of time outside and bring- ing their mobile devices, tablets, and laptops with them. “This has presented business owners and facility managers with a new challenge: the provision of safe, permanent, and dependable power sources or charging devices outside,” he said. “Often, when out- door power is needed in public and commercial settings, electrical con- tractors and facility managers use makeshift solutions and temporary workarounds like extension cords, homemade outlet boxes, and tempo- rary generators, which can be un- sightly, unpro- ductive, and often hazardous.” However, he said, new market- place solutions such as gangable outdoor ground boxes with
and NEMA 6P ratings are ensuring protection in wet conditions for optimal use in out- door settings. According to Nathan Stetten, product manager for boxes and cov- ers at Hubbell RACO (hubbell-rtb. com), another trend in today’s elec- trical box market involves product designs that promote labor savings through prefabrication. “With the current shortage of skilled tradespeople nationally, con- tractors are always looking for prod- ucts that can save time on the job,” Stetten said. To that end, popular
If the con- tractor only has to keep one SKU on the job… and has everything needed put together in one electrical box, he won’t be wasting time chasing down… components on the jobsite or waiting for a delivery and will be more productive.
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