Down to the Wire
(03/21/2011)

When the busy Chicago-area Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare broke ground on a new, fully integrated 50-acre hospital campus in 2008, the size and complexity of the new facility left little room for delays or errors in the construction process. 

Founded in 1926, Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare serves more than 400,000 patients in the Chicago suburb of Elmhurst. To assist with a growing demand and to provide greater convenience for its patients, Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare broke ground on a new, fully integrated 50-acre hospital campus in 2008. 

The new five-story facility offers patients access to inpatient care in a new 866,000-square-foot acute-care hospital with 259 private rooms, a full array of outpatient services in the existing Elmhurst Memorial Center for Health, and a variety of physician offices in two new proposed medical office buildings. Interconnection between all the buildings will make it easier for patients to go from physician visits to diagnostic testing, to inpatient or outpatient care. 

In addition, the CyberKnife Center of Chicago will also be moving to the new campus. CyberKnife provides a computer-controlled radiosurgery system, and the new center will be the first in the Chicago area to feature the next-generation CyberKnife equipment and technology.

Meade Electric, the project’s electrical contractor, chose Cerrowire to provide building wire, in cooperation with Steiner Electric and Callas/Kingsley Electrical Sales, Cerrowire’s manufacturer’s representative agency. 

One of the reasons Cerrowire was selected was its new product, SLiPWire, a thermoplastic high heat-resistant nylon-coated wire that does not require additional lubrication for pulling. Meade was looking to save time and money by not having to lubricate the cables for each pull. SLiPWire is a co-extruded cable, meaning the PVC and Nylon layers of the jacketing are extruded onto the cable simultaneously. This results in a much better looking and superior performing cable, since the two layers have a much tighter bond. Meade employees found that this kept the SLiPWire cables from tearing and allowed the product to bend and corner much more easily.

In February of 2010, Cerrowire interviewed Meade Electric installers when the job was about 80 percent complete and about 40 percent of the wire had been energized. They found very few problems with the wire, including remarkably few nicks or tears, and no grounds or shorts.

 

The SLiPWire cables also feature True Sequential Footage, which uses a footage mark to document remaining wire, beginning with zero at the bottom of the reel and ending with the finished length at the top. The footage mark allows for quick identification of the re-order point, guaranteeing the full purchased wire length and reducing random lengths.

“I loved the footage marks,” said Bob Sinnot, Meade Electric foreman, “They are the best thing about the wire. You start with the top of the reel, and you know how much you pulled off and how much is left on there.”

True Sequential Footage uses Doppler lasers to ensure precision far more accurate than a mechanical counter. The non-contact capabilities allow for zero slip and zero wear compared to a contact counter during the cutting process. Testing indicates that the measurement system is accurate to one-tenth of a percent.

Normally, a wire distributor would cut the wire and serve the end user (contractor). The Elmhurst project made use of a creative and collaborative solution in which the cuts were run in line at the insulation jacketing line of Cerrowire’s manufacturing plant, and then packaged onto smaller reels exactly to the length needed for a particular pull. Meade reviewed drawings and decided on the cuts required and provided Cerrowire with a list of what was required for a particular portion of the job and the order in which they wanted the material to arrive.

Cerrowire had an employee at the wire plant serving as a liaison to the contractor, who worked as a scheduler to ensure good communication and guarantee the plant had the lead time needed to produce and deliver wire to keep up with the construction progress.

Close coordination meant cuts would be made as they were manufacturing the wire and footage could be run exactly to what was needed. No cutting needed to be done by installers, which saved significantly on time.

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