Triton network with Ward’s Marine Electric Oct. 15
Posted on: 10/14/2014
Triton network with Ward’s Marine Electric Oct. 15
Time: 06:00 pm - 08:00 pm
Location: Ward’s Marine Electric
CONTACT INFORMATION617 S.W. Third Ave.33315
E-mail: send an e-mail
Contact Name: Monica Avendano
As the boat show season heats up, join The Triton on Oct. 15, the third Wednesday of the month, for industry networking at Ward’s Marine Electric in Ft. Lauderdale. In the meantime, learn more about Ward’s from the experts who work there.
Q. How do you describe Ward’s?
Kristina Hebert, chief operating officer: If you would have asked me this 10 years ago, I would have said that we are a third generation family-owned and -operated business. We are a premier provider of everything marine electric.
While that holds very true today, we have grown into so much more than my grandfather ever imagined. Our brand has evolved, as well as our business practices and procedures. We have managers and team members that work well together and have a complete picture of where we are going as a company. We’re still a very family-oriented company and every member of our team has a voice. Participation in the Triton networking event, even six years later, is still a great way for us to welcome the industry into our home.
Q. Has technology affected traditional electrical equipment?
Mark Charbonnet, inside services manager: Yes, in the past we had little ability to get information on error messages for units such as chargers or converters. We relied on manual switches and testing. Now, output screens are more advanced and digital and we have the ability to download detailed descriptions into a laptop for troubleshooting.
Q. How does technology affect marine electrics?
Jim Archard, sales manager: Technology is a driving force within our industry. There has been a trend for yacht owners to want conveniences of home onboard. With homes becoming more automated, so have yachts. We have partnerships with lighting vendors; we carry LED lighting and our engineers provide the programming as well. There is a hint of a trend using digital switches. These small ideas tend to grab a foothold and are the type of thing we look out for.
Q. How has this new technology impacted electrical demands?
Steve Hebert, service manager: The physics of electricity have not changed, however, the power demands have increased significantly. For example, zero-speed stabilizers are more frequently found onboard and drain AC power. This need for power has led to developments in electrical equipment where a unit can provide the same amount or more of power in a smaller footprint. Frequency converters have gotten smaller and automation systems have become more integrated. Captains and engineers can review, troubleshoot, and control a boat's load via tablets and phones. The electrical load has increased but the equipment has become smaller and customized.
Q. Have you seen an increase in high tech refits?
Adam Shattenkirk, field service manager: Yes, most of our large scale projects are exactly this. Existing yachts are retrofitting to accommodate an ever-evolving field. Switching a lighting system from incandescent to LED has to be changed down to the electrical requirements. Most of our refits involve changing out a traditional PLC operation switchboard, which we can replace while keeping the existing panel boxes. Our proprietary switchgear monitoring system has taken the PLC component out and simplified communication distribution panels. We provide manual switchgear with a fully automated overlay.
This technology expands an engineer’s monitoring capabilities with the fallback of manual switching and allows for us to provide remote tech support. We can log on and see what is going on. It won’t reduce the need for rounds or dockside service work but it does give, captains and engineers, flexibility and peace of mind.
Q. As yachts get bigger, are your jobs getting bigger?
Geoff Parkins, contracts and proposals manager. Yes, while yachts are getting bigger, they are becoming more complex. They are extremely intricate and the amount of moving pieces has grown exponentially. However, the constraints of time, destinations, and budgets haven’t changed; hence the need for high efficiency project control has risen. We are adopting formal project management practices. Today’s projects involve many subcontractors and managers with complex coordination and communication.
Q. What do you envision for the future?
Ward Eshleman II, president: I see a growing need for training and certification programs. The field of marine electric has always been technical and there is merit to teaching new generations of electricians. Ward’s is a supporter of education in the industry and it started with writing of standards.
Now we need to take this even further. I see a system of coursework and hands-on training; perhaps an apprenticeship program. Technology is evolving fast, and we believe education is the key to keeping ahead of the curve.
Ward’s Marine Electric can be reached at +1 954-523-2815 and www.wardsmarine.com. The event will be at 617 S.W. Third Ave. in Ft. Lauderdale (33315).