The National Society of Professional Engineers Honors Best New Products of 2007

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Contact Name: 
Stacey A. Ober
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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Four new products have been recognized for their innovative use of engineering principles and materials, as well as overall benefit to society by the National Society of Professional Engineers' Professional Engineers in Industry.

The winners are Aluminum Picket Handrail, developed by Giralt Enterprises Inc. of Miami, Florida in the small category; InteLite Compact Modular Series, developed by Orion Energy Systems of Playmouth, Wisconsin in the medium category; Clean Strip, developed by Coating Excellence International Inc. of Wrightstown, Wisconsin in the large category; and KOHLER Cimarron Comfort Height Toilets with Class Five Technology, developed by Kohler Co. in Kohler, Wisconsin in the mega category.

The purpose of the NSPE-PEI New Product Award program is to recognize the full range of benefits derived from the research and engineering of new products. These benefits include added employment, economic development, the strengthening of the nation's competitive position internationally, and a contribution to the public's standard of living. The awards recognize those companies with the foresight and knowledge to bring these new products, and their benefits, to the marketplace.

The award-winning Aluminum Picket Handrail was designed to meet the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials criteria for sidewalks, bridge approaches, and retaining walls and has since been modified for use in balconies, pool enclosures, and fences. The basis of the design is a patented method of extrusions and snap-on clips for attaching the pickets, making the product stronger than welded rails by avoiding the heat effects associated with welding. Assembly with the clips is also much quicker and can be done by helpers instead of certified welders. Another benefit is a greater amount of railing can be produced with the same manufacturing space, equipment, and personnel.

The InteLite Compact Modular Series, developed by Orion Energy Systems, is an energy-efficient, high-intensity fluorescent technology platform. The patented technology is built upon the first law of thermodynamics and delivers the most light for the least amount of energy to industrial, commercial, and distribution facilities. Over 75 Fortune 500 companies have replaced high-intensity discharge fixtures with the Compact Modular platform, removing over 250 megawatts from the electrical grid and saving customers over $150 million. The modular design allows for Internet-enabled demand response controls to be added to the technology, which reduces demand charges and provides utilities necessary for capacity during peak hours.

Clean Strip is a tear-strip opening system developed by Coating Excellence International for reams of paper wrapped in film. Traditional film-wrapped reams seal very tightly, making them difficult to open and providing no protection to the unused paper. The Clean Strip wrapper provides an easy opening package that uses a tear-strip, ensuring the wrapper remains intact after opening to contain and protect the remaining paper. The tear-strip must be applied in a cross web orientation, after CEI engineers developed application equipment that uses high-speed drives and lasers to apply the tear-strip without stopping the web. This allows CEI to cost-effectively deliver rolls of wrapper with the Clean Strip pre-applied, allowing the rolls to run like any other ream wrapper at the paper mill.

The KOHLER Cimarron Comfort Height toilets with Class Five technology are engineered by Kohler Co., for extraordinary bulk flushing performance in residential and commercial settings. With naming that reflects the raw power of whitewater rapids, these toilets offer industry-leading performance, water conservation, and easy installation. Class Five technology features a flush cycle that is twice as fast as previous technology and offers the choice of either a 1.6 gallon or 1.4 gallon flush. A 3 1/4 inch flush valve, an efficient direct-fed jet, and a fully glazed 2 1/8 inch trapway create the extraordinary bulk flushing power. The exclusive DryLock system features a metal bracket that fastens to the bottom of the tank, resulting in fast and easy installation, and has eliminated the need to tighten bolts from the inside of the tank where components can be damaged.

New products are judged on three criteria: sales and economic impact, innovative use of engineering principles, and improved function. Entries must be submitted through state engineering societies and include any new product, machine, process, or material that has been developed in the U.S. and was first placed on the market between 2001 and 2005. For more information about the New Product Award, or to inquire about how to submit a product for the 2008 awards, contact Erin Garcia at

Additional Notes: 

The National Society of Professional Engineers is the national society of engineering professionals from all disciplines that promotes the ethical and competent practice of engineering, advocates licensure, and enhances the image and well-being of its members. Founded in 1934, NSPE serves more than 50,000 members and the public through 53 state and territorial societies and more than 500 chapters.