ComED Updates Classification of Canto USA’s RETRO Series

Many energy providers offer rebates and incentive programs for businesses, theatres, and other venues that update their lighting with something more efficient. ComED, a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation, is one of these. ComEd’s service territory borders Iroquois County to the south (roughly Interstate 80), the Wisconsin border to the north, the Iowa border to the west, and the Indiana border to the east. Making them the largest electric utility in Illinois.

Governors State University in University Park, Illinois was ready to do such an update. They were going to retrofit with 71 RETRO-Fusions™, all varying between 150, 300, and 500. Unfortunately, ComED and their implementer rejected the RETRO series for custom incentives because of the different screw-in options that can be used for power. They would only accept it if the RETRO’s would be installed using bare wire and by an electrician. Therefore, they were only prepared to offer a $5/bulb instant discount rebate.

Matt Huffman of Resource Innovations, an outreach service provider for the ComEd Energy Efficiency Program in Northern Illinois, felt this was wrong. They worked with GSU to get the final application completed, and then ComEd did their technical review. ComEd agreed they were mistaken and allowed GSU to apply for a custom incentive. The final incentive of $6,243.57 is based on 89,193.92 kWh of calculated savings at a $0.07/kWh incentive rate.

ComEd’s 2021 custom program will still use $0.07/kWh as the incentive for custom specialty lighting such as this.

“This is a positive movement forward since the requirements of having a professional electrician install would not allow a customer to install the RETRO series themselves,” said John Luhrs, General Manager. “Our RETRO series allows for the reuse of the current socket in a fixture. This decreases any extra work, installation time, and costs to meet the criteria. Allowing our Illinois customers maximize the savings of doing a retrofit in their facility.”

About CantoUSA

Founded in 2013, Canto USA is a manufacturer of houselight retrofits and followspots. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to our mission: “Our customers come first. In order to do this, we continuously train our team on the latest trends and needs of the industry, while at the same time becoming a trendsetter in the development of new products and technology that no other company has available.” 

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Big Changes at Canto USA

2020 saw a lot of changes for every company in the entertainment industry, and CantoUSA was no exception. The government tariffs on key components in our supply chain as well as the coronavirus pandemic have given rise for us to change the way we manufacture our products.  We realized in 2019 that the tariff challenges along with our supplier and contract manufactures needed to change and change quickly. 

In the past, CantoUSA has relied on outside contractors and manufacturers for key components for many of our products. Unfortunately, many suppliers did not forecast the impact that the tariffs would do when they went into effect, resulting in the disruption of our supply chain and delivery schedules. The pandemic has also caused further disruptions that no one could have imagined. Due to this, lead times on our products in production were at risk of being extended as shipping from our suppliers went from 90 days to anywhere between 120-180 days. Taking this as a chance to secure our own manufacturing process we wanted to expand and bring all our essential components in-house. We worked with ASMHeller Industries, and PillarHouse, to name a few, to begin our own electronic driver setup. Through these companies, we purchased a driver board printing machine, pick & place machine, and selective soldering equipment. After lengthy setup, testing, and training we were completing boards by August and the first official runs of drivers for equipment in early September. We can now produce components on-demand and scale up or down our production depending on our specific needs. We’ve also secured direct access to component vendors allowing us to by-pass normal supply chain suppliers to ensure that we always have available stock.

Canto Usa Nest Photo 03
Canto Usa Nest Photo 01

“This has been a big change for us here at CantoUSA,” said John Luhrs, General Manager. “Now we have the ability to control all aspects of our manufacturing process. This is going to improve our production, increase quality control, and decrease lead times allowing us to pass these efficiencies along to our customers.”

About CantoUSA

Founded in 2013, Canto USA is a manufacturer of houselight retrofits and followspots. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to our mission: “Our customers come first. In order to do this, we continuously train our team on the latest trends and needs of the industry, while at the same time becoming a trendsetter in the development of new products and technology that no other company has available.” 

Have a custom job we did for you and want to be featured in one of our blogs articles?

CantoUSA Gives Back to the Theatrical Community

This year has seen a lot of difficulty and changes for everyone. The theatrical and live events community has been one of the industries most affected by the pandemic. Millions found themselves without the opportunity to do what they do best, put on a show. Those in the educational system, where most get their start, have found it especially problematic to teach or learn the trade given the restraints and limited resources. Fortunately, Canto USA was able to find a way to help out this year.

Shawn Harmon, Eastern Sales Manager for CantoUSA maintains a close relationship with fellow University of North Carolina School of the Arts alumni Josh Selander.  Josh is the Assistant Professor of Lighting Technology at UNCSA. In one of their many conversations, Josh brought it to Shawn’s attention that the UNCSA accepts equipment donations for students studying theatrical production. Shawn took this as the perfect opportunity to help the community during these uncertain times since CantoUSA was looking to free their production space by cleaning out their warehouse of stored lighting equipment that it no longer needed.

UNCSA reached out to Special Event Transportation of Winston-Salem for assistance, they provided a 52-foot semi-tractor trailer to pick up and deliver the lighting equipment from CantoUSA. On a Tuesday in June, the truck arrived at the warehouse where everyone pitched in to quickly empty the warehouse, the entire trailer was filled with our surplus followspots, light fixtures, ballasts, hardware, road cases, and rigging equipment. “We were overwhelmed by how much there was,” said Josh Selander. “The sheer size of the donation was staggering.”

Cantousa Uncsa Donation 01
Canto USA staff loading truck at the warehouse.
CantoUSA UNCSA Donation
Canto USA staff loading truck at the warehouse.

Once the truck arrived at UNCSA, the current class of students unloaded the treasure trove of donated equipment. With the donation, students were able to gain valuable experience in maintenance, installation, and setup training along with application uses with equipment that is not normally available to them. For example: PPE and safety training for installation of xenon lamps.  Some of the equipment was used for the outdoor events that could be safely held during the pandemic, while others for theatrical productions that would normally be live events were now used for video production. “We’ve worked more this semester with less than we ever have. We’re so thankful for Canto USA’s donation of the equipment. It’s done wonders for the school and students,” said Josh.

CantoUSA UNCSA Donation
UNCSA staff and students unloading truck.
Cantousa Uncsa Donation 04
UNCSA staff and students unloading truck.

“This was an excellent opportunity to help the community,” said John Luhrs, General Manager. “Considering how this year has challenged everybody in the lighting industry, we’re glad the students could put all of it to good use to further their education.”

About CantoUSA

Founded in 2013, Canto USA is a manufacturer of houselight retrofits and followspots. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to our mission: “Our customers come first. In order to do this, we continuously train our team on the latest trends and needs of the industry, while at the same time becoming a trendsetter in the development of new products and technology that no other company has available.” 

Have a custom job we did for you and want to be featured in one of our blogs articles?