A guide for plant management and technical staff on how to conduct an area classification, the process whereby the degree of exposure to explosive atmospheres for a plant area is determined… (more)

 

An investigation into compressed air wastage at the stopes in underground mines shows that rock drill operators (RDOs) leave manifold valves open due to negligence and for purposes of ventilation… (more)

From the ICMEESA archive A calliper-type brake gear designed to operate with oil-controlled spring units for even distribution of pressure and wear… (more)

The current trend towards slow-running direct drives is driven by a demand for precision, reliability and low maintenance, among others. This article provides a theoretical comparison of diriect drives and gearmotors based on known growth laws and a few practical assumptions… (more)

This article clarifies the origins of diesel particulate matter (DPM) in exhaust emissions and uses those insights to derive principles to manage these levels… (more)

 

Advances in materials science, designing and in manufacturing process made medium voltage switchgear reliable, but insulation failures continue to happen, often resulting in equipment damage… (more)

Selecting the protection system for electrical installations is fundamental to correct economical and functional service and to reduce problems caused by abnormal service conditions or actual faults… (more)

Microcontroller-based power conversion solutions offer extensive flexibility and allow installations combining solar photovoltaic (PV) and LED lighting to stay abreast with new additions and upgrades… (more)

This article explores ceramic metal halide, a conventional technology still evolving despite the LED revolution, and discusses its specifics, history, most recent developments, and future outlook… (more)

The powers that be cannot seem to understand why we have a major shortage of skilled people in South Africa. Unfortunately, this is not something that has occurred overnight but rather started back in the 1980s or so… (more)

This month, our readers write about the political will (or lack thereof) to address copper theft in SA; the implementation of a scrap metal act, as well as the social impacts of “red metal” theft. We also find out who really founded Beka-Schréder… (more)

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has announced the discontinuation of the debit pull option as a means of paying SARS as of the end of October 2013. Debit pull transactions were discontinued for ABSA, FNB, Investec, Nedbank and Standard Bank account holders. Taxpayers are advised to set up a credit push payment option or to use an alternative method of payment… (more)

Port Elizabeth-based Michael Straton was elected ECA(SA) president at the association’s AGM on 14 November 2013. He says the ECA will now consolidate its service to its members… (more)

The Free Market Foundation (FMF) has launched a constitutional challenge to section 32 of the Labour Relations Act 1995 in the Pretoria High Court in 2013. The section governs relations between bargaining councils (BCs), the minister and employers, and compels the minister to extend agreements struck by those at the bargaining table to those not present and not party to the negotiations… (more)

Afrikaans business rights watchdog organisation AfriSake has taken court action to prevent a contract between the City of Tshwane and private service provider PEU Capital Partners… (more)

The Department of International Development has awarded South Africa’s National Business Initiative (NBI) £8,6-million to bring energy efficiency supprt to companies in various sectors… (more)

  • Connecting your laptop to a large screen is now easier
  • Loud and clear
  • Enhanced features for smartpen… (more)
  • Internet services “could contribute 10% of Africa’s GDP by 2025”
  • MTN to sell its towers in Zambia and Rwanda
  • Nigeria opens wholesale broadband spectrum licence to bidders
  • Kenyan telcos fail compliance test
  • Cellcom claims delivery of 4G technology to rural Liberia
  • Zimbabwe banks push for mobile banking policy
  • Somali optical fibre installation halted after disagreement
  • Fast economic growth to boost Ugandan telecoms competition
  • Looming digital switchover creates headaches for Cameroon… (more)

Thirty years ago, Owen Garriott pioneered amateur radio communication from Space on his historic STS-9 flight from the space shuttle Columbia. Launched on 28 November 1983, Garriott was part of the six man crew that performed 24-hours a day international science investigation on the STS-9 Spacelab-1 mission… (more)

Is graphene a new miracle material that will resolve stumbling blocks in electronics and the internet world? Two universities, continents apart, believe so… (more)

This article describes the design method for determining an antenna matching circuit. While there are an infinite number of possible impedance matching networks, this application example focuses on a 50 O three element match. A three-element match is recommended as it allows the designer to select the required antenna quality factor, Q, for the application… (more)

When it is complete, the MeerKAT array in South Africa’s Karoo region will include 64 antenna dishes, making it the largest and most sensitive radio telescope in the southern hemisphere. As a forerunner to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), slated for completion in 2024, MeerKAT will be used by scientists worldwide on a range of research projects, including observing neutral hydrogen gas and molecular hydrogen levels in the early universe; the physics of enigmatic neutron stars; and the nature and behavior of pulsars, dark matter, and the cosmic web… (more)

Raw data is not always the best way to communicate useful information. Data transformations like removing signal noise, compensation for environmental effects like temperature and humidity, and calibration for equipment error are needed to help turn raw data into useful data… (more)

Make sure you understand the do’s and don’ts of process safety, including safety instrumented systems, PLC redundancy, fieldbus technology, field devices, standards and employee skills. Changes in technology have led to a variety of recent developments in process safety, with many suppliers releasing new systems that depart from the past significantly. These do’s and don’ts can help you choose the right safety-instrumented system for your process… (more)

Traditionally, the worlds of PLC, motion control and control technology on one hand, with measurement technology and “lab applications” on the other, have diverged when it comes to data entry and processing in an industrial environment. Yet divergence always means having to use additional interfaces, which leads to restrictions on efficiency and operating convenience… (more)

Lightning current arresters for low-voltage power systems are usually designed and tested only for use in AC power systems. The performance and operational behaviour of a surge protective device, connected to an AC power system, can be completely different to the performance and operational behaviour of the same surge protective device connected to a DC power system… (more)

Although reliance on computers is now ubiquitous, in the industrial context these machines are literally of capital significance. Automated system crashes due to software failures are not mere annoyances; they are destructive events that cost money and may threaten a business’ survival… (more)

Lightning is a serious issue which is often under-estimated until faced with its disastrous consequences. Protection against this severe energy source requires professional equipment, professionally installed. Simply buying a few protector plugs or multi-plug extensions from the hardware store could well finish off whatever electrical and computer equipment is indoors, connected to the mains or not!… (more)

South Africa is not lagging behind when it comes to the world of high performance computing. The Cape Town-based Centre of High Performance Computing (CHPC) has an impressive track record, although mostly in the sphere of academia. When it comes to commercial applications there appears to be a lack of interest. Is that because the CHPC focusses more on research projects like its flagship project at the Centre for Space Research at the North-West University in Potchefstroom with Prof. Marius Potgieter? Or is there a lack of interest from industry? Perhaps red tape issues prevent industry from utilising the facilities?… (more)

Mike Weidenmann of Wika Instruments answers questions such as: What is a magnetic snap-action contact?… (more)

The buzz around software defined storage; networking and security are sparking new concerns in businesses. The terms software defined storage (SDS), software defined networking (SDN) and even software defined security and firewalls are being bandied around a great deal lately, sparking concern among those who aren’t clear on what the terms mean… (more)

Fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) is currently a serious discussion point in many sectors of the communications industry in South Africa. We all know that it is costly, particularly for a widespread population… (more)

Working with a constant change of ministers, one more dysfunctional than the other and a Department of Communications (DoC) that was leaderless yet had a direct say in the funding of ICASA, could not have been easy for Dr. Mncube. It is a well-known fact that the agency has been underfunded for a long time; a situation that now seems to have been recognised by government. But for a long time is was very difficult to appoint the right level of staff to fill all the vacancies or even keep staff with experience… (more)

On 5 December 2013, Afrikaans business rights watchdog organisation, AfriSake, initiated court proceedings to prevent a contract between the City of Tshwane (Pretoria) and private service provider PEU Capital Partners (Pty) Ltd (PEU) from proceeding. The contract, with service fees to PEU estimated to be in excess of R27-billion over the contract period, was established in May 2013, when the City of Tshwane approved a 10-year arrangement to outsource its entire electricity metering and revenue collection activity to a private company, PEU… (more)

Despite tough times, the manufacturing industry has seen some improvement over the last 18 months. The market remains very competitive, with many companies competing for a limited number of customers. The majority of the electronic manufacturing in South Africa is either for local companies (many of whom export their products) or for international companies, for local consumption. Even though there is a good base of local companies having their products manufactured in South Africa, it is imperative that the industry’s pool of customers expands, and that will require looking for new opportunities beyond our borders… (more)

This article presents a short-circuit analysis conducted for the Kromco electrical power system using power system modelling, analysis and simulation software called “DIgSilent PowerFactory”. The main focus is determining the maximum short-circuit currents and fault levels at various locations on the network, and verifying the adequacy of power system components, to see if they can withstand rated prospective short-circuits… (more)

Recent developments have shown that it is possible to generate sufficient energy from organic material contained in a variety of wastewater streams to provide a significant portion of the energy required to run the plant. It is however, an energy intensive operation… (more)

The testing of low-voltage, ride-through capability of wind turbine converters has recently been standardised in the 2nd edition of IEC 61400-21. Thus, testing the converters in the factory is important to shorten the on-site testing time required to meet IEC 61400-21 requirements… (more)

A recent academic study compared solar aided power generation (SAPG) solutions with that of a similar-sized stand-alone concentrating solar power (CSP) plant in the South African context. The objective was to determine the real advantages of these technologies… (more)

In the beginning generation was local and supplied local demand. That changed because of technological advancements with improved efficiency and economies of scale. Modern society is highly dependent on the availability of cheap and reliable electricity. A revival of interest in distributed generation implies a full circle in the generation of electricity… (more)

With the improvement of electronic communications and computing technology, it becomes possible to integrate and improve the capabilities of the protection and automation systems on our power grids… (more)

Experts have discussed theoretical smart grid models for over a decade, but until now there has been no way to benchmark results globally. Ventyx and ABB selected VaasaETT to develop a smart grid global impact report, a global report into smart grids and their outcomes. This article summarises the report… (more)

 Half empty in the West, and half full in a handful of centrally planned economies, nuclear power’s prospects appear to be doomed in markets where private investors tend to make the decisions and assume the risks; while in other parts of the world, where central governments make the calls and the public’s approval is not as critical, its prospects may be better… (more)

Like many other perennial debates, the one about the rebound effect simply refuses to go away. The basic argument is that if you replace an inefficient car, or light bulb, or refrigerator with a more efficient one – everything else being equal – the typical consumer will drive farther, use more light and buy bigger fridges virtually cancelling any energy efficiency gains. Those who subscribe to this theory claim that making appliances and electricity consuming devices more efficient is mostly counter-productive because consumers will simply use more… (more)

Communications around the Fukushima accident were never going to be easy. But a carefree handling of the safety scale used has possibly done more harm than good. The nuclear industry, understandably indulgent with the Japanese administration in the immediate aftermath of the Fukushima accident that happened in March 2011, has been growing increasingly impatient with the way recent developments have been communicated… (more)

Over the past 12 months, business and property developers in the high-income sector (houses priced at over R1-million) have started to leverage existing infrastructure to encourage the use of gas. They have implemented gas-to-power and gas-to-heat technologies respectively to counter the effects of increasing electricity tariffs and uncertainties in security of energy supply with the goal of establishing micro-gas utilities at new housing developments, such as the Waterfall Country Estate, which is based in the north of Johannesburg… (more)

Our winning letter-writer this month compares the NERSA compliance scores of municipalities which have outsourced their maintenance to those that have not… (more)

Sir, As usual at this time of the year, I went to visit the Three Ghosts of Christmas to enquire what their wishes in this season of goodwill would be. The senior Ghost of Christmas Past was naturally hankering back to the good old days of sixpacks, cheap coal and even cheaper electricity in abundant and secure supply. It looks like his wishes might be true for a long time to come with Coal 3 and the awesome nuclear fleet on the horizon… (more)

The cancellation of the pebble bed modular reactor project may have seemed to many as the end of the small modular reactor (SMR) concept. There are however, many projects in development worldwide, some of which are reaching fruition and which could provide an alternative to large plants, as they offer the promise of reduced cost and faster construction times… (more)

Recent events indicate that Eskom should concentrate on generating power and leave new build projects to professional project managers. The Medupi power station is two years late for a number of reasons, a major contributor being the boiler protection software which is part of the plant’s control and instrumentation system, and which keeps failing Eskom’s acceptance tests, but which should have been handed over to the utility in December 2012… (more)

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