You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2010.

Heavy industry often makes use of large machinery such as boom bucket wheel stacker-reclaimers. These are massive distributed systems that could improve their productivity and efficiency with modern wireless networking technology, such as a wireless local area network link between the operator’s cab and the end of the stacker arm… (more)


In industry, verifying flow meter accuracy is an ongoing requirement to ensure that the meter used is within the stated accuracy of the manufacturer and meets with the statutory requirements for fiscal metering (billing) or proving flow meter readings are reliable for measuring process applications. Clamp-on meters are often used to “check” if another meter is working or to verify the device… (more)

Clive Errol Burchell was born on 3 Aug 1933, and grew up and went to school in Boksburg. There is still a photo up in Boksburg High School of him as a team captain. He qualified as an electrician and then studied further to become an electrical engineer. He worked for Switch Gear and Erection, South Wales Electrical and then Johnson and Philips, which became GEC… (more)

Electricity for the Embassy of Japan in Groenkloof, Pretoria will now be mainly supplied by 410 solar panels. It is estimated that 90 t of CO2 emissions will be saved annually by using these solar panels. The installation, which cost R8-million, consists of four hundred and ten 810 x 1580 mm solar photovoltaic panels, each with a nominal output of 205 W, was supplied by Sanyo South Africa, and is expected to supply about 80% of the embassy’s needs when operating… (more)

The Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa (NIASA) has announced that Ayanda Myoli of Necsa has been seconded to NIASA as the Chief Executive Officer of the association from 1 April 2010. He will assume the duties performed by Gert Claassen who will retire on 31 March 2010… (more)

Anybody in their right mind surely understands the life-threatening implications of getting between a woman and her shopping. Didn’t Eskom get this memo? Did they perhaps have a power failure that caused the email to be lost somewhere in cyberspace? Well, clearly there was a miscommunication of sorts because upon arrival at my retail Mecca I was greeted with closed doors and blacked out shops… (more)

In the normal world, so the Ghost of Good Governance assures me, companies and businesses, large and small go bankrupt all the time when management fails to keep a tight reign on things. Costs escalate and bad debts accumulate and soon a point is reached where the firm becomes insolvent. Creditors then force it into liquidation and the assets will be sold or turned into cash and the creditors will (perhaps) get paid some of that which they’re owed… (more)

As the amount of grid connected wind power increases, the impact of wind’s intermittency and variability on the grid is becoming more and more of a concern. To counteract this, wind needs a “dancing partner”, some form of storage that can level out the fluctuations and provide a more regular flow of energy. Pumped water storage (PWS) is seen as a solution, but can it meet the requirements?… (more)

Just after World War 1, it was thought that oil supplies in America would become exhausted in about twenty-five years. The idea of importing oil from the Middle East, then from Persia, or Russia, was considered positively dangerous. And the explosive growth in the number of people buying cars meant that known reserves would be depleted even sooner. Small wonder that alcohol was considered as a possible alternative fuel… (more)

Although hydro-electric power is of importance to the future to Southern Africa, this segment is already of principal importance to several Southern African countries, with Mozambique and Malawi both relying tremendously on mini hydro-power to contribute towards their power generation… (more)

South Africa and the southern African region are hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The games will take place in the period that coincides with the region’s peak demand. The southern African region has been experiencing power shortages due to increased demand with static power supply. The paper discusses how the region will cope with the power challenge of supplying the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the mitigation measures that have been put in place… (more)

An environment-friendly solution for increasing transmission grid capacity and improving power quality. The increasing connection of renewable energy sources to the power transmission grid creates new reactive power needs to manage power quality… (more)

Customers served by modern electric utilities have come to expect highly reliable service due to increased awareness and to the sensitive devices utilised in today’s technologically advanced society. When the electric service is disrupted, even for a short period. The result can be anything from a minor inconvenience to a major economic loss… (more)

Additional surge arrestors are often required on high voltage lines to avoid nuisance tripping of breakers at sub-stations. Why install high voltage surge arrestors on Sub-transmission lines?… (more)

Energy in South Africa (as well as globally) has become a key area of attention in recent years. South Africa in particular has a larger than average problem as a result of the capacity shortages we face in the short term. With a requirement for 3000 MW of energy savings by 2012 being predicted, one of the key methods to address the problem is by energy efficiency targets being set and achieved in the private, commercial and industrial sectors… (more)

This paper describes a model that estimates the load profiles for residential consumers in South Africa. the model was derived using a large number of load profiles of residential consumers from various LSM classes which were collected through the NRS 034 domestic load research programme.  The load profiles are further described by a set of socio demographic indicators which is obtained through a front-door survey… (more)

After gazetting a flawed and widely criticised 3-year interim electricity integrated resource plan (IRP 1) on 31 December 2009, well after Eskom had submitted its initial (45% pa for 3 years) and revised (35% pa for 3 years) multi-year price applications to NERSA in the second half of 2009, the DoE is now franticly working on the long overdue real thing – a 20-year national integrated resource plan for electricity (IRP 2) as required in terms of the National Energy Act of 2008, the Electricity Regulation Act of 2006, and the Electrical Regulations on New Generation Capacity of 2009… (more)

There’s never been a better time to be an electrical engineer in South Africa. Engineers, technologists and technicians created our modern world; Electrical engineers are responsible for much of the innovation of the past century. Their passion for making things electrical work ensures that they continue to play this role in society  for the foreseeable future… (more)

While ADSL and even wireless has brought access to broadband within the reach of many South Africans, there are still areas of the country with little or no access to the internet, although Telkom offers limited VSat services with packages that combine internet with voice. But there is now light on the (broadband) horizon… (more)

With the imminent launch of Gauteng’s intelligent number plate project (iNP), the foremost question on the minds of vehicle owners has to be: is another expensive system really necessary? In truth, once the benefits of the iNP have been analysed, the answer is yes. If that’s the case, what are the benefits and what is iNP anyway?… (more)

Information and communication technology becoming a strain on resources? We must return to basics, and work smarter. As technology continues to develop we see a year ahead focused on unified communications and a lot of buzz around IPTV, video on demand, triple play and implementations of virtual servers, cloud computing and several additional technologies… (more)

“Over the past hundred years, we have seen many changes in the communications environment, some significant and others less important,” says Andile Ngcaba, chairman of Convergence Partners. “I believe that going into the future we will see changes in technology that will have an even more profound impact on man than the cell phone did”… (more)

This article gives an overview of how to evaluate the electrical characteristics of mass-produced 13,56 MHz RFID tags and readers/writers and their components. A number of standards exist that define the frequencies, communication methods and purposes of RFIDs… (more)

It is a fact that South Africa’s readiness to protect the country and its citizens against cyber attacks has a very long way to go. At the moment SA does not have any organised structure to address these issues, but there seems to be a small light somewhere in the (cyber) darkness!… (more)

by Chris Yelland, EE Publishers

There has been some criticism of the lack transparency and inadequate time allowed for effective stakeholder engagement in the 20-year Integrated Resource Plan for Electricity (IRP 2) currently under development by the Department of Energy (DoE) in South Africa (Energize, May 2010 issue, page 15).

Many stakeholders and interested parties may wish to be involved but may not be aware of the stakeholder engagement process currently in progress, of the DoE website at where information and documentation on the process may be obtained, and of the tight time-lines involved… (more)

Proper thinking is hard work, it takes real effort. A question I want to pose, yet again, is to ask: could it be true that carbon dioxide gas, produced by mankind is causing the whole earth to heat up? For a start, the infrared, or heat radiation, coming in to our planet from the sun only passes through certain carbon dioxide windows, so the physics of it is complex, and not what you read in the gardening or surfing magazines… (more)

In 2005 South Africa adopted the digital video broadcasting (DVB) standard for digital broadcasting, approved by the South African Bureau of Standards. Since 2007 all digital migration trials have been conducted based on this standard. Now government is interfering in the process by suggesting that a Japanese-derived standard will be more advantageous for this country... (more)

The electrical department of eThekwini seeks to reduce its non-technical losses. This is necessary not only to optimise financial returns, but to address also the external challenges of conservation and peak demand reduction. The department’s revenue protection division is tasked, among others, with meeting these objectives.Tampering constitutes one of the biggest challenges within the prepayment meter domain… (more)

Sahana is a free and open source disaster management system that began as a response to the 2005 Tsunami in Sri Lanka and has since been deployed in many disasters around the world. A major requirement arising from these deployments has been the need for geographical information systems (GIS) capability, tightly integrated with the disaster management capability of Sahana… (more)

Prior to 1999, all geospatial data in South Africa was referenced to the Cape datum (Modified Clarke 1880 ellipsoid). Since the introduction of the Hartebeesthoek 94 datum (utilising the WGS84 ellipsoid) in 1999, GIS practitioners have faced challenges combining historical data in the Cape datum and more modern data in the Hartebeesthoek 94 datum. I have investigated an approach that can easily be used to transform data from the Cape datum to Hartebeesthoek 94… (more)

In Africa it is believed that for SDI to work and succeed it must be designed and developed in line with national priorities, especially those contained in the National Information and Communication Infrastructure (NICI) plans. Furthermore, it is believed that the defining, inventory and cataloguing of fundamental geospatial datasets is key to the success of the SDI in Africa… (more)

The CSIR Satellite Applications Centre is proud to announce its fourth annual SPOT 5 2,5 m spatial resolution mosaic over South Africa. To produce this mosaic implies complex, time-consuming and data storage challenges. The 2009 coverage commenced on 1 January 2009 until the last image acquisition on 5 November 2009 – a period of 10 months… (more)

The Provincial Government of the Western Cape’s (PGWC) ability
to deliver ever-improving service to citizens of the province is highly
dependent on the ability to share data, particularly spatial data, between various government departments going forward. While political leaders can initiate public spending to develop new infrastructure and services, the devil is in the details of any plan. In this case, the details are in the form of spatial data… (more)

Adri de la Rey, a professional Land Survey and GISc Practitioner, has spent his working career at Eskom working in either land survey or geographic information systems environments, at both the operational and corporate level.  In this article, he outlines a proposal to create an enterprise GIS entity at Eskom to enhance the availability of spatial information for decision making… (more)

Combine Alaska’s vast spaces and the high walls and large excavation and hauling equipment movement inherent in mining, and you don’t exactly have a surveyor’s optimal working environment. A leading gold mining company recently adopted surveying and digital imaging technology that is allowing surveyors to track material inventories across those vast spaces. The result is major improvements in surveying productivity and safety… (more)

Subsidence-induced fault reactivation may cause moderate to severe damage to concrete foundations, houses, buildings, and underground services, as well as damage to agricultural land through disruption of drainage and alteration of ground gradient. Monitoring and analysing the spatial distribution of the deformed surface may be helpful for land-use planning, land reclamation or remediation… (more)

The recent meeting of the SAGI Northern Provinces Branch, Engineering Commission was well attended by a number of serving members of the egineering survey fraternity, instrument suppliers, retired surveyors and educators involved with the training of construction surveyors. The numbers in attendance ensured lively debate, and many diverse viewpoints were discussed on a number of issues, the most pertinent being the matter of required registration of PLATO, before eligibility for SAGI membership… (more)

Frustrated wage negotiations at the KwaZulu-Natal Surveyor General’s office made headlines this year but there is quite a back story to the “work-to-rule” industrial action that led to more than R4-billion worth of projects being delayed now by over 4 months. NEHAWU has since lifted the work-to-rule process and is now participating in the process to ensure that the turn-around times for the examination of all submitted cadastral documents be reduced to the norm of 15 working days… (more)

The go-slow at the Surveyor-General Office in KwaZulu-Natal has finally come to an end and the long awaited and much needed restructuring is in the process of being implemented with surveyors being included in the process this time. It is a great pity that NEHAWU had to resort to industrial action in order to ensure that surveying personnel working in the KZN:SG offices received their due… (more)

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