You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2010.

July marked the nominal date for introduction of the first round of increased electricity tariffs for municipal customers and some would have already received the first accounts reflecting new charges. Will the cost of electricity and uncertainty around supply drive consumers to generate their own power?… (more)

I was interested recently in a particularly tough media statement from Eskom: “Termination of supply to Free State Municipalities due to non-payment,” it proclaimed.  Aha! I thought, my old partner Ebenezer Scrooge would have been proud of it. Never one to skirt the job of collecting his dues, he was known for having taken the stick to several delinquents. The result was that Marley and Scrooge rarely had bad debts on the books… (more)

A powerful question: direct cycle or indirect cycle? In a jet engine, fuel is burned to heat air that has already been compressed by spinning blades. As the heated air expands, it races out of a nozzle at the back of the engine, providing the thrust to push the aircraft forwards quickly enough for it to get airborne and stay airborne. Some of this thrust spins a turbine and is used to drive the compressor. This is a considerable oversimplification, but it outlines the basic principle… (more)

Revenue protection is an integral part of a holistic approach to achieve utility financial sustainability. The paper introduces the definition of a losses value chain, the quantification of losses, and an integrated approach required to minimise losses. This is viewed holistically for a utility and what efforts management should make to improve the business economics of the electricity utility… (more)

Power utility companies need to accurately measure the power produced and used by their power stations on a 24/7 basis.  The energy metering and data acquisition system (Emdas) has been a standard for Eskom over the past 15 years, and was recently redeveloped using the latest technology available… (more)

The standards currently in place provide minimum requirements, since they want to create a level playing field that allows analysers from different manufacturers to give the same results. It is good idea in concept, but it also acts as double edged sword. Manufacturers design their product to comply with these standards but typically do not provide data and measurements that would allow power quality analysis to go beyond current capabilities… (more)

Direct torque control (DTC) is based on permanent magnet synchronous motor technology said to provide improved torque characteristics, precise speed control and high efficiency without the need for gearboxes, pulse encoders and auxiliary components… (more)

The motor is an electromechanical converter. It converts electrical energy in mechanical energy. To do this job the motor requires first to be fully magnetically loaded, that means to create the rated flux density  in its magnetic circuit; obtained by applying the rated voltage at the motor terminals. This situation can be replicated on the test bench during no load test… (more)

Two respected companies propose to change how nuclear power plants can be built. Will it come to fruition? Mention nuclear power and most people think big, a 1000 to 1400 MW reactor, or a cluster of reactors, on a gigantic site quietly humming and feeding juice through massive transmission towers to the grid. This has been the traditional business model to capture the full economies of scale of nuclear power. Since it takes massive amounts of investment and many years to build them, why not build them big and make them last?… (more)

I was approached by a local radio station to comment on what impact I think the process of classifying copper as a precious metal would have on the theft of non-ferrous metals in South Africa. I subsequently first contacted several of the leading role players in this regard in the country, in order to determine their feelings as well. It was noted by all that we did investigate this issue with the help of Business Against Crime a few years ago and decided to shelve the proposal… (more)

Synchronising a generator unit to the power system is the culmination of the commissioning after construction or maintenance. Faults or incorrect response by the equipment may cause extensive damage To avoid this security measures are needed. Modern numerical two-channel paralleling devices provide a significant contribution in this regard… (more)

In potentially explosive environments human lives depend upon the integrity of Cable Gland seals. This is particularly true in the case of Flameproof Cable Glands. We have attempted to quantify explosive gas transport mechanisms and we describe some interesting new research involving cutting edge barrier materials… (more)

With dramatically rising electricity costs set to have a significant impact on the energy budgets of most organisations, many companies are looking to reduce power consumption without compromising the availability of computer, security and other business-critical systems. It is a target that is being set by many organisations as they get ready for the three scheduled hikes in electricity costs… (more)

We bring you the latest in gadgetry: keep your tyres in check with the AVE TPMS; a notebook for entertainment, and a graphics card that enhances cinematic viewing for gaming… (more)

The latest snippets from around Africa: 2015 deadline for digital broadcasting transition unlikely to be met; Gabon invites bids for 3G licence; Ethiopia’s TPLF banned from satellite service due to illegal jamming; Cisco to finance and supply echnology, services for nine East African countries; G Mobile wins judicial review over Malawi regulator’s US$6,95-million fine; MainOne cable to deliver ten-fold speed increase; Vodacom in talks with Congo’s Kabila; Ghana tops African download speed log; Uganda parliament investigates alleged internet-project corruption; Minister casts doubt on completion of Zambian fibre-optic project… (more)

There is ongoing impetus towards tapping the potential of graphene to replace silicon in electronic devices due to the higher electronic mobility it offers… (more)

It’s now possible to run a business without ever having to deal with Telkom. South Africa’s telecommunications market deregulation has reached the point where there are a number of competing operators in the market, all able to offer the full menu of services including data and voice… (more)

MTN has unveiled a first-of-its-kind tri-generation plant to produce power, recycle water and reduce greenhouse gas emissions… (more)

In early 2011, an amateur radio satellite will literally be “pushed” into space by a Russian cosmonaut from the International Space Station during an extra-vehicular activity planned for February… (more)

Read about the latest in space technology by clicking on each link:

Spirit may never phone home again

Space weather becomes an international problem

Spacequakes rumble near earth

Hands-on experience for students building a CubeSat

SA partners with IAU to drive astronomy for the developing world

In recent years the focus on batteries has shifted to the development of new technologies to store energy. We may still call them batteries for want of a better word, and in many ways the so-called super-capacitors are like batteries – they store energy… (more)

An electronic load can be used to discharge batteries of various chemistries to determine actual capacity, capacity retention, and internal impedances… (more)

When it comes to SCADA and PLC systems it is interesting to note the extensive applications in industry. During my recent discussion with Keith Gross of Ana-Digi Systems, I learned about the use of PLC and SCADA on two South African fishing trawlers… (more)

As Ethernet continues to evolve as the transport technology of choice, networks have shifted their focus from purely moving data to providing entertainment and new applications. Ethernet-based services need to carry a variety of applications, namely voice, video, e-mail, online trading and others… (more)

Assmang, which is jointly managed and controlled by African Rainbow Minerals and Assore, decided in 2008 to increase the mining and processing of manganese ore from the Nchwaning II and III mines… (more)

I had never imagined being able to program a micro automation device, but at the recent Siemens TIA Conference Josef Ploch persuaded me to get some hands-on experience, and I am now convinced that I can install a Siemens Logo at home… (more)

Reliance on one cable for bandwidth is a risky business and can cause major disruptions and customer dissatisfaction, as was recently experienced with the disruption of the Seacom sub-marine cable… (more)

Kaspersky Lab’s integrated solution protects home networks and also acts as a cyber nanny for the young ones. A password management program to manage an entire home network and fine-tune the security settings of the web browser and operating system are all part of the package… (more)

 
If your data is not correct then the information you base your business decisions on may be false, and that can have a severely negative impact on the profitability of the organisation… (more)

All around the world households are embracing the benefits associated with fibre networks by installing a fibre-to-the-home platform in innovative and localised ways… (more)

The Electronic Media Laboratory at Stellenbosch University takes a different approach to postgraduate research, by fostering an environment where web and mobile innovation can flourish… (more)

Recent notable moves in the ICT industry have been HP acquiring 3Com, and Dimension Data’s acquisition by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT). It was not so long ago that 3Com announced that through its manufacturing facility in China the company would aggressively enter the South African market… (more)

One of the greatest challenges for industrial computing manufacturers is to deliver products that meet industrial standards and operate in harsh environments… (more)

To say that business in South Africa relating to the electronics industry is challenging at the moment would be an understatement. The industry is currently trying to work itself out of a recession but with current worldwide component shortages the challenge is huge… (more)

Telstra was Australia’s Telkom until regulatory changes there set the company free from government ties. It forged ahead and as the largest telco in Australia is setting the development pace for others, including the government which has embarked on a national broadband-for-all initiative, with Telstra as a partner… (more)

Safety and operational considerations make it essential to monitor the battery arrays in deep-sea submersible research vessels, so a Fluke digital multimeter was selected to do the job. The meter serves as a permanently mounted voltmeter that constantly monitors the state of the batteries… (more)

Accuracy – it’s the one test no flow meter can afford to fail. A customer paying $100 a barrel of crude oil and achieving an accuracy improvement of only 0,1% for 100 000 barrels a day could gain $3,6-million a year in extra profit… (more)

This article is about powering a typical AC drive from a generator source. Some data is theoretical and some from installations. It is hoped that this article will give readers a better understanding of the drive/generator system… (more)

High reliability DC/DC converter applications: should you choose modules or hybrids? When considering commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) DC/DC converters, it is important to compare the traditional hybrid approach with the use of COTS modules to establish whether the benefits of COTS have any disadvantages and whether the claimed advantages of hybrid circuits are real… (more)

The recent explosion in LED based lighting products (SSL) has resulted in confusion among those not familiar with the photometric testing procedures necessary for such products… (more)

Low voltage lamps have been around since the mid 80s and created quite a stir in the lighting market. Due to their small size, precise beam control and relatively high light output, their acceptance was very wide and covered many applications… (more)

First, I must disagree with your love of diversity.  Technologies become more robust as they are more widely applied, and that is particularly true in a single economy.  I give you the example of France, which decided to go nuclear.  It now has 58 reactors of essentially an identical design… (more)

All too often in South Africa the responsibility for electricity-related deaths and injuries can be laid at the feet of people who steal conductors, electricity cables and make illegal connections to the network. Even when injuries do not result, these illegal activities cause overloading of the network and unplanned outages… (more)

I am surprised at the negative tone expressed towards diversified energy, carbon emission caps and renewable energy by Dr. Philip Lloyd in “An energy crisis or not?” He expresses that “diversity of energy resources is a luxury you can afford if you have enough.”… (more)

Speaking after her inauguration as the first female president of the ECA (Electrical Contractors’ Association) in the UK, Diane Johnson gave a stark warning about the skills shortage there. “We are sitting on a ticking time bomb.  If we don’t act now, we will not have the home-grown talent needed to fulfill this country’s potential. The consequences of that will be more far reaching than most people realise”… (more)

From 10 to 15 July 2011 the Illumination Engineering Society of South Africa (IESSA) will host the 27th session of the International Commission on Illumination (CIE) at Sun City. IESSA is proud to host this important event and invites everyone with an interest in lighting to attend… (more)

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