You are currently browsing the monthly archive for September 2010.

Snippets of telecoms news from Africa:  Fixed network digital system inaugurated in Angola’s Kwanza Sul Province;  Analysts urge government to sell large share of Telecom Namibia; Bharti Airtel to pay US$62-million for Telecom Seychelles; Zain Kenya accuses Safaricom of price war “sabotage”; Nigerian Environmental Agency shuts two MTN base stations; Price war spurs growth in Rwanda’s mobile market; Tanzanian firm to build, manage Telecoms Towers; Ugandan operators compete with new data and internet services… (more)

For the latest in useful gadgets, read more about:  Light reading; the ultimate notetaker and a data projector for your computer bag… (more)

Click on these links for the latest in space technology:

Twins to meet in space;  Kepler discovers multiple planets transiting a single starMeteorite caughtNASA to probe the sun;

SA teachers attend space academySpace Week 2010 to probe the mysteries of the cosmos

Having decided to develop and launch an amateur radio CubeSat, there are a few challenges that have to be overcome. It may sound easy, but to decide on what equipment to include on the satellite is actually very difficult… (more)

Headsets which read neural activity are nothing new, but a recent innovation makes it possible for their use in operating industrial plants… (more)

Innovative and intuitive technology for building- and room-control solutions can be adapted to the user’s needs and also help to increase energy efficiency… (more)

The trend in industrial technology is moving towards wireless devices, resulting in an increase in the number of these devices installed in hazardous areas… (more)

The introduction of a small interconnect fee for SMS messaging is essential in an environment where both businesses and consumers rely on SMS messaging for communication purposes… (more)

As a result of events around the world in the last decade, and the recognition of the need for business continuity and sustainability, corporate governance legislation has abounded, with both local and international regulations coming into play that affect individual and corporate actions… (more)

With “Generation Y” taking over from the “baby boomers” – who are now approaching retirement age – the emphasis in workplace management is shifting towards accommodationg the needs of staff, rather than simply providing basic facilities… (more)

September 1 has come and gone, and the latest news is that the promised public discussion of the IRP2 will be delayed “for a few weeks”. How long this will be is unknown but is another source of frustration for those who have been preparing for this event. The big question around the IRP 2010 is not so much the long term plans, but the short term, particularly the amount of renewable energy which will be contained in the portfolio… (more)

It is with great pride that the SA National Committee of Cigré would like to announce that Rob Stephen has been elected to the international Steering Committee of Cigré during the current Paris session. This significantly increases our profile as a country within Cigré, and allows us great opportunity to influence the technical direction that the organisation takes. Please join the commitee in congratulating Rob on this achievement – which is based on his personal contribution over many years to the work of Cigré, as well as the excellent level of contribution made by South African members of Study Committees and Working Groups… (more)

Sir- I was interested to learn recently that the eagerly awaited Second Integrated Resource Plan (IRP 2010) of the Department of Energy is due by October of this year. Even more encouragingly, it seems to have drawn a lot of reaction from the public. Over eighty submissions were received, and the department had fed over 830 specific inputs into the database which is to be used to build various scenarios. This will be done using 29 parameters, . Quite a list, one has to admit… (more)

Xcel Energy continues to aggressively pursue wind and other types of renewable generation technologies in line with a strategic vision of a clean energy future. However, as more wind capacity comes online and meets a greater amount of customers’ load obligation, system impacts will become consequential and have to be addressed. With a large penetration of wind and plans to add more, the company is seeking innovative ways to integrate renewable energy. One potential solution is large-scale electrochemical energy storage… (more)

Today, few people know that the Soviet Union attempted to reach the moon before the Americans landed on it on 20 July 1969.  The story of how four attempts to launch the huge Russian N-1 rocket, only slightly smaller than the American Saturn-V, all failed, and with them the Soviet race to the moon, is not well known. Also forgotten is that, in the 1960s, both the Americans and the Russians were seriously considering using nuclear engines as part of their moon rockets: and for possible missions to Mars… (more)

Lower CO2 emissions demand more renewable energy in the energy system. This calls for new solutions that take account of the considerable variations in the amount of wind energy, hydropower, solar energy etc. One of the solutions is to store surplus energy locally using solid oxide electrolytic cells (SOEC)… (more)

Sustainable energy independence in the United States depends largely on the ability to continue to make electricity from coal – by far the country’s most plentiful fuel. Clean coal combustion technologies now in development, such as integrated gasification–combined-cycle (IGCC) and oxyfuel combustion systems, are expected to help secure a place for coal in the next generation of power plants. But another innovative approach may offer a simpler option: direct electrochemical conversion of carbon into DC power via fuel cells… (more)

A water tree can grow throughout the entire insulation thickness without causing instantaneous failure but weakens the cable electrically and leads to premature failure.Water trees are a chemical degradation of polymeric insulation such as XLPE or EPR that only occurs in the presence of water and an  electrical stress. Water trees failures In the 1970s and 1980s many polymeric cables failed after 3 – 10 years in service because of water tree degradation of the insulation… (more)


A Google search for “rugged computers” returns thousands of listings by companies claiming their computer products are “rugged”, “toughened,” or “hardened.” What should a system designer look for, and what criteria should be used when selecting a rugged product?… (more)

An innovative single-chip solution eases the commercial and technical pain of adding support for a wide range of graphical displays. We live in an age where the rate of technological change has created a level of expectation in the way we interact with electronic devices… (more)

The popular mantra “everything over IP and IP over everything” still applies today, but when one looks under the hood, it becomes apparent that the unsung workhorse driving the evolution of modern network communication, including that of the internet, is MPLS… (more)

Business and IT leaders are demanding an IT infrastructure that is more dynamic and responsive to the quick pace of business while being less costly. Dynamic means the ability to deliver new applications, to respond to market dynamics while creating competitive differentiation… (more)

Banks have utilised many different preferred payment mechanisms over the decades, from cheques to credit and debit cards and now to online and mobile payments…. (more)

EngineerIT posed the question “Have internet users been frustrated by over-promise and under-delivery?” to the panel comprising Arthur Goldstuck, World Wide Worx; Marius Vermeulen, Tarsus Technology; Colin Pinkham, MTN Business; Aingharan Kanagaratnam, Ericsson; Yaron Assabi, Digital Solutions Group and Tony Smallwood, Vodacom… (more)


As the economy takes an upward turn, it is generally accepted that the major recovery in the market will be driven by smaller enterprises because they can respond faster to changing market forces… (more)

I don’t believe that business cycles will disappear, but that cycles will be characterised by more economic uncertainties, as in the past. If we compare the last business cycle with the current one, in the last cycle we saw emerging markets really emerging, today we see emerging markets recovering… (more)

The new DMG series of multi-meters from Lovato can keep distribution systems under control and monitor the quality and availability of electricity in low, medium and high-voltage installations. The wide range of auxiliary power supply and of voltage and current inputs permits use in civil and industrial installations in order to control consumption, monitor installation status and check the requirements imposed by energy authorities… (more)

The increasing dependency of society on electricity requires that deliberate measures to be implemented to manage such emergencies. The NRS048/9 document makes an emergency a requirement for load shedding. The intention is that no utility use the document for normal business operations. However, if load shedding can only be used for emergencies its predictability is substantially reduced. The document describes methods of load shedding which maximise predictability… (more)

A power factor correction (PFC) and harmonics mitigation plan will always improve the energy efficiency of electrical installations. Much like bumps and holes in a road impede the progress of an automobile, distorted voltage in AC distribution systems negatively impacts operations and drives up expenses. This paper analyses PFC and harmonics problem areas and offers practical approaches for improvements… (more)

An extensive load research program, known as the NRS Load Research Project, was conducted between 1994 and 2005 in South Africa. It produced a large volume of domestic customer load data based on a 5-minute sampling period. From this data source statistically-based load models were derived, and are used in a probabilistic design procedure for the sizing of LV feeders… ( more)

Eskom’s Eastern Cape Albany-Wesley 66/22 kV transmission system has been experiencing a large voltage drop caused by its length. The voltage drop is an obvious indication of the imbalance between the generated and consumed reactive power in the transmission system.Utilities take different measures to raise the nominal voltage, but although this satisfies the consumers, it is done at the expense of other parameters in the system. If careful planning is not done, transmission compensation can result in the inability to transfer power at the designed capacity… (more)

Recent blackouts have focused attention on the importance of a secure and reliable supply of power to homes, public institutions and industry. the unbundling of power generation and transmission in recent years has meant that grid companies can no longer rely on generators for reactive power, ie, transmission suppliers may have to provide their own var (volt-ampere reactive power)… (more)

Accidents involving ladders lead to an alarmingly high number of work related incidents. Just last week while visiting a shop at a mall, I saw a pregnant worker on a stepladder placing items on shelves. When I approached her to discuss the matter, I saw that the ladder was defective and poorly maintained… (more)

Typical vibration analysers and software are intended for monitoring machine condition over the longer term, but require special training and investment that may not be possible in many companies. Vibration analysers used in condition-based monitoring or predictive maintenance programmes rely on baseline conditions to evaluate machine condition and estimate remaining life… (more)

This paper looks at energy savings potentials in utilities in industrial processes. It presents a monitoring and targeting strategy proposal that will assist in realising sustainable energy savings in key energy user utilities in processes… (more)

Every building undergoes changes over time. While good for business, these changes can negatively impact building performance, resulting in lower productivity and higher energy and building maintenance costs. To address this problem, many companies are “recommissioning” their buildings as a way to fine-tune and update building performance… (more)

Industrial plants are increasingly becoming automated, leading to shortages of staff skilled in the management of automation and associated control software. With these systems becoming more complicated, the control software is constantly being blamed for plants tripping and outages… (more)

Since an electric motor’s energy consumption makes up about 98% of its total cost of ownership, investment in efficient drive technology is important. There are binding standards for plant manufacturers and operators such as the IEC 60034-30 which will make compliance with the IE2 energy efficiency class mandatory for a large number of electric motors from 16 June 2011… (more)

Users of power control equipment have used third-party systems for many years because they offer the benefits of reduced development costs, shorter time to market and ease of meeting qualification standards. As specifications have become more demanding, it has become necessary to use higher levels of integration… (more)

New lighting technologies are making inroads into the traditional sources that have held sway since the 1800s. A recent addition to the world of lighting technology are miniature light-emitting diodes (LEDs). These lights, according to the Radiant group, are set to become the standard source of illumination for the 21st Century… (more)

In the ever-increasing drive to save energy, governments play a key role. Efforts include setting goals for reducing energy use by banning energy-inefficient products, by promoting energy-efficient alternatives and by financing all kinds of energy-saving programmes… (more)

The purpose of this test is to determine how many 8-LED or 15-LED down lights are needed to achieve an average of 600 lux at a height of 0,85 m above ground. The goal is also to do a cost comparison between the 70 W metal halide light fittings and the cost during the lifetime of the 8-LED or 15-LED down lights… (more)

Book Review: Steve Jobs, founder and current Chief Executive of Apple Computers, is a phenomenon. This is a review of a book on Steve Jobs, “Inside Steve’s brain” by Leander Kahney. He has no doubt assured his place in business history by being fired from his own company in 1985… (more)

The Municipal Infrastructure Directorate of the Provincial Government of the Western Cape wrote the following letter to the Energy Sector Training Authority (ESETA) in May 2010 but by September had not received a response. It is surprising that an issue of this nature appears to be of no concern… (more)

A familiar sight at any electrical wholesaler is the crowd of electrical contractors or their staff at the counter early on a weekday morning. In the last couple of years however, the crowds have been a bit thinner. The reasons are not difficult to see… (more)

The research project EPOS (efficient process design by satellite supported software in the earth moving and road construction industry) started in July 2009. The basic idea of the project is to build up a basis for a multi-layer closed loop approach for project controlling in the earth moving and road construction industry… (more)

The need to develop an accurate, autonomous, and economical pipeline mapping system capable of use within a wide range of pipeline sizes, configurations, operating pressures and specific uses was addressed by Reduct, a Belgium technology company, resulting in the development of a series of unique inertial based smart probes. This article attempts to review the need, technical capabilities and applicability of mapping various pipeline systems with smart probe technology… (more)

This article examines how the movement and communication between the murder suspects and the state witness were analysed and mapped using cellular telephone records. The aim was to use the mapped time and space information to corroborate the evidence given by the state witness with regards to the events leading up to murder of Taliep Petersen… (more)

Advances in health and medicine have resulted in great benefits for public health in high-income countries. Many low and middle-income countries (LMIC), however, have not enjoyed the same advancements. As such, new strategies are required to support health innovations to benefit these countries [1]. The use of information and communication technologies and the collection of public health data have been highlighted as two key drivers for improving global public health… (more)

Sorting through the smart phones, PDAs and ruggedised computers available for business use is no easy task. Dozens of manufacturers offer hundreds of devices in thousands of configurations, but only one may be best suited for your particular environment and workforce… (more)

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