You are currently browsing the monthly archive for October 2010.

All energy sources have a footprint of some type. The current focus is on carbon footprints, but the introduction of non-carbon based sources of energy is leading to a consideration of footprints based on a wider range of characteristics. We are all familiar with the term carbon footprint, which is used widely today, but is actually a bit of a misnomer as the focus is on carbon emissions from fossil fuel sources, and it should be called the fossil fuel footprint… (more)

The 21st World Energy Congress, held in Montreal, Canada from 13 to 16 September 2010 attracted some 8000 delegates from almost 150 countries around the world. This was a record congress according to Brian Statham, Chairman of the South African National Energy Association (SANEA). In addition to his role as Chairman of SANEA, Statham is now also the Chair of Studies for the World Energy Council (WEC) for the next 3 years… (more)

Your enlightened readers may have felt a certain degree of satisfaction upon reading last month that Eskom completed its program of exchanging no fewer than eight million old-fashioned, inefficient electricity-guzzling incandescent light bulbs for the new super-efficient compact fluorescent light (CFL) type… (more)

In the light of the termination of the PBMR project, this article looks at the value of pebble bed reactor technology to human capital development in South Africa, and presents  a proposal to ensure the future of the technology in this country… (more)

An article by NUS Consulting “ Highest planned electricity tariff increase” on page 16 of the August 2010 edition of  Energize magazine, indicated that the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality would implement the highest electricity tariff increase of all electricity distributors. This article by Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, in response to the article, refutes this claim… (more)

This article describes the problem of shorted turns in generator rotors, listing the more common causes of these as well as the the traditional off-line test methods. The main industry accepted and proven method of testing for shorted turns on-line used today, is the stray flux test. The paper finishes with several case studies… (more)

Why would the Soviet Union have seriously considered launching a large-scale pre-emptive nuclear strike against the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1969? This is just one of the fascinating pieces of history about the Chinese nuclear programme that is largely forgotten today… ( more)

The Corona phenomenon appears even more dominant on the SA highveld transmission lines due to high altitude and thin air as opposed to the coastal areas. Corona appears often on SA transmission lines stretching from the coal power station at Witbank and surroundings, to the Witwatersrand urban and industrial areas. Corona can also be heard and observed at medium and high voltage substations… (more)

Copper theft has reached epidemic proportions and has already been branded by some as the Red Gold Rush. “Cable theft is draining the resources of the city’s (Cape Town) electricity services and hampering our efficiency in attending to other public electricity complaints,” said Clive Justus, Mayoral Committee Member responsible for Cape Town utilities in a recent media statement… (more)

High Voltage Technology SA (HVT) has been involved in a number of high voltage contracts over the years for complex installations for Eskom and international OEMs, demonstrating and developing the specialist skills required for these contracts… (more)

This paper describes part of a study conducted on composite overhead conductors that are terminated with helical dead ends to determine the torque balance of the assembly. It also considers mechanisms that eventually cause bird caging and considers the link of torque balance on this phenomena… (more)

A mast standing 56 m tall is playing a vital role in bridging the digital divide, by bringing much-needed communication through connectivity to a remote community on the banks of the Orange River in the Northern Cape.  Riemvasmaak, situated 120 km west of Upington, has joined the global village thanks to an off-grid base station erected by MTN South Africa… (more)

The benefits of sodium batteries in electric vehicles have been long explored, but their advantages also make them a sound choice for critical stationary applications including uninterrupted power sources and telecommunication back-up systems… (more)

While most of us take mobile phone access for granted, with GSM coverage almost ubiquitous, there still remains worldwide an estimated 1,2-billion consumers who live in areas not covered by the mobile operators… (more)

One of the many highlights at the annual Southern Africa Telecommunication Networks and Applications (SATNAC) conference was undoubtedly the papers and poster sessions presented by students – tomorrow’s engineers – covering research projects carried out at the Telkom Centres of Excellence. SATNAC 2010 was held in Stellenbosch, Western Cape from 5 – 8 September 2010… (more)

It is an unfortunate reality that in the modern era in which we live, young and old alike have to a large degree forgotten the importance and role that measurements play in our lives. We are all so familiar with technological advancements such as PCs, high speed communications, the internet, mobile phones, Facebook and Twitter; and the list grows daily, but very rarely does one hear the word “measurement”… (more)

The International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) is widely recognised as the premier event on the broadcasting calendar. More than 45 000 professionals from at least 140 countries attended the event in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, in September 2010… (more)

  • New sub-marine cable to link Africa and South America
  • East African consumers benefit from mobile call rate war
  • Accesskenya to lay own metro fibre cable
  • Namibia – wind to power MTC reception
  • More Nitel, Mtel employees to be laid off
  • Bharti Airtel to extend partnership with IBM to Africa
  • Malawi’s regulator revokes G-Mobile’s licence
  • Mozambique mobile firms suspend text messaging
  • Somalia – amid the chaos, money transfer is booming business… (more)

One of the important criteria in the decision of where the SKA will finally be built is how radio frequency interference-free the area is. Will it be South Africa or Australia? (more)

Solar storms don’t always travel in a straight line. But once they start heading in the earth’s direction, they can accelerate rapidly, gathering steam for a harder hit on Earth’s magnetic field. Researchers using data from NASA’s twin STEREO spacecraft to unravel the 3D structure of solar storms were surprised by their findings… (more)

For the next few months, Venus will be softly resplendent in the evening sky, a treat for stargazers – but looks can be deceiving… (more)

IMAGE: Located about 5000 light years from Earth, the composite image shows the Rosette star formation region… (more)

On 7 March 2008 the Department of Public Works published a policy document for public comments Notice 337 of 2008. Feedback was expected by 28 March 2008. In this publication it was noted that the following disciplines would be addressed in the newly proposed South African Council for the Built Environment (SACBE): architects; landscape architects; engineers; property valuers; project and construction management professionals and quantity surveyors… (more)

Much has been written about the need to reduce the power consumption of data centres, but what about the rest of the network? … (more)

The delayed announcement by the Department of Communications about which standard will be adopted for digital terrestrial television set-top boxes in South Africa is bad for the country, industry, economy and employment, according to Altech CEO, Craig Venter. The company is a major industry player as a manufacturer of set-top boxes through its subsidiary, Altech UEC… (more)

South Africa’s electronics industry has a new industry association, the South African Electronics Industry Federation (SAEIF), which represents various organisations and companies in the electronics industry… (more)

On 16 April 2010 the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) invited individual broadcasting services to apply for a spectrum licence, within the designated range for the purpose of providing a mobile television broadcasting service… (more)

The industrial plant manager needs to monitor each and every device on his or her floor. Data networks, maintenance data, trip data, historical data, stress and strain data, alarms, duty and standby systems and incoming and outgoing material flow rates – must all be at the manager’s fingertips… (more)

We bring you the latest in gagetry: the Echo smart pen now even smarter; BlackBerry Touch 9800 smartphone, and a Bluetooth headset that works… (more)

 The story of amateur radio and satellites is in a many ways a repeat of when radio was first invented. In the early 1900s radio amateurs pioneered the use of short-wave for world-wide communications, thereby enabling countries to broadcast to their distant colonies… (more)

With industrial Ethernet successfully establishing a solid position at controller level, implementation at device level is now entering a rapid growth phase. The increasing acceptance of industrial Ethernet by end users is compelling automation suppliers to introduce more and more Ethernet-enabled products… (more)

Traditionally, CCTV systems were analogue-based and required a control room for viewing camera feeds. The control room operator would attempt to view and analyse camera feeds – a time-consuming and laborious process requiring the operator to scan all the feeds to locate the affected area… (more)

Java is crucial for developing successful M2M technology, as it is one of the most widely used programming standards in the world with billions of installed devices and a large and devoted developer community. In addition, it is one of the major programming languages in universities around the globe… (more)

Changes in metering technology have shifted the focus to monitoring and management systems. It seems the heart of the management systems is being overlooked and a revisit to the heart is necessary to help reduce non-revenue water (NRW). A simple change can bring about a significant reduction in NRW… (more)

The use of renewable energy sources is one of the key issues when it comes to creating a new basis for worldwide energy supply. Wind power has been in use for over 20 years now, with technical advances in this area leading to improvements in efficiency and reliability… (more)

This article covers the elements of good practice for high-resolution “video speed” converters, i.e. converters of 10-bit or greater resolution, operating at word rates above 1 MHz… (more)

Our research shows that the average South African data centre is over ten years old. A lot has changed since that initial design, which leaves plenty of headroom for improvement… (more)

Every decade or so, the IT industry goes through a step change. This step change is brought on by a positively disruptive technology that makes it onto the IT manager or CIO’s agenda… (more)

Customer experience is becoming a top priority in efforts to reduce churn and increase customer retention. Is it the new magic marketing tool?… (more)

The one thing that consumers consistently fail to understand is how to work out the best battery size for a backup power system. Very often consumers will opt for a lower cost quote on a backup system without looking at the finer detail. In an attempt to win orders, unscrupulous vendors will often skimp on the batteries, making ludicrous claims on run times… (more)

This article is about managing large projects but it could be helpful for contractors on small projects too. There are seven ways that project management can help you avoid getting burned at work: set expectations with a project agreement; get clear contracts in place with vendors and partners; schedule regular communication; set rules of responsiveness; don’t bury the lead; create standards that build a cohesive culture; and take hiring seriously… (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)

In hybrid and electric vehicle power trains, power inverters are exposed to considerable temperature swings. The resultant non-homogenous temperature distribution limits the output power and reduces the service life of the power converter… (more)

A recent report from Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory, an Office of Science laboratory in the US Department of Energy, states that building commissioning is “arguably the single most cost effective strategy for reducing energy, costs, and greenhouse gas emissions in buildings today”… (more)

Using carbon nanotubes for one of the electrodes in a battery produces a significant increase (up to tenfold) in the amount of power it can deliver from a given weight of material, compared to a conventional lithium-ion battery. Nanotubes comprise a form of pure carbon in which sheets of carbon atoms are rolled up into tiny tubes… (more)

The motor is an electromechanical converter of electrical energy to mechanical energy. To do this job the motor requires first to be fully magnetically loaded, meaning it has 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 a no load test… (more)

With LEDs gaining popularity and attracting an increasing amount of attention in today’s marketplace, a cautious approach to the application of this new light source is recommended. Many industry players indiscriminately advise clients that LEDs can be utilised for general illumination, but this is technically incorrect from a lighting perspective… (more)

On 10 June 2010, just before the start of the World Cup, the newly landscaped main entrance into South Africa’s capital, Pretoria, was opened. The Fountains Circle was transformed over several weeks to reflect the vibrant spirit of South Africa, using artistic views of the globe and Africa’s recent history… (more)

Soaring energy prices and concern about climate change from man-made emissions of carbon dioxide have propelled energy efficiency to the top of the agenda in the boardroom, in public debate and public policy… (more)

The act seems to be directed mainly at suppliers of goods but it also deals with the suppliers of services, and this is where the contractor comes in. I have picked out a few “nasties” which I think contractors ought to be aware of… (more)

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