You are currently browsing the monthly archive for July 2011.

EE Publishers is pleased to announce that, for the third consecutive year, it will be sponsoring the prize money of R25 000 for the 2011 SAIEE National Student Project Competition organised by the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers and hosted by the School of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus… (more)


During the recent freezing June weather, Mustek was able to capitalise on a successful sales incentive and donate 200 blankets to The Salvation Army’s Ephraim Zulu Senior Citizen Centre… (more)

Join leading manufacturers, producers, solution providers, end users and industry players at MESA Southern Africa’s second user forum to be held at Siemens Midrand on 4 August 2011, with registration and lunch starting at 12h00… (more)

  • Local bank supports data centre development
  • ITU says strict EMC compliance essential
  • Intel to invest in Altech
  • Seacom signs deal with Mozambique network
  • Better options for contact centre self-service
  • Robotic parking system prevents crashes
  • AMD launches fusion A-series accelerated processing units
  • Google to speed up the web
  • Microsoft buys Skype… (more)

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has published a discussion paper containing its “initial views” on the process to be followed to unbundle the local loop. Interested persons have until mid September 2011 to make written representations but, for many, the discussion paper is “too little, too late”… (more)

Is it a positive step forward that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has finally gazetted the draft codes for the ICT sector for public comment?… (more)

Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) will be hosting the 4th International Conference of Engineering and Business Education (ICEBE) in collaboration with Wismar University of Germany… (more)

The Gauteng Innovation Hub was established in 2005 and is located alongside the N1 opposite the CSIR in Tshwane. During my conversation with the CEO, McLean Sibanda, I was blown away by the activities, but even more by the programmes offered and the results achieved… (more)

Job creation is currently high on the political agenda, but the fundamentals of this issue need to be addressed. To create jobs South Africa needs skilled people to start their own business or make a meaningful contribution to the companies employing them – which all boils down to having a skilled workforce… (more)

In this new feature of EngineerIT we aim to explore what it takes to be an emerging entrepreneur. We will interview young people, generally from a challenging background, who are making a name for themselves in the business world. In this issue we meet Collen Mashawana, CEO of Khwinisa, and entrepreneur extraordinaire… (more)

An e-book reader that offers internet connectivity; a combination notebook lock with a 65 cm cable; a Bluetooth car kit with detachable colour display and the ability to play music from any Bluetooth stereo; an LED lamp on a magnetic base that can stand upright or lie flat, and a gadget that pairs with your phone and sounds an alarm when the distance between the device and your cell phone is greater than 5 m… (more)

  • World Bank advances US$92-million for West Africa ICT development
  • Francophone Africa modernises spectrum management
  • Kenya to invest US$60-million in national backbone infrastructure
  • Seacom announces plans to connect three more states
  • Ethio Telecom seeks new vendor financing for expansion
  • LoneStar/MTN introduces WiMAX to Liberia
  • Vodacom-Mozambique slashes tariffs
  • Nigeria’s latest attempt to privatise NITEL fails
  • Tanzania pledges to fight poverty with lower cost telecoms
  • Rural expansion set to drive sub-Saharan growth… (more)

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) defines optical transport network (OTN) as a set of optical network elements connected by optical fibre links, able to provide functionality of transport, multiplexing, switching, management, supervision and survivability of optical channels carrying client signals… (more)

The Southern Africa Telecommunication Networks and Applications Conference (SATNAC) is an annual event where industry, academia and operators publish on matters concerning progress achieved in applied research in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector and where industry leaders share their views on latest trends and developments… (more)

South African internet users are asking when they are likely to get fibre to their homes. The short answer – not soon! But some interesting developments are underway… (more)

“Virtualisation may not be a silver bullet, but it is certainly a technology trend that has turned conventional architecture upside down.” This is the view of many IT and virtualisation experts… (more)

The face of the mobile industry is changing fast with higher data rates, more bandwidth and eco-friendly networks. This is placing constraints on the industry but works to the advantage of the late entrants in the mobile space such as 8.ta, powered by Telkom Mobile… (more)

The government has identified that the information communication technology (ICT) sector makes a limited contribution to the economy. Thus, it has come up with a strategic objective dealing with “An efficient, competitive and responsive economic infrastructure network”… (more)

From the planning stage to the deployment stage of an under-sea fibre optics cable, a lot of time, money and efforts are invested. Yet a point that is often neglected and that can lead to unfortunate delays is the final acceptance test of the fibre –making sure it can deliver on the promised and expected bandwidth… (more)

Modern software applications running on powerful computing hardware have transformed the practice of engineering design. In years gone by difficult engineering problems would have been solved mathematically or by building complex physical test rigs and prototypes… (more)

Scaling to meet the Ethernet convergence wave: demand for network capacity has increased dramatically thanks to the popularity among both fixed and mobile subscribers, of video content, music downloads, multimedia-rich websites and the increasing adoption of Ethernet business services from enterprises… (more)

Fast switching power semiconductors are needed to reduce dynamic power losses. A typical system consists of dozens of power semiconductors. The resultant power losses are particularly challenging for application engineers, who strive to keep switching times as short as possible. But this is easier said than done… (more)

One of the main advantages of electromechanical AC servo control versus a pneumatic solution is its flexibility and that it is a more energy-efficient solution… (more)

Although thermography has a long history, its use has only increased in recent years with its commercial and industrial applications now commonplace… (more)

There are many test instruments capable of performing stimulus-response measurements, including a USB sensor-based scalar measurement setup, network analysers, and spectrum analysers with tracking generators… (more)

As part of its ISO 17025 accreditation process, the Council for Geoscience (CGS) was required to measure and log a large number of physical parameters in various laboratories throughout its multi-storey building in Pretoria… (more)

This article offers a brief introduction to silicon photonics including the basic optical waveguide, passive optical circuit performance, the addition of doped p- and n-junctions adjacent to the intrinsic silicon waveguide to inject a current across the waveguide, free-carrier dispersion, performance of the variable optical attenuator (VOA), and a monolithic, dual-function splitter-VOA array circuit… (more)

High precision applications require a well-designed low noise analogue front end to get the best SNR, which requires an informed approach to choosing an ADC to fully and accurately capture sensor signals. Support components such as driver op amps and references are selected to optimise overall circuit performance… (more)

The award for innovation in amateur radio was at the top of the list of awards presented at the South African Amateur Radio Development Trust annual award held recently in Midrand… (more)

Are the sun and Earth constructed differently?
Messenger spacecraft reveals more about Mercury
SA SKA site – it doesn’t get much quieter than this
Is the sun showing the USA who’s boss?

In 2008, Johannesburg-based solar company Voltas Technologies finalised with Japanese manufacturer Yazaki an import and distribution agreement for their WFC absorption chiller range and, in September the following year, South Africa’s first solar thermal driven chilled water system with a cooling capacity of 35 kW was installed as a pilot solar air-conditioning project on the roof of the Netcare Moot Hospital in Pretoria… (more)

South Africa is still facing the problem of insufficient power generation capacity and a reserve margin which is below international accepted levels. The government is in the approval process for the new IRP 2010 which is considering renewable energy technologies as clean sources of energy that have a significantly lower environmental impact than conventional energy technologies. The IRP 2010 is indicating a greater role in the energy for renewable energy technologies… (more)

In this paper an investigation into small hydropower based on a case study for Mtata dam located in the Eastern Cape is presented. The intention of this study is to investigate the potential for implementing small hydropower (SHP) systems for electricity generation in rural areas of South Africa and report on a preliminary design for a selected site. Hydropower systems can play an important role in the electrification of rural areas in South Africa remote from the national electricity grid… (more)

This paper describes the acquisition and initial evaluation of search-coil derived fault data obtained from a system consisting of an induction motor driven mechanical load. The data is obtained from each of two separate search coils each wound around a single stator pole and employed to monitor the motor flux. The motor-load combination is operated under a number of fault-free and fault conditions. The data is used to establish whether the information gained from the search coils can be reliably employed to provide a basis for fault detection and diagnosis… (more)

This paper looks at energy savings potentials in utilities in industrial processes. We present a monitoring and targeting strategy proposal that will assist in realising sustainable energy savings in key energy user utilities in processes. We view the strategy from the basics of energy policy, examples of potential savings, through to the three key elements of an automatic monitoring and targeting solution (aM+T)… (more)

Today industry and commerce faces an energy challenge. Pressure to reduce energy consumption and to provide security of power is placed on supplies from governments, consumers, legislators and shareholders alike. These pressures emanate from a background of ever-rising energy prices.As a result, industry and consumers demand more energy efficient products.ABB continuously improves the efficiency of its motors and drives to fulfil these requirements… (more)

Electrical earthing is vitally important since it ensures safety of personnel, as well as providing equipment protection.The earth installing must be capable of minimising the chances of injury from either of step and touch potentials during electrical faults and lightning conditions,providing a stable reference for the electrical and RF circuits of the installation,dissipating the energy from lightning strikes,and providing a low impedance path to earth… (more)

AC arc furnaces rate among the highest contributors towards power quality issues in any power network. Not only are their loads rich in harmonic currents but the very variable nature of the current and current waveform make them one of the most difficult types of loads on which to apply compensation… (more)

With the strengthening of major networks currently taking place in South Africa, one line in the Cape Town area was of critical importance. The Palmiet Stikland line now provides improved load flow and grid stability in the Cape Peninsula, and formed an important component in the initiatives Eskom undertook since 2006 to address power shortages that affected the region… (more)

NamPower is the national power utility in Namibia with a transmission network that spans the entire country (approximately half the size of the state of Alaska). Namibia is a country rich in natural resources and NamPower has recently invested in strengthening its transmission network by building a 980 km, 300 MW, 350 kV HVDC interconnecting link to directly connect potential suppliers in the north with the Namibian grid… (more)

In recent years, the term “smart grid” has lost its original meaning. Today, it seems to refer to almost the entire power industry – from power production systems and grid structure and configuration to metering and information-measuring systems, automated control systems, communication between power facilities and relay protection. The term has lost its definition and is assigned different meanings by different authors… (more)

Items of value vary from people to people but throughout history one commodity has always been highly valued and sought after, it is a metal and it is gold!  Today, in our industrialised world there is another metal contender holding great value and in industries such as telecommunications, utilities, electrical contracting, railways you will know this metal is copper… (more)

Against the backdrop of uncertain utility power supplies in South Africa in 2011, companies are once again turning to alternative power sources in order to maintain up-time and remain competitive. While solar, wind and even wave generated power might satisfy the “green lobby” the reality is there are very few alternatives to mains power to satisfy the demands of most organisations… (more)

A day after a devastating tsunami struck the northeastern Japanese coast on 11 March 2011, the world’s media began to shift its focus.  A series of dramatic explosions at the Fukushima Daichi (Daichi meaning “Number One” in Japanese ) nuclear power plant attracted coverage away from the massive damage and more than 24 000 fatalities of the tsunami… (more)

Engineers at PNU Power have harnessed the energy stored in compressed air to provide backup power in high voltage electricity substations. Reduced maintenance costs, elimination of hazardous lead acid batteries, and the need for outside installations were all driving factors for the UK and USA national grid to look for an alternative to the traditional lead-acid battery for backup power. The PnuPower compressed air UPS provides a battery free solution to backup power needs… (more)

Combined cycle operation eases the integration of renewables on the grid. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), gas is expected to play a key role in meeting the world’s energy needs with a projected demand rise of 44% between now and 2035, led by China and Middle East… (more)

“I believe,” said the ghost of Christmas past the other day, “that there is nothing as tempting for the powers-that-be than to meddle with something that works well. History is littered with examples: the nationalisation of industries since time immemorial, the creation of behemoth state institutions that get bogged down into their own incompetence and have to be put down at massive public expense, and the cosy monopolies so beloved of bureaucrats (but not in the private sector, of course).”… (more)

The South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) are looking forward to the national energy regulator’s imminent announcement of the revised renewable energy feed-in tariffs and see this as a positive step in the implementation of renewable energy in South Africa. However, SAWEA are concerned that the Department of Energy’s intention to pursue a competitive bidding process for the first rounds of South Africa’s renewable energy procurement could adversely affect investor confidence and destroy South Africa’s nascent renewable energy industry… (more)

The long-awaited launch of International Standard ISO 50001 on 15 June 2011 has added further impetus to energy management in South Africa. The international community, and the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) estimates that the standard could have a positive impact on some 60% of the world’s energy use… (more)

Financially Eskom achieved a net surplus of R8356-million after tax. (Income tax amounted to R3261-million.) All surplus or profit is to be retained and reinvested in the business. Surplus was mainly due to revenue growth attributable to increased electricity tariffs but also in part due to increased efficiency of operation… (more)

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