You are currently browsing the monthly archive for November 2012.

Nickel-based batteries belong to the family of alkaline rechargeable batteries due to their use of an aqueous alkaline solution (potassium hydroxide, KOH, or sodium hydroxide, NaOH) as the electrolyte… (more)

Equipment manufacturers and users may be surprised at the breadth and sophistication of level sensing alternatives currently available… (more)

The popularity of installed solar water heaters (SWHs) in South African households remains low despite a growing awareness of the potential benefits… (more)

This article outlines the technical features and importance of switch disconnectors, and shows why they are an optimal choice for use in different applications in PV installations… (more)

The use of automation in deep level hard rock mines in South Africa has, over the years, been overshadowed by mechanised mining. However, the industry has started to recognise the validity of automation as an option… (more)

A new International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) report provides guidance to end-users when selecting device integration technology encompassing all host systems, field instruments and device protocols… (more)

The unfortunate culture of copper theft that has become prevalent in South Africa has exascerbated problems related to the integrity of the neutral in low voltage (LV) distribution systems in recent years… (more)

Lighting consumes some 20% of all electricity produced and is responsible for about 35% of a typical building’s electricity use. Much of this energy is wasted on poor lighting design, inefficient lighting equipment and poor controls… (more)

Thermal management is critical to both the performance and lifespan of the LED system. It embraces efficient heat sink design, high efficiency circuit boards, high thermal conductivity of enclosures and other advanced thermal design techniques… (more)

How staff manages energy saving technologies is as important to commerce and industry as adopting energy efficiency policies and investing in energy saving technologies. This is the view of Alfred Hartzenburg, senior project manager for the CSIR’s National Cleaner Production Centre (NCPC) in Pretoria… (more)

Eskom’s rebate programmes are designed to speed up project approval processes and to streamline project implementation and completion with the assistance of energy advisors and ESCos. They offer funding for energy efficiency solutions in the industrial, commercial and agricultural sectors… (more)

I read Graham Pirie’s article in Vector regarding consulting engineers awaiting government’s infrastructure rollout (Vector October 2012, page 26). As a consulting engineer, I agree with much of what he said and have a few comments to add… (more)

Question 1: I must replace a 240 V domestic fan in a bathroom. The existing fan was installed some 15 years ago and no supplementary bonding exists… (more)

In terms of the economy, I do not foresee any major growth until the economic situation in Europe and the USA stabilises. Locally, labour unrest and talk of nationalisation have not been of any help and seem to have scared foreign investors away… (more)

On 16 October 2012 a formal function was held at the offices of the Construction Education and Training Authority (CETA) at which the ECA(SA) signed a memorandum of understanding with the CETA and entered into a contract stipulating that the CETA would finance three of four special projects we submitted to it to the value of  R4 050 500… (more)

Energy minister Dipuo Peters has announced financial closure for some 1425 MW of renewable energy (RE) projects for the first bid window of the renewable energy independent power producer (IPP) procurement programme… (more)

After over a century with utilisation of the benefits of economics of scale, power systems planning and development gets bigger and transmission grids have needed to transmit over longer distances, bringing the concept of onsite or close-to-load generation back. In the last decade, many countries have started the process of liberalisation of the electric systems, opening access to transmission and distribution grids… (more)

Accurate safety stock levels means more money in the bank. The monitoring of bulk solids in storage silos, for companies that mine, handle and or manufacture granular products, forms a pivotal link in their supply chain efficiency and directly effects production output and profits. Which really means knowing the accurate safety stock levels equals more money in the bank… (more)

Saturated CT cores and their behavior during fault conditions have been and still are an important topic for protection engineers, in particular when fault currents with transient components occur. Many papers have been written and presented about this. Typically, the CT cores contain some residual magnetism when the current flow is interrupted. Especially at reclosing, this residual magnetism may cause undesired effects… (more)

VSC based HVDC (also called HVDC Lite) is an important technology that is suited to strengthen the weak transmission and distribution systems in Africa. There has been much development in the power electronics field to the point where NR Electric Co. is busy designing a five terminal VSC HVDC system for the city of Shanghai… (more)

The Basrah area is rich in oil with large power demands due to the reinstated oil infrastructure and local growth. The electrical infrastructure of Iraq was particularly hard hit by successive wars and sanctions. Rebuilding this infrastructure is a key priority for Iraq… (more)

Co-located generation capabilities are finding great popularity among industrial, commercial, retail, and governmental power consumers. As the number of individual unit generators increases, so does the need for more powerful methods to monitor, control, and optimise the operation of the generation and load throughout their facilities… (more)

Sir, Referring to the problem of the excessively cheap electricity that BHP Billiton is getting for its aluminium smelters, I think it’s easy to resolve the problem, but it does require a government with vision, competence and integrity.  Oops. Nevertheless, if BHP Billiton refuses to renegotiate their contracts, the following could be done… (more)

“Is Chernobyl dead? Essays on energy – renewable and nuclear” by CM Meyer is a fascinating new book, breathtaking in its scope and gripping in its coverage. The 302-page book has 51 easy-to-read chapters (essays), each one essentially self-contained and extensively referenced, woven together to form the whole. There are also over 100 figures and pictures, many of them rare and retrieved from international archives, with significant historical interest… (more)

With coal prices retreating from multi-year highs, the coal market is certainly poised for change in the coming years. Looking to the thermal coal market specifically, the past decade has seen tremendous changes taking place and the next ten years are expected to offer similar levels of excitement… (more)

Sir, One cannot fail but to be astounded by the scale of miniaturisation (and that, I am afraid, Sir, was how I was learnt to spell it, to distinguish it from miniaturing, or miniaturising and – heaven Forbid – dimunitisation or dimunition) in the electricity industry today. If one reflects back on the days of Gilbert and Volta and looks at the first steam engines Watt  built and turbines that Parsons built, then Watt for Pound, the industry has come a long way. But that is nothing compared to what the clever pundits tell us, still lies ahead… (more)

The history of Cigré in South Africa? How long has Cigré has been going in South Africa? Cigré has been going in South Africa for about 70-80 years. There are certain rules that you have to abide by to set up a national committee such as having a certain number of local members, putting together a constitution and submitting  that to Cigré in Paris. If you look at New Zealand as the latest national committee, they used to be part of the Australian national committee, and Cigré have just allowed them to join as an independent national committee… (more)

A significant milestone for renewable energy in South Africa was reached on 29 October 2012 when the minister of energy, Dipuo Peters, announced financial closure for some 1425 MW of renewable energy projects for the first bid window of the renewable energy independent power producer procurement programme… (more)

One of the most regular claims that appears in the news is that the cost of renewable energy is constantly declining, and may soon approach parity with grid electricity. The increasing use of solar PV in urban off-grid systems, particularly for non-essential applications,  seems to give credibility to these statements, and there could be a developing market for such systems in this country… (more)

There is a perception that because of cell phones and a plethora of computers and smart devices, that there is no longer an interest in amateur radio. However this is not so. Every year there are many who write the amateur radio examination to qualify for an amateur radio licence… (more)

Broadband linked to millennium development goals; Africa set to miss 2015 digital migration deadline; Tanzania sets aside US$30-million for rural telecoms project;  ZTE and Huawei win major Ethiopian contract; Mobile phone growth sets new records; MTN, Warid hit by Ugandan cyber fraud; Safaricom is top tax payer in Kenya; State monopoly shares blame for Morocco’s digital divide; Zambia looking to welcome fourth mobile operator; Zimbabwe: Potraz to build 54 base stations… (more)

With the introduction of the its vector signal transceiver (VST), National Instruments has redefined instrumentation by bringing the flexibility of user-programmable field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) to RF instrumentation… (more)

Solar photovoltaic inverters: A major portion of the electrical energy produced directly from the sun’s radiation is generated by solar photovoltaic cells, which convert photons of light energy to electron flow that constitutes an electrical current… (more)

Production plants have to keep running all the time. No breakdown, no downtime. To ensure proper operation of its production plants in Vanderbijlpark, ArcelorMittal South Africa uses thermal imaging cameras to improve efficiency and safety; to help avoid breakdowns and to minimise downtime… (more)

Thermal imaging technology has a number of characteristics that make the technology a good choiceto prevent vehicle-related accidents in mines. Vehicle-related mine accidents are a major cause of mine fatalities which means that effective collision avoidance systems are an essential part of any mine’s safety systems… (more)

Industrial-strength Ethernet, bolstered by its wireless component, is giving facilities the tools they need to operate lean and mean and succeed in an uncertain economy. Few would argue that today’s economy is uncertain and unstable. Manufacturers face unprecedented challenges… (more)

The ExoHand from Festo is an exoskeleton that can be worn like a glove. The fingers can be actively moved and their strength amplified; the operator’s hand movements are registered and transmitted to the robotic hand in real time… (more)

Do process industries require different  measurements compared to discrete industries? Which is better; fast or accurate? Process industries may derive more value by using a measure like “time in (optimal) state” than the typical overall equipment effectiveness measurement… (more)

A network-attached storage (NAS) unit is a computer appliance used solely for data access (read/write) and backup, built from the ground up with integrated hardware and software for storing and serving files… (more)

Long term evolution (LTE) has been the talk of the communications industry for some time. MTN piloted LTE at the beginning of the year but when it starting making noises about launching commercially, albeit in only a few areas, the other telcos were quick to make their announcements. We invited them, and vendors as well, to participate in a virtual panel discussion on this technology… (more)

Gartner has identified the top ten technologies that will be strategic for most organisations, and that IT leaders should factor into their strategic planning processes over the next two years… (more)

The “big data” explosion is creating a new challenge for today’s enterprise businesses, as they look to make the most of the huge volumes of structured and unstructured data held within the organisation… (more)

This article explains how automating with industrial robots can help companies to bring their manufacturing home without any adverse effects on their competitiveness. The on-going impact of the global economic downturn has seen many companies in the world’s leading industrialised nations reversing their decisions to outsource manufacturing activities to lower cost countries… (more)

It seems with the advent of social networking, public outcry at issues seem to have blown out of all sorts of proportion. Everyone has a cause and vents on Facebook. Most people don’t seem to let research or facts get in the way of having an opinion. Two topics that have been subject to this is fracking and cell phone masts, and now I see the Coega power station is starting to get aired… (more)

Just over 15 months ago Eaton acquired the three ACTOM Low Voltage Equipment (ALVE) business units: CHI Control, Meissner Uninterruptible Power and Norsa Electronics, bringing them all under the Eaton brand umbrella. To bring known and trusted brands together and give them a new name is not an easy task! I had a conversation with the man whose responsibility it is to make it work. He is Shane Kilfoil, MD of Eaton South Africa… (more)

Regulatory stagnation, indecision and misplaced ideologies are some of the reasons why broadband for all will likely remain a pipe dream for some time to come. Looking back over the past year, 2012 started with a promise from the Minister of Communication that she would intervene to get the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) to speed up the process… (more)

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