You are currently browsing the monthly archive for October 2013.

A National Geographic Channel team of UFO investigators used the Topcon IS-3 imaging station, which has both scanning and surveying capabilities, to conduct research at sites where UFOs have allegedly been seen… (more)


SANSA Space Operations, in conjunction with the SA-EU strategic partnership The Dialogue Facility, hosted an event to disseminate the results of the SATSA (SBAS Awareness and Training for South Africa) project which is drawing to a close… (more)

We are living in an age where technology touches every industry and every human being. This proliferation of technology is forcing exponential step changes in almost all aspects of life. The main driver of this growth is the internet… (more)

As a foreigner who has lived and worked in this country since 2007, I’m often asked about the challenges facing South Africa and how I would approach them… (more)

We asked a number electronics experts to discuss the impact of embedded systems on bringing new products to market, and the effect on basic design capabilities. Our first question was: Does the use of embedded systems help companies to bring new products to market faster?… (more)

Acid mine drainage (AMD) is recognised as a potentially serious threat to the environment – predominantly in the gold, coal and platinum mining areas of Gauteng, NorthWest Province and Mpumalanga. There is no disagreement on this position but there are wide-ranging opinions on how to solve the problem… (more)

Jan Gerritsen is product manager for level at Endress+Hauser. He previously worked in the mining, chemical as well as the food and metal industries. He answers some questions on level measurement… (more)

Following EE Publishers’ call for sponsors for the Hendrik van der Bijl Awards at the 2013 Eskom Expo for Young Scientists, it is pleasing to advise that the value of the awards sponsored has increased from R44 000 in 2012 to over R122 000 in 2013… (more)

This month’s winning letter asks whether management education is in sync with the job market and the changing nature of work… (more)

If you’re in charge of managing the security system for a facility, then you’ve undoubtedly had your fair share of “Picasso moments”. That is, one or more security camera frames that should show well-defined images have been mysteriously transformed into something the master himself would have been proud of… (more)

Telecommunications is an integral part of any business; this is especially true for companies involved in the mining, railway and telecom carrier industries when operating in remote areas… (more)

In our technological society, operators are increasingly interacting with plant(s) under their control. Designers should focus on achieving optimised human-machine performance, and this is effected by efficient task allocation between human and machine… (more)

Telecommunications networks using radio or optic fibre-based systems require power at all points in the network. In rural areas grid power is often not available in the area, or close to the site of the installation… (more)

Water, a vital resource for human activity, must be drawn off, treated, transported and after it is used, returned to nature clean. This process, now automated, is subject to very demanding quality, environmental and productivity constraints… (more)

Bluetooth is a wireless technology which has become very popular in the consumer sector. At present, it is fact that there are more Bluetooth than WLAN chip sets sold each year. This is predominantly due to the use of the Bluetooth technology in cell phones, headsets, etc. The base technology is standardised in IEEE 802.15.1… (more)

The need to provide Ethernet connectivity to locations around production plant or other activities has become more commonplace due to the fact that most modern control and instrumentation equipment is now supplied with an Ethernet interface as the primary means of communicating with the device… (more)

Proximity sensors – are they tough enough? Demanding environments, like those involving water, chemicals, extreme temperature, pressure, RFI/EMI, weld fields, fire and explosion are a hindrance to devices used in processes… (more)

A line of digital analytical sensors with integrated transmitter technology was introduced in 2013, making external transmitters superfluous, effectively eliminating one of the greatest sources of error in the measuring chain… (more)

There is hardly an area of our life that does not benefit from some form of laser technology. These range from devices for laser lighting displays in entertainment to office equipment such as laser printers, DVD players, barcode scanners, surgical technology in hospitals to devices for cutting and welding industrial materials… (more)

The automation of factory floors is driven by the insatiable demand for higher productivity, lower total cost of ownership, and improved safety in industrial systems… (more)

Going back in history, radio amateurs have not only lived through technological change, they have also meaningfully contributed to these changes, and by extension, they have adopted technological change faster than non-radio amateurs, perhaps because it was and still as a question of survival… (more)

  • Sub-Saharan mobile broadband connections set for fast growth
  • MTN launches global virtual private network
  • Liquid Telecom opens “largest data centre in East Africa”
  • Bharti Airtel to enhance African connectivity
  • Forbes sees Ghana becoming tech-friendly hub for innovation
  • Nigeria set to auction unused mobile broadband spectrum next year
  • Telecom Namibia to deploy Zhone solution for advanced broadband
  • Koreans to provide Rwanda with systems integration and IT services… (more)
  • HD quad core tablet sets a new standard
  • New wearable technology
  • Slim, portable hard drive with 2 TB capacity
  • Galaxy Note 10.1 enhances multitasking.. (more)

Eskom boasts that it is keeping the lights on, but all too often the electricity it generates doesn’t get to end-users reliably due to the failure of various municipalities to invest in distribution infrastructure maintenance, and to effectively protect electricity and equipment from theft. Many municipal distribution networks are not in good condition, resulting in poor security and quality of electricity supply… (more)

Large parts of Johannesburg, that world-class African city, the financial hub of Gauteng, southern and sub-Saharan Africa, was plunged into darkness for almost a week recently as the result of industrial sabotage perpetrated by a few disgruntled employees of City Power. In order to discover what caused this extended power outage, Energize editor Roger Lilley interviewed City Power’s director: engineering operations, and official spokesperson, Louis Pieterse, and asked him some probing questions. Pieterse’s responses are outlined in the article below… (more)

Sir, In the well-known fairy tale, the magic mirror is asked who is the fairest in the land. It is, of course, the wicked stepmother of Snow White. However, when her stepdaughter grows up, she becomes a “thousand times more beautiful” than her stepmother and and takes over the top spot. It remains a mystery as to why the ugly stepmother won the contest at all. It is only a fairy tale, not so?… (more)

Eskom has been accused by Earthlife Africa of failing to comply with the terms laid down by the World Bank when it loaned the utility money to construct the Medupi power station. The accusation centres around Eskom’s delay in installing flue gas desulfurisation (FGD) equipment at the Medupi power station. The organisation claims that because the utility company has applied for exemption from South African air quality regulations, Medupi will spew dangerous particulates into the atmosphere… (more)

NERSA has released the results of licence condition audits of 18 municipalities which were undertaken in 2011 and 2012. Results show a range of compliance from extremely poor to excellent, with deterioration of plant featuring prominently in all cases. The question arises of what actions will be taken as a result of the audit and how can these municipalities be assisted to improve compliance… (more)

This month’s winning letter is an emphatic rejection of the principle of carbon taxes. Another interesting letter is on the potential of mine waste water as a hydro energy storage system… (more)

Delivering a key note address at the ICUE Conference in August 2013, SAIEE president Paul van Niekerk says the South African government has ambitious plans for massive infrastructure development. The president, in his State of the Nation address given in parliament on 9 February 2012, said that the government would launch a huge campaign of building infrastructure nationwide to boost the economy and create job opportunities. A strong focus on infrastructure development will consequently require an increase in energy availability… (more)

It is becoming increasingly evident that the lightning exposure risks in South Africa have been underestimated in the past, according to Ian McKechnie, managing director of specialist consulting and forensic engineers, Innopro. This has significant implications for both industry and commerce, and the broader public, in assessing risks and in considering and designing suitable safety and protection measures… (more)

Online oil condition monitoring systems can be used to diagnose oil degradation in gearboxes, turbines, generators, motors and transformers. The Wearsens online oil condition monitoring system focused on in this article identifies changes in the machine from day one before damage starts to occur enabling early detection of potential failures… (more)

Access to reliable electricity and its affordability are key indicators of an improved standard of living, but the economics of extending grid electricity to low density rural areas of South Africa restrict such undertakings… (more)

Theft of copper conductors has become a major problem in the electricity distribution industry. In addition to theft of feed conductors, theft of earthing conductors at substations and other installations places the safety of the whole network at risk… (more)

Safety is simply difficult. Electrical arc flash protection requires complex processing of an electrical network, integration of the network data into a risk matrix and then another complex set of engineering requirements for the personal protective equipment. The easiest option is to rely on a clothing supplier to tell an engineer what is required… (more)

Electrical substations are time-critical systems that rely on highly precise automated monitoring and messaging to guarantee effective and safe control. The devices that comprise these systems must therefore be extremely reliable and efficient, providing real-time feedback with dependably prompt reaction times. However, different classes of substation approach these issues in different ways… (more)

A group of University of Johannesburg (UJ) students, under the supervision of two postgraduate students and academic staff members, have built a visually exciting, solar powered electric racing car, to compete in the South African Solar Challenge… (more)

Sustainable energy management in South Africa does not require expensive interventions for it to succeed. Starting with a foundation of basic principles can deliver sustained savings, providing a platform for optimal utilisation of renewable energy. Local citizens and businesses need to prioritise reducing their current electricity consumption in order to mitigate the risk of running out of this scarce commodity… (more)

This case study shows how Karpri, an Israeli refrigeration company, solved a severe power quality problem by measuring power quality at multiple points simultaneously… (more)

A simulation model was used to simulate and ascertain the electrical energy savings potential of a variable flow strategy on a mine cooling system. This strategy will be achieved by installing variable speed drives (VSDs) on the bulk air cooler (BAC) and refrigeration plant pumps… (more)

Safety is generally considered expensive although, in theory, a higher product compliance level should result in savings. Real savings can be achieved with proper planning. This may be of some inspiration to those battling with costs. Certification of all equipment for use in explosive atmospheres is controlled by ARP 0108, which is effectively part of legislation as it defines the legal requirements for certification of equipment for use in explosive atmospheres. According to this document, all explosion-protected (Ex) equipment shall have information assurance (IA) certificates issued by approved or accredited test laboratories (ATLs)… (more)

New Beka MD Carl Watson speaks to Vector about, among others, his immediate priorities, today’s drivers in the lighting industry, the effects of the recession and the lack of understanding of LEDs. Luminaire and GRP pole manufacturer Beka became an international player in the world lighting market when founder and former MD Johann Schleritzko recently sold his shareholding in the company to the Belgian Schréder Group… (more)

The South African Equity Workers’ Association (SAEWA) has demanded a number of changes to the Collective Agreement of the National Bargaining Council for the Electrical Industry of South Africa (NBCEISA)… (more)

Explolabs and Certex director and explosion prevention specialist Dr Johannes Auret answers questions on explosion protected (Ex) equipment, its use, certification and regulation, among others… (more)

Information from GE Digital Energy
A study to review the effects of exposing energy efficient lighting systems to transient surges which may occur at typical installations within facilities… (more)

Two case studies show the feasibility of retrofitting LED tubes to replace fluorescent lights in single offices, as well as in suites of offices… (more)

Electric motors are used either in constant or variable torque applications. The use of VSDs on electric motors can have negative effects on motors’ life, depending on the application and cause harmonics, voltage spikes and operating temperature increases… (more)

The unique demands of protecting generator circuits and the different requirements for generator and standard distribution circuit breakers… (more)

Hour meters may provide the most inexpensive source of “equipment reliability insurance” manufacturers can offer with their products. Here are some guidelines for making sound choices when specifying hour meters… (more)

The technical and control philosophy challenges faced in the automation of a water transfer pumping station… (more)

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