As the country moves forward at Level 2 of the lockdown we see the further opening up of economic activity and a slight upturn in industrial production, following a sharp fall across many though not all sectors through the earlier lockdown restrictions. Together with the declining Covid-19 infection rates, these are positive indicators for South Africa’s first steps towards rebuilding its economy and restoring some stability to the operating environment.
In this September 2020 issue of Electricity + Control we feature Control systems + automation; Drives, motors + switchgear; Measurement + instrumentation; and Transformers, substations + cables; as well as our regular columns: Cybersecurity, Engineering the future, and Write @ the back.
In the context of industrial automation there is much said about the convergence of OT used in the plant and IT serving higher-level business systems. Bridging the gap and finding a common language that enables these separate systems to connect with each other is a challenge for many businesses. Mitsubishi Electric Europe points to SCADA platforms as the solution, and OPC UA as the preferred protocol for connectivity between these different worlds.
Also in Control systems + automation, EPlan presents the newest version of its data portal which provides users with component and device data for design engineering over the web. For electrical engineers, this simplifies design processes, ensures standardised data for documentation, and reduces the time and costs entailed.
Looking at optimising the total cost of ownership on motors and drives, ABB puts forward the consideration that the cost of running – and the cost of not running – plant or equipment are both core factors to be taken into account. It also outlines further factors that contribute to optimising plant performance and operational costs.
And Actom reports on the six-year contract it has been awarded for the comprehensive replacement of MV switchgear and allied electrical equipment at Eskom’s Tutuka power station in Mpumalanga. Comprising six contract packages, it brings together local and international players and will require particularly careful coordination of all parties.
Turning to Measurement + instrumentation, more than 300 ifm sensors are installed at the Skanderborg Brewery in Denmark, monitoring pressure, temperature and level throughout the brewing process. The brewery is unusual in its range of beers and in that it is operated largely by beer lovers on a voluntary basis. The many sensors, connected via I-O Link, make it possible to run the brewing process automatically, so production can be controlled with a minimum of employees.
Endress+Hauser reports how radar level sensors, used with IIoT technology and wireless connectivity, enable the measurement and monitoring of fill levels in mobile containers, which are often stored at remote sites. This task was previously not possible, and was, at best, based on assumptions.
In Transformers, substations + cables, Frank Spencer, SAPVIA Board Member, looks at the safety codes for embedded generation installations which will form part of SANS 10142-1. The shift towards decentralised energy calls for standards that will ensure a stable system and the safe connection of small-scale embedded generation to low voltage grids.
We also report on a couple of projects which relate to the upgrading of electrical infrastructure for the national and municipal utilities.