Electricity + Control

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Electricity and Control July 2018Ours is an industry characterised by ingenuity, and dependent on innovation for its advancement. Since inception, Electricity + Control has been fervently dedicated to providing the engineering community with content which is above-all current and informative, all the while remaining committed to promoting the efficient use of energy.

The July 2018 issue achieves just this with features that delve into the significance of electric actuators and their use in the design of medical devices, data and the smart machine revolution, as well as the ins and outs of variable frequency drives. We also explore the question of whether smart metering is capable of meeting the specific requirements of Africa, the ways in which artificial intelligence is expected to revolutionise the energy industry and how remote monitoring improves machine maintenance.

Further to this, readers are provided a number of solutions with regards to the water crisis in Cape Town and kept up-to-date with the latest product news and pertinent industry happenings.



Bringing new life into electric control valve actuation

Barb Boynton, Curtiss-Wright/Exlar® Actuation Solutions

Electric actuators based on servo-motor and roller-screw technologies can enable a responsive and accurate electric actuator solution that is well suited to valve control. Electrical systems are vital to many production operations, and affect worker safety and costs. It is important therefore to minimise arc-flash hazards, choose motor-control technology, protect motors, and understand safety interlocking standard (EN) ISO 14119.

Electric actuators aid design of medical devices

Leslie Langnau, Fluid Power World

Many of today’s medical devices rely on electric actuators for motion control in critical, lifesaving applications. They offer a number of advantages that suit this industry, including their performance and increased efficiency. Clean operation ― operating without the need for fluids or ancillary equipment — is one of the major advantages of electric actuators.



Is smart metering smart enough for Africa?

Kobus van den Berg, Aurecon

Smart metering (SM) systems can support various aspects of electricity distribution management and are generally recommended internationally as the way to enhance the services and financial viability of electricity utilities. Kobus van den Berg, an electrical engineer at Aurecon, takes a different approach, saying it is important to understand the additional functionality of an SM system and see if it meets the specific requirements of Africa. 

How artificial intelligence will revolutionise the energy industry

Franklin Wolfe, Harvard University

We have only begun to tap into all the ways in which Artificial Intelligence (AI) will make people’s lives more productive and creative. What is inspiring for individuals who are dedicated to improving living conditions today, and for future generations to come, is that AI and energy are not mutually exclusive career paths. They are becoming increasingly interconnected as computing power, data collection, and storage capabilities scale exponentially on an annual basis. 

Solutions for the Cape Town water crisis

Hennie Pretorius, Endress+Hauser

South Africa, a water scarce country, should consider its water supply as its most valuable resource. All South Africans with access to piped water should always be responsible water users, and not only when a crisis looms, as is currently the case in the Western and Eastern Cape regions. This article focuses on Cape Town and the Western Cape in order to indicate what possible solutions there are for drought stricken areas.  



Data and the smart machine revolution

Information provided by Omron Industrial Automation

Any significant optimisation of production lines is getting increasingly difficult to achieve. Bringing smarter automation into the workplace offers an innovative solution, but the fundamental element to making any machine ‘smarter’ is data. Data collection, data-driven modelling, applying the models, and finally, the machine using and evaluating models to automatically adjust its own behaviour.

How remote monitoring improves machine maintenance

Brandon Topham, RET Automation

A flashing red light on the plant floor often signals a problem on a production line or in a work cell. It’s a familiar scene in lean manufacturing environments, where these Andon signals help plant workers identify problems before they lead to excessive downtime. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is transforming the way manufacturers identify problems on the plant floor as the latest wireless solutions address integration challenges.



The ins and outs of variable frequency drives

Jonathan Kopczyk, Yaskawa inc.

As variable frequency drives (VFDs) become the primary go-to solution for motor control, their capability is not something that can easily be matched, with every new generation delivering better performance, smaller size and greater functionality. In most cases though, VFDs are used for their variable speed control with minimal wiring terminations. With all those empty terminals, however, is the product being used to its full potential?



Demystifying transducers in fluid power

Paul J Heney, Design World/ WTWH Media

Simply put, a transducer converts one type of physical property into an electrical output signal. An example of this is the conversion of hydraulic pressure into a variable voltage or amperage output.

The manner in which a transducer works will depend primarily on the type of measurement being observed. Some transducers measure pressure, temperature or flow, while others determine fluid level, position and even water or particle contamination.



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