May 23, 2008
Industrial sector shows increased interest in PLC trainingBack
Engineering|Slurry|Variable-speed-drives|Africa|Building|Components|Design|Education|Flow|Industrial|Mining|Motor Control Centres|Pumps|Switchgear|Systems|Training|Variable Speed Drives|Variable-speed Drives|Variable-speed-drives|Africa|Variable-speed-drives|Equipment|Flow|Manufacturing|Motor Control Centres|Products|Service|Services|Systems|Variable Speed Drives|Variable-speed-drives|Variable-speed-drives|Motor Control Centres|Variable-speed-drives|Variable-speed-drives|Operations|Variable Speed Drives|Variable-speed-drives|Process Control
© Reuse this Increased interest in the programmable logic controller training courses that are held by diversified electrical company Möeller Electric has prompted the company to increase the frequency of the courses being affected.
South Africa is experiencing an accelerating need for PLC skills as a result of technological development and advances in machine automation and process control systems. The company held two such courses towards the end of 2007, with more courses planned for 2008.
Initial requests by Western Cape manufacturing companies and students for access to PLC training have led to a partnership between Northlink College and Möeller Electric.
The two organisations have combined local vision and teaching skills with popular German products and components, to make Northlink's first formal courses in PLC technology and its applications available.
In the Western Cape, Northlink College head of electrical engineering Pat Lawrence identified and approached Möeller Electric as a partner to help the college meet part of the requirement for technical knowledge. Möeller Electric has proven capabilities in equipment supply and support, and the capacity to formulate and deliver high-quality training programmes.
Suitable space at the college was identified and allocated at Belhar campus, one of eight campuses at Northlink, allowing Möeller Electric engineers to design the new facility and equip it using funding provided by a Department of Education recapitalisation grant.
Belhar campus is the centre of Northlink's training in electrical engineering.
Northlink's electrical heavy current programme manager, Ivan Robertson, provided guidance and assistance while the new facility was fitted with the latest Möeller PS4-200 PLCs, and model DV5, DV6 and MFD-Titan variable speed drives.
The completion of Northlink's new facility paved the way for Möeller Electric's director of training and technology, Gert Jonker, to begin courses for lecturing staff.
The students for the college's first course of part-time study in basic PLC programming took their seats in May 2007.
Students enrol at the college either as an alternative matriculation to high school grades 10 - 12, or post-matriculation to follow NQF-level skills courses, National Certificate courses or National/International Diploma courses at one of the eight campuses located in Cape Town's northern suburbs.
Cape Town-based Northlink College is a government-owned and nationally registered Further Education and Training (FET) institution falling under the Western Cape education department. A team appointed by the department manages the college and its assets.
Courses at Northlink are orientated towards engineering and building related occupations, business, utility and social services. All courses emphasise hands-on training to equip students with the knowledge, skills and practical experience that ensure employment in the labour market.
The second PLC training course at Northlink College took place in November 2007.
Meanwhile, control panels based on electrical engineering company Möeller technology have been installed in dredge mining plants at Richards Bay Minerals (RBM).
The control panels will form a key part of RBM's expansion towards a target of two-million tons of minerals output per year.
The panels were designed at Moeller Electric's Johannesburg engineering department, and assembled in Richards Bay by authorised panel builder Magnol Electrical.
They comprise Möeller moulded case circuit breakers, contactors and overload protection devices housed in Moeller polycarbonate enclosures to provide flameproof protection to IP65 standard.
Ranked today as the largest single producer of titanium products in the world, RBM began operations in 1977 with one dredge mining plant and two furnaces, producing 400 000 t/y of titanium slag.
There are now four dredge mining plants and four furnaces producing one-million tons of titanium slag and 550 000 t of pig iron a year.
RBM uses a dredge mining technique pioneered in Holland and Australia to extract the heavy minerals ilmenite, rutile and zircon from the sand.
Dune sand is bulldozed to create very large artificial freshwater ponds some 200 m in diameter, on each of which floats a dredger and concentrator plant.
Burrowing into the mining faces of the dunes, the dredgers advance at a rate of two to three m/d, undermining the sand faces to collapse them into the ponds and form a slurry which is then sucked up and pumped to the floating concentrator.
Then, the heavy minerals are separated from the sand using a gravity process and stockpiled as heavy mineral concentrate for transportation to the smelter site.
Möeller components have been used in RBM control panels from the start, traversing the continuous and often rapid advances in technology and protocols over three decades.
Möeller Electric's branch manager in Durban, Bradley Whitaker, says that control and automation panel design for the dredge mining plants is now moving towards the American protocol deviceNet, with which Möeller Electric products are fully compatible.
"Our components are mainly used for the controlling and protection functions, with the bulk of our supply comprising switchgear; that is contactors, motor protective breakers and timers for start-up and shut down," Whitaker explains.
"All these products are deviceNet compatible, allowing complete automation of the dredge mining plant and the monitoring of operations from a single control desk," he says.
"Each dredger is controlled by third-party automation devices which include touch panels for entering and programming the position data, scanning the operating hours and monitoring service intervals.
"Dredger pumps are also controlled by Möeller's switchgear to ensure reliable running of the plant throughout the year," Whitaker adds.
Higher level automation is used to control the dredger's position and speed, and to monitor the rate of material flow through the pumps.
Whitaker say that Magnol Electrical was currently working on new panels comprising cubic motor control centres incorporating Möeller switchgear, and refurbishment of various panels on the minerals separation plant.
When the dredger upgrades are completed, further work is planned for the tailings.
Edited by: Laura Tyrer© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Electricity News
Article contains comments
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2015: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2015 report provides an overview of the key developments in the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon...
Projects in Progress 2015 - First Edition (PDF Report)
In fact, this edition of Creamer Media’s Projects in Progress 2015 supplement tracks developments taking place under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which has had four bidding rounds. It appears to remain a shining light on the...
Electricity 2015: A review of South Africa's electricity sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Electricity 2015 report provides an overview of State-owned power utility Eskom and independent power producers, as well as electricity planning, transmission, distribution and the theft thereof, besides other issues.
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
This Week's Magazine
While economic forecasts for the African continent are most favourable, African airlines may not be able to benefit from the expected growth in the region’s gross domestic product (GDP), International Air Transport Association VP: Africa Raphael Kuuchi has warned....
The Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP) will need to change substantially post 2020, says Metair Investments South African operations COO Ken Lello. “We must not make tweaks. We have to change. What we are doing is not sustainable.”
Banking group Absa’s forecast is for the rand to end the year at around R13 against the dollar, weakening further to R13.50 by 2016, says Absa sectoral analyst Jacques du Toit. He warns that possible interest rate hikes in the US may see capital being pulled from...
The Dispute Resolution Centre at the Bargaining Council for the Civil Engineering Industry (BCCEI) is now open to handle party-to-party disputes. The BCCEI represents the interests of all level four to nine Construction Industry Development Board companies.
Communications technology firm Ericsson sub-Saharan Africa head Fredrik Jejdling says the company’s commitment to sustainability and corporate responsibility has been integrated into all facets of its operations, which has provided it with sustainable revenue...