The Illegal use of aluminium cabtyre in the South African market.

Several types of products, commonly found in homes and industry, are fitted with integrally moulded plugs at the end of a length of flexible electric cable, referred to as “cabtyre”. These products typically include:

  • Cord Sets (Plug and cord)
  • Interconnection Cord Set (Plug, cord and connector)
  • Cord Extension Sets (Plug, cord and socket outlet)
  • Extension reels. (Plug, cord on a reel assembly and socket outlet).

 

What are the Legal requirements:

South Africa has Compulsory Specifications, issued by the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS), for many electrical products which specify the technical and administrative requirements in order for these (compulsory listed) products to be sold legally in our market. The purpose of these regulations is aimed at the protection of consumers, ordinary people, in their homes and places of work.

In the case of the products listed above, the specification is:

 

VC8029 Compulsory specification for cord sets, interconnection cord sets, and cord extension sets. (Gazetted: 3 Feb 2012 Nr 34983 – R 69 – In terms of the NRCS Act 5 of 2008)

Which lists the following standards to be complied with:

  • SANS 60799: Cord sets and interconnection cord sets.
  • SANS 1661: Cord extension sets (which includes extension reels)

These standards also list the applicable standards for components i.e.:

SANS 164-0: Plug and socket-outlet systems for household and similar purposes for use in South Africa  
SANS 1574-2: Electric flexible cables with solid extruded dielectric insulation – Part 2: PVC insulated flexible cables for domestic, office and similar environments (cords).  
SANS 60320: Appliance couplers for household and similar general purposes.  

 

What do the specifications say about the cables?

In all the above specifications, they mention that the cable standard shall be either SANS 1574-2 or its IEC equivalent SANS(IEC) 60277 and specifically the composition of the cores (current carrying thin wires making up each core) shall be annealed copper, for class 5 types of cables, which are deemed “flexible”

 

Why is this important?

The desireable characteristics of the cabtyre is twofold:

  • It must have low resistance and
  • It must withstand flexing operations.

Cable resistance is stated in the resistivity of the conductors where:

Copper 1.0 mm2 section is 19.5 W/m, whereas Aluminium is around 40 W/m (depending on the Aluminium alloy) 

Which means that at the rated current of 10A the heating effect on the Aluminium cabtyre will be 2.5 times higher.

 

Quick and easy test for Aluminium conductors:

The proper method of determining the material composition of conductors would require an appropriate metallurgical and chemical analysis, however there is a “quick-and-easy” method that immediately produces a clue as to whether or not the material is copper.

Each core of the 2 or 3 core cabtyre is stripped of its PVC covering in order to expose roughly 20mm of the bare metal strands.

 

The strands are fanned out and a flame (match or gas lighter) is brought under the fanned strands.

 

COPPER will glow bright red but remain in their fanned position

 

 

ALUMINIUM strands will quickly collapse under the flame.

 

Flexing test (not quick or easy!)

Since Aluminium has a Tensile Strength 38% that of Copper, the flexural performance of cabtyre made up with Aluminium strands will inevitably be less robust than a cabtyre made up with Copper strands. This is recognized in all standards as for example IEC 60228: Conductors of insulated cables; Under Class 5: Flexible conductors; Clause 6.1 states:

  1. a) Flexible conductors (class 5 and 6) shall consist of plain or metal-coated annealed copper.

Cable flex testing is described under SANS 60884-1; Clause 23.4 where a sample of a non-rewireable plug connected to a PVC cable is tested in an apparatus as follows:

  The flexing apparatus clamps the plug in such a way that the cable is flexed through an arc of 90o whilst the free end of the cable is loaded with a mass of 20N (2 kg) for a cable size ³ 0.75 mm2.

The plug circuit is connected to a low voltage supply and a small current is passed through all the conductors in order to measure continuity during the flexing test. If there is a break in continuity the test is stopped, and the sample deemed to have FAILED

The test is conducted for 10,000 oscillation at the rate of 60 flexings per minute.

 

Copper 1.0 mm2 section – withstands this without any difficulty

Aluminium – has a high failure rate where the core strands shear off, either in part or in full.

Which means that the aluminium cabtyre can either open circuit or progressively heat up to the point of burning.

 

Conclusion:

There is no doubt that the use Aluminium conductors in cabtyre is dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. The notion that this is a “cost-saving” initiative is invalid as it must be offset against a significantly reduced safety levels of the electrical products mentioned.

Industry leaders convene to focus on trade and productivity across Africa at the CRU Africa Wire, Cable & Tube Conference 2019

As interest in the market potential of Africa grows, the inaugural CRU Africa Wire, Cable & Tube Conference is perfectly timed to address the business opportunities for local producers and manufacturers, seeking to establish new trade partnerships with international stakeholders involved in the African steel, copper and aluminium supply chains.

This important new event is co-organised by CRU and The Southern African-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AHK), and will be held on 11-13 November 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The conference has attracted strong support from key local associations including the Steel Tube Export Association of South Africa (STEASA) and the Association of Electric Cable Manufacturers of South Africa (AECMSA). International supporters include wire and Tube Düsseldorf, the world’s largest trade shows in these fields, as lead sponsors.

“We are very excited by how this event has taken shape. It promises to be a great opportunity to explore the trade dynamics and market conditions in a region that has traditionally been less well understood. It is a fantastic chance to learn about opportunities to boost trade and investment, and consider the real challenges being faced by the companies that are advancing the African manufacturing sector,” comments Michael Finch, Head of Wire and Cable, CRU.

Companies confirmed to speak include the South African Department of Trade and Investment, and the Nigerian Ministry of Mines & Steel Development. Major international companies such as ArcelorMittal, El Sewedy Electric and Aurubis will be sharing their market insights, and local manufacturing leaders such as Aberdare Cables, Alcon Marepha, CBI African Cables, Barnes Tubing Industries, Honingcraft, Hall Longmore and Macsteel Tube & Pipe will discuss their opportunities and challenges in a series of high-level panel discussions.

CRU’s experts will explore the main trends impacting the global copper, aluminium and steel markets, and how they might affect African development across the wire & cable, and tube & pipe industries. The agenda also includes a day of technical showcases, with industry experts exploring the latest global technological advances in manufacturing, and how they can be applied to African operations.

The conference will be complemented by an exhibition of more than 20 leading international metals manufacturing technology service providers, including: SMS Group, AESA, Cable Manufacturing Optimization (PTY), Ltd., Clobbi, Jiangsu Hero Way Rolling Co., Ltd. Macotech, Maysky, OMS, Sikora, Supermac, WPSSP, and Zumbach.

The inaugural CRU Africa Wire, Cable & Tube Conference will be held at the Emperors Palace, Johannesburg, South Africa.

EDITED BY: CREAMER MEDIA REPORTER

Original article available at http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/industry-leaders-convene-to-focus-on-trade-and-productivity-across-africa-at-the-cru-africa-wire-cable-tube-conference-2019-2019-10-01/rep_id:4136

Artisan 4.0 and it’s impact on Industry 4.0

The spotlight has been firmly fixed on The Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 lately as we progress through the fourth industrial revolution. As our knowledge and technology increase and improves, it will affect everything in business, from manufacturing and logistics to product design and marketing.

The development of this trend is focused on automation and includes robotic applications. This will eventually lead to a situation where humans are left to handle only the highly skilled jobs of programming the system at large, while machines take care of the repetitive, often hard labour.

Artisinal Craftsmanship needs to catch up with Industrial advances – and this opportunity exists currently – there has been a collaboration between Artisans and Technology and this is referred to as Industry 5.0.

The current level of technological advancement has not yet removed the need for human senses and the reasoning skills of the brain behind them, and yet there is no way for humans to work with the precision of a robot. Robots also do not get tired. In order to leverage our strengths against our weaknesses, we have found ways to use co-working robots in new environments beyond the manufacturing workspace. Much like the skilled workers of the first industrial revolution, today’s factory workers are seeing tasks once managed by humans given to robots. There is concern among factory workers that the workforce is being replaced by machines, and the tension is palpable.

Companies are aware that traditional manufacturing processes need to be changed and replaced with new skills and requirements such as automation, programming, data and analytics, AI, system integration and software development. This will lead to companies having to develop new operating procedures, which will, in turn, require additional changes.

We are only at the beginning of this daunting yet exciting revolution. Companies will have to upskill and retrain employees, and these people will need to be identified. New talent will need to be attracted, and new ways of working will have to be developed. All this has to take place, while the factory floor remains productive throughout, as companies would need to keep growing.

Industry 4.0 – A Simple Explanation

Some dismiss Industry 4.0 as the latest marketing buzzword, but this has changed the manufacturing industry in the last few years. The shifts that are happening in the manufacturing industry due to Industry 4.0 deserves our attention.

The digitization of the manufacturing process has led to a significant transformation in the way that we produce products. The transformation in the industry is so compelling that it is being called Industry 4.0 to represent the fourth industrial revolution that has occurred in manufacturing. The third industrial revolution was defined by the addition of computers and automation to the manufacturing process, but the fourth revolution takes this a step further with the addition of smart systems using data and AI or machine learning.

 

How will Industry 4.0 affect the future?

The addition of computers and automation to the manufacturing process was quite disruptive as this meant the addition of entirely new technology. With these systems already in place, it will be easier to upgrade systems, instead of having to install entirely new ones. The aim is to have computers connected and communicating with one another to make decisions without human involvement.

A combination of cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things (the extension of internet connectivity into physical devices and everyday objects) and the Internet of Systems make Industry 4.0 possible. This can bring the dream of a smart factory into reality as a result of smart machines constantly learning more as they get access to more and more data. Our factories will become more efficient and less wasteful.

 

How could Industry 4.0 be applied to manufacturing today?

Opportunities can be identified that were not possible before. All connected machines in the network will collect a tremendous amount of data which can be used to inform maintenance, performance and other departments or issues.

Wiring a Plug

A Step by Step Guide to Wiring a Plug:

 

  1. Bare the ends of the three wires inside the electrical cord for about half a centimeter, by cutting away the plastic insulation.

  2. Gently twist the strands of copper wire with your fingers until each strand is tight.

  3. Fold over the twisted strands.

  4. Remove the plug cover by either “snapping” or unscrewing it.

  5. Unscrew the little screws on each of the plug’s pins.

  6. Insert the twisted copper wires into the holes in the pins.

  7. The green and yellow wire must always be inserted into the top pin.

  8. The blue wire is inserted into the left pin (the pin is marked with a blue spot or the letter N).

  9. The brown wire is inserted into the right pin (the pin is marked with a brown spot or the letter L)

  10. Tighten the little screw on each of the plug’s pins.

  11. Make sure the electrical cord is firmly gripped by the arrestor clips.

  12. Replace the cover of the plug.

 

Step 1

Bare the ends of the three wires inside the electrical cord for about half a centimeter, by cutting away the plastic insulation.

 

Step 2

Gently twist the strands of copper wire with your fingers until each strand is tight. Fold over the twisted strands.

 

Step 3

Remove the plug cover by either “snapping” or unscrewing it.

 

Step 4

Unscrew the little screws on each side of the plug’s pins.

 

Step 5

Insert the twisted copper wires into the holes in the pins. The brown wire is inserted into the right pin (the pin is marked with a brown spot or the letter L)

 

Step 6

Tighten the little screw on each of the plug’s pins.

 

Step 7

Make sure the electrical cord is firmly gripped by the arrestor clips. The green and yellow wire must always be inserted into the top pin. The blue wire is inserted into the left pin (the pin is marked with a blue spot or the letter N).

 

Step 8

Replace the cover of the plug.

Original Article available here.

This is how much it will cost to take your home off the grid – and avoid load shedding forever

  • Business Insider approached renewable energy solutions companies to see how much it would cost to go off the grid right now.
  • For a standard four-person family home, using around 25kWh per day, you could expect to pay around R200,000.
  • That will give you a solar system with a lifespan of between 25 and 40 years.

While Eskom has managed to stave off load shedding for a handful of days this week, experts are warning that South Africa will struggle with electricity provision for many more years given a myriad of problems at the utility, including shoddy maintenance.

For those too frustrated to deal with that kind of pain, off-grid home solutions won’t come cheap – but they are no longer entirely beyond the reach of an upper-middle-class family either.

Business Insider South Africa approached various renewable energy solutions companies to see how much it would cost to go off the grid.

Prices vary depending on what your electricity usage is, but for standard four-person family home you could expect to pay around R200,000 – without taking government rebates into account.

 According to Paul Lombard from energy solutions company Regenergy, a fundamental challenge to renewable energy has been the upfront costs. But these days, most companies offer monthly installment plans to allow users to pay off the investment over anything up to 15 or even 25 years.
“Many customers feel that the pride and peace of mind of solar ‘pays for itself’ as soon as the system powers on, and they can remotely monitor and adjust their system on their smart phone app,” said Lombard.

 

These are the key components to move your house over to solar energy:

Solar panels

As a rough guide, a 1 kilowatt (kW) solar array takes up about 8m2 of space on your roof. This can produce about 3-5 kilowatts hours of energy (kWh) per day depending on the angle and direction the panels face. Solar panels are typically installed facing north in South Africa, in order to maximise exposure to the sun’s rays.

You will need to replace today’s panels every 25 to 40 years.

Battery storage

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Key to going off the grid is a battery storage unit. Newer battery types have been able to push the limits to improve storage for longer periods as well as stand up to more recharges before running out of steam, two of the major problems with home installations to date.

“Lithium batteries need replacing every 8 to 10 years, especially in hotter parts of our country. Typical solar deep cycle batteries like lead, calcium or other AGM [absorbed glass mat] batteries only provide 1,500 to 2,500 recharges. These ‘old school’ batteries require replacing every 3 to 5 years,” said Lombard.

Inverter and/or charge controller

Batteries produce output power in direct current (DC) form, which can run at very low voltages but cannot be used to run most modern household appliances. Utility companies and generators produce sine wave alternating current (AC) power, which is used by most commonly available appliances today. Inverters take the DC power supplied by a storage battery bank and convert it to AC power.

You can expect your inverter and/or charge controller to have 10 to 15 years of operation.


We asked 3 companies to give us cost estimates, based on some typical home installations. Here’s how they stacked up.

Business Insider approached a wide array of the many providers of home solar systems in South Africa. Some said they were too busy to deal with vague inquiries, and others never responded.

Those who got back to us offered different types of hardware and services that affected their pricing. In addition, each home is slightly different, and every family have slightly different power requirements, all of which will influence the system they use.

Nonetheless, the three companies that gave us broad-stroke proposals give some idea of the range you can expect to pay to take a home off the grid right now: between R150,000 and R350,000.

Here’s what each of the three companies quoted us.

Regenergy

2 person home using 15kWh/day – R152,000

4 person home using 25kWh/day –  R270,600

5 person home using +35kWh/day – R359, 790

SolarConnect

10kW (29 – 46kWh) average 4 bedroom home  – R215,000

15kW (75kW) 5+ bedroom – R240, 000

Zeroth 

10kW 2-4 bedroom home – R249,669 (excluding Vat)

15kW 5 + bedroom home – R349,669 (excluding Vat)

If you feel that a full off-the-grid solution is too much, there are also other options. Björn Potgieter of SolarConnect, says they can provide a grid back up system using solar electricity for R120,000 of for R49,500 a basic back up that excludes powering stove, geysers, air conditioning.

 

Original Article published on www.buinessinsider.co.za on March 27, 2019.

Eskom: No load shedding anticipated this week

No load shedding is anticipated this week, as there have been improvements in the electricity system, Eskom said.

The power utility issued an update on the power system, on Sunday evening via its Twitter account.

“No load shedding anticipated this week due to the electricity system gradually improving,” Eskom tweeted.

According to a statement from Eskom, the power system is still “vulnerable” and load shedding could still be implemented, but only when “absolutely necessary”.

Eskom stopped implementing load shedding from 23:00 on Saturday evening, for the first time in more than a week, Fin24 reported.

The power utility had introduced Stage 4 load shedding on Saturday, March 16. Apart from plant failures, a contributing factor was the cyclone in Mozambique which affected imports of 900 MW from the country’s Cahora Bassa dam.

But earlier on Sunday, the power utility issued a statement indicating that five units had returned to service since Friday, and imports from Mozambique had increased to 850 MW due to the restoration of one of the power lines. The second line could take several months to restore, Eskom said.

“Employees continue to work around the clock to restore stability to operations and supply,” Eskom said.

At a briefing on the electricity crisis, earlier this week CEO Phakamani Hadebe said Eskom has set aside R50bn over the next five years for maintenance as ageing infrastructure is unable to keep up with electricity demand.

There had been a decline in spending on maintenance in the last few years and the previous administration at Eskom had pushed the power system hard to keep the lights on, he explained.

The government recently appointed 11 industry specialists to a technical review team. The team is conducting a review of Eskom’s operations, technical environment and maintenance to get to the bottom of plant failures, which have caused the recent bout of load shedding.

 

Original article first appeared on Fin24 on March 24, 2019.

Why Do Family Businesses Succeed In Difficult Times?

Despite the current economic uncertainty and the accelerating pace of change, South Africa’s family business sector has high ambitions for quick and aggressive growth over the next five years. At a time when other businesses are struggling to create revenue, around 78% of South African family businesses reported growth in the last 12 months, and 62% are expecting to grow steadily over the next five years.

So what is it that makes family business so resilient and successful in difficult times ?
According to Entrepreneur Magazine there are 4 forces that drive this success:

1. Family Unity

Unified families have a much easier time adapting to change and typically put family and business interests ahead of their own self interests.

2. More Than Just Money

Successful families are committed to a set of values beyond just financial gain.
Establishing a core set of values gives family members a sense of purpose and the opportunity to commit to something greater than themselves.

3. A Unified Vision

Successful families

• Align strategy with the values and vision of family ownership
• Strategically plan for the business on a regular basis
• Build an independent board to provide accountability

4. Preparing The Next Generation

Investing in the next generation is a must. Successful multigenerational families invest in the next generations by:

• Helping them match skill/passion to work (regardless of whether or not that work is in- or outside the business)
• Preparing them to be responsible owners
• Holding those working for the business accountable for their performance
• Educating them about the challenges of leadership

Below I have attached a survey done by the PWC on family business in South Africa and abroad which will give you greater insight into the dynamics and challenges faced by family businesses.

https://www.pwc.co.za/…/publica…/family-business-survey.html

Apex Cordset Technologies Pty (Ltd) is a family business that was founded in 1986 and employs over 700 people. We believe that our stakeholders are all part of our extended family which has been the cornerstone of our survival and success over the years. Thank you for being a part of our family.

Lean Six Sigma

 

Lean Six Sigma is a structured methodology and flexible managerial concept combining Lean and Six Sigma. It is a concept that requires a collaborative effort from the entire company to improve business process performance and reduce waste and variation delighting customers with improved quality and a consistent flow. This approach reduces costs and drives performance to a new level by making breakthrough improvements.

The methodology also provides a framework for the overall organisational change of a company. Lean Six Sigma reduces costs for the supplier and the customer eliminating rework across the whole value chain, by streamlining manufacturing as well as service processes – this is done by eliminating waste and defects whilst delivering value to customers.

Six Sigma is simply a structured method of solving a problem with reducing variation, improving stability and re-engineering measurement systems. You are able to reduce the number of defective products manufactured or services provided which will result in increased revenue and greater customer satisfaction. The methodology is based on the concept that process variation can be reduced using statistical tools.

Six Sigma uses a 5-phase methodology to fix problems:

  1. Define – Define the problem and identify the defect
  2. Measure – Quantify the defect.
  3. Analyse – Identify the Root causes of the defect.
  4. Improve – Implement and verify the solution
  5. Control – Maintain the solution

In the 1980’s, consultants trained in both techniques, started to realise the synergy between Lean and Six Sigma and began to push for a combination of the two, and thus, Lean Six Sigma (LSS) was born.

The goal of Lean Six Sigma is to eliminate the following eight kinds of waste:

  1. Defects driving rework
  2. Over-Production
  3. Waiting – down time or idle time, as well as time spent waiting for the production of a product
  4. Non-Utilized Talent – a person who does not have the skills for the position but is placed in the position to try and complete the work
  5. Transportation – time spent waiting for the product to be shipped to its destination
  6. Inventory
  7. Motion
  8. Extra-Processing

Lean Six Sigma seeks to improve the quality of process outputs, or finished product, by identifying and removing the causes of these errors and by standardising the manufacturing and/or business processes.

Lean Six Sigma can be used by small, medium and large businesses very successfully. The methodology has a far-reaching effect within the company as it not only increases revenue and reduces costs, but also positively engages your work force in improving the way they work. This also gives employees a sense that they are all directly improving the business, leader to greater satisfaction among staff members.

The roles in Lean Six Sigma is as follows:

  1. White Belt – Understand the structure and goals of Lean Six Sigma, use basic vocabulary terms, reports process issues to green and black belts- Applies Process Controls.
  2. Yellow Belt – Understands basic Lean Six Sigma Concepts, reports process issues to green and black belts, participates on project teams and receives just-in-time training. Makes use of qualitative assessments in root cause.
  3. Green Belt – Starts and manages Lean Six Sigma Projects, has Lean Six Sigma expertise but to a lesser degree than black belts, provides just-in-time training to others. Makes use of qualitative assessments and quantitative assessment in root cause.
  4. Black Belt – Can report to a Master Black Belt, coaches, has advanced Six Sigma expertise, functions as a coach, mentor, teacher and project leader for project teams. Applies advanced data analysis in determining root cause.
  5. Master Black Belts – Works with leaders to identify gaps and select projects, coaches, mentors, teaches, monitors and leads projects. Responsible for Lean Six Sigma Implementation and culture change.
  6. Champion – Executive leader, helps select projects and remove barriers for project teams, support change and develop the Lean Six Sigma culture

 

Lean Six Sigma not only reduces your costs and increases your revenue, but it positively affects your work force by challenging the whole team to a new level of thinking that drives breakthrough improvement in the company on a day-to-day basis.