Issue 127 July - August 2018

Please note: The issue content below is just a summary of the articles in the printed magazine.
The articles are not available on-line. Please refer to the printed magazine for the complete article.
New future-ready air circuit breaker from Schneider Electric

As buildings, grids and cities get smarter, the way we distribute power is changing and this change is driven by smarter connected electrical devices. The real-time data now available from these devices is proving vital for better monitoring, fault diagnosis and the improvement of power uptime.

This greater connectivity and the productivity and safety advances it brings, is driving the design of a new generation of electrical products. With the launch of the new Masterpact MTZ, the connected Internet-of-Things approach has now embraced air circuit breakers to make them future ready.

Gone are the days of approaching an air circuit breaker with apprehension, says Schneider Electric’s product manager, Simon Grose.

“The new smart-phone-controllable Masterpact MTZ from Schneider Electric is the most user-friendly air circuit breaker we have produced and brings power switching into the digital age.”

With a Class 1 active energy meter built in, the Masterpact MTZ also enables energy-savings and greater plant-wide efficiency, says Grose.

“For the first time you can measure power use accurately, while using the breaker to connect your electrical switchboard to any building and energy management system. And for immediate visibility, you can now use your smart phone as the main HMI to monitor all events in an intuitive way. This means that with correct permissions you can control the breaker by phone and switch the MTZ back on at a safe distance.”

Changes to Wiring Rules citation

The publishing of the 2018 edition of AS/NZS 3000 in late June has brought the years of delay in updating the standard to an end, and now a decision on its implementation or otherwise can be addressed.

Despite the efforts of the EL-001 standards committee responsible for the new version, the revised document confirms a failure in the Standards Australia approach which was designed to provide a full rewrite of the standard, but lapsed into little more than 200 editorial improvements and the addition of support information to the 2007 edition.

New Zealand’s expectations of having the safety risks posed by new technologies and changing risks in the electrical infrastructure were not carried through into the new edition as expected by the electrical regulator, and very few changes were made that advanced public safety.

Energy Safety signalled its reluctance to recognise the new standard earlier in the year, opting instead to wait for Standards Australia to publish an amendment to AS/NZS 3000 that would address the safety issues required by New Zealand. (See ElectroLink, January issue, page 8, ‘New Wiring Rules create citing issues’).

But with Standards Australia yet to schedule the promised amendment as a project, and double the detail changes having already been indicated for the amendment before the new technology risks are even considered, it could be an unacceptably long time for the necessary improvements to arise. This could add years to delays in upskilling the electrical installation sector and frustrate the training of new apprentices.

Price pressures challenge electrical contractors

Challenges to the future of electrical contracting are emerging at both ends of the construction sector with Australian electrical contractors gaining large construction projects in New Zealand, and the Government’s KiwiBuild programme turning to the offsite manufacturing of prefabricated houses to cut homebuilding costs at the bottom end of the market.

In Auckland, a recent win for the Australian electrical industry was the awarding of the electrical subcontract to a Melbourne electrical contractor for the $300 million Pacifica project.

Now under construction in the downtown CBD, the Pacifica will be New Zealand’s tallest apartment tower. While there are many Auckland electrical contractors well able to deliver the electrical project, concerns have been raised over the unlevel playing field that appears to have emerged with lower Australian prices for electrical fittings providing an unfair advantage for Australian contractors.

Auckland Ecanz President, Victor Wisniewski, says in projects like this the Australian contractors are likely to bring two or three key project managers to New Zealand to run the project and employ local electrical labour for the rest.

“With labour costs virtually the same, the winning advantage comes in the cost of materials and indications are that the Pacifica electrical contractor will be sourcing most of the gear from Australia where the same or similar products sold on both sides of the Tasman appear to be priced cheaper there than they are here.”

Solving water pumping problems with the new ACQ580

The type of problems that occur pumping water or wastewater have been with us for many years, but today many are either preventable or solvable with new variable speed drive technology.

The latest generation of VSDs are turning drives into performance-improving and productivity-enhancing devices that can deliver a level of on-board control that makes engineering the movement of water more manageable than ever before.

ABB’s launch of the new ACQ580 is a leading example of how advanced drive engineering can change the way water pumps are managed, says the company’s water drives manager, Jonathan Aarons.

“The ACQ580 drive has all the reliability and performance of previous generation ABB VSDs, but we’ve enhanced its performance with pump-specific functionality built into the firmware to make set-up and control of pumping systems simple and easy to manage.”

Designed to be used in water and wastewater treatment plants, pumping stations, industrial wastewater facilities and irrigation systems, Aarons says the ACQ580 solves real world problems.

“This can provide reduced energy consumption, reduced maintenance, reduced downtime, reduced leakage, reduced overflows – and increased reliability and performance for the plant.”

More trends at Light & Building 2018 – connected lighting

Some of us remember a time before the TV remote. If you wanted to turn the TV on you walked over to the set and pushed a button. If you wanted to change the channel – same thing. If the exhibitors at Light & Building are correct, soon it will be just as old-fashioned to walk over to a wall switch to turn your lights on.

This year’s Light & Building (L&B) exhibition in Frankfurt, Germany, was attended by lighting exponents from New Zealand, including Ali McGraw who files this second report.

In the May issue she looked at the top trends in luminaire design and in this issue she covers new developments in connected lighting that were on show. It seems that in the absence of any great breakthrough in LED technology, controls are the new frontier.