Issue 135 November - December 2019

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.
Re-Load Quick Change – a ‘hole’ lot better

While working on a construction job at a cheese factory and struggling to cut a hole with his conventional hole saw, electrician Kym Keightley thought there had to be a better way.

Tired of hole saws breaking teeth and the arbor jamming, Keightley says an idea came to him as to how he could make a better arbor system.

That was ten years ago and Keightley now runs a thriving business churning out Re-Load hole saws designed for electricians.

He says the patented Re-Load direct drive system is a world first in quick-change arbors and delivers maximum strength on any job.

Key to its success is its unique quad-drive shaft system that also enables rapid snap-fit saw changes while ensuring extra stability when drilling. The dual inner shafts are designed to latch the saw while two toughened outer shafts drive it.

“This enables maximum torque to be applied for cutting, without having any tightening effect on the hole saw thread which stops the jamming that occurs on lesser performing systems that drive on the thread.”

New rules for electric vehicle charging

Further changes to WorkSafe’s safety guidelines for electric vehicle charging have now been published and confirm the acceptability of alternatives to the RCD protection previously prescribed.

In the July issue of ElectroLink (page 4) the principal technical advisor for WorkSafe’s Energy Safety unit, Peter Morfee, advised the electrical industry that the regulator had accepted the use of an alternative to a type B RCD to provide protection on an EV charging installation.

This decision followed quickly on the heels of the second edition of the Electric Vehicle Charging Safety Guidelines published by WorkSafe in May 2019.

Wait for standards continues

The citation of updated electrical standards might be inching closer than it was 12 months ago when the ministry responsible for amending the Electricity Regulations confirmed a growing backlog of new standard editions that remained unavailable for use.

In response to formal enquiries by ElectroLink, MBIE advised last October there were 21 standards or part standards cited in Schedule 2 of the Regulations and 130 standards or part standards cited in Schedule 4 that have been updated with either new or amended versions since the amendment to the schedules in 2013. (See November 2018 issue, page 24, ‘Standards drift continues’)

In the absence of any regulation amendment to cite them and now a year on, ElectroLink has followed up on this enquiry and sought an update from MBIE on the number of electrical standards currently awaiting citation and confirmation that work was being done to make these standards available to the industry to use.

MBIE has confirmed that there are now 36 standards or part standards cited in Schedule 2 and 267 standards or part standards cited in Schedule 4 of the Regulations that have been updated with either new or amended versions since the last amendment to the Electricity Regulations was made.

Apprentice training changes

After every boom and bust cycle in the construction industry, having enough electrical apprentices on hand to take advantage of the eventual upswing in new building has always been a challenge. But it is one that was largely solved 28 years ago when a new way of employing apprentices was trialled that took a lot of risk out of employing trainees when times were uncertain.

Not only did it help maintain the continuity of training, it also enabled employers to hand back apprentices if they couldn’t maintain enough work for them and allow them to be hosted by other employers with little disruption to the completion of apprenticeships.

It was a market solution that succeeded for employers by pooling the risk while gaining the benefits and it has succeeded for the apprentices who frequently gained experience in more varied work along the way.

Group apprenticeship schemes are now an established industry model with none more successful than the Master-Electricians-owned, Electrical Training Company (Etco) which employs around 720 apprentices and provides night class and block course training for another 1,200 apprentices employed by other firms in the electrical contracting sector.

But following confirmation by the Government in August this year of its intention to restructure vocational training, doubt was cast on the future of group apprentice schemes. The initial announcement made no reference to them and when subsequent papers were released which acknowledged their role, concerns as to their future viability were raised by group training providers.

Hazardous areas becoming more hazardous

On the pathway to ensuring people and property are safe in explosive atmospheres, the government continues to ensure hazardous area standards are updated. But while the government maintains these standards and an illusion of progress, it continues to fail to complete the pathway by citing the updated versions in the appropriate regulations and ensuring people using them are competent to do so.

Electrical inspector and long-serving hazardous area standards committee member, Garry House, says the problems are getting worse and many businesses with occupied areas zoned as hazardous are either facing serious risks from incorrect zoning or unnecessary costs from over-conservative classifications.

House says the problem with the failure to establish competencies and recognise them is that people working in the field have no benchmarks to guide them and no measure to assess whether they have sufficient competence to carry out the work they are doing.

He says the standards committee currently reviewing AS/NZS 60079.10.1 has become so concerned with the incorrect application of the standard that it has removed the illustrated examples of typical hazardous area classifications from the annex to the standard and placed them in a supplement.

“We have had to do this because people with insufficient competence were using the informative pictures as a shortcut to determine a zone rather than using the methodologies and modelling calculations laid out in the standard and factoring in local conditions.

Good lighting for older people

As we get older our sight changes. If you’re over a certain age you might find yourself starting to take small print over to the window so you can read it more easily. Why is that?

Even the most robust sixty-year-old will have lost some of their visual ability due to the natural ageing of the eye. The lens of the eye changes shape and thickens as we get older and this lets less light into the retina. It also causes light to scatter inside the eye which means that any glare from poorly-designed lighting will cause more visual disability than it might for a younger person. The lens of the eye may yellow with age, changing our perception of colour and admitting less blue light, potentially affecting our sleep-wake cycle.

Some visual acuity may be lost so that when an older person is carrying out a task involving fine detail, they will need more light than they used to. In fact, an otherwise healthy person of sixty will need as much as three times the light level of a person of twenty in order to comfortably carry out the same task.

So that’s why, as we age, we start taking something we have to read over to the window – we need more light. If the lighting in an older person’s home is not as good as it should be, imagine how difficult it is for them to read the paper, find a dropped hearing aid battery, or safely clean up a broken glass.

IP ratings: can we rely on them?

Water ingress has long been a problem for outdoor electrical fittings and to help manufacturers address the level of sealing effectiveness of their electrical enclosures, the industry has standardised on a rating system known as IP.

Professional luminaire IP testing and certification should be carried out in a dedicated facility to comply with the IP Code (IEC 60529). The subsequent IP rating confirms the luminaire’s degree of protection against ingress by solid objects (the first digit of the rating) and liquids (the second digit). This rating determines the luminaire’s suitability for use in different areas and applications.

Inadequate ingress protection can cause a loss of light output if dust, dead insects, condensation or algae is clouding the inside of the diffuser. Luminaires can fail completely if dust causes overheating, or more commonly if water gets into the electrical components. This is costly to the industry as a whole because someone always has to bear the cost of a contractor callback and replacement luminaires.

There is also a potential safety consideration – luminaires into which a child could poke a metal object, or luminaires that could collect water inside them, are not safe or fit for purpose when installed in an unsuitable location.

IES Awards 2019

The IES went looking for excellence in New Zealand lighting design in October and found it outdoors with two projects illuminating time and travel receiving coveted Excellence Awards.

Laurie Cook of Beca achieved excellence in his lighting of the Southern Ventilation Stack on Auckland’s Waterview Tunnel and Kevin Cawley achieved excellence for lighting the Lyttleton Timeball Station.

IESANZ vice president and New Zealand chapter president, Greg Williams, says the awarding of excellence for these two projects was wholeheartedly deserved and he welcomed the number of entries submitted that were of a high standard.

The awards were presented at a gala dinner held at Eden Park where six other projects earned commendations for their designers and additional awards were made for Dark Sky designs, Energy Efficiency and service to the IES.

Williams says the night was a “raving success” and showcased lighting projects as exemplars of lighting design skills and illustrate how quality design can be achieved.