Issue 147 January - February 2022

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.
Longer lasting network protection

Testing the performance of heat shrink polymers in a test lab is everyday work for TE Connectivity as it continues to ensure its world-leading Raychem products protect the most vulnerable parts of distribution and transmission electrical networks.

The final proof of this performance is now being verified in the field as networks throughout the world are being examined after decades of service life. The joints and terminations protected by TE Connectivity’s Raychem heat shrink products are found to be performing reliably and ensuring continuity of electricity supply.

TE’s senior director of product management for its Raychem cable accessories, Germany-based Dr Frank Drumm, PhD, says the elastomeric properties of their early products have performed so well that many utility companies have confidently extended the life of their networks.

“Hazard management is being carried out by utilities today to examine how effective their joints are in the field,” says Dr Drumm. “Our Raychem multilayer thermoplastic and elastomeric products have been in service for over 40 years. The feedback confirms that they continue to perform reliably and the joints and terminations do not have to be replaced.”

In 1999, TE Connectivity acquired Raychem, the inventor of the first heat shrink products in the world. TE has since continued to develop unique cross-linked thermoplastic polymers for low, medium and high voltage applications to ensure that wherever a conductor ends, its electrical performance continues.

EWRB calls for more powers and regulation change

To ensure electrical law is serving its purpose and working well, Parliament requires the EWRB to review specified parts of it as often as it wants but at least every five years.

Under Section 158 of the Electricity Act, only the Board is tasked with this duty. The electrical regulator (WorkSafe) and the administrator of the electricity legislation (MBIE) are bypassed so that the Minister can hear first-hand from the licensing and disciplinary Board how the industry and the people working in it are dealing with the law and if it needs to be changed.

The EWRB has released its latest review following consultations with “key industry organisations” and identified changes it wants, such as increased powers to compel electrical workers to submit to “random or targeted audits”.

Some of the Board’s changes relate to the Board’s operation and powers, while others focus on worker competence and morality.

To address the latter the Board wants the Electricity Act to be amended to provide for a Code of Ethics to control the conduct of electrical workers to assure “consumer confidence”. There is currently no requirement under the Act for licensed persons to fund EWRB measures intended to make consumers feel more confident and the Board wants Parliament to correct this politically.

The Board is also calling for “an expansion of expansion of the ‘fit and proper’ registration and licensing provisions to allow the Board to review an electrical worker’s fit and proper status at any time.”

Design competency

Engineer David Glass comments on changes needed to recognise competency in electrical design

The EWRB’s review of competencies could have a huge effect on our industry, but it looks as if the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE) will continue to starve actual change that could foster innovation and growth, though the industry can hardly point a finger at Wellington.

In this article, I want to use my knowledge of the building design industry to propose bigger change; to competencies, to MBIE, to the EWRB, and to our industry. I want to glance at some reasons why design and design competency should be included in the Electricity Regulations 2010 and I also want to provide a picture of the profession for wider discussion.

My design career has been limited to Part 2 of AS/NZS 3000 and its referenced standards. I have mostly worked as a freelance engineer, correcting and reviewing designs for engineers in large consultancies. And, in a previous life, I was a commercial electrician, so I have addressed design matters as both an electrician and electrical engineer registered with the EWRB and as a degree-qualified engineer.

Smarter condition monitoring

We live in a world of ever-increasing competition. In order to remain competitive, we must improve our productivity, that is do more with less, and extract the maximum out of the resources we have. Competitive pressures are intense and are only set to increase in the years to come, as markets become ever more global. Producers, such as manufacturers, that don’t lift their game run the risk of becoming uncompetitive and losing market share.

What can be done?

While few would argue about the need for us to do things better, the question really comes down to how we can achieve this. There are many aspects to lifting productivity. Some factors, such as the cost of inputs, are more difficult to control. Internal processes on the other hand, are directly under our control, and therefore present us with opportunities to improve what we do.

One area that is currently being closely looked at is the servicing and maintenance of plant equipment, such as the machines involved in production.

Wireless networking within industry

The advantages of wireless networking are apparent to most of us – the sheer convenience of not being tethered to a fixed point by bulky cables, having the freedom to move networked nodes around as required, to name a few. This has led to many home and office environments preferring wireless connections over cable-based technologies.

A multitude of wireless technologies exist, including Wifi, Bluetooth, Zigbee and cellular. Each can provide reliable connections at similar speeds to wired links and can do so securely via various encryption systems.

Yet wireless networking is seldom used within industry, relative to the number of wired connections. The only real exceptions are radio telemetry systems and the WirelessHART (Highway Addressable Remote Transducer) protocol, the latter being used exclusively in the process industry. In both cases, wireless links are used to gather data from RTUs or sensing devices that are scattered over a vast area, making hard wiring impractical.

However, when connecting nodes within an industrial premise, wired connections are still preferred over wireless. Production facilities, particularly those with discrete control systems (i.e. PLCs and alike), are reticent to adopt wireless technologies. But why is this so, especially given the advantages of wireless communications.

Changes to the large building lighting energy standard

How we calculate energy use in buildings is now being upgraded to accommodate adaptive lighting. Bryan King, the chair of the Standards NZ committee for the energy performance of lighting in buildings, comments.

A new Standards New Zealand project is currently underway to provide standardised metrics and estimation and measurement methods for systemic lighting energy for non-residential buildings. A recent joint standard from the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) and the International Commission on Illumination (CIE) is being adapted as a modified New Zealand standard to achieve this.

The energy performance methods used in the standard ISO/CIE 20086:2019 Light and lighting — Energy performance of lighting in buildings are well proven and have been used in European Union (EN) and British (BSI) lighting standards for over a decade and a half.

The existing New Zealand standard for lighting energy in non-residential buildings is NZS 4243.2:2007 Energy Efficiency – Large Buildings – Part 2: Lighting. This standard provides the technical basis for our Energy Efficiency (Energy Using Products) Regulations 2002, and the provisions of the NZ Building Code Clause H1 Energy efficiency for non-residential buildings (floor area over 300m²).

What a lighting designer would like you to know

To get the best results from any lighting budget, designers need answers to key questions. Lighting designer, Roger Golding, explains why.

A Lighting design using computer aided software, like AGI or Dialux is something nearly every electrician will come across or find themselves requesting at some point in their career. Lighting design requests are driven mainly by two factors, that of finding a suitable lighting solution or trying to reach a level of compliance.

Here is what most electricians bring to the lighting designer:

  • I have a warehouse, it’s about 20 metres by 10 metres, so what lights should I install?

And here is the minimum list of questions the lighting designer would have for you:

  • Height and type of the ceiling?
  • Do you know what lighting level the client is looking for?
  • Do you have a PDF plan, or can you scribble me a picture of the layout?
  • Budget?

And here is a list of questions the lighting designer would wish to have from you:

  • Do you have an architectural drawing file of the layout with elevations?
  • Interior layout, if it is a warehouse is there racking, if it’s an office where are the desks positioned?
  • Do you know the purpose of each room and if the client has any special requirements, like inspection areas, dangerous machinery, areas where people are doing fine tasks, or they operate on a 24-hour basis?
  • How is the ceiling constructed, can we use recessed or surface mount lights, is there a ceiling grid and in which direction? Are there skylights or beams that may impede placement?
  • What are the final finishes of the floors, the walls, and the ceiling, both in materials and colour?