Issue 95 March - April 2013

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.
Apprentice hosts gain more from etco

Early signs of recovery in the economy have tipped in favour of growth and the industry’s largest employer of apprentices has now invested in more apprentices to help electrical companies take advantage of better times ahead.

Head of etco, Peter Rushworth, says the Electrical Training Company is taking on new apprentices in significantly greater numbers than it has for the last few years and this opens up opportunities for electrical contractors and other companies to gain a bigger share of the growth as it arrives.

Big changes for inspectors

It is now six months since the 2012 Amendment regulations were introduced and only three months away from when they take affect and bring about the biggest shake-up to certification since self-certification was introduced in 1992.

Much of the focus of discussion has been around the new Electrical Safety Certificates (ESCs) which have to be issued following the completion of all low-risk maintenance work and after installation work is connected.

What will the legacy of the Mainzeal collapse be for subcontractors?

Out of the ashes of the Hartner Construction collapse in 2001 rose the 2002 Construction Contracts Act, which aimed to give subcontractors a degree of security around payments.

Just over 10 years later, it seems nothing much has really changed, with subcontractors again bearing the brunt of another major construction company failure. No doubt the blame and recriminations surrounding Mainzeal’s management performance leading up to the collapse of New Zealand’s third largest construction company will continue for months to come, but if any good is to come from such a tragedy this time, then the industry needs to focus on the clearly unresolved issues surrounding subcontractors payments. A strong message needs to be sent to politicians that there needs to be further change.

Surge protection – a visible cure for invisible threat

Surges or overvoltage can wreak havoc on industrial electrical process equipment and, as a rule, the more sensitive the equipment the more likely it is to be damaged. But damage to equipment and the resulting cost of repairs might not be the biggest cost. Production downtime can cost a company thousands of dollars a minute.

Preventing such losses is all about understanding the cause of many of these failures and when it comes to overvoltage the effects might not be obvious unless the surge is a big one. Often a surge (or even several) does not always damage a piece of equipment. However, long term exposure to overvoltage eventually causes component failures. In such cases the failures tend to go unexplained or are attributed to ‘fair wear and tear’ because there seems to be no other reason. It may also be too difficult or time-consuming to find the cause of the fault to explain it.

Switch Lighting launches new LEDs

When two Nelson-based engineers first set out to bring a range of high quality, long life, compliant domestic LED lighting products to market they were surprised to find there was little on offer with the quality and lighting performance they could build a business on.

Unwilling to settle for anything less than highly energy efficient and well-engineered LED solutions, the directors of Switch Lighting decided to design and manufacture their own LED lighting products from the ground up and now offer a range of LEDs for domestic applications.

Flat lamp progress

A new means of illumination should be commercially available later this year according to its developer Dr David Carroll at US Wake Forest University. Similar to organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) and light emitting capacitors (LECs), the new flat-panel source is being touted by Dr Carroll as a replacement for fluorescents, LECs and OLEDs, which could dismay manufacturers who have sunk millions into developing OLED technology.

The new light source is a flexible panel that emits light using field-induced polymer electroluminescence – fipel for short.