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Durban branch
December 2009, SAIMC

Chairman’s message

2009 has been another very successful year for the SAIMC Durban branch. We have managed to grow our membership even in this recessionary environment, giving credence to those famous words of Charles Dickens: ‘It was the best of times and the worst of times’.

Durban branch chairman, Vinesh Maharaj, thanking SAIMC chairman, Johan van Jaarsveld for attending the Durban branch annual function. The theme for the evening was ‘Hits of the ‘60s’ which went down a treat and it was fun to see just how many people were singing along
Durban branch chairman, Vinesh Maharaj, thanking SAIMC chairman, Johan van Jaarsveld for attending the Durban branch annual function. The theme for the evening was ‘Hits of the ‘60s’ which went down a treat and it was fun to see just how many people were singing along

Branch activities included monthly technology talks at the University of KwaZulu-Natal on the first Wednesday of each month with topics like earthing, alarm management and robotics being covered. Attendance at these meetings was good with a record high of 45 people attending the robotics talk! SMS technology is now being employed to remind our busy members of these events.

In addition, site visits to the new Durban Harbour control tower, the Sezela sugar mill and the Umgeni Wiggins waterworks were undertaken. Upcoming events for next year include a visit to the PetroNet control room in Durban central.

One of the aims of the SAIMC is to provide linkages between industry and tertiary institutions. In implementing this we arranged a well attended visit by UKZN control engineering students to Eston sugar mill where they were exposed to some heavy industry. Furthermore, with the assistance of the national council, we have set up a communication channel between Prof. Ed Boje and the IIG to assist him in implementing some innovative ideas to maintain and improve the quality of training for students. The IIG is a group of C&I business leaders who have access to the resources that the tertiary institutions desperately need. Once the system has been piloted with Prof. Ed Boje, it will be rolled out to DUT with Carl Reineke and then country-wide.

One of the exciting developments this year was the re-establishment of the Richards Bay sub-branch. Peter Molokoane, approached us at the Durban AGM in February and with some networking and campaigning, we managed to have an inaugural meeting in May and by July we had gathered sufficient support to create a committee, now chaired by the highly enthusiastic Donald Pittendrigh. The RB sub-branch has its meetings on the last Wednesday of each month. The talk for November was on financial management by an expert from Old Mutual – a welcome departure from the normal technical themes.

Tour of Wiggins Waterworks

The visit was arranged by Sean Bouverie who is in charge of instrumentation and control at the Wiggins Waterworks. Sean, along with his two instrumentation technicians, also conducted us on the tour where we were informed about the water treatment process, the use of analytical instrumentation, the various sources of raw water and the role of the Wiggins Waterworks in the KZN region. Raw water is gravitated from Inanda Dam and during periods of peak demand is also pumped from Nagel Dam. At the Wiggins Waterworks the raw water is treated to potable before being supplied to the EThekwini Municipality.

After the site walk the group was taken to the control room which houses a scada system that communicates with the various PLCs distributed throughput the plant; the visit was then concluded with a discussion of the challenges faced by Umgeni Water going forward. The SAIMC committee would like to thank Sean Bouverie and Umgeni Water management for facilitating this interesting tour.

Schneider sponsors TEKmation Training

Schneider Electric has come out in support of an initiative undertaken by TEKmation to provide P1 and P2 training to students at its Jacobs campus in Durban. The PLCs and equipment donated by Schneider will be installed on campus and used to supplement the students’ theoretical tutoring with practical experience. The initiative is being undertaken in partnership with DUT and industry as part of an effort to grow the local process automation skills base.

[L to R]: Anoop Haripersad – Schneider Electric, Pierre Bonnet – DUT, Dave Govender – TEKmation Training, Jay Soobramoney DUT, Jason Ullbricht – Schneider Electric, Vinesh Maharaj – Cube Technologies, Geoff Gregson – Schneider Electric
[L to R]: Anoop Haripersad – Schneider Electric, Pierre Bonnet – DUT, Dave Govender – TEKmation Training, Jay Soobramoney DUT, Jason Ullbricht – Schneider Electric, Vinesh Maharaj – Cube Technologies, Geoff Gregson – Schneider Electric

Richards Bay

Thunis Kruger, development director at DesSoft gave an interesting presentation in both Durban and Richards Bay on the necessity of plant documentation (company standards, reducing plant downtime, etc,) as well as maintaining plant documents (redlining, ownership). Thunis explained how software, locally developed within the company, simplifies the process of getting from P&ID data into electrical and instrumentation systems making it an integrated solution.

Notice of branch monthly meeting

Wednesday 2 December 2009

Venue: University of Kwazulu-Natal

Howard College Campus

Room G-01, Faculty of Electrical Engineering

17:30 for 18:15

This month’s topic is: The influence of the use of Foundation Fieldbus with regard to engineering, installation and operational aspects. A case study.

Fieldbus technology has been around for enough time to get the title 'mature', yet the adoption of these technologies is still low in comparison to the conventional methods.  Contributing to the high levels of scepticism is the lack of clarity from a user perspective of the implications of using this technology.  This presentation will hopefully address any concerns that other end-users might have.

Paul Sikhakhane left high school at the age of 15. After completing a Diploma in Chemical Engineering with Natal Technikon and working for Tongaat Hulett, he returned to campus and completed his B-Tech Chemical Engineering with DUT in 2003.  It was during the process control lectures that he made the decision to focus on automation and this grew to include studies in Software Development and Technology Leadership with TUT. He worked as a process engineer for Unilever for a short period before starting a career in automation with Tongaat Hulett where he is currently an automation engineer. Paul’s journey still continues towards ISA’s CAP (Certified Automation Professional). He currently holds membership of both the SAIMC and ISA.

The committee encourages members and interested parties to attend this meeting.

Snacks and drinks will be provided.

If you need more information, please call Vinesh Maharaj on +27 (0)83 792 6518 or e-mail

Vinesh Maharaj, chairman

Supplied By: SAIMC
Tel: 086 107 2462
Fax: 086 651 5238
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