Durban branch held its June technology meeting at the Durban Country Club on Wednesday 5th June. It was another well-attended meeting with over 45 people in attendance.
Prinesh Mari, who is a senior electrical engineer at Proconics, gave a presentation in which he examined the underlying causes of major disasters at two hydrocarbon storage facilities.
He opened by showing a CSB Safety Video on the 2009 massive explosion at the Caribbean Petroleum, or CAPECO, terminal facility near San Juan, Puerto Rico. The incident occurred when gasoline overflowed and sprayed out from a large aboveground storage tank, forming a 107-acre vapour cloud that ignited, fortunately with no loss of life. He then compared that event with one that occurred in December 2005 at Buncefield depot in England, which had even more severe consequences.
What went wrong, and methods of how to avoid this type of calamity were discussed in detail with specific reference to:
• The application of API STANDARD 2350-2012 – Overfill Protection for Storage Tanks in Petroleum Facilities
• IEC 61511 Functional Safety – Safety instrumented systems for the process industry sector for the design and operation improvements of tank overfill protection strategies.
In the case of both disasters there were proven deficiencies in several aspects of managing, maintaining and operating those hazardous plants, which could
have been avoided if there had been adherence to good practice and relevant available standards. Prinesh dealt with those in some detail, and demonstrated their importance from the design phase throughout the lifetime of a plant.
After chairman Hennie thanked Prinesh for his interesting and relevant presentation and thanked Proconics for kindly sponsoring the meeting, everyone adjourned to enjoy some networking over good food and drinks.
Robotics takes KZN high school by storm
The Durban branch of the SAIMC has donated a First Tech Challenge starter kit to Hillcrest High School and this has caused a stir of excitement in the halls of the school and resulted in robotics being placed on the extramural curriculum. The SAIMC has pledged an amount of R20 000 initially. The project is also being supported by the local Rotary Club of Hillcrest.
The FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) is designed for students in grades 7–12, who compete by designing, building and programming a robot to compete in an alliance format against other teams. The robot kit is programmed using Java, the MIT App Inventor or other Android programming systems. Teams under the guidance of coaches, mentors and volunteers are required to develop strategy and build robots based on innovative and sound engineering principles, and awards are given for the competition as well as for community outreach, design and other real world accomplishments.
Johannes de Vries, who fits his passion for robotics and FTC in between his day job at the Electrical Engineering Department of the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), is the chief co-ordinator of FTC in South Africa. He drives all the sponsorships and the funding, marketing and logistics of getting the teams of children together for the competitions. His passion and commitment was evident at a meeting held in May at Hillcrest High School with staff and interested students, where he demonstrated a working robot kindly lent to him by Waterkloof High School in Pretoria. Members from the Hillcrest Rotary Club were also present and they will help spread the word to other schools in the area.
The SAIMC is proud to be involved with FTC as a national sponsor. The Durban branch is also a sponsor of this project as it fits completely with its vision to educate and inspire youth in the world of control and automation. Today’s students are tomorrow’s engineers.
Anybody needing further information can email John Owen-Ellis at firstname.lastname@example.org
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