After a recent announcement that plans for an engineering über institution had been shelved, the IIE and IEE may yet amalgamate.

The IIE has issued a statement saying that though the three-way talks that included the ImechE have ceased, it was felt that there might be a viable two-way opportunity. The IIE and IEE will now look closely at the proposal to assess the potential benefits to members.

Should negotiations reach an advanced stage, the proposition would have to be agreed by a positive members vote. In the case of the IIE, this requires member support of 75% for the proposals to go ahead.
The IIE chief executive, Peter Wason, told Electrical Times that the aim remains the same as the three-way merger. “Both institutions are keen to find a way of taking forward the significant progress made during the original talks,” he said.

ABB has been awarded a $22m order from GE Oil and Gas–Nuovo Pignone to supply electrical drive systems for an onshore gas processing plant that will support the Ormen Lange gas field in Norway.

The order includes three load-commutated-inverter adjustable-speed synchronous-motor drive systems for the export compressors and two Series ACS 6000 variable-speed drive systems for the recompressors. ABB will also integrate converters with filters, power transformers and motors to complete the advanced drive systems. The firm’s systems will be installed at the Nyhamna onshore gas processing plant in Norway.

ABB will be responsible for the design, engineering, documentation, equipment testing, back-to-back testing and commissioning of the complete drives systems.

Processed and compressed gas will be transported through a 1,200km-long pipeline from Nyhamna to Easington, UK. ABB drives will be used to control and optimise the speed of the export gas compressor and recompressor trains.

Ormen Lange gas field is predicted to represent about 20% of Norway’s gas exports and 20% of the UK gas market demand. It will begin exports to the UK in 2007.

The Engineering and Technology Board (etb) has launched an interactive CD-Rom to attract youth to the sector.

Engineers@work is aimed primarily at school careers advisers and teachers. It covers the range of careers in the science, engineering and technology sectors and provides practical information on routes into the profession.

Alan Clark, the etb’s chief executive, said research commissioned by his company found that many teachers are unclear about what engineering actually involves. “The hard hat and oily rag perception is not backed up by the real life experiences of engineers – as this CD-Rom illustrates.”

Fiona Sykes, who has overseen the production of the CD-Rom and is Edinburgh University’s senior careers advisor, said: “Using a mix of real-life testimony and practical information about the breadth of engineering careers, it is a great resource for teachers, careers advisors and their students alike.”

The CD-Rom is free of charge, has been sent to all secondary schools and can be ordered from http://corp.etechb.co.uk/careerscd.

Arc-Gen, an exhibitor at the SED construction show, had £18,500 worth of kit stolen from its stand.

As well as exhibiting, Arc-Gen supplies the lighting towers for SED and did not pick up its display until the Monday after the show. However, on the day before (Sunday 23 May) thieves broke into the show, broke the chains securing the gear and escaped. They might have got away with more if they had been able to start the forklift they broke into on the Haki stand.

If you are offered the following kit, please contact Andy Munford on 01902 790824 or e-mail him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Makes and models stolen:

• Three Weldmaker 200SSD Super Silent welder/generators fitted on wheelbarrow-type trolleys; serial numbers: AG200225/5480553, Eng no 3C1968; AG200220/5480548, Eng no 3C1959; and AG200227/5480555, Eng no 3C1963. They have a value of £5,000 each.

• A Kubota GL6500s 6.5kW super-silent generator fitted on wheelbarrow-type trolleys worth £3,500. The serial number is 774083.

The European Commission this week told France the state could not help Alstom out of its current difficulties. This means Paris will have to decide whether to let the engineering firm go bust or allow it to make partnerships with foreign firms.

The EU executive said it would only allow the French state to help Alstom financially if the firm agreed to secure one or more partners for a central part of the business within a fixed length of time.

Alstom could choose whichever partner or partners it desires, provided they are not state-owned. Sources have, however, speculated that the Commission’s restrictions were designed to encourage a deal between Alstom and Siemens.

Where Alstom produces the TGV high-speed train, Siemens makes the German equivalent, the ICE. Sources close to Siemens have, however, said the German firm is not interested in making a bid for Alstom’s transport division, with a joining of the ICE and TGV proving difficult for competition reasons. Siemens has, instead, previously expressed interest in Alstom’s turbine business.

The Commission also said Alstom must simplify its business structure to save money – a common obligation for state-aid cases. The firm has, nevertheless, already sold parts of its business to boost necessary revenue.

Seen at the Sunday Times Motor Show Live press day today was the G-Wiz car. This is said to be 100% emission-free, consumes one-quarter of the energy of an average petrol car and is the most energy-efficient car on the road according to the Energy Saving Trust.

With a list price of £7,499, it is estimated to cost 1p per mile to run, without incurring road tax, and falls in the lowest insurance group (1). It is exempt from the Congestion Charge in central London and boasts several free parking arrangements on meters, in display bays and in over 25 car parks, some with free charging.

Other benefits include up to 83% discounts on residential parking permits. Businesses receive a 100% year-one tax write down allowance and G-Wiz company car drivers pay the lowest rate of company car tax at only 9%.

The G-Wiz Automatic Electric Vehicle from the Reva Electric Car Company is a 2.6m-long two-door hatchback with a top speed of 40mph and a range of up to 40 miles. Full charging requires six hours on RCD protected sockets.

Visit www.goingreen.co.uk for more information.

UK manufacturers complaining about cheap imports should find the comments of Rock Hsu, chairman of Taiwan’s Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers Association, of interest.

This week he said global demand had boosted Taiwan’s output of electrical goods and consumer electronics by 7.4% last a year

“Taiwan’s double-E (electrical and electronic) industry has made a great contribution to the nation’s economy,” said Rock. Taiwan’s double-E sector accounted for US$136.5bn last year, benefiting from rising demand for mobile phones, computers and electrical goods and accounted for nearly 50% of Taiwan’s total industrial output

Rock Hsu said the double-E industry’s export value alone reached US$65.2bn, a 10.4% growth over last year. To reflect increased optimism for export growth the Taiwanese government has raised its economic forecast for this year to 5.41% from 4.7%.

Powergen, the UK’s largest electricity supplier to the business sector, will take the brand name of its German owner E.On. It says this will help the company to tap into a powerful pan-European brand and overcome its electricity-only image.

With the UK set to become a net importer of gas in the next few years, and the growing role of gas in the country’s energy sector, this is set to boost E.On Energy’s (as Powergen’s business will now be known) competitive positioning. By dropping “power” from its name (except for its mass-market and small business customers), the company will try to win a similar position in gas to that it enjoys in electricity.

As far as price is concerned, E.On Energy will now be able to draw fully on the parent company’s trading and risk-management expertise, keeping price levels in line with the market trends and offering pricing formulas that are flexible enough to meet the diversity of customer requirements.

The company should also be able to offer improved multi-fuel and added-value offerings. A city analyst said the question that many will be asking is whether the change of brand will have repercussions for the company’s customer retention rates.

Aggreko, an international supplier of temporary power, cooling and compressed air services, has opened a National Rental Centre in Cannock, Staffordshire. It is the first in a series that the company intends to establish worldwide and is a positive step towards restructuring the company. It will be a single point of contact for all customer enquiries – sales, service and technical advice – and will be linked to Aggreko’s global IT systems providing customer service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The centre manager, Rebecca Cope-Lewis, said: “Our customers rightly expect a consistent response from us no matter what time of day or night, or where in the country the project is – this is what the NRC will ensure.”

Visit www.aggreko.com for more information

SES has installed a 7m-long, 16-cylinder, turbo-charged diesel generator at the bespoke Energy Centre of its £10m building services contract at Defra in Weybridge.

The 16-tonne generator, which has a rating of 2,000kVA, 1,600KW at a 0.8 power factor, will be used as the back-up energy source for a new large laboratory block if there is any disruption to the building’s regular power supply.

Currently still under construction, the installation forms part of the total £31.7m Veterinary Laboratories Agency’s Phase 1 Redevelopment Project comprising the construction of a new 10,000m2 combined laboratory and office building with a separate 1,200m2 Energy Centre.

The principal contractor for the Phase 1 Development is Shepherd Construction and the building is due to open officially in spring 2005.

Wire mesh cable tray and ladder for the Queen Mary 2, the largest and most expensive passenger liner built, has been supplied by Cablofil.

The tray, 54mm deep and ranging in width from 50 to 500mm, supports cables throughout the £430m ship. In the machinery rooms it carries power and data cables. Elsewhere, it distributes electricity from the QM2’s power plant. It routes cables from a central spine to all corners of the vessel including the cabins, which are container-sized modules that were assembled off site and slotted into the ship’s structure.

Cablofil tray also supports power and data cables behind false ceilings in the QM2’s communal areas, including the restaurants, galleries, theatre and a sea-going planetarium.

The vessel was under construction at Alstom’s Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in saint-Nazaire from the end of 2000.

The Scottish Executive this week launched a project that will involve rooftop wind turbines being attached to five primary schools. Wee Tam vowed to bring in his catapult the morn's morn...

The Scottish deputy enterprise minister, Lewis Macdonald, was at Collydean primary school, Glenrothes, on Tuesday to watch the first installation of the Swift wind turbine, made by Scottish company Renewable Devices

Other Fife schools will be fitted with the turbines and, if this pilot project proves successful, the turbines could appear on buildings across Scotland.

Macdonald said: "This is an exciting development and I’m delighted that a leading edge Scottish company is at the forefront of this research."

The Scottish Executive said it would increase the amount of electricity in Scotland produced by renewable energy to 40% by 2020.