Dehn Group this year celebrates its 100 year anniversary, and will mark the occasion by  expanding its nationwide seminars on BS EN?62305, the current lightning and surge protection standard.

The company has also released a new UK lightning protection catalogue which contains the most popular products from the UK and Europe, and Dehn (UK) will exhibit at Electrex in June and the M&E show in October.

Dehn started in Nuremberg on 21 January 1910, when Hans Dehn founded his electrical installation company. Very soon he was involved in the complex problems of lightning protection. By 1918 he had published his first patent on this subject and started the production of lightning protection components.

Now located in Neumarkt/Oberpfalz, Dehn is a worldwide, family-owned enterprise, which specialises in three product ranges, lightning protection, surge protection and safety equipment.

As well as providing products for lightning and surge protection, Dehn provides specifically designed protection concepts as well as engineering and test performance in the company's impulse current laboratory. For more information visit www.dehn.co.uk

In response to the just-published Energy and Climate Change (ECC) Select Committee report on low carbon technologies in a green economy, Beama has said it fully supports the recommendation that government should work in closer partnership with the electrotechnical industry and other stakeholders on the potential benefits of smart meters and a smarter energy network.

"We are more than willing to contribute to the development of an open dialogue with government to achieve this," said Beama CEO, Dr Howard Porter (pictured).

"We welcome the emphasis on existing energy saving technologies and the resulting economic benefits through a long-term strategy to support wider deployment of such technologies. Yet, while the potential benefits from both heating and lighting controls are specifically mentioned, we still believe that greater emphasis on control technologies would be appropriate - the proven benefits of these are often neglected in Government policy.

"We agree too with the main conclusions that Government should do more to support energy efficiency with public investment prioritised for existing economically viable low carbon technologies.

"Beama members manufacture many such technologies and have produced ‘exemplar' papers showing opportunities for carbon savings from existing technologies, which are currently being missed. We look forward to a wider engagement with Government to discuss these missed opportunities."

While the recommendations for domestic homes place emphasis on the government's Warm Homes, Greener Homes strategy, Dr Porter believes there are ‘real gaps' regarding improvement of heating systems, despite this being the area where most domestic energy is used: "The industry is ready to help Government meet its carbon targets. This is the only real route to ensure improvements to products and systems can be delivered on the scale required. Government must take onboard the recommendations for fuller engagement with industry.

"Beama continues to push for sustainable energy policy to be consistent with the real ethos of sustainability. We're urging the Department for Communities and Local Government to closely examine its recently closed Code for Sustainable Homes consultation. Particularly, the section promoting the installation of ‘dumb' energy display devices with the carrot of a high number of credits.

"The Government has committed to a rollout of smart meters by 2020 and this summer publishes a prospectus that will outline the metering and communication protocol specification. So Government should - and must - give higher Code credits for a full metering specification backed by the prospectus. A short term low-cost, inadequate, fix will result in obsolete displays that enter landfill very soon and give a bad perception of in-house display technology.

"Policy must be logical and mindful of overall strategic direction rather than playing towards short-term political imperatives. The long haul requires two-way communication functionality in metering. That is, linked to standardised communication protocol backed in-house displays giving wider benefits than just energy usage information.

"Only real smart metering enables the smart grid aspiration to become reality so let's use policy to pick the ‘low hanging fruit' for smart installations. The Code can do this in the new-build sector."

Landis+Gyr has announced it has been selected by the UK's largest energy supplier, British Gas (parent company Centrica) to support the UK's first commercial-scale smart meter deployment in an energy efficiency effort it says could save consumers more than £200m in energy bills.

The deal will see British Gas deploy up to one million of Landis+Gyr's dual fuel electricity and gas smart meters, along with Landis+Gyr's innovative touch screen in home display, in UK customer homes, marking one of the fastest, largest and most advanced smart meter deployments in Europe.

British Gas and Landis+Gyr plan an open development, based wherever possible on existing standards, to help to accelerate the UK's national smart metering roll-out and encourage the faster development of a range of ‘smart' household appliances, from intelligent dishwashers to self-regulating heating controls. As part of the development, Landis+Gyr will share details of its smart metering system with third parties, allowing UK businesses a fast track to the creation of new solutions aimed at consumers, suppliers and utilities alike. This move is intended to provide other utilities with an open, practical blueprint for commercial-scale smart metering, crystallising guidance provided by both the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and UK regulator Ofgem (the Office of the Gas and Electricity Markets).

Cameron O'Reilly, CEO of Landis+Gyr, said, "Our partnership with British Gas represents a major breakthrough for smart metering in the UK. Together, we will pioneer the technical and practical standards that we hope will see every home and business in the country switch to smart metering within the next decade. We are proud and pleased to have been selected for such an instrumental role in this major deployment."

"This is also great news for up to a million British Gas customers who could save as much as £200 million on their energy bills by the time the main UK rollout is completed in 2020."

British Gas is the first of the country's 'big six' utilities to undertake a major deployment following the publication last December of the DECC's final plans for a national roll-out by 2020.

 

"We view this smart metering roll-out as one of our largest and most important projects ever", said Petter Allison, director for smart metering for British Gas. "Smart meters have a fundamental role to play as they help customers become far more aware of the amount and cost of energy they use which encourages people to reduce their usage and save money."

 

In the UK, Landis+Gyr employs just under 500 people at manufacturing and R&D sites in Stockport and Peterborough, developing gas and electricity smart metering solutions to serve the entire Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) market for the company. Landis+Gyr's technology currently supports 3 out of 4 of the UK's official government smart meter trials.

"The UK can lead the world into second-generation smart metering and energy management and this announcement marks the beginning of that process", added Steve Cunningham, Landis+Gyr CEO for UK & Ireland, "British Gas customers will be able to actively manage their energy consumption and drive down their bills whilst a future large-scale smart grid infrastructure will allow British Gas to manage demand, protect the distribution network and optimise energy generation, including intermittent sources of renewable energy."

 

 

J & K Ross and DuPont Personal Protection have developed Arcban, a range of CE certified arc flash protective garments that are made from Nomex.

Following a comprehensive risk assessment study and implementation of risk control measures, if it has still been decided  personal protective equipment (PPE) shall also be worn, the correct level of arc flash protective clothing shall be provided. The Arcban range of garments has been designed to be layered to offer the relevant level of protection when required and ensure that the worker is not restricted or compromised by cumbersome clothing.

J & K Ross and DuPont recommend that all the layers including undergarments are made of Nomex which is an inherently flame resistant meta-aramid fibre that does not melt, drip or support combustion in the air.  The thermal behaviour of Nomex is due to its molecular structure and not by applying a flame retardant chemical substance to the fabric, yarn, fibre or polymer. This means Nomex offers permanent protection that cannot be washed or worn away.  The Arcban range offers head to toe solutions providing various levels of electric arc protection and includes undergarments and specialist workwear along with head and face protection that can be worn with appropriate face visors and helmets. Flame resistant (FR) clothing can be rated based on its arc thermal performance value (ATPV) in cal/cm2. To properly protect a worker, the ATPV rating of the FR clothing must exceed the calculated prospective incident energy caused by an electric arc flash event onto the worker at a given location. Layering the garments can help to increase the ATPV levels due to the air gaps in between the garment layers. It can also help with matching the hazard and risk with the appropriately designed PPE resulting in the wearer having more fit for purpose and comfortable solutions for the required hazardous environment. For example, you might choose to use the Arcban polo shirt and trousers as standard, everyday FR workwear because it is practical and comfortable to wear, and when in a higher risk environment, layer up with a coverall resulting in the combination of these two layers providing higher ATPV values. To attempt to achieve this combined result with a single layer fabric solution may result in the clothing being very heavy and uncomfortable to wear for a full shift.

All the garments are CE certified and allow the user to select the correct level of protection for their risk, avoiding heavy and uncomfortable protection.

Chris Ross, managing director of J & K Ross Ltd said: "We saw the need for protective garments to be comfortable and wearable whilst still offering sufficient levels of protection against arc flashes so we developed a range that was designed for layering. Nomex is an established product and recognised worldwide for its flame resistant and antistatic properties, therefore it was essential to work with DuPont to develop this arc range and manufacture garments from Nomex. The garments are also durable and easy to care for and maintain."

Elaina Harvey, UK Nomex account manager, DuPont Personal Protection said: "PPE should always be identified as a last resort in protecting individuals from the thermal effects of an arc flash. However, if after all other steps have been taken to eliminate, reduce and control the risk and PPE is still required, the layering principle developed by J & K Ross and incorporating Nomex is a great way for workers to stay protected whilst wearing lightweight comfortable garments. J & K Ross has extensive understanding of customers' needs and can provide a flexible and fast turn round on orders.  We are delighted to be partnering with them on this project."

For further information on the J&K Ross range of arc flash protective garments visit http://www.arcflashprotection.co.uk/

8-9 May 2010 saw a group of electrical trade press editors successfully complete the Three Peaks Challenge.

The ‘Off Peak Electricity' team climbed the three highest peaks in the UK in a very respectable time of 14 hours and 10 minutes, and completed the overall challenge (including driving and pit stops for food and fuel) in a time of 27 hours and 50 minutes.

Special thanks must go to all of the team for maintaining such high spirits throughout such an arduous challenge, but also to the support crew of Steve Pearce and Joe Gibbs for managing to navigate the team's Renault Master bus through the narrow country roads of Scotland, England and Wales in the small hours of the morning.

The team has so far raised £4,442.50 for the EEIBA and would like to express its gratitude to all of those companies and individuals who have made a donation. Special thanks, however, must go to the following companies for making very sizeable contributions: Eaton Electrical, Scolmore, Timeguard, Rittal, UK Credit/Hendersons Insurance Brokers and VPhase.

The team would also like to thank NICEIC for paying the event entry fee, Renault for providing a Master minibus and Wieland Electrical for paying for the team's fuel.

If you haven't already made a donation, there is still time to do so. Please visit the fundraising page at: http://www.justgiving.com/eeiba3peaks

British electrotechnical industry association Beama has expressed its dismay over the coalition government's closure of the Low Carbon Buildings Programme (LCBP) to new applications (from 24 May 2010).

The closure is part of the Government's commitment to delivering £6bn of departmental spending cuts in 2010/11, with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) contributing £85m to this total.

£3m of savings is being taken from the programme resulting in its immediate closure to new applications. The DECC says LCBP has been successful in increasing the UK's uptake of low carbon buildings technology, developing the assembly, supplier and installer base, especially for electrical microgeneration.

However, Kelly Butler, Beama's marketing director (pictured) said: "Given the economic situation we appreciate cut backs are inevitable and not an easy task. But, Beama expresses concern over the funding gap presented by the LCBP closure.

"Government has rightly recognised that the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) would take up the role of incentivising renewable heat technologies such as heat pumps. But, we are also concerned that government has not now made a clear statement showing support for the RHI, which would give confidence to the market.

"The RHI consultation closed during April 2010, and Beama calls for fast announcements on RHI levels, with firm Government support for their introduction in April 2011.

"Without this commitment, we question the UK's ability to ensure 12% of heat is renewable by 2020 - that is the heat contribution to the overall renewable target."

 

Zuken is presenting a series of three webinars focusing on electrical system design, starting on 29 June . Targeted at companies within the aerospace industry, the trio of webinars will benefit engineers who need to overcome the design challenges associated with managing change, ECAD/MCAD integration, and testing. For those who may not be available to attend the live session, all three webinars will also be available on demand.

"For engineers, engineering managers, project and program managers, and designers and design managers, these webinars are not to be missed. Two of our leading experts on electrical design in the aerospace industry will present innovative methods for attendees to improve their design processes that can be taken away with them immediately," said Steve Chidester, head of product marketing at Zuken.

For more details about the webinars and to register visit http://www.zuken.com.

Recolight, the specialist WEEE compliance scheme for the lighting industry, has announced a partnership with award winning recycling scheme, CoBRA (Community Bulb Recycling Alliance) to increase consumer access to collection facilities for low-energy light-bulbs.

Founded by Mark David Hatwood in 2007, CoBRA was initially established to provide community recycling for waste batteries. The scheme works by recruiting volunteers to place collection containers in community locations and then take responsibility for collecting the waste and taking it to a central collection facility.

Through this partnership with Recolight, the CoBRA scheme will be adapted to provide community collection of low-energy light-bulbs, using Recolight's innovative new in-door light-bulb collection container.

Announcing the partnership, Recolight CEO Nigel Harvey said; "This is an important and exciting partnership which will open up vital new channels for the public to recycle their old low-energy light-bulbs. Through CoBRA, volunteers will be able to place our specially designed collection containers in community locations making it easier to recycle their old light-bulbs as part of their everyday routine."

The scheme is expected to go live in September. Mark David Hatwood explained; "Volunteers will be able to register online to comply with health and safety regulations regarding the transportation of waste. They will then be sent a collection container and a transportation box. We hope that once the scheme gets underway it can prove to be as successful as the battery scheme which collected over 35 tonnes of batteries in just two years."

Pictured: Recolight CEO Nigel Harvey(left) and CoBRA founder Mark David Hatwood (right)

Smart metering technology specialist Sentec was this week congratulated by Her Majesty the Queen at a reception for Queen's Award winners at Buckingham Palace, following its Queen's Award for Enterprise success. Sentec received the prestigious award in the International Trade category for exceptional overseas earnings.

The Cambridge-based company was represented by chief executive officer, Dr Mark England, and technology developer Harshul Mehta. The Sentec representatives were greeted by Her Majesty at the reception on 19 July.

Sentec received the award in recognition of its exceptional growth over the last three years, during which time the company more than trebled its overseas earnings to £4.3m.

Dr Mark England commented: "We were honoured to meet the Queen at this very special occasion. Winning the Queen's Award for Enterprise is a testament to all the hard work the whole team at Sentec has put into growing the company and sustaining its reputation for excellence worldwide. We are proud to see the effort and world class level of expertise that we have put into creating commercially successful projects recognised in this way."

Sentec's growth was achieved by implementing a successful market strategy that involves licensing selected partners and providing them with support during product development and continuing consultancy services. As a result, Sentec technology is now included in almost half (approximately five million) of the smart electricity meters currently installed in the USA and in 7.7 million meters in total. Sentec is also continuing its commitment to the advancement of smart metering closer to home, with a licensing agreement with OnStream, a National Grid company, to bring Sentec's flagship Mobius current sensor technology to the UK smart electric meter market.

 

Marking the continued success of its voltage optimisation device in the UK, VPhase has been granted a European voltage control patent from the European Patent Office.

The new patent, identified as European patent number 1913454, has also been granted in New Zealand and the USA. Once translated in all 30 countries designated in the European application, the patent will have been granted in 34 countries in total including Russia and South Africa.

VPhase CEO Dr Lee Juby comments: "This patent recognises the way VPhase helps consumers reduce energy wastage and carbon emissions in the home, whilst significantly cutting electricity bills. This approval will help drive the business forward within the wider European domain, allowing homes across Europe to benefit as well."

 

The VPhase voltage optimisation device, which launched earlier this year, delivers money and energy savings across the home, without requiring a change in lifestyle or electricity supplier.

 

The low-cost unit uses voltage optimisation technology to reduce the incoming voltage and manage it to a stable level, normally 220V in the UK. This eliminates ‘over voltage,' which is often a costly and unnecessary waste of energy and ensures many electrical appliances use less electricity and cost less to run, as well as cutting carbon emissions.

VPhase is working with a number of major UK utilities to introduce VPhase units into homes nationwide, and it is currently being tested in Scottish and Southern Electric (SSE) customer homes, under the UK Government's Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) scheme, to determine the lifetime carbon dioxide savings of the device.

A careful operation to lift a three-and-a-half-tonne redundant transformer by crane across the front of Westminster Abbey took place on Wednesday 18 August.

EDF Energy Networks moved the transformer from its site under the floor of College Hall, the medieval dining room in the Deanery Courtyard at Westminster Abbey. A new substation to replace the existing one was installed around the corner underground in Dean's Yard earlier this year.

The investment will see an upgrade to the equipment that provides power to many properties in that area of London and will also increase the reliability of supplies.

Early on Wednesday morning the crane lifted the transformer measuring 6ft square, and other associated electrical equipment. At its highest point, the equipment was lifted 35 feet over the front of the Abbey. Then lifted onto a flat-bed lorry and taken away.

Westminster Abbey asked EDF Energy Networks to move the substation, which had been there since the 1960s.

EDF Energy Networks project manager Gary Drinkeld said: "This was a complex project given the historic nature of the site. The substation played a vital part in the distribution of electricity to many properties in that area of London and we have a responsibility to our many customers to find a suitable site nearby so we can continue to provide a reliable electricity supply for customers in the area. We are working closely with Westminster Abbey to make sure the move runs smoothly and successfully."

The Abbey is one of the more unusual sites to house one of EDF Energy Network's 66,000 substations and is possibly the only one which has an ancient arched doorway leading to it.

Abriox has upgraded the lightning protection on its remote corrosion monitoring solutions for pipelines, with the help of the lightning test consultancy services of Cobham Technical Services. The degree of protection of the system against high energy surges has been substantially enhanced by a development exercise incorporating advice on the nature of coupling between lightning power surges and ground-based equipment, and characterisation studies including destructive testing.

The protection has been implemented on Abriox's Merlin cathodic protection (CP) monitor. This telemetry-based instrument is one of the most widely used field devices for remotely monitoring the anti-corrosion CP systems that are installed on pipelines, storage tanks and other buried metal infrastructure used in onshore oil and gas networks.

"Pipelines are a significant attractor for lightning, and in some regions of the world strikes can occur frequently. We've always had lightning protection on our corrosion monitor, but the only feedback we ever got on how it performed in the real world tended to be when a burnt-out unit arrived back from the field," says Jason Hanlon, technical director of Abriox. "How much energy was present, what the shape of the energy surge was, whether it arrived directly or indirectly remained a mystery - and we decided it would be a good idea to better understand the risk by talking with lightning experts."

Abriox has its design centre in the UK, and after investigating the high voltage testing market, selected UK-based Cobham Technical Services, because its lightning unit is one of a tiny number of organisations in the world that specialise in lightning testing and consultancy and is able to give practical advice, rather than simply testing against standards.

An initial review considered the particular installation conditions and environments of the Merlin CP monitor, and a typical catastrophic field failure. A destructive test at Cobham's test facility in Abingdon was performed. It became clear the corrosion monitor was most likely dealing with power surges that arrived following direct strikes on the pipeline itself, or the supply to the electrical rectifiers that provide the impressed-current cathodic protection system. Unlike some of the areas that Cobham works in - particularly aircraft protection - there are no standard lightning test waveforms for this type of nearby strike to ground-based equipment, but that did not prevent Cobham from creating a representative waveform specifically for this testing purpose.

The destructive test exercise also demonstrated to Abriox that some of the external lightning surge protection devices originally selected for use with Merlin did not actually perform in the way the manufacturer's datasheet indicated. Although other aspects of the Merlin design provided a good degree of protection, the Abriox designers sought further improvement.

After the exercise, Abriox gained a better understanding of the nature and energy levels of lightning-related power surges, and decided to re-engineer the system to increase the protection level. This exercise involved both uprating the surge protection circuitry, using different components and changing the physical layout of parts of the embedded electronics system.

To speed the design phase, Abriox constructed its own simple low-power generator that could provide a high voltage pulse, to test switching times and clamping characteristics. However, when the final protection design was settled on, Abriox took a monitor to Cobham to fully characterise its performance against lightning pulses.

Cobham subjected the equipment to increasing levels of lightning strikes using a range of pulse shapes and durations that represented the kind of surges that would be experienced in typical installation scenarios. The revised protection worked perfectly, and continued to operate successfully beyond its target energy level protection rating corresponding to a 12 kA transient waveform. Cobham used a 30 kA-rated generator to test the equipment, and in the very final test step, the strike energy was increased to the maximum. Although this destroyed the front-end protection circuitry, the Merlin monitor itself survived and continued to function.

"With Cobham's help, we now know exactly what our lightning protection system is capable of," adds Jason Hanlon of Abriox. "It's impossible to protect against every conceivable lightning strike, but we know that our equipment will be resilient when faced with the majority of the real-world energy surges that could be encountered."

"This particular project was very interesting. Our understanding of the nature of the lightning threat means that we were able to simulate the type of waveform expected by Abriox's monitor in the field," says Dan Brown of Cobham Technical Services. "This type of pipeline installation makes it highly likely that power surges arrive indirectly, from the pipe or power supply, making it important to consider protection for the design as a whole - rather than just the system inputs. It's easy to blow up a device in our lab; what's more of a challenge is to do it in a representative way."