IDC- Online News

  1. Jessica Ann Mckenty

    Jessica Ann Mckenty is an Apprentice Communications Technician at Ergon Energy. She is a noteworthy graduate of the Engineering Institute of Technology. In October of 2018, Jessica graduated with a 52782WA - Advanced Diploma of Industrial Data Communications, Networking & IT. 

    Jessica completed the Advanced Diploma in the final eighteen months of her apprenticeship at Ergon Energy. Through her academic endeavors and her apprenticeship, Jessica became equipped with everything she needed to make sense of the industry she was entering into. She said:

    "I have been fortunate enough to get exposure to a wide range of applications of communications. This includes fiber splicing, tower rigging, mobile vehicle installation, radio communications maintenance and installation. I have also worked on upgrades of protection signaling paths (microwaves and fiber), removal of old SACS systems and installation of RTU's in their place, as well as installing and configuring communications modems and switches at remote sites."

    Previously, Jessica had acquired an Electrical Trade certificate and had a reasonable grasp on some of the necessary information in her industry, but she says the Advanced Diploma presented her with ‘greater understanding and appreciation of industrial data, communications, networking and IT.'

    “The highlights of the course would have been the DNP and SCADA modules, as many faults I encountered in my work involved these topics. Once I was able to breakdown the knowledge provided by EIT and use it in my fault finding methods, I did feel a sense of success.”

    The fault finding, Jessica says, was made more accessible through the first four modules of the course: Physical Media, Industrial Data Coms, Wireless, and Ethernet. It was all systems go after she began familiarizing herself with the kinds of systems she came to know through her studies. She had newfound confidence when working at configuring switches and modems. 

    However, Jessica did find some aspects of the course difficult; specifically, the group work aspect of it. Being used to traditional ways of learning, Jessica found that the online method of learning that EIT provides took some getting used to. But soon after, she realized that she could re-watch lectures and found written summaries of past webinars.

    Nonetheless, Jessica notes that she really thrived in her work while working through her Advanced Diploma. Her future outlook is one of ultimate optimism. She said:

    "In relation to career progression, I feel I am a more valued member of my workgroup. The foundational knowledge that this course provides is priceless. I have been successful in being signed off early as to take on a Communications Paraprofessional role within Ergon, and I look forward to continuing my studies and having a successful career in this field.” 

    Jessica is considering studying towards a CISCO accredited course or pursuing an advanced networking course to further her knowledge in network operations. Equipped with the skills and the know-how thanks to the 18-month Advanced Diploma, Jessica feels that she is exactly where she needs to be — building a career in the engineering world.

    EIT would like to honor her for never giving up on her course and persevering. That is why she is a runner up finalists of our EIT Graduate of the Year 2018. We hope she continues to take her engineering career from strength to strength and succeeds in everything she does.

  2. Cindy McGeorge

    At the end of the 80s, in the far west of outback New South Wales, in an inland mining city known as Broken Hill, Cindy McGeorge embarked on an Electrical Fitting apprenticeship. And now, with a 52726WA - Advanced Diploma of Applied Electrical Engineering, she is an alumnus of the Engineering Institute of Technology.

    Her life has been defined by becoming a mother, relocating, pursuing further education and her dreams in the electrical engineering industry. What follows is an interesting window into the world of a woman in the energy distribution world.

    After her apprenticeship Cindy worked both above and underground at the local mines in Broken Hill and graduated to working with the mines’ SCADA systems. After spending some years there she felt it was time to move on. She said:

    “After 10 years I went to work in the south west Queensland oil and gas fields as a contractor as well as working part time on a cattle station. I was lucky during this time to give birth to two boys. My eldest child and his nanny would travel with me to my jobs. When the second boy came along, it was time for a change.”

    Cindy moved to a nearby town, Tibooburra. She continued to contract on a smaller scale, but also spent time raising her children and running a local shop.

    But she was due for another shake-up. She said:

    “After a few years in Tibooburra, I found myself contracting to the local utility Essential Energy and this turned into a casual position. Some of my jobs included all remote meter reads, fault and emergency work and meter installation.

    “After 6 years I relocated to obtain a full-time position within Essential Energy, but also to access a better education for my children. This landed me in a town in the middle of New South Wales, where I continued as a full-time Electrical Technician with the distribution company.”

    She then began studying through the Engineering Institute of Technology to further her knowledge and skills. She has since moved to Griffith in New South Wales, and is excited to see what the future will bring.

    Cindy notes that it is interesting to see how technology is transforming the industry she has come to know and love. She adds that the introduction of small and large-scale solar and wind energy projects have been an impressive and exciting addition and believes these advances will, and should, attract young, passionate people to the electrical industry.

    Cindy is not stopping or slowing down. She is determined to achieve great things, and further her career in engineering. She concluded:

    “I have spent 30 years in the trade and always had a passion to do things better and different. Engineering will hopefully open the doors that can allow me to achieve this. With the aid of more study, I will see myself move towards a job that allows me to be creative and productive.”

    All of us at EIT wish Cindy everything of the best. We know that her career will continue to be defined by the passion she brings to her work and her further studies.

  3. Wireless charging gaining momentum in industries

    Wireless charging technology has had a serious hit or miss relationship with the mobile industry. With some standards being cleared, some technology being engineered and some being still stuck in pre-production, it’s hard to know what’s going on sometimes. However new developments might mean we are closer than we think.

    Qi is the charging standard that defines wireless power transfer using inductive charging methods. The increasing development of this technology has gotten engineers minds inventing at a million miles an hour. If smartphones will be able to charge their batteries without the need for wires, what else could be charged wirelessly too?

    Source: Texas Instruments

    In 2016, a company named Texas Instruments, who specialize in wireless technologies, began experimenting outside the smartphone and branching out to other industries. They released the industry’s first Qi-certified 15-W wireless power transmitter.

    “Industrial equipment such as electronic point-of-sale devices and handheld medical equipment reap the benefits of 15-W wireless power. This breakthrough in technology enables wireless models and reduces overall end-application size by helping eliminate bulky wiring.”

    However the smartphone industry is still leading the way in the wireless charging revolution. There are rumors currently circulating that the next generation of iPhones will employ what is called bilateral charging. This form of wireless charging allows one charged up phone to transfer some of its battery power to another device that requires charging.

     

    Electronic Vehicles

    Electric vehicles (EV) are another industry where wireless charging could revolutionize the technology used. However, whilst the industry has taken many leaps forward; EVs are still stuck in the development phase.

    The company Qualcomm develops wireless charging technology for electric vehicles under the name HALO and has subsequently just sold their technology off to MIT-founded business WiTriCity. WiTriCity has now started the process of formalizing a wireless charging standard for automakers. Their aim is to make ‘EV charging easier than refueling’.

    They are working on park-and-charge bays and power transfer grid-to-battery technologies that would charge cars through surface or in-ground placements placed in asphalt, cement and more.

    Encouragingly for WiTriCity, the joint venture with Qualcomm gives them access to incredible patents and pending patent applications.. Now the companies can work to improve the technologies and could lead to some breakthroughs for electric vehicles.

    Alex Gruzen, CEO of WiTriCity, in a press statement, wrote:

    “WiTriCity’s wireless charging technology is key to the future of mobility which is clearly electric, and is increasingly shared and autonomous.”

    Qualcomm’s HALO technology has also been embedded into an electric vehicle charging road. The road was also a joint venture - this time, with automaker Renault.  Their tests saw an electric vehicle being charged at 20kW while travelling 100km/h.

    Robert Lassartesses from Renault said:

    “If you compare fast charging with gasoline, it’s not equivalent. Even in our best dreams [EV charging] is 300kW. We are 20 times below what you can do with gasoline and it’s important to keep this in mind. Equivalent service between electricity and [traditional] fuel cannot be expected.”

    300kW could be attainable with an 800V battery, the experts said, but the battery would be far too heavy. Thus, the development of batteries, and their wireless charging applications, is ongoing across engineering industries. The benefit for the consumer is clear: batteries that last longer and go further.

     

    Works Cited

    “TI Announces the Only Qi-Certified 15-W Wireless Power Transmitter.” News, news.ti.com/ti-announces-only-qi-certified-15-w-wireless-power-transmitter.

    Ward-Foxton, Sally. “'Electronic Road' Charging For EVs Moves Forward.” EETimes, EE Times, 23 May 2017, www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1331778.

  4. Nokia’s 5G-ready factory of the future

    Nokia wants to show the world what is possible with 5G networks and automated factories. Not only is the company now manufacturing mobile technologies with 5G embedded within their architecture, but they are also using it to automate their factories.

    Based in the Finnish city of Oulu, Nokia has built a factor which they consider to be the future of modern industrial production and manufacturing. Whilst the plant has always belonged to Nokia, the company has now retrofitted the plant with new llot-powered technologies.

    Nokia wanted to make a factory that was “conscious”, a self-thinking and always learning factory of the future. 5G, in general, will transform engineering industries; industries that have been trying to take the workforce out of harm's way by replacing repetitive tasks in industrial operations.

    Source: Nokia

    President and Chief Executive Officer of the Nokia Corporation, Rajeev Suri said:

    “It possesses unique characteristics that make it socially and economically transformative: low latency (in other words, almost imperceptible lag when carrying out remote orders); fast speeds (around 10 times faster than today’s networks); connection capability (enabling up to 1 million linked devices per square kilometer); and unparalleled reliability (allowing new precision-based applications).”

    To show how the lower latencies work with 5G, Nokia tested advanced real time quality control with their 5G system powered by Intel. The engineers intentionally made errors in a manufacturing process, which the 5G monitoring system with a camera attached to it flagged the error immediately, suggesting course corrections for the process. See it in action here:

    Nokia is incorporating the characteristics of ‘flexibility, versatility and productivity’ into the factory. They are also processing all of the data generated by the factory in the cloud. Suri writes:

    “The vast majority of the factory is now automated. Its temperature and humidity automatically change to keep machines in prime condition. Parts are delivered using autonomous vehicles. Equipment carries indoor GPS, allowing managers to see exactly where it is, what it’s doing and whether it could be used or positioned more efficiently.”

    Nokia does not only believe that the adoption of 5G is good only for manufacturing plants, they believe it will transform all humans’ lives. The factory itself has worked well on their 4G network, proving that many companies can start with the technology already available to companies around the world. But 5G is the next frontier. Suri writes:

    “This is only a first step. More are necessary. Governments in particular need to step on the gas and prioritize 5G adoptions. But if ever something was worth working for, it’s this. I firmly believe that the sooner governments, businesses and individuals have access to 5G, the sooner the Fourth Industrial Revolution can help people all over the world enjoy safer, happier, more productive lives.”

     

    Works Cited

    “Industry 4.0 Use Case over 5G at Nokia Oulu Factory.” Nokia, www.nokia.com/about-us/news/media-library/industry-40-use-case-over-5g-at-nokia-oulu-factory/#1.

    Suri, Rajeev, and Nokia Corporation. “5G Will Redefine Entire Business Models. Here's How.” World Economic Forum, www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/01/5g-will-redefine-entire-business-models-here-s-how/.

  5. How to rebuild a spillway

    It was a story of ineptitude, willful ignorance, and oncoming catastrophe. But that didn’t stop civil engineers in the state of California from bouncing back and rectifying what had been neglected. In February 2017, Oroville Dam’s main and emergency spillways were damaged due to heavy rains which exposed the ill maintenance and general corrosion of the main and emergency spillways.

    The reservoir is California’s second-largest provider of water. The dam’s capacity is 4.363537 km3, which equates to 1.75 million Olympic swimming pools. During the crisis, more than 190,000 people had to be evacuated from Oroville and the surrounding counties due to fears that the concrete weir of the dam could collapse and send water flooding into the regions.

    Source: California Department of Water

    Thankfully, there was no collapse in Oroville, but extensive repairs were needed. The Department of Water Resources’ engineers went to work and began a repair project that would see some impressive work done. On the 2nd of April 2019, it opened for the first time after the crisis.

     

    The repair

    On the main spillway, every 5 minutes, a dump truck would place 19 cubic meters of roller-compacted concrete onto the main spillway. They would eventually lay over 100 thousand cubic meters of concrete for the repair of both spillways. They utilized 16,000 feet of drainage pipe, which is equivalent to 500 Olympic swimming pools. And to keep everything in place? Five million kilograms of reinforcing steel.

    The engineers constructed a secant wall out of reinforced concrete piles for the emergency spillway. The wall, in length, was just four feet shorter than the height of the Empire State Building.

    It was initially thought that the repair work would only cost $400 million USD, but the final number was much larger. The final repair bill weighed in at $1.1 billion USD. Speaking to the Sacramento Bee, Joel Ledesma, the deputy director of the California Department of Water Resources said:

    “We are prepared; we’ve spent the last two years restoring full functionality. The industry has learned a lot since this dam was built 50 years ago.”

    They reopened the spillway and began pushing water at 3,300 cubic feet per second down the newly repaired spillway on its first day of operation.

    Joel also told the media that the new spillway was ‘designed and constructed using 21st century engineering practices and under the oversight and guidance from state and federal regulators and independent experts’. Below, is a video that shows the rebuilding process:

     

    Works Cited

    Caraccio, David. “Enough Concrete to Pave from Oroville to Texas, and Other Facts about Oroville Dam Repair.” Sacbee, The Sacramento Bee, 5 Apr. 2019, www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/article228890254.html.

    Pedroncelli, Rich, et al. “$1.1B Oroville Dam Spillway Repairs Put to Test.” Construction Equipment Guide, Construction Equipment Guide, 10 Apr. 2019, www.constructionequipmentguide.com/11b-oroville-dam-spillway-repairs-put-to-test/44557.

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