Electrical Review March April 2021

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March / April 2021 Volume 255 | No 2 www.electricalreview.co.uk

Informing the electrical industry for 140 years


Renewables & Sustainability

AI & Automation

Powering a green recovery.

Manufacturers: Are you ready to join the big data revolution?


Talking Point Putting the spark back into your electrical career.


Conten t s Regulars


04 • Editor’s Comment Get ready to be, Powered On.

06 • News Stories from the sector.

32 • Talking Point Mick Fitzgerald of Options Skills shares his tips and tricks for driving your electrical career forward.


34 • Products Innovations worth watching.

38 • Final Say Why do we need self-sustaining cities? An undead uprising perhaps?


Features 14 • Renewables & Sustainability Steve Hughes of REO UK analyses how green recovery strategies could benefit the manufacturing sector.

18 • AI & Automation Eric Stoop of Ease Inc explores harnessing the power of data to drive better plant performance.


22 • Fire, Safety & Security James Mountain of Fire Shield Systems Ltd looks at the myriad of fire risks associated with batteries and power storage facilities, and explains how businesses can best safeguard their people and their assets.

26 • Lighting


Anthony Martindale of Eaton, explores the different emergency lighting solutions available to businesses and how best to go about ‘getting the right light’.

30 • Power Protection Colin McAhren (MIET) of BG Electrical examines domestic installation, from selecting appropriate surge devices through to inspection and testing.




Claire Fletcher clairef@electricalreview.co.uk


Jordan O’Brien jordano@sjpbusinessmedia.com


Alex Gold alexg@sjpbusinessmedia.com


Sunny Nehru +44 (0) 207 062 2539 sunnyn@sjpbusinessmedia.com


Kelly Baker +44 (0)207 0622534 kellyb@electricalreview.co.uk


Wayne Darroch

Editor’s Comment As morbid as it sounds, for the last year, Covid really has proverbially defecated all over the phrase ‘they can take our lives, but they can’t take our freedom’, hasn’t it? It’s been highly successful at taking both, figuratively and metaphorically. But, freedom is on the horizon and I’d say I can’t wait, but I’ve sort of been institutionalised and I feel re-emerging may be a slow process, much like an irritable bear coming out of hibernation. And by the time this goes to print I will hopefully be at least 1,376 on my hairdresser’s waiting list; every cloud. But that aside, time for a shameless plug, if you weren’t already aware, Electrical Review has launched a brand-new podcast titled, Powered On. With the nature of my newsletters and editorials, I’m surprised I’ve been allowed to talk, but here we are, so if you fancy giving us a listen, you can find our debut episode via our website, newsletter or wherever you get your podcasts. Powered On will be a bi-weekly thing, so if there’s anything in particular you’d like us to cover, or any feedback on our episodes, please drop us a line via hello@electricalreview.co.uk. Enjoy the issue! Claire Fletcher, Editor

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4 Electrical www.electricalreview.co.uk Review | March / April ????2021

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News UK Government lowers plug-in car grant, again The UK Government has announced that it is once again lowering the grant provided to consumers buying plug-in electric vehicles. The grant will now only be worth up to £2,500, while cars over £35,000 will no longer be eligible. By specifically targeting the grant at cars priced under £35,000, the Government believes that it will now be helping the most price-conscious consumers, rather than those wealthier people who can afford more expensive cars. However, it means that some car manufacturers are now no longer eligible to receive any grant funding – namely Tesla.

Wind to power every home in the UK by 2030, UK Government promises

Green Homes Grant scrapped

The UK Government has promised that every home in the UK will be powered by wind by 2030, as it invests in floating wind turbines. To achieve this it is spending another £20 million to unlock the full potential of floating offshore wind technology. Back in 2019, the International Energy Agency noted that floating turbines could provide enough electricity to power Europe, the US and Japan. This is because floating wind farms can be placed further out to sea where winds are stronger, as they don’t need to rely on shallow sea beds. Now, the UK Government is pinning its hopes on powering the UK using the technology. Additionally, new funding worth £68 million will further the development of energy storage technologies to support a future renewable energy system. These new innovations will accelerate the commercialisation of a first-of-a-kind storage that can hold energy from wind turbines and solar panels, as well as heat, over long periods of time, including months and years, until it is needed by consumers.

The Green Homes Grant has been scrapped, with the Government diverting the remaining funds to a new insulation scheme. Launched as a key policy for the UK’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, the Green Homes Grant scheme has been marred with issues from the very beginning. Initially the scheme promised funds for upgrading everything from lighting to windows and doors. However, it underwent some significant changes between what was initially briefed to what was actually launched, with the UK Government instead choosing to concentrate on just a few key green upgrades. Those changes dropped lighting altogether, while those wishing to upgrade their windows and doors were told they had to have something else done to qualify for cash under the scheme. That work included the installation of a ground source or air source heat pump, or loft insulation. Despite initial promise, with one survey claiming that a majority of UK homeowners were planning to access the scheme, the actual reality of the Green Homes Grant scheme was disappointing. In February it was revealed just 17,618 vouchers had been issued as of January 26, with the UK Government gutting the scheme’s funding due to the lack of interest. That’s despite previously announcing an extension to the Green Homes Grant.

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Free at-home Covid-19 testing now available

Electricity prices in the UK are already rising due to Brexit

Firms working in the construction industry with more than 10 members of staff can now apply for free athome Covid-19 testing from the UK Government. The lateral flow tests can be carried out at home, with results in under 30 minutes.

Brexit may already be having a significant impact on the UK’s electricity market, as prices have soared at the beginning of March compared to previous years. New data from EnAppSys has shown that day-ahead pricing in the market for the first week of March peaked at £683. When compared with data from the previous six years, electricity prices in the UK at the beginning of March 2021 were more than three times higher than the previous peak of £191.55. So, what has Brexit got to do with this? Well,

as of January 1, 2021, the UK ceased to be part of the European electricity market. That means it is no longer part of the day-ahead market coupling arrangements, which could be the reason for the increased prices. In fact, for those thinking that March could just be an isolated case, especially given the fact that March is typically a high demand week, EnAppSys compared data for the first full three months of 2021. It found that prices in the dayahead market were higher than in the first three months in the previous six years.

Covid-19 recovery sends electrician salaries soaring

ECA joins Actuate UK The ECA has announced that it has officially joined Actuate UK, which is a brand-new alliance set up to serve the UK engineering services sector. Actuate UK brings together eight leading trade, technology, research, and professional bodies in engineering services that will deliver a

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single, consolidated voice for the sector. As an agent for positive change, Actuate UK will support the delivery of a safer, more productive, and sustainable UK built environment and, together with others in the industry, the UK Government and the Devolved Nations, will play a key role in essential national initiatives.

The Covid-19 recovery is already having a positive impact on electrician salaries, according to Hudson Contracts. Despite the UK still being under a strict lockdown caused by a second wave in Covid-19 infections, earnings for electricians supposedly shot up by a whopping 12.7% in February. In fact, electrical contractors saw their weekly pay rise to £1,088, the highest level since November and reversing the 10.4% decline seen in January.

Gossage Gossip Conflicts of Interest

A steely dilemma

Waste not. Want not at all

Some of my devoted readers have sent me copies of a column I published back in 2017. In it, I predicted that the official Climate Change Committee might one day find its latest board member, one Dr Rebecca Heaton, rather an embarrassment. This is because her daytime job was, and is, as head of policy for the power company, Drax. The company is one of the world’s largest producers of biomass and is very reliant upon Government subsidies. Its website makes plain that expanding such activities will require a positive ‘investment framework’ from the Government.

In my most recent column, I challenged those who have condemned Cumbria County Council for backing a new coal mine, which would provide coking coal for steelmakers. There is no other way to run steel plants except with this fuel, so how else is steel to be made, I asked?

Nuclear waste has been an intractable problem ever since nuclear power was developed over 60 years ago. It has become a very expensive and politically embarrassing issue all around the world.

Throughout Dr Heaton’s involvement with the Committee, it has issued ever stronger pleas for Government support for biomass electricity. Such enthusiasm has motivated John (now Lord) Randall (who as a Conservative MP was a personal environment advisor to former PM Theresa May) to invite the National Audit Office to probe Dr Heaton’s potential conflict of interest. “Given the significant commercial interests of her employer, Drax, in the policies on which the Committee is advising the Government, I believe there may be a real or perceived conflict between her role with Drax and her ability to offer impartial advice on such policies,” argued the noble Lord. He feared that her dual roles allowed Drax to gain, “an unfair commercial advantage through the influence its employee may be having upon the advice and formulation of policy in an area in which Drax operates.” Precisely the complaint that I warned four years ago would end up being enunciated. Although I must admit I didn’t forecast that the fuss would be stimulated by such a Very Important Person.

I received a vociferous response, informing me that I was wildly out of date about steelmaking. Arcelor-Mittal is Europe’s biggest steelmaker, and it already has a fully operational site in Hamburg which is able to make new steel using electric arc furnaces, which can be fuelled by non-fossil fuels, and thus deemed to be deeply eco-friendly — unlike coal mines. Apparently, China, where over half the world’s steel is now made, has just adopted a five-year plan to minimise the use of coking coal, and to depend upon electric arc furnaces to keep the furnaces burning. Similar investments are happening in South Korea and in Japan. I stand corrected. There are obviously viable ways to make steel other than with coking coal. I have thought again, and withdrawn my tacit support for the new coal mine. And obviously so too should Cumbria County Council.

And so to bed? Chancellor Sunak’s Budget announcement that the UK no longer requires any formal ‘industrial strategy’ mandates an imminent name change at the relevant Government Department, BEIS. The current initials stand for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy. Excising the last two initials from BEIS presents a significant naming dilemma. It can’t just be BE. Because it would always extend to, ‘or not to BE’. Should the department be known as the DBE? But that would simply confuse it with those distinguished women promoted to be Dames of the British Empire. So why not make it the Business and Energy Department? At least its initials would make perennial jokes about falling asleep on the job thoroughly apposite.

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Not that the Johnson Government would admit this. Many in it still argue that nuclear power is the answer to climate change, conveniently forgetting that they are passing the waste buck onto future generations. To those in power, the solution to the waste problem is always just around the corner, to be resolved just beyond their term of office. But the history of nuclear over the last six decades, across the globe, is of dozens of failed schemes. Currently the UK is undertaking its sixth search in 42 years for a nuclear waste dump site. Yet again wrestling with the problem of years of public consultations, planning inquiries and geological investigations, only to be finally rejected, even as scientists warn that continued neglect of the issue is placing citizens in increasing danger. The problem is that civil nuclear industries, especially when, as in Britain, they are combined with a weapons programme, produce plutonium and other by-products in spent fuel that take as long as 100,000 years to decay. International law requires the country that produced the waste to dispose of it within its own boundaries. Identifying somewhere to put this waste, where they could be safe for that length of time, requires stable geological formations that are very hard to find anywhere. One favoured site, at Sellafield in Cumbria, next to the country’s two vast reprocessing facilities, was rejected on geological grounds – the rock it was to be built into has far too many cracks to keep the waste from leaching into the water supply. So, the Government is still struggling to find a community somewhere in Britain willing to take the waste, in return for a very large bribe in the form of cash to develop schools, roads, industries and anything else that takes their fancy. Just as long as they host the nation’s nuclear waste for the next 100,000 years. It remains to be seen whether there Caption goes here will ever be any takers.


A new tool for averting failures in HV and MV systems UHF partial discharge detection is a new technology with a lot to offer in terms of capability, convenience and cost. It is quick and easy to apply, it can be used to survey HV and MV plants without taking them out of service, and it can discriminate between conditions that are dangerous and those that are less serious. Hein Putter of Megger explains.

ailures in the HV and MV transmission and distribution networks frequently have costly and disruptive consequences. For instance, a recent phase-to-ground fault in the termination of a 380 kV cable at a GIS installation caused so much damage that it was 10 months before the cable could be returned to service. And in another instance, a network fault resulted in loss of power to most of the city of Munich. Up to 450,000 people were affected, with the failure of traffic signals and other services creating conditions akin to chaos. Thankfully, events like these don’t happen every day, but they are far from uncommon and as the power infrastructure in the developed world ages, they are becoming more frequent. This is a major concern for power utilities, who go to considerable lengths to monitor plants and detect incipient faults so that they can be addressed before they cause major failures and supply outages. This is no easy task, for two principal reasons. The first is that it is very difficult – often virtually impossible – to take equipment out of service for routine testing, and the second is that electrical noise levels around HV and MV installations are invariably high, which makes many test techniques difficult or even impossible to use. There is, however, a new technique that overcomes both of these problems: UHF partial discharge (PD) detection. The basis of this technique is using a specially designed UHF receiver to detect emissions produced by PD, concentrating on frequencies above 300 MHz. The use of these high frequencies has important benefits, the first being that above 300 MHz electrical noise levels in substations are much lower. The second is that emissions above 300 MHz are characteristic of internal PD, which may point to an impending failure, whereas emissions below 300 MHz are typically indicative of corona or surface PD, which is usually less of a concern. Corona and surface PD typically generate pulses in the nanosecond range, which produces an RF spectrum extending up to no more than 300 MHz. In contrast, internal PD, which is particularly hazardous for the future ‘health’ of the equipment under test, produces much faster pulses in the picosecond range. The fast pulses have a frequency spectrum with components up to at least 1 GHz and often much higher. In addition to having the ability to discriminate between dangerous and less serious conditions, UHF PD testing has two other important benefits. The first is that no connection needs to be made to the equip-


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ment under test – the detector works by receiving radiated emissions. The second is that testing is carried out with the equipment under test energised, so the inconvenience and high costs associated with taking equipment out of service are eliminated. UHF PD testing is useful in a very wide range of applications, including checking HV terminations, evaluating the condition of HV components, such as potential transformers, current transformers and surge arrestors, and monitoring power transformers. This form of testing is also a valuable aid when carrying out maintenance work on HV and MV switchgear, not least as a final check to show that the work has been completed correctly and safely.

A recent phase-to-ground fault in the termination of a 380 kV cable at a GIS installation caused so much damage that it was 10 months before the cable could be returned to service The latest UHF PD detectors, such as those in the new UHF PDD range from Megger, are very versatile instruments. They offer a choice of antennas, and can also be used in conjunction with UHF termination, TEV and HFCT sensors, as well as with sensors that are permanently installed on HV and MV equipment as an aid to routine monitoring. The best detectors also make provision for analysing PD signals at frequencies below 300 MHz, for power frequency synchronisation, and for listening to demodulated PD signals using stereo headphones. When used with a dipole antenna, UHF PD detectors are ideal for carrying out quick surveys on HV and MV plants. An antenna of this type can be used either as a separate handheld device connected to the instrument via a cable, or directly mounted on the instrument. It is directional, which can make it easier to locate the source of any emissions detected. An alternative is a ‘rubber duck’ type antenna, which covers similar applications, but is sometimes more convenient because of its smaller size. It is, however, non-directional and is always mounted directly on the instrument.


The latest UHF PD detectors are small, easy to carry devices that can operate either from internal batteries or from a mains supply

The most sensitive method of detecting UHF PD is with a permanently installed sensor, although this approach requires preplanning and does not therefore lend itself to ad-hoc PD surveys. A typical sensor will be UV resistant and will have an IP67 ingress protection rating, as well as a wide operating temperature range, making it suitable for use indoors or outdoors. It will be maintenance free, and will comply with IEC 60229. Sensors of this type are readily available for use on systems up to 500 kV. In practice, UHF PD measurements are best carried out in three steps: spectrum analysis, to determine the frequencies of interest for further measurement; time domain measurement for PRPD pattern recognition, to help distinguish between true PD and noise; and level measurement, to localise the PD source and to determine how stable the discharge is over time. The last step is only needed if the first two steps show that PD activity is present. The results obtained will, of course, vary according to the application and the type of defect – if any – that’s present. In one recent case, PD activity was detected but was producing emissions with frequency content only up to around 300 MHz. PRPD pattern analysis, with the detector synchronised to power frequency, showed that maximum PD activity coincided with the voltage peaks. These results are indicative of corona discharge and this diagnosis was ultimately confirmed.

In another instance, the spectral distribution of the PD emissions covered a wide frequency range and extended into the gigahertz region. PRPD pattern analysis showed that in this case, the maximum PD activity coincided not with the peak voltage, but with the maximum rate of change of voltage. These results are consistent with an internal fault, and this was confirmed when a small void was found in the insulation of the test specimen. The latest UHF PD detectors are small, easy to carry devices that can operate either from internal batteries or from a mains supply. They offer a range of power frequency synchronisation options via direct or wireless connections. The best types have two UHF input channels to facilitate comparisons of sensors and sources, and incorporate intuitive touchscreen operation. These detectors are easy and convenient to use, they promote safety as no connections to the equipment under test are needed, and they also eliminate the need for equipment to be taken out of service for testing. Finally, it’s worth noting UHF PD detectors represent only a very modest investment but for utility companies and other organisations that operate power networks, if such a detector averts even a single failure, it will undoubtedly deliver savings that are orders of magnitude greater than its cost.

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Powering a green recovery The Covid-19 pandemic has brought devastating consequences for the economy and public, with people being forced to adapt to the ‘new normal’ and reduce their activities to prevent the spread of the virus. This meant a slowdown for the economy with negative consequences for producers and manufacturers, rushing governments to rethink their policies and combine economic recovery with sustainable measures. Here, Steve Hughes, managing director of power quality specialist REO UK, analyses how green recovery strategies could benefit the manufacturing sector. or all the negatives caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, it has brought benefits for one particular area: the environment. The pandemic is expected to cause the highest reduction in annual CO2 emissions ever recorded, according to a piece by Carbon Brief. In 2008, the world witnessed a similar scenario caused by the financial crisis, when CO2 emissions dropped significantly on the backdrop of economic slowdown. Nevertheless, soon after the crisis, the figures exceeded pre-crash levels. 12 years later, the world is at a momentous juncture that could introduce a new economic model that is sustainable by design. At the core of the initiatives for a green recovery, there are the plans for green energy and efficient electrical infrastructure. Proposals for a green recovery vary from country to country, with some governments pledging great amounts of money or others taking more proactive steps. In the UK, apart from the £73.5 million that the government plans to invest in the automotive sector alone, there is also a joint action by thinktanks and scientists to implement a new Green Recovery Act with a legal basis. The new act would replace the Climate Change Act of 2008 and have a more radical standing. The aim of it is to systematically change economic and political institutions, and to envision a greener system.


The financial challenges that Covid-19 has generated so far could be lessened with a second wave of green strategies Green transport Transport is an essential sector, with the least decrease in carbon emissions since 1990, according to a report put forward by the Common Wealth thinktank. Another policy paper by HM Treasury argues that road transport is responsible for 91% of domestic transport emissions and approximately 20% of overall UK emissions. The new plans for greener transport include reducing the taxes on zero emissions vehicles, providing £532 million for consumer incentives for ultra-low emission vehicles, and investing in electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Such strategies could significantly reduce carbon emissions and

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improve overall air quality. According to Auto Adviser, the number of hybrid and other ultra-low emission cars registered in the UK rose by 22.6% in the second half of 2020 compared to the same period last year. A green recovery in the transport sector could increase the figures even more, and for a longer period. For manufacturers in the UK this is a stepping stone towards changing the industry and developing more environmentally-friendly vehicles. Electric vehicles are generally more efficient and sustainable than conventional motors and have a significantly lower dead weight compared to their power output.

for all and avoid sanctions stipulated in the Act. However, renewable energy generation is still an area that poses some technical challenges in terms of how the generated power is re-integrated into the main electrical network. The high-frequency electrical noise produced at the intersection between the renewable power source and the mains grid can give rise to a wealth of power quality issues, ranging from harmonic currents to electromagnetic interference (EMI). Each issue can damage components in the renewable application itself and affect network quality, increasing the risk of power failures.

Renewable energy However, electric transport infrastructure will not be possible without an upgraded, smart and flexible grid, as well as a huge increase in renewable energy generation. In 2018, only 33% of UK electricity was renewable, according to the Green Recovery Act, despite being the cheapest form of energy. The price of this energy will only continue to decrease relative to conventional, non-green energy sources in the coming years. The UK also has the largest installed capacity of offshore wind in the world, with around 10 GW in operation off its coasts. According to an article from The Guardian, renewable energy is not only necessary for achieving the UK’s legally-binding obligations towards a reduction in carbon emissions, but it could also be the answer to economic recovery after Covid-19, with a predicted generation of almost $100 trillion (£80 trillion) in GDP gains between now and 2050. Section 20 of the Green Recovery Act emphasises the elimination of oil, coal and gas as soon as technologically practicable, which aims to switch from fossil fuel energy in a profitable and logical manner. The Act also bans advertising and promotion of fossil fuels to detract the public from relying on such energy. Finally, the Act introduces an obligation to inform the public on climate change developments in weather reporting. These steps, together with sufficient and engaged investments from government bodies could motivate energy suppliers to make the change towards renewables once and

At the core of the initiatives for a green recovery, there are the plans for green energy and efficient electrical infrastructure For electrical engineers working on renewable energy applications, the solution is to find an effective way of attenuating the high frequency noise and filtering it from the network signal. This involves the use of a mains filter to suppress erroneous frequencies. In the renewable application itself, high quality electrical chokes and filters can be integrated to mitigate the harmful effects of high-frequency energy and extend the service life of the application. After the crisis in 2008, the green economy contributed a third of the UK’s economic growth in 2010-11, according to The Guardian. The financial challenges that Covid-19 has generated so far could be lessened with a second wave of green strategies. We have the solution and the policies at hand, we only need a clear implementation. The momentum generated by the pandemic should not be wasted and instead public engagement and government reforms should persist as to create a sustainable future for the generations to come.

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Powering the switch to solar Clive Jones, managing director of heat transfer fluid specialist for concentrated solar power thermal storage applications, Global Heat Transfer, explains how solar plant managers can extend the lifespan of their solar technology. ccording to Solar Power Portal, during 2019 and 2020, planners identified more than 10GW of new solar power site capacity in the UK. Solar farms will allow the UK to generate and supply large amounts of affordable, renewable energy to the grid. However, reaping the full benefits of this energy source requires engineers to proactively monitor and maintain the system and the thermal fluid that transports and stores energy. In recent years, solar power has become a low-cost energy because


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research has reduced manufacturing, maintenance and installation costs. Despite the cloudy days we have in the UK, solar is still a practical investment option. There are many solar farms appearing across the country, including a 350MW solar farm that has been approved for construction on the North Kent coast. Concentrated solar power (CSP) farms collect sunlight by reflecting it onto a receiver that contains heat transfer fluid (HTF). HTF is heated by the sun and used to turn water into steam to drive a turbine


and generate electricity. Thermal oils can easily store the sunlight’s energy to allow constant power, irrespective of the type of weather. There are four different types of CSP — parabolic trough, solar power towers, dish systems and Linear Fresnel reflectors. Choosing a thermal fluid Heat transfer fluids in a CSP should be specifically designed to perform at the correct temperature for extended periods of time. A parabolic trough includes hundreds of mirrors that reflect the sunlight into one concentrated point. This point can reach temperatures of over 400°C for extended periods of time. If the fluid cannot withstand this, the rate of thermal cracking is increased and the fluid’s lifespan is reduced. Converting thermal energy to electricity is more efficient at high temperatures, so the HTFs must tolerate these scorching conditions.

Thermal oils can easily store the sunlight’s energy to allow constant power, irrespective of the type of weather The opposite issue can occur with cold temperatures, so engineers should select a fluid that is able to operate at low temperatures without freezing. Solar plant managers should ensure the fluid has a freezing temperature lower than their ambient condition. One good solution is a eutectic mixture of diphenyl oxide and biphenyl. This HTF can perform in vapour and liquid phases, so it is thermally stable at high temperatures and has a low viscosity, reducing friction and the amount of energy used to pump it round the system. In solar applications, synthetic oils are common, but some applications may require the use of mineral-based oils, which operate at similar temperatures to the common synthetic oils. Some farms that experience extreme temperatures may use a molten salt heat transfer media that can withstand temperatures of up to 600°C. However, the high freezing point of 120-220°C means that the fluid requires anti-freeze methods, increasing operation and maintenance costs. Monitoring the solar technology Considering the location, size and application requirements of the solar farm is only the first part of the journey. If well maintained and serviced by fluid monitoring solutions, solar panels can last for 25 to 30 years. External damages, such as a cracked component, are easy to spot, but the same cannot be said about thermal fluid management. Once a thermal fluid enters the system, the manufacturer can no longer see its condition, so while the system seems to be operating effectively, the fluid’s condition may be deteriorating. Heat transfer fluids operate at high temperatures for extended periods of time, causing the thermal fluid to degrade over time by a process called thermal cracking. Thermal cracking occurs when bonds in the hydrocarbon chains break, producing shorter chained light ends

that can boil and ignite at lower temperatures, which reduces the flash point of the thermal fluid. When light ends are generated, both system and workforce safety are severely compromised. Regular sampling and analysis can help engineers to monitor the flash point temperature – if the temperature has dropped it is highly likely that there are light ends contained in the fluid. Engineers can improve flash point management by installing a light-ends removal kit that will remove volatile light ends, ensuring a more cost effective, clean and safe heat transfer system. Cracking also creates carbon that leads to fouling – the formation of sludge that reduces the efficiency of the system. The sludge builds up and ultimately causes the system to be flushed, drained and the fluid replaced to maintain high levels of efficiency and safety. Unfortunately, this maintenance and flushing can be an expensive and time-consuming process, especially if it is unexpected. Degradation will vary depending on the application, so regular testing is the best way to maximise fluid lifespan. Technicians can accurately monitor fluid condition by taking regular samples from a hot, circulating system and sending it to the laboratory for analysis. Solar plant managers can easily monitor the test results to make sure their system is working at an efficient rate and not impacting energy generation. Regular testing can allow solar power managers to carry out proactive maintenance to extend the lifespan of the fluid, while decreasing downtime and the frequency of the fluid being replaced. Consider this example, a test tells the manager that the HTF has a decreased flash point. An engineer could use a light ends removal kit to remove the volatile light ends, reducing the risk of overheating and fire. Working with a thermal fluid specialist to implement a thermal fluid lifecycle maintenance plan allows plant managers to closely monitor fluid lifespan and receive support in sampling, analysis and maintenance.

Once a thermal fluid enters the system, the manufacturer can no longer see its condition, so while the system seems to be operating effectively, the fluid’s condition may be deteriorating Larger solar plants are often located in remote, isolated areas, so it might be more difficult for third parties to regularly visit the site to offer engineering support. By installing a remote condition monitoring system, plant managers can continually monitor fluid conditions, sharing real-time data with the cloud that engineers can access from any location. Engineers will be alerted if the system detects any potential issues that could impact productivity, enabling them to act quickly and offer remote support or plan a visit to the site. As the solar power industry continues to expand in 2021, the demand on HTF will rise. Once the solar farm is set up, HTFs must be regularly monitored, tested and maintained to get the most out of the initial investment.

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Manufacturers: Are you ready to join the big data revolution? Data can transform manufacturing – a term that has continued to prompt discussions within the industry. People have been saying it for years now, and there is plenty of empirical evidence that data is the way forward in business generally, and manufacturing in particular. Here, Eric Stoop, CEO at Ease Inc, explores harnessing the power of data to drive better plant performance. ight now, when people talk about data, they often mean either data analytics or automation using artificial intelligence (AI) – a technology that is ‘fed’ with data. Often, these discussions focus on marketing and the customer experience, or on cutting business costs through the automation of specific processes. All of these things are important, and many of them can be useful to manufacturing businesses, but they don’t entirely represent the potential of data in manufacturing. What is more, it has become very easy to lose track of the human element, amidst talk of crunching numbers and automation. But most plants still rely heavily on human behaviour, and on processes undertaken by people. If these are not done correctly, the business will become inefficient, at best, and catastrophically dysfunctional or dangerous, at worst. That’s why manufacturers have to document their regulatory compliance, and track and audit their numerous processes frequently. These actions keep everyone in the plant safe, make the business efficient, maintain quality and optimise outcomes for all concerned. The Covid-19 pandemic, for example, is a thoroughly human crisis that is also having massive economic effects and a huge impact on business processes. Many countries have put restrictions in place and manufacturers have had to change working processes to comply. Now that many countries are in a recovery phase, audits are giving those manufacturers crucial data about how their people are complying (or not) with the new requirements, and the effects these changes are having on efficiency and thus, business performance. Evidence is now emerging that shows how those audits are helping to drive economic recovery in various parts of the world. If these sound like common sense steps to manufacturing efficiency, that’s because they are. Common sense has not been replaced by data. Although, by leveraging data, manufacturers can make their audit, quality management, process management oversight and regulatory compliance vastly more efficient and, consequently, respond with greater precision and effect. Manufacturers can also use data tech to make their auditing more effective and focused, and to remind staff members to complete auditing processes promptly and comprehensively. And that is how


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manufacturing data can really have an impact on the bottom line – especially in tough times. Using data to drive plant quality and efficiency Manufacturing has, in many parts of the world, a reputation for being slow to adopt new technologies. There can be many reasons for this, but many cite a resistance to change, lack of funding and the challenge of integrating new applications with legacy plant equipment. While all of these barriers are understandable, it is actually pretty easy for manufacturers to make data work for them on the plant floor. For example, you can use layered process audit software to schedule plant audits for months ahead, conduct audits using everyday mobile devices (even without an internet connection), deliver reports automatically (making regulatory compliance documentation much easier) and feed into a dashboard that aggregates data and provides a deep-dive intelligence into the entire workforce’s activity.

Most plants still rely heavily on human behaviour, and on processes undertaken by people. If these are not done correctly, the business will become inefficient, at best, and catastrophically dysfunctional or dangerous, at worst In other words, the software will enable manufacturers to generate and visualise the ‘holy grail’ big data so beloved of industry commentators, and that insight enables the streamlining of processes, training, recruitment and management, to drive up efficiency and profit. As an example, an automotive manufacturer will use data, generated from layered process audits on the plant floor, to quickly identify systemic problems hidden across a plant or even multiple plants. They achieve this through a combination of question randomisation, focus questions and question tagging – none of which would be achievable


with non-digital process audits. This strategy allows the manufacturer to immediately assess whether a nonconformance is a one-off incident or a systemic problem. Even better, if that data is migrated to the cloud, the data is then visible to everybody who needs to see it, whenever they need to see it, from any location. This is perfectly possible, even if the data is highly sensitive, and it has two prime effects. Firstly, a cloud-based dashboard makes the data visible all of the time, to whoever needs to see it. Secondly, it makes staff members accountable to each other because it clarifies exactly who has (and who hasn’t) done what.

By leveraging data, manufacturers can make their audit, quality management, process management oversight and regulatory compliance vastly more efficient and, consequently, respond with greater precision and effect This is a giant leap forward from the traditional, paper-based and manual approach to process management and audits. When scheduling, aggregating and visualising the audit information using quality software, manufacturers can very quickly identify – and thus, fix – shortcomings, risk and waste. When these are fixed, product quality is improved and resources made available, which can then be used to make more products. Over time, this becomes an iterative process and for manufacturers, the benefits really start to stack up. Not only improving product quality, reducing waste and scrappage, freeing up capacity to grow new product lines and general productivity, but also building an enviable reputation for quality. Manufacturing data without barriers The barriers to technology adoption or upgrade within manufacturing plants are well known, and in many cases, not unreasonable. It costs money and downtime to upgrade manufacturing equipment and infrastructure, and there is a lack of appropriately skilled personnel, in many places. However, there are ways in which data can make a major difference to plant efficiency, without causing the manufacturer major upheaval. By automating appropriate business areas – like process audits – and using that to generate valuable business intelligence, manufacturers can quickly and easily join the big data revolution, and gain just as much benefit from it as other sectors do.

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In a Covid world, what’s next for pharmaceutical manufacturing? Giuseppe Menin, industry manager for Pharmaceuticals at COPA-DATA, and member of the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE) 4.0 Plug & Produce working group, explains why the pharmaceutical industry is shifting from a systems-oriented architecture to service-oriented.

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s Covid-19 was declared a pandemic in March 2020, the pharmaceutical sector needed to adapt – and fast. Within a matter of months, there were over 1,000 clinical trials ongoing and 167 vaccine projects were underway by the end of August. The pharmaceutical industry takes action fast, but the industry’s manufacturing realm has not always kept pace. Pharmaceutical’s plant architecture has remained relatively unchanged in the last few decades. Regardless of the rapid rate of development in drugs and medicine, pharmaceutical manufacturing sites typically operate with legacy equipment and use traditional automation architectures. Often, this architecture uses separate levels of automation for different types of systems. Whether that’s business applications like enterprise resource planning (ERP) or product lifecycle management (PLM), or MES or processing monitoring applications, like SCADA software. Typically, these systems will operate in their own silos. However, it doesn’t need to be this way.


Pharma architectures With complex regulatory requirements, the pharmaceutical industry is certainly more risk-averse than other sectors – hence the hesitation to deploy new technologies and shift from the status quo. However, while traditional automation architecture may be tried-and-tested, it simply isn’t optimal for the modern pharmaceutical industry. Let’s say a plant operative wants to remove potential wastages from production. This could be related to energy, ingredient or mechanical waste. To determine areas in which waste is occurring, the operative would need to extract subsets of data from different systems, such as the manufacturing execution system (MES), Laboratory Instruments Management System (LIMS), ERP and SCADA.

With complex regulatory requirements, the pharmaceutical industry is certainly more risk-averse than other sectors – hence the hesitation to deploy new technologies and shift from the status quo To determine where waste is occurring, an operator would need to take multiple steps between laboratories, production and enterprise space to gather all of this information. Typically, an engineer wouldn’t be familiar with all of these areas – production engineers, for instance, aren’t expected to understand datasets from a laboratory and vice versa. In an ideal world this data would be integrated into a harmonised interface, providing the operative with a ready-made method to spot areas of waste. What’s more, this should ideally be visualised in a way that anyone could understand. Whether that person works in engineering, product development, purchasing or even the administration side of the business. There are already technologies that enable some integration for phar-

maceutical manufacturers, but this rarely offers the flexibility outlined above. Instead, these might be suited for factory floor workers only, or just for enterprise staff. In truth, the industry needs a shift from this architecture type and a move to a services-oriented structure where integration is the rule, not the exception.

As the pandemic has demonstrated, the pharmaceutical industry moves fast, and the technologies used in pharmaceutical manufacturing should be advancing too. The ISPE Pharma 4.0 initiative is working to ensure this happens What is service-oriented architecture? A service-oriented architecture describes a plant that operates as a grid of modular micro services – all of which can integrate with each other when necessary. Consider it like making a meal in a kitchen. While you may know exactly where to find your ingredients and equipment, the process of collecting these items from separate areas of the kitchen is far more long winded than having access to a pre-laid buffet. Much like our aforementioned waste identification example. By choosing a buffet of data, as enabled by the service-oriented approach, pharmaceutical manufacturers can reap considerable benefits. The model allows for more flexibility, by enabling the quick assembly and disassembly of systems in the architecture. It also enables better scalability than previous models by ensuring that the data can be reorganised and presented in a way that’s beneficial to whoever is looking at it. Returning to our earlier example, an operator wouldn’t need to visit the laboratory, offices and production space to collect data. Instead, the data can be distributed in various services and accessed from a single interface. Importantly for the pharmaceutical industry, this model also ensures that all actions are compliant with the relevant regulations. This way, our operator’s actions to reduce waste won’t have a detrimental impact on the products compliance against certain standards. This element couldn’t be more crucial for the pharmaceutical industry. As the sector has spent much of the last year advancing the fast development of a vaccine, ensuring production is compliant with the necessary regulations – while reducing inefficiencies and wastages – has been crucial. As the pandemic has demonstrated, the pharmaceutical industry moves fast, and the technologies used in pharmaceutical manufacturing should be advancing too. The ISPE Pharma 4.0 initiative is working to ensure this happens. The group is designing new architectures to accompany the pharmaceutical sector towards more flexible, interoperable and sustainable production. Pharmaceutical manufacturers must embrace a paradigm shift in how automation architectures are traditionally constructed to keep pace with the industry’s product development, moving away from a system-oriented world into a services-oriented architecture.

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Battery to be safe than sorry James Mountain, sales and marketing director at Fire Shield Systems Ltd, explores the myriad of fire risks associated with batteries and power storage facilities, explaining how businesses can best safeguard their people and their assets. he UK’s sustained rise in consumer eco-consciousness is seeing an increased reliance on batteries and power electrics to fuel industrial vehicles and machinery. However, this high risk power source brings about a whole new set of fire risks and considerations for businesses. Recent fires, such as that at a battery storage plant in Liverpool, highlight the prevalence of the new risks brought about by batteries and power electrics. So, with the use of batteries only set to increase, how can you mitigate their associated fire risks?


Legislation – what are your responsibilities? Businesses have a clear responsibility to ensure the safety of their teams. In premises storing batteries or other flammable products, having appropriate control measures in place to mitigate risks is paramount.

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Various regulations apply to these situations, including the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (2005) and the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (2002), and these can offer a strong foundation for any risk mitigation strategy. The Fire Safety Order (2005) requires businesses to ensure regular risk assessments are carried out to highlight any new or evolving safety risks on site. The findings of these assessments should drive the creation or adaptation of a fire safety management strategy, which highlights each of the practical control measures designed to mitigate risks. When it comes to batteries and power electrics, these measures should guide how you design battery storage areas or install large capacity battery charging points, for example. For some facilities, depending on the nature of their uses, it may also be necessary to conduct an assessment to ensure compliance with the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (2002).


Battery fire risks The use and storage of batteries have a number of associated fire risks, including: Thermal runaway Thermal runaway is the term used to describe the state of a battery rising in temperature and enabling excessive heat to generate more heat, further increasing its temperature. This can arise as a result of internal battery cell failures, mechanical defects or overvoltage. Thermal runaway can see the battery reach dangerously high temperatures, gas build-up or even explosions. In this state, once ignited, a fire can become self-sustained, as the affected battery is able to produce its own source of oxygen to propel the fire. If not managed quickly and efficiently, thermal runaway can spread between battery cells, increasing the danger it poses. Toxic emissions Toxic gas emissions are a common by-product of a battery entering thermal runaway. Batteries in this state can release a range of harmful gases, one common gas being carbon monoxide (CO). Difficult to control Battery fires can be extremely challenging to control and extinguish. For any suppression system addressing battery risks, the primary aim should be to prevent thermal runaway, or, where this is not possible, to delay propagation to enable safe evacuation of the site. Different types of batteries can react differently when ignited, so it’s essential that you understand the potential reactions and put measures in place to mitigate these.

is crucial. This can be done through the use of fire resistant walls and doors. This will ensure that any fire would be contained for a period of time, allowing for safe evacuation of teams and minimising the risk of further equipment loss or damage. Installing an on-site ventilation system A good ventilation system can help to quickly filter out any potentially toxic fumes released by batteries, minimising the safety risk to teams. Protecting cables and ducts Cabling, heating, ventilation and air conditioning ducts should all be sealed with fire resistant covers and fire dampers to protect them from damage, should a fire break out or an alarm become activated. Installing a fire detection and suppression system Your fire suppression solution should be designed to address your site’s individual risks. A fire risk assessment can help you to identify these. Should your facility regularly store batteries, your suppression system should specifically account for this, as battery fires are not typically covered using a traditional fire suppression solution.

If an individual battery malfunctions, it can quickly cascade to any surrounding battery, which can lead to a large scale fire. Transportation

Failure of control systems If a Battery Management System (BMS) failure occurs, it can cause the battery to overcharge and lose its ability to examine its operating condition (such as the temperature or cell voltage).

Transportation of batteries Batteries are extremely fragile and susceptible to mechanical damage if not handled correctly. Any battery damage can result in malfunction and overheating when in use, which, in turn, can lead to increased fire risk.

Sensitivity to electrical transients and mechanical damage Lithium-ion batteries are extremely sensitive to any form of mechanical damage or electrical surges. This can cause the battery to internally short-circuit, resulting in overheating, fire and potential explosions. If an individual battery malfunctions, it can quickly cascade to any surrounding battery, which can lead to a large scale fire.

Electric vehicles Alongside transporting batteries, where batteries are used as the primary power source for vehicles and machinery, additional measures need to be taken to ensure safety. Traditional vehicle suppression solutions will only go so far in preventing fires for electric and hybrid electric vehicles, as the risks are so different.

Reducing the risks


When planning to mitigate the fire risks associated with batteries, it’s essential to ensure your controls cover three different elements: storage, transportation and maintenance.

Regular BMS maintenance The battery management system – the system which manages a rechargeable battery – should be maintained on a regular basis to identify any issues which could potentially lead to malfunction, overcharging or overheating.

Storage Batteries in storage pose significant fire risks, so where they’re stored for extended periods of time, it is essential that measures are put in place to ensure safety. Depending on your individual premises, these may include: Separating batteries from critical business areas Keeping batteries away from essential equipment and business zones

Planning for perfect protection Any fire management strategy should be governed by a clear plan, which should be shared with every team member, to ensure they understand the controls in place and how they operate. With batteries more prevalent than ever before, it’s imperative that you know how to handle their risks before disaster strikes.

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Change fit for the future With a host of new legislation in place, big changes are coming to the fire safety industry. Here James King, connected homes director at FireAngel, explores what opportunities these changes present for the electrical sector. He will also explain how the use of IoT and AI technologies to create adaptable networks that can be continuously upgraded will help ensure compliance, as well as meet the needs of each individual resident. he release of the Draft Building Safety Bill and the recent formation of the National Construction Products Regulator have presented significant modifications to industry competence, not only through the proposal of key updates to existing building safety legislation, but through a substantial shift in approach that places resident safety and building suitability at the centre of all design, construction and maintenance processes. As the government’s legislative response to Dame Judith Hackitt’s review of the building industry and its actions following the Grenfell Tower fire, the draft bill contains provisions intended to secure the safety of all individuals by achieving a definitive and consistent improvement in the standard of building. In order for the sector to adopt this significant shift in methodology, the draft bill places building information that is transparent and accessible throughout the entire lifecycle of the building as its central mechanism. The creation and distribution of this data is set to generate a new era of accountability for the industry by ensuring all construction professionals consider the safety of individuals throughout every stage of their work, and that any potential risks have, and continue to be, successfully managed. For electrical contractors and engineers supporting clients in the social housing sector, there is an opportunity to put these recommendations into practice, without waiting for legal changes to come into force. By taking an alternative approach, not only with regard to the types of technologies installed, but the deciding factors when procuring and installing these solutions, professionals can confidently ensure ongoing building suitability and safety.


Taking the digital route Connected smoke, heat and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms that facilitate the wireless transmission of data are providing electrical contractors with a cost-effective and efficient method of obtaining and managing building information across an entire housing portfolio. As data from every device in every room throughout each property can be communicated in real time to a cloud-based gateway, they can obtain a desktop overview of the current status of every property, combined with each resident’s individual level of risk. By utilising Smart RF technology, multiple mains-powered and battery-powered devices can be wirelessly interlinked onto a secure private network by adding a Smart RF radio module into each alarm. This is particularly useful for projects where hardwiring isn’t feasible, as the

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network can be extended wirelessly, whilst also offering the opportunity for additional safety products to be added to the system at a later date. Through the activation of a connected cloud-based gateway, data regarding the status of every device can be wirelessly transmitted, creating a continuous stream of building information, including diagnostics, device history, replacement dates and network health. This remote real-time monitoring provides a comprehensive overview of the potential fire risk each property currently presents, allowing any changes to be immediately analysed and acted upon. The flexible nature of the technology also enables contractors to tailor the fire safety provision to successfully meet unique requirements, such as the installation of additional devices. This ensures the principles of the draft bill are followed, as the needs of each individual and the overall quality of build is consistently managed and met. Whilst offering increased reactive capabilities, the digital data also supports improved preventative processes, as engineers and maintenance teams can run silent testing of every alarm across an entire network remotely. All of this information is then logged digitally, providing a trail of due diligence that can be instantly referred to, whenever required.


Intelligent installation As these technologies support the long-term capture and distribution of key information to document constant compliance and ensure resident safety, they also support electrical professionals in completely revolutionising the installation and commissioning stages. Engineers can now support a single thread of data, obtained in a single visit, by utilising these technologies to document and evidence the completion of all necessary phases. This is due to the system’s ability to instantly log all information via the wireless network. For example, when installing each device in every room, the contractor validates the install by taking a photograph of each completed installation. These images are then wirelessly uploaded onto the centralised platform to generate immediate sign off, subsequently producing a certification of fire legislative compliance, in accordance with BS 5839-6. This intelligent process of confirmation eradicates any requirement for paper-based data capture, ensuring each installation has been adequately assessed for competence and validated to ensure the maximum levels of detection have been achieved, completely revolutionising approaches to documentation and verification. By also installing devices that already adhere to a Category LD1 Specification, rather than waiting for legislative updates to be enforced,

professionals can ensure duty of care is successfully fulfilled, whilst simultaneously futureproofing an entire housing portfolio. This longterm approach to building safety and suitability not only reflects the very principles outlined within the draft bill, but supports a cost-effective and efficient methodology regarding long-term fire safety.

The draft bill contains provisions intended to secure the safety of all individuals by achieving a definitive and consistent improvement in the standard of building As the draft bill aims to improve culture, competence and compliance throughout the industry, electrical professionals have the opportunity to completely transform the expectations of upcoming installations by utilising IoT and AI technologies to pioneer a new approach to installation and management that achieves compliance, ensuring resident safety and ultimately futureproofing a building for its entire lifecycle.

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Get the right light Anthony Martindale, field product manager, lighting at Eaton, explores the different emergency lighting solutions available to businesses and how to go about choosing the right one.

ighly populated and complex buildings are some of the most high-risk environments in today’s urban world. The challenge is multiplied when visitors are not familiar with the layout or safety procedures, and our stadia, hospitals and education facilities present some of the most pertinent examples of mazy buildings with a large number of occupants that could be subject to risk. In such buildings, emergency lighting can be a critical lifeline in the event of an incident, and understanding its two core frameworks is imperative for building owners and electrical operators. When evaluating your emergency lighting systems it shouldn’t just come down to luminaries and exit signage and where to locate each of them. Designing an emergency lighting system to suit your building, user and task profile is complicated and two integral technology decisions need to be made with regards to: 1. The way power is delivered to luminaires and signs should mains power be lost. 2. How the system is tested to ensure dependable performance and compliance with regulations.


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There are two main power framework alternatives when it comes to emergency lighting: Self-Contained (SC) and Central Battery Unit (CBU) systems. When it comes to testing, manual and automatic approaches are very different options and ultimately, every building will have its own unique set of factors that influence which design system is most appropriate. The different systems A self-contained emergency luminaire has its own on-board battery, which remains permanently on charge via the mains lighting circuit under normal conditions. If the power supply is lost, the battery takes over. Alternatively, a central battery unit system features ‘slave’ emergency luminaires and has no on-board battery. Instead, luminaires automatically draw power from one centralised battery in the building, supported by a charger, alarms and instrumentation should mains lighting fail. These CBU systems are sometimes known as a central power supply ‘CPS’ and some ‘decentralised’ models feature multiple centralised power supply systems – to serve individual floors, for example. CBU systems can come in multiple formats with different


features due to the fact countries have variable preferences and regulatory frameworks. These can include different testing approaches and functionalities, as well as AC/DC power configurations. When it comes to testing these two systems, manual and automatic approaches are very different options and due consideration should be given when choosing the right one, given that every building presents its own special set of challenges and conditions. While self-contained systems are generally fast and easy to install, they provide shorter system design life, low luminaire output and high operating expenses (OPEX) to replace localised batteries. By contrast, central battery unit systems offer longer system life and greater overall flexibility, lower OPEX single point battery replacement and cheaper luminaires – but involve installation that is more complex. With regards to total cost of ownership, real-life lifecycle costs for a university shows a self-contained system with manual self-test would incur considerably lower initial spend but cost more than double a CBU or SC system with automatic testing over 10 years. Both CBU and self-contained systems with automatic test solutions would involve a higher capital expenditure (CAPEX) outlay but deliver broadly similar total cost of ownership figures in that time. Every owner or operator will have their own views on what CAPEX/OPEX combination works best for them. Getting the decision right Getting the choice between self-contained or central battery unit systems correct can be life-saving for a business. An effective emergency lighting system is a critical lifeline in crisis situations, and the right

combination of safety luminaires, exit signs and other light sources can not only save lives but enable building operators to comply with tough and evolving legislation. Unfortunately, emergency lighting is often subject to a ‘fit and forget’ approach and facilities managers should recognise that compliance is not a one-off tick box exercise. Building use and safety must be revisited on a regular basis as the nature of risk in our shopping centres, stadia, schools and hospitals changes with the modern world.

When evaluating your emergency lighting systems it shouldn’t just come down to luminaries and exit signage and where to locate each of them Environments worldwide are becoming increasingly urbanised and, as a result, the process of guiding building occupants towards safe exit points is all the more difficult. Selecting the wrong or substandard emergency lighting leads to at worst, loss of life and, at best, luminaire failure and non-compliance. Consultants, planners and building owners have to take responsibility and ask the right questions to better understand the fundamentals of emergency lighting before it is too late.

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Lighting the offices of the future

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With a growing amount of research highlighting changes in workplace behaviour in a post-pandemic world, next-generation LED lighting and controls will play a pivotal role in minimising energy consumption and promoting employee wellbeing, says Colin Lawson, Tamlite Lighting’s head of market intelligence.

here is no denying that the pandemic has prompted reflection and changes in workplace behaviour. As a result, the commercial property sector is undergoing a period of change, with hybrid working becoming a more popular concept. This idea is supported by a new report from Microsoft Surface and YouGov, the Work Smarter to Live Better research found that almost nine out of 10 employees reported that their businesses have adapted to hybrid working and this model of working is here to stay. Yet the death of the office should not be exaggerated. Whilst employees’ working habits are changing, they still have a strong desire to spend time in the office. The Microsoft survey highlighted that employees missed seeing their colleagues in person, while the opportunity for social interaction is a key driver for people’s decision to go into the office when guidelines allow. This means demand for office space is still there. This is supported by the CBRE’s latest UK office snapshot, which highlights a gentle recovery across the major UK office markets, buoyed by regional activity. Whilst some businesses will reduce their dependence on office buildings, what is certain is that companies retaining office space will want to use it more flexibly as part of the new hybrid working model.


Great expectations This change takes place against a number of other challenges currently facing the built environment. Most notably is the UK Government’s target to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. In line with this, to date 42 members have signed up to the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment, representing more than 4,700 buildings and 16.7 million square metres of floor space. There is also increasing demand for healthier buildings that promote occupant wellbeing, particularly from larger, socially-conscious corporate organisations. As a result, business owners and building managers alike will be keen to create pleasant office spaces that encourage people back into the workplace, while also improving energy efficiency in a bid to reduce carbon emissions. Bearing this in mind, it’s arguable that there has never been a better time to review core building systems and ensure that they complement more flexible working patterns. Lighting remains one of the most fun-

damental of these and should be at the very top of the priority list given that the latest systems are intrinsically supportive of more variable and reduced occupancy levels, and are capable of major energy savings – often in return for relatively small investments. Taking control of lighting In the vast majority of cases, high-efficiency LED lighting used in conjunction with intelligent control systems will add a level of flexibility that is vital in modern offices. The ability of LED technology to reduce energy consumption by two-thirds or more, as well as greatly increased product lifespans, is now universally accepted. But with occupancy patterns shifting, it is only by fully integrating it with sensors and controllers that usage can be optimised. The commissioning of intelligent lighting systems could be seen by many as a complex and time-consuming affair. But the latest generation of smart systems greatly reduces the impact on a facility’s cost-base, infrastructure and personnel. In this context, it makes sense to engage with a specialist lighting company at the earliest possible stage, since they are able to provide expert guidance and the most effective fast-track solutions to delivering the right light when it is needed, and within budget. As an example, installing PIR sensors will ensure that lighting is not used unnecessarily when the room is unoccupied by dimming or switching off the fittings, while advanced controllers – such as daylight dimming sensors – allow the output of the luminaires to be adjusted in accordance with natural light levels.

It’s arguable that there has never been a better time to review core building systems and ensure that they complement more flexible working patterns – lighting remains one of the most fundamental of these Beyond that, a network which connects all of the fittings and sensors to a centralised control system allows building managers to establish lighting states and settings that suit the preferences of different groups of workers. Integrated systems like this also make it much easier to track energy usage and identify further ways in which consumption can be reduced. Companies who move in this direction can also be buoyed by the realisation that they are helping to ensure the wellbeing of their employees – an issue that is also certain to remain high on the agenda in 2021. Once again, the latest smart lighting networks are part of the solution, with tunable systems allowing the intensity and hue of lights to be adjusted for the comfort of the workforce. Now is the time to think carefully about how offices can best be used when life does begin to return to normal. Incorporating technologies that will support more varied and unpredictable occupancy patterns is really the only way to go, and in this regard integrated LED lighting and control systems represent a straightforward ‘win-win’ for employers and employees alike.

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Surging on Colin McAhren (MIET), technical business development manager at BG Electrical, part of the Luceco plc group, focuses on how to stay safe when working with domestic installations, from selecting appropriate surge devices through to inspection and testing. esigning, selecting, installing, verifying, inspecting, testing and certifying: The seven words that cover the process of all household electrical installations. In order to ensure the protection for the safety of persons, livestock and property, fundamental principles from BS7671 must be respected for both old and new dwellings. This begins with choosing the right surge protection device (SPD), although, while many people still discuss this in terms of the need to install, the questions that should be asked are what to install and where? Additionally, attention should be taken as to understanding what we are protecting against as stated in BS7671. So, let’s start with Regulation 443, which states that you should protect against transient overvoltages or atmospheric origin and due to switching.


What does this mean? The Scope and Object characterises this in 443.1.1 1. Potential direct strikes to the supply system, ‘overhead cables’ as well as lightning strokes passing close to cables and inducing a transient voltage into the supply system. 2. Switching overvoltages generated by the equipment within the installation; power supply generators turning on and off is one such switching transient. This section does not look at direct lightning strokes to the building, which is covered in BS EN 62305-2. 534.4.1.1 tells us we need to install Type 1 and Type 2 SPDs at the origin of the installation. In the majority of cases, this will be a Type 2 device, as we will be dealing with transient overvoltage(s) from either lightning strokes to the supply installations or switching transients. If the SPD is pre-assembled in the consumer unit and connected in parallel across the main incoming supply cables, there is no extra work or time required over that of a consumer unit with no SPD fitted, so just the cost of the SPD. 534.4.1.1 goes on to state, Type 1 SPDs are specifically designed to protect against dangerous sparking that could lead to a fire. They do not protect against failure of sensitive electrical and electronic systems, as an example, they would not protect modern TVs, Hi-Fi systems, washing machines, dishwashers; all of which have sensitive electronic components. It will also not protect against those parts of the actual installation that have been fitted as part of the fixed equipment, safety elements of smoke and heat alarm equipment, or USB socket-outlets, as Type 1 SPDs allow transient overvoltages to enter the electrical system. Type 2 and Type 3 are designed to protect against these transient voltages that damage sensitive and critical equipment that are part of the fixed system, alarms and USBs, as well as any future connected loads like TVs and Hi-Fis.

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We should be all familiar with regulation 443.4. This regulation provides mandatory guidance for protection of human life, public services, commercial and industrial installations, as well as large numbers of co-located people. Single dwelling units consider the cost of the installation of SPDs to decide if they are required. Considering how transient voltages arrive along the supply network, what they can damage, if not instantly, then over time, the cost of installing an SPD is modest. Especially if we consider protection of safety elements like smoke and heat alarms, where failure could result in serious consequences for the people inside. Changes as of April 1, 2021 Electrical Safety Standards in the private sector from April 1, 2021, require all existing tenancies to be tested by a person who is ‘qualified and competent’, at least every five years. As a result, many landlords will need to consider the effects of voltage surges within their properties and consider installing SPDs in order to protect occupants, as well as fire alarm systems, the sensitive electronics of smoke and heat alarms, and the expensive equipment that may be connected by residents. Older rental buildings may also have electrical installations where no RCDs are installed or only partially installed, and cables in walls would not be protected from the occasional nail being introduced to the circuit.

Initial verification on a new install would require testing the circuits where an SPD is connected Back to surge protection Section 443.5 provides guidance for the risk assessment method to determine if an SPD is required to be installed due to lightning strokes, and if you do not want to do the risk assessment, just install an SPD. Once we have made the decision to include an SPD, let’s take a look at how they are connected to the installation. According to 534.4.8, connection of SPDs tells us that all conductors and interconnections are to be protected, as well as the connections between SPD and any external OCPD, and shall be kept as short as possible. That consideration shall be given to limit the total wiring length of conductor between connection points of the SPD assembly – and should preferably not exceed half a metre, and in no case exceed one metre. 534.4.5.1 says that SPD installations shall be protected against overcurrent with respect to short circuit current.


This protection may be internal and/or external to the SPD, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Most manufacturers/suppliers install an external protection MCB within the enclosure close to the SPD it is protecting, by doing this we meet regulations 534.4.8 and 534.4.5.1. For any other configuration contact your supplier for advice. Erecting 641.1 notes that every installation shall, during erection and on completion, be inspected and tested for verification, so far as is reasonably practicable, to ensure the requirements of the regulations have been met. So, performing an insulation test on cables after the first fix could prevent issues later. At every stage of our design, selection and erection process, as designers and installers, we must ensure 511.1 compliance with standards, and every item of equipment shall comply with applicable British or harmonised standards, appropriate to its intended use. 133.5 states that any departure shall not be less than obtained by compliance to regulation. Initial verification Inspection 642.1 shall precede testing and shall be performed with the part being inspected disconnected from the supply. Safe isolation must be observed. BS7671 part six and GN3 provide the order and guidance on the tests to be performed. Initial verification on a new install would require testing the circuits where an SPD is connected. A 500VDC insulation resistance test may

activate the SPD, as it will see this voltage as a spike, and also influence the verification test result. Regulation 643.3.2 states it is okay to test at 250VDC where it is not reasonable to disconnect the equipment. Disconnection may be a viable option where there are a limited number of ‘at risk’ equipment, socket-outlets to be tested are an example. However, it becomes less of an option as the number of these socket-outlets increases, because disconnection and reconnection takes time and introduces the possibility of the socket-outlets being incorrectly reconnected. In such instances, the tester can decide that it is not reasonably practicable to disconnect the socket-outlets. This is true for any part of the fixed wiring system, where vulnerable equipment could be damaged by a test voltage of 500VDC. Examples of equipment installed that this could apply to are socket outlets containing SPDs, USBs, RCDs, smoke and heat alarms. SPDs installed within the enclosure can be easily disconnected and the circuit tested at 500VDC, so long as the rest of the circuit/s can be tested at 500VDC as well. We are not advocating testing all circuits at 250VDC, 500VDC stress tests the circuit beyond normal operational voltage and adds a degree of safety margin for the nominal 230VAC used within domestic buildings. It does, however, indicate how vulnerable electronics embedded within the fixed wiring system are becoming, and how they can be damaged by testing at 500VDC. What will transient voltages of potentially 6kV do to any of these accessories, devices and equipment if not protected by a surge protection device?

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Putting the spark back into your electrical career As an electrician, you have the ability to determine your own earning potential. With so many options for growing your skillset and boosting your earnings, the possibilities are endless. Mick Fitzgerald, director at Options Skills, shares his tips and tricks for driving your electrical career forward.


t’s never too late to learn and advance your career. No matter your age, skillset or current career, advancing your career is about determination and commitment to grow. The best part? You have the option to earn as you learn.

Why learn new skills? Take control of your own earnings Advancing your skillset and experience can give you the tools you need to become self-employed. When self-employed, you will be able to decide your own working hours and set your own rates, giving you more financial flexibility and control.

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Build your own career path Training can give you access to new career possibilities that you may not have thought about before. With a variety of options available, you will be able to choose the type of electrical career that’s right for you and plan your training towards reaching that goal. Greater job stability The wider your capabilities, the greater the demand for you and your services. This will provide greater job stability and security. In addition, employers are more likely to invest in you if they can see your commitment to investing in yourself. It’s about showing dedication to advancing your potential.


Earn as you learn Electrical qualifications take lots of different forms, with options available to suit everyone. For example, in a traineeship, you will be able to continue to earn an income while you study. This means it isn’t always essential to take a career and earnings break to return to college.

What career paths are available? Domestic electrical installer (DEI) DEIs are one of the most common types of electrician. They work on domestic properties to undertake single phase, domestic installations and repairs. As a DEI, you may be able to earn up to £40k per annum. Installation electrician Installation electricians are responsible for installing various electrical systems, such as power or security systems. They may work on a wide range of sites, from construction to commercial. The average salary for an installation electrician varies between £35-£50k per annum. Renewable energy technician Renewable energy technicians are responsible for installing and maintaining sustainable and green energy systems. They can earn up to £52.5k per annum. Electrical supervisor As well as carrying out electrical work, electrical supervisors are required to manage teams, train employees, assign roles and ensure projects are completed in line with customer expectations. As an electrical supervisor, your earning potential can be up to £60k. Electrical drafter Electrical drafters generate the technical drawings of electrical systems (blueprints) to guide electrical work, including dimensions, arrangements and installation procedures. The salary for an electrical drafter can be up to £45k per annum.

Each of the above career paths requires different qualifications, such as the Domestic Electrical Installer Award (limited to domestic, single phase installations and repairs) or an Electrotechnical NVQ Level 3 Qualification that incorporates single phase and three-phase commercial installation.

Training providers can help you to see things clearly, and can even provide you with possibilities you may not have considered before So, what are the steps to upskill? 1. Carry out research: Take time to understand the career path you want to take and the requirements for getting there. Consider the qualifications you need, the courses you’ll need to take, how long it will take to get those qualifications and the associated costs. 2. Know what you want to achieve: Consider where you want to be and what earnings you would like to achieve. You can break this down into short, medium and long-term goals, to act as clear benchmarks to keep you on track to reaching your dream career. 3. Speak to training providers: Training providers can help you to see things clearly, and can even provide you with possibilities you may not have considered before. Seeking advice will cost you nothing. 4. Choose the right training provider: Be sure to choose the right training provider, one that will guide you towards your career goals and support you as you work towards your full qualification. 5. Take the plunge: When you know your dream career and what you need to do to achieve that goal, you’re ready to begin and advance your electrical career. For more information or advice on advancing your electrical career, visit www.options-skills.co.uk

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Cooler than the rest with Makita As part of its extensive LXT cordless range, Makita has announced the release of its DCW180Z 20-litre 18V cordless cooler and warmer box. The new release is ideal for keeping food and drinks cool or warm in any season. Powered by an 18v LXT battery, this handy product has two 18V LXT battery ports so you can attach two batteries in series for extended operating times. When the first battery is depleted the unit automatically switches to the second battery. This model can also be powered via 240v mains or with an in-vehicle 12v / 24v AC socket. When set at 5°C (normal fridge temperature) the cooler will run for up to 17 hours with 2x 6.0Ah batteries. The solution is also fitted with a convenient LED display, to provide users with temperature and battery levels and easily change settings at the touch of a button.

Makita • 01908 211678 Find out more: www.makitauk.com

C.K launches its new Rescue nut and bolt extractor set The C.K Rescue nut and bolt extractor set provides a hassle-free solution, featuring high quality patented extractor inserts for ring spanners and sockets, that securely grip all round, and effortlessly remove fasteners with up to 85% damaged or worn corners. Ideal for a wide range of applications, other key features and benefits include: •A dapters for fixings sized 8- 17mm. •W orks on a range of fasteners e.g. 6 point, 12 point, hex and spline. •A dapts just two socket/ring spanner sizes to fit 10 different fasteners (sizes 8-17mm). • 8 -12mm inserts suit 14mm wrench/ 12-17mm inserts suit 19mm wrench. •U nique flange designed to prevent fall through. A real time and effort saver for busy tradespeople, the new C.K Rescue nut and bolt extractor set (T4360) is packed in a convenient compact carry case, with clearly marked slots to easily identify the most suitable size to work with.

Carl Kammerling • 01758 704704 Find out more: www.carlkammerling.com

ESP revamps Sangamo timers and heating controls range ESP has made a significant investment in recent months to develop its Sangamo range of timers and heating controls. The wraps are now off to give contractors and wholesalers a first look at the new range, which has been totally revamped and showcases brand new products, as well as enhancements and improvements to existing products and introduces key features that are designed to boost the products’ energy saving properties. With energy efficiency top of the agenda for the economy, businesses and householders, a key aim of the revamp is to introduce features that will assist with efficiency and performance and that will ultimately drive down energy usage and costs. The new-look Sangamo offer can be broken down into four main product categories - timer controllers, thermostats, programmable thermostats and programmers – with a total of 15 products making up the comprehensive range.

ESP • 01527 515150 Find out more: www.espuk.com

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C.K Sure Drive socket sets successfully combining strength with durability The new C.K Sure Drive socket sets successfully combine high quality with high performance, manufactured from forged chrome vanadium alloy steel, making each part resistant to rust, as well as providing excellent longevity. Each set features the patented Sure Drive System which applies torque evenly to the flats of the nut, alleviating the risk of rounding-off. Three new sets are available within the range and include: • (T4660) ¼” 36pc socket and bits set. • (T4661) ⅜” 23 pc socket set. • (T4662) ½” 24 pc socket set. The C.K Sure Drive socket sets offer some great features and benefits, including: six and 12 point Sure Drive sockets, which apply torque to the flats of the nut, rather than the corners, to avoid rounding-off; available as ¼” ⅜” and ½” standard sizes; 72 fine-tooth ratchet drive for precision adjustment and restricted access operation.

Carl Kammerling • 01758 704704 Find out more: www.carlkammerling.com

Complete customisation with Inceptor Intense LED strips Ovia’s new Inceptor Intense is a range of 24V LED strips, available in cool white, warm white and RGBW. They come in four pre-cut lengths – 0.5m, 1m, 2m and 5m – and use a plug and play system, making installation quick and easy. IP20 and IP65 rated, the LED strips come in the following variants: • 7.2W standard with 60 LEDs per metre in warm white and cool white • 14.4W standard with 120 LEDs per metre in warm white and cool white • 7.2W RGBW with 48 LEDs per metre, offering up to 16 million colour options • 14.4W RGBW with 60 LEDs per metre, offering up to 16 million colour options. There is a simple LED Tape Configurator on the Scolmore Group app which allows you to create the perfect LED strip setup with an easy step by step guide.

Ovia • 01827 300640 Find out more: www.oviauk.com

Scolmore adds new GridPro USB modules Scolmore continues to expand its GridPro range of interchangeable modules and plates, with the addition of new GridPro 2.4A Type A USB charging modules. The versatile GridPro plate can be populated to perform multiple tasks using a combination of GridPro and New Media modules. Available in a choice of black or white, the USB charging modules are compatible with all existing GridPro unfurnished plates, which are available in the Define, Definity, Mode, Deco, Deco Plus, Polar and Essentials ranges. Unique to GridPro is the screw attachment feature, which means that no yoke is required for any modules when using one to four gang plates – the modules can be simply screwed directly on to the plates. This has the added benefit of allowing the installer to use standard back boxes. All GridPro modules have a clipping feature, which makes for easy removal and assembly.

Scolmore • 01827 63454 Find out more: www.scolmore.com

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Flexicon protects circuit integrity with unique Connectabox circular junction box Flexible conduit systems manufacturer, Flexicon has launched Connectabox, a weatherproof, IP68/IP69 circular connection box. It provides a faster and simpler way to interconnect circuits and wiring assemblies, while offering superior cable protection for external environments. Connectabox has been designed to protect safety and performance-critical cabling and simplify cable management. The 110mm, round junction box offers a wide range of features to make installation simpler and faster. In contrast to conventional enclosures, which utilise knockouts or require drilling, Connectabox features four easy-to-connect entry points as standard. These provide quick access and termination for different sizes and types of flexible conduit, from 16mm up to 34mm, using Flexicon Ultra (FPAU) push fit connectors. Significant time savings on the job are realised with the intelligent push, twist and lock connector system with integral seals, allowing contractors to make a reliable connection in seconds.

Flexicon • 01675 468 650 Find out more: www.flexicon.uk.com

CP Electronics miniature detectors help make Covid wards safer CP Electronics miniature presence detectors have been incorporated into a state-ofthe-art disinfection device from Amity International, used to make hospital wards safer from Covid. Amity International’s AIRDECON UVC device kills micro-organisms using the power of UVC light, providing fast disinfection and minimal room down-time. Amity International were looking for a sensor that was small enough to fit into the revolutionary AIRDECON UVC device without the need for any changes to the design. CP Electronics advised Amity that the miniature presence detectors (EBMHS) would be perfect for their requirements. The sensors provide occupancy status as an open collector switching output and provide an excellent detection range of up to 7m forward detection and up to 8m each way. To ensure the safety of patients and staff, the device is installed with four CP Electronics mini presence detectors that shut down the UVC emissions if any movement is detected.

CP Electronics • 0333 9000671 Find out more: www.cpelectronics.co.uk

Knightsbridge plays its smart hand In a move to offer contractors and their customers the benefits of smart home technology, Knightsbridge, one of the UK’s leading electrical brands, is launching a comprehensive range of intelligent wiring accessories and lighting products that can be controlled by its very own app, SmartKnight. At the heart of the range are the two 13A, 2-gang, smart switched sockets, manufactured to match the designs of its existing square and curved edge range of moulded switches and sockets. These feature a power monitoring function so that the homeowner can see live power usage on the socket in kWh and a green indicator on the socket shows if the relevant gang is on. Appliances attached to the socket will be controllable remotely or by voice. For outdoor use there is an IP66, 2-gang switched socket, that works up to 40m from the house depending on Wi-Fi signal coverage.

Knightsbridge • 0158 288 7760 Find out more: www.mlaccessories.co.uk

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Wireless and USB charging with pop-up socket from Knightsbridge Knightsbridge has launched an integrated two-in-one pop-up wireless USB charging socket that is ideal for mounting in kitchen worktops, desks, communal workplace areas and home offices. Sitting flush with surfaces and finished in brushed chrome, the pop-up charger frees up wall sockets and reduces the need for charging wires. It supports both Type-A USB charging and Type-C, which is compatible with QC3.0 (Quick Charge) and PD FASTCHARGE (Apple devices do not support PD FASTCHARGE, but the use of certified cables will achieve an optimum charge rate of up to 3A.) The USB charging socket provides both convenience and practicality, offering a two-inone solution, with wireless pad charging for simple easy use and the pop-up FASTCHARGE option if needing a boost in a hurry (up to 50% in 30 minutes for compatible devices).

Knightsbridge • 01582 887760 Find out more: www.mlaccessories.co.uk

OMICRON power utility communication tutorial & workshop Join OMICRON’s interactive online event to stay up to date with IEC 61850. The event is taking place April 14-15 2021, with remote access to OMICRON devices. Over two half-days, this special interactive event will highlight current trends and challenges in the world of IEC 61850, enable exchange among participants and give you the chance to interact with our devices online. • Get an overview of actual developments in Digital Substations from tutorial presentations • Join the evening event for discussion with colleagues from the IEC 61850 community • Connect to demo setups remotely in the workshop sessions, which cover important IEC 61850 topics with guidance from our OMICRON experts. To view the program and register now, visit the OMICRON website below.

OMICRON • 01785 848100 Find out more: www.events.omicronenergy.com/puctw

New free Fluke products when you buy a Fluke tool Fluke will again be offering a free product to customers who purchase Fluke tools up until 30 June 2021. Customers who purchase Fluke products through authorised Fluke distributors have the opportunity to claim a free product via the Fluke website with original proof of purchase, invoice, or receipt. The free Fluke products to choose from have been updated too; you will find new choices in all eight levels of free tools to claim. They are separated based on the value of your qualifying purchase, starting at as little as only £200. For each level there is a fixed range of products to claim, based on the value of the original purchase. A qualifying purchase includes Fluke electrical and industrial test tools, Fluke Networks, and Fluke Calibration products. Full details can be found at www.fluke.co.uk/freefluke.

Fluke • 020 7942 0708 Find out more: www.fluke.co.uk

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Why do we need self sustaining cities? Wind farms, electric vehicle chargers and recycling centres are just a few ways the UK has learned to be more sustainable and benefit society at the same time. But, say hypothetically, a zombie apocalypse broke out, which UK city would be most likely to survive if left to its own devices? Well, SaveOnEnergy.com/uk found out exactly that, and for some of us, it may be time to move – it is 2021 afterall, do we really want to tempt fate? ased on the environmental factors and number of self-sustaining features in 40 of the UK’s most populated cities, such as air quality and farming areas, SaveOnEnergy.com/uk created an index-based point system to uncover which city is most likely to survive an undead encounter.


Drum roll please SaveOnEnergy.com/uk can reveal that living in Cambridge is your best bet to surviving a zombie apocalypse, amassing 348 points. Cambridge is home to the most onshore wind farms (24) and recycling centres in the UK (5.68 per 100,000 of the population) – meaning that those looking to self-sustain are more likely to be successful in producing their own energy and reusing waste. Following in second place is Swansea, with the city collecting 341 points. Surviving an apocalypse in Swansea would be made easier as they have the largest number of open park space (45.8 parks per 100,000 of the population) along with the most farmers (1.86% of the population), resulting in lots of outdoor space and professional farming knowledge. Belfast is the third best place in the UK to survive a zombie apocalypse (329 points). The city has the fourth highest percentage of farming areas in the UK (75% of land) and a significant number of wind farms (19). Fourth and fifth place go to Bristol and Armagh city, receiving 275 and 262 points respectively. Bristol has the best air quality in the UK and Armagh places highly due to the city’s large farming areas. To complete the top 10 cities most likely to survive a zombie apocalypse, along with their best features, the results are as follows: 6. Plymouth (254 points): Yearly solar energy production and farming areas 7. Newry (254 points): Recycling centres and farming areas 8. Edinburgh (249 points): Parks and farming areas

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9. Dundee (230 points): Farmers in the city and farming areas 10. Gloucester (226 points): Parks and farming areas. Which cities are the worst to be in? Collecting just 82 points, SaveOnEnergy.com/uk found that Oxford is the worst city to live in if there was a zombie apocalypse. Due to the lack of wind farms (0), farmers (0.53% of population) and moderate air quality, they rank at the bottom of the table. The second worst city is Preston. With 104 points, the city has just over two parks per 100,000 people and only 32 electric vehicle charging devices per 100,000 people. Following in third is Derby, amassing 108 points in total – the city’s moderate air quality and low volume of recycling centres are partially responsible. In fourth place are Southampton and Nottingham, both joint with 110 points, and following in fifth is Glasgow with 111 points. To complete the top 10, alongside their worst rated self-sustaining features, the results are as follows: 6. Leeds (134 points): Wind farms and electric vehicle charging devices 7. Sunderland (136 points): Recycling centres and farmers 8. Leicester (140 points): Electric vehicle charging devices and recycling centres 9. Reading (141 points): Parks and wind farms 10. Liverpool (142 points): Recycling centres and farmers. Funny there is such a juxtaposition between our two main university cities, but there you have it, it’s official, Cambridge trumps Oxford. So Oxfordites, put some of that intelligence to good use, build yourselves some more farms and get prepped as you just never know what’s around the corner.

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