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Technology & Communications News

Smooth transmission from innovator

By: System Author     12th February 1999 An infinitely-variable drive stepless transmission has been developed in South Africa which significantly reduces power consumption and smoothes gear changes. Inventor Paget Bellin says the infinitely-variable drive is a wholly-new approach to power transmission. “The mechanism of power... 

R75-million on offer for innovation drive

By: System Author     12th February 1999 The Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology’s (Dacst’s) innovation fund is entering its third year of existence with a total of R75-million available for the 1999–2000 financial year to attract large innovative multidisciplinary projects. Dacst deputy... 

LPG meter purchased

By: System Author     12th February 1999 A liquid controls liquid petroleum gas (LPG) meter fitted with the Lectro count electronic register with electronic temperature has been purchased by Gasfreight from Liquid Automation Systems. Since the unit is specifically designed for the metering of LPG it provides the user with complete... 

R108m toll-road contract a ‘driveaway’ success

By: System Author     12th February 1999 The last section of the lower Kwazulu-Natal south coast’s toll-road system from Hibberdene to the existing toll-road at Umtentweni opened as expected on December 6 last year, just in time for the heavy holiday traffic. This R108-million third and final contract in an overall R231-million... 

R3m oxygen plant fuels drive into Africa

By: System Author     12th February 1999 Achieving success with the establish- ment of an on-site oxygen-manufacturing plant at the Blanket gold-mine, owned by Kinross of Canada, near Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, only seven months after its establishment, Messer Fedgas sister company Messer Zimbabwe is creating a springboard for the company to... 

Portable remote comms device

By: System Author     12th February 1999 AN inexpensive, easy-to-use handheld device which uses cellular technology for mobile communication has been developed in South Africa by Accord R&D, a subsidiary of Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed Accord Technologies. The robust device can be adapted to suit a myriad of applications in any... 

Massive R1,2bn IT deal is clinched

By: System Author     12th February 1999 THE professional-services division of PQ Africa, Q Data Consulting, has purchased all the assets and goodwill of Sasol’s information technology (IT) division for an undisclosed sum in a comprehensive outsourcing agreement heralded as a strategic breakthrough for both companies. The... 

Virtual private network on offer in S Africa

By: System Author     12th February 1999 Costing an initial R50-million, Telkom’s ‘intelligent network’ (IN), which allows the company to offer virtual private network (VPN) services to corporate clients, is beginning to bear fruit. “I must stress that our VPN is a voice-based, person-to-person service including... 

Modelling software upgrade gives big boost to engineers

By: System Author     12th February 1999 Adding a new dimension to engineering and industrial design, engineering-software leader Bentley Systems, of America, has further refined and developed its modelling software, Bentley Africa MD Keith Schorah tells Engineering News. The MicroStation/J is the latest advance by the company in... 

New conveyor program

By: System Author     12th February 1999 The development of a new version of Helix delta-T conveyor-design program has been completed by Helix Technologies. The new program, which is the fourth generation of conveyor-design software developed by the company, has many new functions and is aimed at professionals who require an in-depth... 

‘Smart’ Cad leads hi-tech quest for increasing productivity

By: System Author     12th February 1999 ECONOMIC pressures demand that South African companies which rely on computer-aided design (Cad) use sophisticated hi-tech solutions to boost productivity and gain a competitive advantage locally and globally. “Cad has been well accepted and integrated into the marketplace,” says... 

Priceless car collection hitches a lift

By: System Author     12th February 1999 Materials-handling specialist Avis Rent-A-Forklift has successfully completed the most challenging assignment it has ever faced – unloading and reloading a priceless collection of vintage racing cars. The task involved the utilisation of a variety of forklifts and other specialist equipment... 

Master’s degree programme through Internet

By: System Author     5th February 1999 THE Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Stellenbosch is offering Master’s degree programmes as well as individual postgraduate modules through the Internet and interactive television on a distance-education basis. This will be the first time that Master’s degree... 

Argentinian sand filters for South Africa

By: System Author     5th February 1999 TECHNOLOGY first applied in Argentina may be used in South Africa to purify water inexpensively and effectively for rural communities, reports the Water Research Commission (WRC). South African researchers have undertaken intensive tests to determine whether the revolutionary cross-flow sand... 

SA’s world-first cricket bat

By: System Author     5th February 1999 IT has been done in tennis, baseball and even golf, and now it is set to hit the cricket community for a six. South Africa is on the brink of introducing an all-composite cricket bat to the world. Over the past three years, a Pretoria company has been working quietly on the concept and, later... 

From ‘hot-strip’ dynamics to ‘smart’ houses

By: Archivist     29th January 1999 Thicknesses of materials such as metals, plastics and glass are measured accurately and easily by a pocket-sized digital gauge developed by UK company Wylam Hill. Measuring only 100 mm by 60 mm by 22 mm, and weighing 160 g, the robust Portagauge VV (which stands for ‘variable... 

Technological wonders tax common belief

By: Archivist     29th January 1999 Many people have heard that, if you stand at the bottom of a deep well or mine shaft, and look up in broad daylight, you will see stars. People have also heard of the ‘dark side of the moon’. Well, the mine shaft and stars story is bunk! All you will see if you look up is blue sky.... 

From the bottom of the sea to a giant waterbag

By: Archivist     29th January 1999 In July last year Norwegian geologists descended to a depth of 5 600 m to investigate the mid-Atlantic ridge west of Svalbard, known before as Spitzbergen. For this venture, the scientists were lowered to perilous depths by the Russian mini-submarines MIR 1 and MIR 2, which were used to film the... 

Auto company goes ‘live’

By: Archivist     29th January 1999 AUTOMOTIVE company Land Rover South Africa has gone live with a big information technology project involving a move to an integrated SAP R/3 software solution designed to deliver business benefits such as allowing business volume growth. “Installation and customisation of R/3 Materials... 

Pasteur and the limbo of forgotten plagues

By: Archivist     29th January 1999 In 1854, Louis Pasteur was given a professorship and made dean of the new faculty of sciences at Lille and here, in the centre of the brewing industry, he turned his attention to the mysteries of fermentation. One day Pasteur was invited to go over a brewery and give an explanation of why the... 

Hi-tech shopping trolley rolls in

By: Archivist     29th January 1999 A NEW range of ergonomically-designed lightweight shopping trolleys has been launched locally. Speaking at the launch of the Galaxy range in Johannesburg, Cape Gate, Fence & Wire Works MD Robert Kaplan said the products were in line with international consumer trends to offer customers a... 

‘Green’ plastic from UK for home and heavy industry is a wrap

By: Archivist     29th January 1999 THE environment-unfriendly method of manufacturing the kind of plastic used in things such as buckets and rubbish bins could soon be as dated as horse-drawn streetcars. Scientists have discovered a new way of producing the plastic, which has thousands of uses from around the home to heavy... 

SA enters space race with second satellite

By: Archivist     29th January 1999 The University of Stellenbosch is planning to design and manufacture a second micro-satellite with enhanced imaging and communication capabilities, following the successful design and manufacture of Sunsat I. In an exclusive interview with Engineering News, University of Stellenbosch electrical... 

South African first in Internet technology

By: Archivist     29th January 1999 Specialist publisher of product and brandname information Ezee-Dex Information Systems has launched a massive product search engine on the Internet. Its address being www.edx.co.za, the site offers a unique researched relational database that can search more than 32 000 South African companies,... 

Telecom sky platform proposed for Gauteng

By: Archivist     29th January 1999 Telecom firms and governments worldwide are looking at cost-effective ways to increase the precious commodity of bandwidth for businesses and individuals alike, and South Africa is no exception. The feasibility of launching a stratospheric telecom platform up to 21 km above Gauteng to provide... 

Software for African renaissance

By: Archivist     29th January 1999 LOCALLY-developed software is assisting African countries with the planning of radio communication networks. Gisrap, designed by CSIR information and communications technology division Mikomtek, is used to predict propagation losses and to determine the capacity and coverage requirements of... 

Building of R116m technocentre on track

By: Archivist     29th January 1999 Contributing to the building of technology in South Africa, the Grinaker group is involved in the construction of properties for cellular service provider Vodacom and computer giant Microsoft. The Vodacom technocentre contract awarded to Grinaker in Bellville, Western Cape, is valued at... 

‘Smart’ cricket bat being developed for Jonty

By: Archivist     15th January 1999 If you are a technophobe, you’d better not be thinking of taking up a career in cricket, because the scientists are coming in to bat, bowl and field. Even the old willow bat, that very symbol of a game filled with tradition, could be hit for a six as a result. As for the umpire –... 

‘Smart’ toolbox from the UK

By: Archivist     15th January 1999 BUSY manufacturing areas in modern engineering workshops around the world are set for a significant productivity boost by the development in the UK of the latest aid in shopfloor automation, the computerised toolbox. Benefits from this ‘smart’ toolbox include time savings and greater... 

Big Egypt win for local firm

By: Archivist     15th January 1999 TELECOM-infrastructure company Brolaz Projects, of Midrand, has clinched a three-year contract worth about R1,2-billion (according to an Engineering News estimate) to set up a cellular network infrastructure in Egypt. The contract, awarded by cellular operator Misrfone (Click GSM) of Egypt, will... 

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