Metacom automates electrical distribution in South Africa | Automation.com

Metacom automates electrical distribution in South Africa

By Jako Winter, Metacom

Industrial data communication is a multifaceted process which is dependent on reliability and security of information. In order to guarantee the success of these two factors in particular, it is important to partner with a fully integrated supplier, who is involved in the entire supply chain process from start to finish.

We deal with a number of companies across a variety of industries including utilities, traffic financial and retail. All these areas rely on having access to accurate, real time data, to reduce and in most instances prevent downtime altogether.

To ensure that this occurs you need a supplier with access to various communication technologies who understands the whole supply chain process from design of hardware through to the product solution.

Most companies are involved in one part of the process and rely on an outside supplier for other services such as design, installation or even infrastructure. This creates a number of potential problems. Firstly, if a fault occurs, logistically it becomes difficult to fix as you need to track down the relevant supplier, which can become very time consuming. Secondly, if the one part of the network goes down when there is no backup system in place, it can sometimes take up to a day to fix.

By having a supplier with a solid infrastructure network, who deals with the entire process, the customer is provided with an integrated technology solution, which is easy to manage.

Certain industries can afford limited downtime but for others, downtime is not an option and having a backup system in place is imperative. Depending on locations and the conditions in the area of operation, GSM, satellite, ADSL, radio or even a combination of all four might be ideal.

“I like the universality of a GPRS router,” says Allen Roberts of Eskom Eastern Region. “With GPRS technology you can communicate around the country, it’s available just about everywhere.”

An electrical distribution automation network was recently installed in the farming area of Rawsonville, South Africa. It proved its worth during the peak of fruit harvesting season when a line fault briefly affected power supply to farms and packing houses in the area. Power was restored to 75% of these customers in 90 seconds.

Eskom wanted a reliable and cost effective communication system to monitor and control their electricity distribution network. Based on those requirements we created a GSM/GPRS network. For clients in the financial or retail sector, a fixed line infrastructure might prove more effective. When it comes to these technologies it’s not a case of which one is best, but which one is best suited to your specific needs.

To allow for maxim productivity suppliers need to be involved with the client at each stage of the supply chain developing a unique solution tailored to their exact needs, reducing wastage and improving efficiency levels.

About Metacom
Metacom (Pty) Ltd, founded in 2001, is a specialist Information and technology company focused on the conceptualisation, development, implementation and support of Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communication solutions and Wide Area Networks. Predominantly active in the wireless communication market, Metacom pioneered a number of innovative solutions in the industrial, retail and banking environment for some of the largest organisations in the country.
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