All posts by thomas

2014 & Me

Every New Year gives us new hopes, new goals and, Yea… Obviously, New Resolutions.¬† 2014 was a great year for me; a Happening Year.Every year I used to set some new resolutions, but let me frank, i never met any of them ūüėÄ But the year 2014 gave me a different experience. Yaar, I met some of my resolution. Ahaaaaa!!!

The first successful resolution was about starting my own website. I need to thank one of my great friend Vijay S Paul who is always an inspiration for me to start this website. He is an amazing¬† Speaker and a Nice Blogger(See www.vijayspaul.com). I am also grateful to my dear friends Satheesh , Manu & Shameer who helped me in the technical side. Even though i am just stepping in to the world of writing, i feel really great after reading my own article ūüėõ

The second one was about joining for M-Tech. Thanks to my parents who always reminded me about PG. At last, I joined for M-Tech in Applied Electronics at CISAT, Muvatupuzha. Frankly Speaking, I felt quite odd to sit in lectures and write internal exams after a break of 2.5 years from my graduation.

Third one was also one of the goal of my firm NeoGreen Labs. The goal was to launch one product in 2014 and I am really happy to tell you that we have launched one product (an Industrial product; SafeWeld) during October 2014 and it got good response from our potential customers.  Also, We are all set to launch our new product ( A Semi-Commercial one; Aquavision ). If everything goes fine, we will launch it during the first week of January 2015. Thanks to Shibili Rahman & Er. Cherian Issac for all their support for developing both the products.

Now, at the end of 2014 while looking back, i am feeling happy. But life has to go on and I am waiting for 2015. New Year, New Hopes, new Resolutions… I wish everyone will have a great year ahead.

Happy New Year

Visit to Carborundum Universal Limited

Carborundum Universal Limited (CUMI), is a Multi-Billion company leading by Murugappa Group. CUMI is one of the giants, dealing with abrasives, Electro-Minerals, Industrial Ceramics, Super Refractories etc. They have a number of factories which are distributed around the globe. To know more about CUMI, kindly go through their website.

Recently Team NeoGreen Labs visited one of their factories; which is situated near Edapally, where they manufacture  Brown Aluminum Oxide Grains from Bauxite. The factory is spread over almost 100 acres.

Few days before our visit, We got a picture of the Typical Kerala Effect;  Labour Strike at CUMI. This strike seems really interesting. The workers start their strike by 9.30am, with all Inquilab Zindabad but they stop it by 10.am and then go to their work. Thank God, We reached there after the Strike Session, by around 11 am.

Our goal was to see and understand the processing of bauxite to a material which can be used for the manufacturing of abrasives. This process is done inside a furnace (Kiln). The raw materials has been added to the kiln at regular intervals and the materials are melted using Electric Arc formed by three huge electrodes. The working temperature is above 1000 Degree Celsius and so, the kiln is cooled using water. One batch consists of 28 tons of raw material and it takes long 20hrs to melt them. Later it is allowed to cool and it takes almost two weeks for the complete cooling. Then the frozen material is crushed in to grains using a crusher which makes lot of dust and later the grains are transported to the manufacturing unit using a huge conveyer belt system. The entire atmosphere was so hot and noisy and i got surprised to see, workers walking and working in that severe atmosphere.

Then we visited the power and control setup of the kiln and electric arc system. There are almost 5 kilns and each kiln has its own control station. The three phase transformer of   Electric ARC rod is manufactured by General Electric and each Arcing Rod takes an AC current of 6000A !!!

We also visited the 66KV Substation of CUMI. I never saw such a huge substation and controls before. They told us that CUMI is buying electric power from open market (till then i didn’t had much idea about the electricity supply in open market, but they explained it well) during night time at a lower rate. CUMI also has a 12MW hydel electric power project at Maniyar Kerala.

The best part of this factory is that, there is no waste except the Dust produced during the crushing of cooled material. All other materials are converting in to different products. They are also trying to improve their overall energy efficiency by continuously improving their manufacturing process. And, I am sure that this may be the two main reasons that keep CUMI the best in their domains.

Note: We were invited to do a feasibility study on improving the efficiency of their manufacturing process. I don’t have any Photos since we were not allowed to take our mobiles inside the campus. Er. Shibili Rahman, Er. Cherian Varghese and Mr. Baby Philip were with me for this visit.

SmartGrid : Some Basic Concepts

Smart Grid is a common term nowadays, at least to Electrical Engineers. I am doing a small try to explain what Smart  Grid is. So, i will not get into much Technical aspects. Thanks to my friend Priya K S who motivated me to write this post.

Smart Grid is a new concept for modern Electrical Grid which includes the Integration of  Power Distribution system with Communication & Information Technology.  Simply, we can say, Smart Grid is all about adding Intelligence & Flexibility to the grid in order to make it more reliable.

We will understand this once we go through the current electrical Grid system and how Smart Grid differs from it.

Current (Old) Electrical Grid System

old grid

As the above image, old Electrical Grid is a centralized system in which there is a single Power Generator and power is flowing in one direction; from Generator to Customer through Transmission & Distribution System. The metering is done at periodic intervals which is the cumulative usage for a particular period of time. The Power requirement is only a guess based on statistics and the generators are generating power based on this requirement . Sometimes the generated power may be excess or some times it may less. And this make huge overhead on the generating stations. The Transmissions loss due to long transmission is high.

Now we can see how we can transform existing Grid to Smart Grid. Simply speaking there are two steps.

1.  Adding More Generators & Sensors

old grid

Smart Grid is a De-centralized system in which there are multiple Power Generators or Distributed Energy Resources (DER). Adding Generators throughout the grid¬† allows power sources to be located near to the customer. It also helps to reduce the probability for blackouts. Due to this option, the customer can use renewable energy resources and the customer can sell power when he doesn’t use it.

Complete monitoring and control of the entire Grid can be possible by adding different sensors and control equipments to the grid. For Example, addition of sensors will help to immediately identify when some Transmission Line breaks Or, Power Theft can be easily identified if there are enough sensors and real time monitoring systems.

Smart appliances are appliances with intelligence. The primary goal of making appliances Smarter is to improve the efficient working at less power consumption and at low power cost. For Example, If you have a smart fridge, it will not work  (or limit the working) in peak hours in order reduce the peak load as well as to reduce your energy bill (nowadays, energy costs more during peak hours).

2. Adding Communication & Information Technology

old grid

Addition of Communicating System and Information Technology supports the information from all points to be completely interlinked; with the Utility or Service provider, the Customer, Transmission & Distribution stations etc.

Generating stations will get the near real time power requirements. Sensors are integrated with power flow controlling equipments and are continuously updating service providers with performance data of the grid.

The metering data such as instantaneous power cost will be available at customer end  and the Smart Appliances can act depends upon these data. And the instantaneous usage of each customer will be available to the nearest Billing station. There will be option for customer to check their power usage history.

Some Advantages of Smart Grid are;

  • Safety: For example, If an Power line break, the sensors immediately identify it and break the electrical power supply¬† and there by avoids accidents.
  • Energy Savings: Losses due to long distance transmission of power can be reduced due to the option for Distributed Energy Resources. Since appliances are also smart, they will also save energy.
  • Economic: Smart Appliances and Option to sell Customer generated power will make power more economic.
  • Greener: Since There is option for renewable energy sources, the nuclear and thermal power generation can be reduced and thereby reducing CO2 emissions and nuclear radiations.
  • Ease of entire Management: The service provider can easily manage power distribution, billing, maintenance etc since all the necessary data will be available at a central point.
  • Reliability: Due to decentralized power generation, even if one generator got wrong, power supply will not get affected.

Thats all for now. Hope you got the basic concept of smart grid. I will try to explain more details of Smart Grid in the future posts. Feel free to comment if you have any queries or suggestions.

Reference:

‘An Introduction – Smart Grid 101’ from Lawrence Berkeley National¬† Laboratory.

Thank You.

One Day inside an Old Incandescent Bulb Manufacturing Unit

During my High School, I  learned the  working of Incandescent Bulb &, Thomas Alva Edison is the man who developed it. From that days itself , I had one serious doubt,  how people are filling Argon Gas inside the Glass bulb? A genuine question from a high school guy, Rite?

And, Today, on 28/08/2014, I got a chance to visit an Incandescent Bulb manufacturing Unit. Infra Lights, One of the Pioneer Incandescent Bulb Manufacturer in Kerala , situated inside the Aroor Industrial Estate. An Old two story-ed Building; seems around 8000 Sq. ft and interestingly, the entrance was guarded by a local Dog!

Oh! Sorry, i forget to tell you that, they are not manufacturing those bulbs right now.¬† Those poor people couldn’t adapt with the CFL Boom. But they are still keeping all the machinery & Equipment there itself. Thanks God! Otherwise I couldn’t see those all machinery.

The room in which the equipments are kept seems like a haunted space; Dust, Spiders & their web, Rust and all. I walked around each and every machines. Somehow i tried to understand the use of each ones. And, I saw that equipment also; the Gas filling One.

After getting out of the room I thought, why the owner is still keeping all those useless machines? Maybe he has a plan to convert it to a small Museum to teach our children that, once there were something called incandescent bulbs & they are manufactured by all these machines ūüėÄ

I heard about Disruptive Innovation. But today, I understood what is it in reality!

By the way,Infra Lights is now trying for a revamping; they started manufacturing  & assembling of LED luminaries. Hope they will catch up the market soon!

I with Team NeoGreen Labs went there to test a 3KVA Three Phase Battery charger (We don’t have a three phase connection) which is developed by one of my Mentor Er. Cherian Issac for Cochin Shipyard.

First day at HINDALCO, Kochi

Don’t think that I got a job in HINDALCO! I went there to Test & Install few Equipments (SafeWeld) that we (NeoGreen Labs) developed for Welder Safety.

HINDALCO ! the Aluminum Gaint of India.

Recently (On 26-08-2014), I visited their Manufacturing Plant in Kalamassery, Kochi. It was for the first time in my life, I  visited such a huge Factory, which spreads over 130 Acres!

The security check and other procedures at their gate make me feel that i am entering a Defense area. At the entrance itself, we can see the vision and Quality policies of Aditya Birla Group. World Class Manufacturing (WCM), is their new mantra and i saw few flex boards explaining WCM.

I walked¬† through their premises, But, couldn’t see any works going on there (in the initial two blocks). There are huge machines, but they seems like, not used for weeks or months.

I saw lot of Notices, Flex & Writings; not about Aluminum, not about their manufacturing or not about Hindalco, but  all were about one word; SAFETY!

Safety, Safety, Safety… Safety Everywhere!

There were also Poems regarding safety. Both in English & Malayalam. I am remembering few line that i felt interesting.

“Know safety, No Pain, No Safety, Know Pain”

Atlast we reached the area where some works are going on. We can see Huge aluminum Rods, Bars, and some huge blocks of Aluminum like AmmiKallu in front of the Plant . Inside that Plant, there are few Kins in which Aluminum rods are heated.People are working around that and, the temperature in that area was really high, i felt it ,as i walked beside the kin. Even though i couldn’t get much time to view all those things, it was really a great experience for me.

Later I understood that the factory is¬† working with only 5 to 10% of their full capacity. I don’t know the exact reason. Maybe its the Kerala Effect!

Safe Weld is an Equipment to provide safety for the Welder. It also saves electrical energy. We have systems for both Single Phase & Three Phase ARC Welding Sets.