ADEC expanding its horizons – now to be “arei”

October 24th, 2014, Published in Articles: EngineerIT

At a recent breakfast function, Arnold Perumal, chairman of the Association of Distributors and Manufacturers of Electronic Components (ADEC) announced that ADEC is expanding its horizon to include electronic and contract manufacturing; and that the name will be changed to Association Representing the Electronics Industry (AREI). He said that the inclusion of electronic and contract manufacturing is an important step to support the growth of the industry in South Africa.

In an interview with EngineerIT Perumal said that he believed a mature association such as ADEC can leverage its members who are involved in electronics and gain better traction with growing and fostering the industry.

Arnold  Perumal, ADEC ( now arei) chairman , Nick Sloane and Chris Yellend, MD of EE Publishers)

Arnold Perumal, chairman ADEC with Captain Nick Sloane and Chris Yelland, MD of EE Publishers.

The change of ADEC to  “AREI”  is an important step forward. Internationally the South African electronic and contract manufacturing industry is respected for its quality products – as borne out by the Dutch satellite company ISIS having subcontracted to a South African entity to manufacture complex sub-assemblies for its satellite programme.

While the announcement of the formation of “AREI” took the industry by surprise it was the guest speaker, salvage specialist extraordinaire, Captain Nick Sloane,  who had the audience riveted. Captain Sloane, dubbed “the legend of Giglio” described the refloating of one of the world’s largest cruise ships, the Costa Concordia which ran aground on the coast of the Italian island Giglio in January 2012.

Captain Sloane was tasked with raising the Costa Concordia upright from its watery grave. The ship  emerged triumphant  after a 19-hour operation, the biggest of its kind ever attempted.

The South African – who has worked on some of the world’s biggest shipwrecks – headed up an eleven-man team of experts who controlled the refloating of the 114 500-ton ship from a floating barge near the wreck.  The core team was supported by a 500-strong international team of divers, welders and engineers.  More than 30 000 tons of steel were used – equivalent to four times the weight of the Eiffel Tower – in the operation to lift the 290 m vessel, which is twice the size and weight of the Titanic.

The “parbuckling” operation by which the ship was rotated had never been performed on a vessel that size and tensions rose in the hours before the operation was due to start when a storm delayed the kick-off by three hours.

Captain Sloane said an initial inspection of the side of the ship which has been underwater for 20 months indicated serious damage and said the team would “have to do a really detailed inspection” to determine how it could be repaired adequately to withstand being towed.

The entire project took three years at a total cost of some $1,27-billion. A complicated undertaking, it required great ingenuity, engineering, software development, the use of remotely operated underwater vehicles, drones and associated control systems.

It was Franco Gabrielli, head of the civil protection agency and project overseer, who dubbed Sloane “the legend of Giglio”, a nickname quickly employed by the inhabitants of the island, who were delighted to have the doomed ship removed. The safe refloating and towing of  it away to be scrapped prevented a potential ecological disaster of massive proportions. Had the ship broken up it would have discharged some 500 tons of oil, huge amounts of detergents and other chemicals from  its laundries, not to mention the large amount of debris that would have washed up onto the island’s coastline.

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